TriWest and VA Make a Difference in Veteran’s Life

February, 2021 – Marine Veteran Richard Alcaraz was dealing with depression and isolation as a result of severe dermatological problems that caused his prosthetic leg to be nearly unusable. “I didn’t feel like I was a complete person anymore,” he shared.

But after receiving help from TriWest’s network of community care providers, he has thrived as a competitive, medal-winning athlete.

The required care Alcaraz sought wasn’t available at the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, but he was referred to TriWest’s network of providers where he received the necessary treatment that improved his health and well-being.

As a result of this TriWest-VA connection, Alcaraz is now participating in a variety of sports including hockey, badminton and skiing. He now is a medal-winning athlete and multi-year participant in the National Veteran Wheelchair Games. “When I started playing sports, it made me feel like I had a purpose again,” said Alcaraz.

“You go to the VA, and maybe they don’t have the resources you’re looking for. You can be pointed to other resources, for whatever you possibly could think of, and you can be helped,” noted Alcaraz.

He was thankful for the aid he received not only from his doctors and therapists, but also from the outside resources of the VA “to allow me and all of us to compete in the wheelchair games. Once I started doing that, I wanted to help other people with all of the things we can do.”

Alcaraz’s story was recently featured in VAntage Point, VA’s official blog.