Employee & Community Health

ECH helps military members with services big and small

1/29/2018 by Dr. Walter Franz

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While we don't have a military base in the Rochester area, we do have nearly 13,000 veterans living in Olmsted County. We strive to be military-friendly, whether it's offering mental health services or simply helping fill out Veterans Affairs (VA) paperwork. 

Our Employee and Community Health (ECH) care teams understand the importance of knowing if a patient or an immediate family member has military service. Asking veterans questions about their service helps health care providers understand our patients' medical problems and concerns, establishes an ongoing relationship and also may lead to a timely referral to specialized medical resources. 

For example, if someone says they served in Vietnam, this may be a signal for their provider to ask about Agent Orange exposure. Or if a patient is just home from, Afghanistan, the provider may ask how they're adjusting to life stateside. Military service even could be a trigger to ask a patient about hearing issues. 

On a broader scale, Mayo Clinic leaders engage with national VA officials on how best to care for veterans and service members, whether it's through patient care, research or education. And starting with the Mayo brothers themselves, Mayo Clinic has a long history of attracting staff and Mayo Medical School students with military service. 

Here are just a few resources for military members:

Information and resources

  • County Veterans Services Officers (CVSO) are a primary point of contact for veterans and their families who seek assistance with local, state and federal veteran's benefits. To find your CVSO, here are the Minnesota and national links. 
  • The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars provide a host of resources for veterans. 
  • Learn more here about traumatic brain injury and what Mayo Clinic is doing. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

  • Military members in Minneapolis and Rochester have access to Veterans Affairs health care facilities. 
  • To find a VA health system near you, as well as many other resources, visit the VA website

Mental health

  • Depression Improvement Across Minnesota, Offering a New Direction (DIAMOND) brings together a primary care provider, care manager and consulting psychiatrist for Minnesota adults with depression. They are seen in their primary care setting, with a focus on relapse prevention. Ask your ECH 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 Health.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers overall mental health services, as well as PTSD-specific care and information

Mayo Clinic, ECH employee veterans

  • For veterans who work for Mayo Clinic or ECH, 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. 

Dr. Walter Franz is a consultant in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Department of Family Medicine. Active in health care for veterans and active military members, he is available to help any member of the Mayo team with questions or concerns regarding veterans or military service. Dr. Franz also chairs Mayo Clinic's Veterans MERG and is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army.