This week, Havok Journal regular Richard Farnum answers a request for information one of our readers sent in. His answer is chock full of great information, including both links and practical advice. This is a must-read for anyone trying to navigate the military medical system.
First, the message from a fan:
First off, I want to say that I really enjoy reading the articles that I see posted on Facebook from the Havok Journal. You guys made me smile big time when I read that you are declaring ‘ Game on.
Maybe, someone from your end can help me with an issue that I have seen first hand. Feel free to tell me that I’m just being a wife too. A few months ago my husband was injured, and he was flown back to where he is stationed. It wasn’t an injury that happened during deployment, none the less he ended up with a broken fibula on one leg and a broken foot. After two surgeries and five days in the hospital he was being released to come home. He couldn’t walk, and I wasn’t strong enough to get him in the car.
Then there was the issue of, once I could get him in the car and get him home how was I going to be able to get him up two different sets of stairs into our apartment? On the day he was being discharged, I asked the nurse these questions. Her response to me was ” I get guys coming home with worse injuries and we don’t help them with these things” My blood was boiling, not just for my husband but for the men that come home and are on their own.
I knew I could figure something out. But to hear that the military has the expectation that once you are good to go home you are on your own, that there is no follow up care, or even the care to make sure this person can even get into the car, or their own home. What about single soldiers in the barracks. I’m appalled that this is something that can even happen to someone who fights for our country. Is this how we treat our soldiers and why has this become acceptable.
I feel like there is a disconnect in the way we care for our soldiers from the hospital to getting them home. I see articles about the healthcare system we have but I never see anything about how we are helping them get home with the right care. Is there any way to shed light on these kinds of issues. Is this normal, or am I thinking that our military deserves more than what they do. If I am out of line, I apologize.
Richard Farnum responds:
First off, I’d like to thank you for bringing this issue to light. There are many out there, myself included who were unaware at the apparent disconnect between hospital care and home care. I have to be honest and say that my first reaction to this inquiry was to ask “Where was his unit when all of this was happening?” I understand this thought may come off as a little bit insensitive, but let me explain. I come from a very tight knit unit and I know that if I were ever hospitalized, especially if the reason for that hospitalization was in any way duty related, that I had a large group of brothers that were only a phone call away. If I were hurt on a deployment, there was a Rear Detachment that was still at home that would be there to help out.
I understand that this may not be the case with every unit in the Army, so I decided to do a little bit of further digging to find out more about this. I called a good buddy of mine that got wounded overseas and is still active to ask his opinion on the matter, and collect from his experiences. He informed me that there are actually numerous programs available for soldiers who get injured and are unable to get the home care that they need after being discharged from the hospital. The problem is that the existence of these programs is not common knowledge. Therefore, I have included a few of these programs below and included some of the highlights and requirements of each.
Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)
-If you Google search “scaadl”, it should be the first option that pops up:
-It’s basically a program that provides compensation to offset the extra costs of providing home care (e.g. hiring a nurse to come help you out)
-There are FAQs on the front page of the site that are very helpful with determining if you qualify and how to apply.
-It’s something you have to apply for
-It requires approval from a unit commander and a DOD Physician and you must appoint a non-military primary care giver.
-The form required is DD form 2948 (September 2011), which can be found by following the link provided here. http://www.wtc.army.mil/documents/factsheets/SCAADLDDForm2948.pdf
–Get in touch with the AW2 advocate in your area for more information on how to proceed.
-The VA has a program similar to SCAADL if you separate from service while receiving SCAADL benefits, but you must apply for the program and be reevaluated by a physician.
Wounded Warrior Project
· This is a great organization that provides assistance for wounded veterans.
· This is a benefit that you put money toward along with your SGLI.
· This is a one-time payment (per event) for a service member who has “experience(d) a traumatic event, that results in a traumatic injury that is listed as a qualifying loss listed on the TSGLI Schedule of Losses” as per SGLV 8600.
o If you happen to get hurt more than once in two separate events, you can get TSGLI for each event. Example: Service member gets injured in ’08. He spends 15 days inpatient at a Medical Treatment Facility and later returns to duty. He gets paid $25k. In 2010, ole dude gets hurt again, and this time has a condition where he loses at least two of his Activities of Daily Living (ADL) for let’s say 65 days. He could get paid again for the second injury. He can get paid one time for each injury, for a grand total of two different payments. (You obviously do NOT want to be this guy.)
· There is an extremely detailed, itemized list that you can find here.
· This list identifies injuries that if sustained may make you eligible for compensation, as well as letting you know how much each item is worth. (apparently the loss of a testicle is worth $25,000)
· Part II on this list covers things like loss of activities of daily living as well as a hospital stay of longer than 15 days and how much you could receive for each.
-To be eligible for TSGLI payments Soldiers must meet the following criteria:
o The Soldier must be insured by SGLI if injured as a result of a traumatic event on or after December 1, 2005. SGLI coverage is not required to be eligible between October 7, 2001 and November 30, 2005.
o The Soldier must incur a scheduled loss (one of the items on the highly detailed form mentioned earlier) and that loss must be a direct result of a traumatic injury. The Soldier must have suffered the traumatic injury prior to midnight of the day of separation from the uniformed services.
o The Soldier must suffer a scheduled loss within 2 years (730 days) of the traumatic injury.
o The Soldier must survive for a period of not less than seven full days from the date of the traumatic injury.
o For more information, use the link provided here.
– The following will EXCLUDE you from eligibility to receive benefits:
– “An intentionally self inflicted injury or an attempt to inflict such injury”
o You get no money if you smashed a beer bottle over your own head and seriously injured yourself in the process.
-“Use of an illegal or controlled substance that was not administered or consumed on the advice of a medical doctor”
o Don’t do drugs
-“The medical or surgical treatment of an illness or disease”
o A surgeon cutting you open doesn’t count as a traumatic event all by its lonesome. The traumatic event had to occur prior to surgery.
-“A traumatic injury sustained while committing or attempting to commit a felony”
o Don’t be an idiot.
– “A physical or mental illness or disease (not including illness or disease caused by a wound infection, a chemical, biological, or radiological weapon, or the accidental ingestion of a contaminated substance.)
o Getting sick isn’t the same thing as trauma.
o Interesting side note: Anaphylactic shock caused by an insect bite would NOT be considered an illness or disease. Therefore, the service member could get paid for that provided they met the inclusion criteria on that ridiculously detailed list I mentioned earlier.
-If you were injured while deployed, you can keep your combat pay going for up to a year as long as you maintain an active profile
-It’s NOT just for if you’re wounded in combat.
-If you get sent back because adequate medical care was not available in theater, you’re eligible (e.g. you blow out your knee because you were trying to squat 600 pounds without wearing your PT belt).
-It’s tax free if you’re inpatient, but taxed if you’re outpatient
-You won’t get everything that you get when deployed (i.e. separation pay), but it’s something.
I sincerely hope that some of the information presented here will be beneficial to you as well as our readers.