Primary Care helps military members with services big and small
3/10/2022 by Walter Franz III, M.D.
Over 17 million people in the U.S. are military veterans. Over 270,000 of those veterans are in Minnesota. And thousands of those veterans live in the areas served by the practices of Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson.
Approximately 28% of veterans are identified as having a service-connected disability in addition to other health needs. Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson strives to be military-friendly, whether it's offering mental health services or simply helping fill out Veterans Affairs paperwork.
Care teams at Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson understand the importance of knowing if a patient or an immediate family member has served in the military. Asking veterans questions about their service helps health care professionals understand their medical issues and concerns, establishes an ongoing relationship, and may lead to a timely referral to specialized medical resources.
For example, if a patient served in Vietnam, this may signal the patient's health care professional to ask about Agent Orange exposure. Or if a patient is just home from a military deployment, the health care professional may ask how the patient is adjusting to life at home and work. Military service even could be a trigger to ask a patient about hearing issues or preventive health services that had to be postponed due to deployments.
On a broader scale, Mayo Clinic leaders work with national Veterans Affairs officials on how best to care for veterans and service members, whether it's through patient care, research or education. Mayo Clinic has a long history of attracting staff and students with prior military service, starting with the Mayo brothers themselves.
Department of Veterans Affairs
- Military members in Minneapolis and Rochester have access to Veterans Affairs health care facilities.
- To find a Veterans Affairs health system near you, as well as many other resources, visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website.
- Depression Improvement Across Minnesota, Offering a New Direction, also known as DIAMOND, brings together a primary care physician; nurse practitioner or physician assistant; care manager; and consulting psychiatrist for Minnesota adults with depression. These adults are seen in the primary care setting, with a focus on relapse prevention. Ask your care team for more information.
- Veterans and active-duty military personnel can find help with depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), including a 24-hour help line and support groups through the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs offers overall mental health services and care and information specific to PTSD.
Mayo Clinic employee veterans
For veterans who work for Mayo Clinic, the Veterans Mayo Employee Resource Group (MERG) offers not only support and resources, but also the opportunity to participate or volunteer at veteran- and military-related events.
Walter Franz III, M.D., is a physician in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson's Department of Family Medicine. He is active in health care for veterans and active military members, and he chairs Mayo Clinic's Veterans Mayo Employee Resource Group. He is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army.