VETERANS’ DAY Book GIVEAWAY @CornellPress

One thing I appreciate about meeting with Cornell University Press’ Director Dean J. Smith, is that I always leave his office with some kind of insight or anecdote. He seems to be a natural story-teller, and last week he told me how he gave a free copy of Suzanne Gordon’s new book Wounds of War, to a veteran who walked into Sage House. The conversation moved Dean and he decided he wanted to do something special for veterans. His words resonated with me.

For those who are not familiar with her work, Suzanne is an award-winning healthcare journalist and author who spent more than thirty years researching health care delivery and nursing in the American private, profit-driven marketplace. And even though she is not a veteran herself, she is genuinely concerned by the move towards outsourcing veterans’ care. Last month, Suzanne wrote a blog post for our website about the dangers of privatizing the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), emphasizing the need to protect a system that manages the healthcare of a vulnerable population that is, “at high risk for mental health and substance abuse problems, suicide, chronic pain, homelessness, and legal issues, to name a few.” Her fight is one born out of personal motivation; as a civilian, she has nothing to gain from the political debate around the VA.

All this said, and in anticipation of #VeteransDay in the US this Sunday, we have decided to celebrate all veterans, their families, and caregivers, with a special book giveaway! And we are inviting them to share a flyer on Facebook or Twitter, for the chance to enter to win a FREE copy of Suzanne Gordon’s new release Wounds of War.

Additionally, we’ll send a free copy of Suzanne’s previous book, The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare, to the first 500 people who email us at cupress-sales@cornell.edu on November 11th*. Please type “Veterans’ Day Promo” in the subject of your email.

At #CornellPress, we believe that it is our duty to spread knowledge and support the men and women who have served this country, showing them our appreciation with these two promotions. We hope that everybody participates and enjoys their new books!

VETERANS DAY GIVEAWAY upload

*By sending an email to get a free copy of The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare, you agree to receive mail notifications with the latest updates from Cornell University Press. Promo valid in the US only.

For more information on Wounds of War, listen to the following interviews with Suzanne Gordon on Frontlines of Freedom and the Radioactive Broadcasting show:

http://frontlinesoffreedom.com/2018/10/13/show-564-1st-hour/

http://radioactivebroadcasting.com/directory/itemlist/category/310-urgent-care

About the author of this blog post: Adriana Ferreira is the Social Media Coordinator at Cornell University Press. She is excited to extend this offer to veterans and hope that they can celebrate their day in a special way!

VETERANS’ DAY Book GIVEAWAY @CornellPress

Open wound: privatizing the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

After spending more than 30 years researching health care delivery and nursing in the American private, profit-driven health care marketplace, I decided to explore how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) delivers healthcare to 9 million of the nation’s veterans. Although neither I, nor anyone in my family is a veteran, I knew that the VHA had made impressive strides in implementing healthcare teamwork and improving patient safety. I knew the system was more accountable than the settings in which I –a non-veteran– get my healthcare. I had, however, no idea how impressive the system really is.

Nearly five years observing and interviewing veterans, their families, and their caregivers, showed me how the VHA delivers excellent care –at far lower cost than is available in the private sector– to the nation’s most complex patients.

In Wounds of War, I introduce you to the veterans who receive this care and the dedicated employees who deliver it. I take you into exam rooms, hospital wards, therapy groups, homeless and legal programs, and even cooking classes where the VHA caregivers are interacting with their patients.

And you’ll find that while our broader healthcare system delivers fragmented healthcare services, the VHA is grounded in an integrated model.

It has perhaps the only functioning mental and behavioral health system in the United States and delivers high quality geriatric and end of life care, all while simultaneously addressing patients’ housing, employment, and legal problems.

True, we should all have this kind of integrated care; but it is critical to veterans. After all, military training and service places them at high risk for mental health and substance abuse problems, suicide, chronic pain, homelessness, and legal issues, to name a few.

The VHA has done something really rare in American medicine. Today, many hospitals may advertise team-based care, but will not spend their resources to teach people to work together. The VHA has devoted enormous time and energy to train employees to work on teams. You’d be surprised to find out that a veteran’s primary care provider will actually consult with his or her mental health therapist or orthopedist, social worker, dietician, or physical therapist in a face-to-face conversation –not only through notes entered into a shared electronic medical record–, in order to determine the best plan of care.

Over and over again, I am reminded how lacking this kind of integrated care is outside the VHA.

The other day, a friend who’d been suffering for years from back pain, consulted with a high- priced orthopedic specialist. The specialist peered at his X-rays and declared that he wasn’t a candidate for surgery. Maybe, the physician told my friend, PT would work, or chiropractic, or acupuncture, or even yoga.  Check it out, he advised, as he rushed on to his next appointment. My friend was on his own.

If my friend was a veteran, he would have been scheduled for a visit with an integrative pain team. He would have been helped to enroll in the kind of pain classes that significantly reduce patients’ perceptions of pain and enhance daily function. He would have been scheduled for physical therapy and even signed up for classes of yoga and mindfulness meditation. And all of this would have been coordinated by caregivers, not left in the hands of a vulnerable patient.

Plus, it wouldn’t cost the veteran one dime.

Today, President Donald J. Trump and Congressional Republicans are attacking and trying to privatize the entire system, rather than to improve and strengthen it. They are following the game plan of ultra right wing-libertarian billionaires like the Koch brothers, who have carefully crafted a narrative of a broken government-run healthcare system. Aided and abetted by some Democrats who fail to understand the promise and problems of the VHA, they have passed legislation like VA MISSION and VA Accountability Acts. These laws will outsource more VHA care to the private sector, starve the system of resources, close facilities, vilify VHA employees and shift billionaires of tax payer dollars into the hands of private sector hospitals, doctors, mental health practitioners, medical equipment companies, and even real estate developers.

That’s why I hope you will not only read Wounds of War but also join me and the veterans, healthcare reform groups, and unions that are fighting for the VHA. We owe it to the veterans who have sacrificed for their country to maintain and improve a healthcare system designed to serve their specific needs. And it would also be an important step towards promoting the kind of successful models of care that should ultimately be available to all of us, not just veterans.


For more information on Wounds of War and the VHA, listen to our latest #1869podcast:

 

About the author of this blog post: Suzanne Gordon is an award winning journalist and author who writes about healthcare delivery, health care systems and patient safety. Her last book, The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Policy Making and Patient Care was published by Cornell University Press in May of 2017.  She received the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Special Recognition Award for her work covering veterans’ healthcare. Ms. Gordon is the Senior Policy Fellow at the Veterans’ Healthcare Policy Institute.

Open wound: privatizing the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)