Public-Private Partnerships to Improve PTSD Care


More than 1.8 million U.S. troops have deployed to war zones since 2001. It is estimated that almost 20% of U.S. service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have PTSD or depression.

PTSD Chart.jpeg

Source: Congressional Research Service: A Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics (2015)

Many affected service members return home to families who have little understanding of what the veteran experienced and even less for how the veteran will react to those experiences. Studies show that when trauma reactions are severe and lengthy they can cause major problems in a veteran’s family by negatively impacting attachment, communication, and intimacy.

Veterans can seek care for PTSD and other behavioral health issues through the VA (though many do not). However, their family members obtain healthcare services through the private market, where providers are often not well-versed on conditions affecting veterans and their families. There is limited communication between civilian and military health care systems to share knowledge and coordinate care across families.

I urge the VA to allocate funding to examine how it could collaborate with private organizations to help bridge the behavioral health care needs of veterans and their families. A recent RAND Corp. study outlined how this type of public-private partnership might be developed:

The challenge of helping veterans with behavioral health issues becomes even more significant when care is not connected across the family!


3 Responses to “Public-Private Partnerships to Improve PTSD Care”

  1. dhalias92 Says:

    Thank you for this posting. The current budget submission from the President for VA in FY 2016 is $168.8 billions of which some of this money will be allocated to end homeless veterans and other necessary programs. However, it did not say that PTSD programs will be funded … so perhaps, that issue needs to be raised.

  2. jsmall14 Says:

    As soldiers complete tours of war zones, especially those that have been exposed to chemical weapons, the problem of their long-term health care is going to become an ever growing problem. PTSD is an important health issue that we don’t seem to have a good handle on. There should be more direct funding for research and patient care.

  3. lynettewasson Says:

    This article resonates with me for a couple reasons: I have several service members within my family, where care with the VA has at times been less than fluid. I work with the Indian Health Service, which also in need of better coordination of care and increased funding/resources for Mental Health Services among tribes across the United States.
    Although the VA has an obligation to serve the needs of our servicemen and women when they return from service, the option for private healthcare is an option. You bring up a great point with the private providers’ lack of familiarity with PTSD and military service. This would be hard to change from the private healthcare providers’ standpoint, because their primary patient population is the general public. I also agree that coordination of care between civilian and military healthcare facilities can be difficult as well, as there may be hoops and hurdles to obtaining health records from facility to facility.
    I believe that one large aspect of streamlining services for Veterans would have to be within the Veterans Affairs. A 2014 APHA article(1) stated that there is along waitlist for care, resulting from reasons such as poor scheduling, shortage of healthcare providers, and difficulty transitioning care from active-duty to veterans care systems.
    Additionally, mental health services has a stigma associated with it, and servicemembers may be reluctant to seek care.
    There are several areas of improvement needed to increase access to mental healthcare for Veterans that need these services. It would be interesting to revisit this topic again, in hopes that access to services and coordination of care has improved.


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