Each year, Veterans Day offers an opportunity for Americans to honor all military service members who have served our country. It’s a day to recognize and give thanks for their courage, determination, and loyal service to the United States. It is also a good time to evaluate the many unique health and social needs this population experiences once they have removed the uniform.
During their service, military members are often at risk for various injuries and environmental hazards, and some experience new and lingering medical and mental health crises when they return to civilian life. Unfortunately, in our often-fragmented health care system, many veterans find it difficult to access the care and resources they need when they are no longer active duty.
Approximately 200,000 service members leave active duty each year and are more likely than those on active duty to report health issues such as diabetes, smoking, heavy alcohol use, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other chronic illnesses. These behaviors and conditions place veterans at greater risk for chronic diseases that are best managed by interdisciplinary teams.
With the 4th largest population of active-duty military and a large veteran population, it is critical that North Carolina has a strong network of resources for its military community. NCCARE360 is proud to have joined forces with NCServes in July 2021. This union will improve the experiences of North Carolina’s military community by increasing the number of services and resource available to our active-duty service members, veterans, and their families, and thereby making it easier to connect to services for medical care, mental health care, and resources for non-medical drivers of health like housing, food, and transportation.
Launched in 2015, NCServes was the nation’s first statewide coordinated network of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to connect military service members, veterans, and military families with providers and resources for which they are eligible. NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables providers to electronically connect those with identified needs to community resources and allow for feedback and follow up.
With this joining of forces, all NCServes network partners will now have access to the broader NCCARE360 network of community resources and additional NCCARE360 features and data to help them better serve military families. As part of the statewide network, this creates additional entry points for veterans seeking services. The common goal of improving health outcomes by addressing these frequently unmet needs demonstrates the natural fit of this union.
Together, NCCARE360 and NCServes will continue to provide a collaborative tool to help North Carolinians navigate a service system and connect them to the community resources they need most. We believe this unification honors North Carolina’s active-duty military, veterans, and their families by ensuring they have access to the resource and support they need.
NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations, assesses for and identifies unmet social needs, and enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina. NCCARE360 is the result of a strong public-private partnership between the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI). The NCCARE360 implementation team includes United Way of NC, NC 2-1-1, Expound Decision Systems, and Unite Us.
For more information about NCCARE360, or any of its partner organizations, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.