Welcome to September
We hope you’re preparing for the fun of fall. On a more serious note, September is also National Suicide Prevention Month. As a provider who cares for Veterans, we want to ensure you have sufficient resources to help those who may be facing crisis. This month, you’ll find an article on the one question to ask Veterans in regards to suicide prevention. Beyond that, check out our new webinar on medical documentation, and the “Proudly Caring for Veterans” signs you can now download for your office!
In This Edition:
“One of the major issues in suicide prevention is isolation.”
~Dr. Blake Chaffee, PhD, Vice-President of Integrated Health Care Services and Behavioral Health, TriWest Healthcare Alliance
In Arizona alone, 41 percent of Veterans, Service members, and their family members reported having thoughts of suicide during a 2018 Arizona Veteran Survey.
At the same time, the survey’s approximate 5,000 respondents said their top three reasons for not accessing mental health care were:
- They don’t understand their options.
- The cost of care.
- Difficulty navigating the system.
These numbers are specific to one state, but can you imagine how overwhelmed Veterans feel nationwide? September is National Suicide Prevention Month and TriWest wants to help YOU deter potential suicide crises with your Veteran patients.
Problem = Isolation.
Solution = Referrals to Social Connection.
Dr. Blake Chaffee, TriWest Vice-President of Integrated Health Care Services and Behavioral Health, said most suicidal tendencies involve feelings of isolation. Stressors–such as money problems, relationship issues, or medical conditions–may add to the layers, but people who feel isolated are more likely to act out.
The solution? Social connectedness.
As the Veteran’s provider, YOU have the power to refer the Veteran for help, whether that be employment services, or therapy, or housing assistance.
But how do you know if the Veteran is really contemplating suicide?
The ONE Question to Ask Veterans
Dr. Chaffee says the best way to know if a Veteran has reached a potential crisis, is to flat-out ask:
“Have you had any thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else?”
If the Veteran’s answer is yes, follow up with, “What have you thought about doing? Do you have a plan? And if so, what have you done about it?”
Depending on your assessment of the Veteran, you may need to refer him or her for immediate mental health care that day. However, Dr. Chaffee said the goal is to prevent the Veteran from reaching this level of crisis.
“We want to create opportunities for people to get the assistance they need before they get to a crisis,” he said. “This is called ‘upstream’ suicide prevention.”
As the Veteran’s provider, you can play a vital role in that prevention. When no one else is available, you could be the saving grace who steps in and makes that life-saving referral.
Did you know the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires all providers caring for Veterans to submit medical documentation, to ensure coordination of care?
It’s true! You have 30 days after the Veteran’s appointment to submit medical documentation to TriWest. TriWest provides this documentation to VA and helps coordinate any subsequent care needs.
How to Submit Medical Documentation
- Send in your medical documentation BEFORE submitting claims.
- Upload your documents to TriWest through the secure Provider Portal at www.triwest.com/provider.
Sign Up for our NEW Webinar on Medical Documentation!
To help ensure you’re providing VA what it needs and meeting medical document requirements, we launched a new webinar for you! Sign up by clicking here.
Conducted by our Provider Education team, the Medical Documentation Webinar will walk you through which documents VA requires, your VA deadlines for submission, and how to use the TriWest Provider Portal to upload your documents.
Do you take pride in caring for military Veterans in your community? Do you want to let the public know you treat Veterans at your office?
Now you can show that commitment to Veterans! TriWest just released a small set of tools that your clinic can use online or in-person to let your community know you proudly care for Veterans. Access them here: www.triwest.com/proudlycaring.
Here are the tools you’ll find:
- A website badge that you can post online to let the community know you serve Veterans.
- A downloadable, print-ready sign that you can post to your office’s door, window, or elsewhere within your clinic.
Over the past couple of years, many providers have asked if TriWest had materials they could use to alert their patients that they treat Veterans. TriWest developed these materials to respond to providers’ requests and help them convey their mission of caring for Veterans in their communities.
Visit www.triwest.com/proudlycaring to download your website badge and print-ready sign now!
Starting this month, TriWest will begin listing all upcoming material changes to the Provider Handbook in this section of the Provider Pulse.
No material changes are planned for October 2018.