Veterans Health – Starting With TUpdated: October 20, 2019
Find common veterans health and medical topics starting with the letter T that are related to military service history. The guide covers health topics from A to Z. Read on for more information about transgender veteran care, toxic embedded fragments, traumatic brain injury, and other medical issues that begin with “T”.
Note: What follows should not be taken as medical advice and is not intended as a diagnosis. This page is general information related to common veterans conditions and should not replace advice from your health care provider.
Changes in technology often bring innovations in the health care sector. Telemedicine and telehealth services are a good example of how the VA has taken advantage of internet and telephony advances to extend the reach of VA health care services.
VA Telehealth Services is a VA program that utilizes disease management and telehealth technologies “to target care and case management to improve access to care, improving the health of veterans.”
There are two types of telehealth service offered by the VA; synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous, also known as real-time telehealth or Clinical Video Telehealth is a real-time, live connection between care provider and patient.
It could be considered a sort of “Skype for medical purposes” but also has the potential for deeper medical examination via peripherals that can be used during the video call to further the exam.
Asynchronous telehealth services (also known as Store-and-Forward Telehealth), is not in real time.
Instead, it requires submission of medical data, imaging, recordings, and other means to get the data in front of a health professional who can make assessments and recommendations. This type of telehealth does not require the care provider and the patient to have a real-time, live conversation via teleconference.
Ask your primary care provider about the option of using telehealth technology, especially if in-home care, aid-and-attendance, or nursing home care is also involved.
Medical testing at VA health care facilities may involve hold periods where the results are available for medical personnel but not the patient.
This issue is one addressed specifically at the VA official site, which reminds patients, “Some information that comes from your VA health record may not be presented right away in My HealtheVet or your VA Blue Button.”
Such test “holds” are often due to a need to have the information reviewed by a health care team member. The VA official site breaks down typical waiting times for test results including (but not limited to) the following:
- VA lab results for chemistry, blood work, and microbiology tests may be available as soon as three calendar days after being verified. “Depending on the type of test” the VA advises, “some laboratory results may not be available right away.”
- VA pathology reports including surgical pathology, electron microscopy, and cytology may be available for patient review as soon as 14 calendar days after they have been completed.
- Patients should know that certain non-VA studies or tests may not be provided and those that are supplied may not be translated for the layperson.
If you have concerns about timely access to your test results, discuss your needs with your primary care provider to see what can be done or what measures can be taken to get timely delivery of your test results.
Tobacco and Health
The Department of Veterans Affairs takes a multi-faceted approach to smoking cessation. VA professionals encourage a combination of medicine, counseling, and follow-up.
The medical approach includes the use of FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, and varenicline. These measures help the patient to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms and learn how to curb the urge to smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco products.
The counseling portion of the VA approach to smoking cessation includes in-person and telehealth options to provide the most flexible support for veterans trying to quit smoking. It also includes something called the Tobacco Cessation Quitline which is said to double the success rate among vets trying to quit smoking.
To get help when trying to stop smoking, call 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday.
You can also use a VA text message support feature called SmokefreeVET that helps you quit smoking with daily tips on how to quit and stay smoke-free. Start using SmokefreeVET by texting VET to 47848 or visit smokefree.gov/VET.
There is also support in Spanish. Text VETesp to 47848 or visit smokefree.gov/VETespanol.
There is also a VA app called Stay Quit Coach which helps those kicking the habit to create a customized smoking cessation plan that recognizes your motivations to quit and advises you accordingly with information, motivation, and app-based tools to handle nicotine cravings.
Toxic Embedded Fragments
Troops deployed to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) may “have retained toxic embedded fragments in their bodies” as a result of service-connected injuries related to IEDs, roadside bombs, and other explosives or incidents that resulted in detonations.
The Baltimore VA Medical Center operates a facility called the Toxic Embedded Fragment Surveillance Center at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. The work there includes:
- Testing for chemicals that might be released from embedded fragments
- Registry of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who have had a fragment removed
- Registry-based guidelines for medical care
- Offers guidelines for this type of medical care to other VA health care providers
You can learn more about being evaluated for the registry by contacting the VA Environmental Health Coordinator, OEF/OIF Clinical Coordinator, or VA Primary Care Team member. The registry is open to those who served in:
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
There is a variety of qualifying criteria, but in general the patient must have received injuries involving toxic embedded fragments while serving in any of the above operations, and the veteran must either have fragments or the possibility of having toxic embedded fragments.
Transgender Veteran Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides care to all veterans, “even those” the official site states, “who identify as a sexual or gender minority.” Veterans who identify as members of a sexual or gender minority face discrimination, harassment, and even outright violence, often simply as a result of being associated with these groups.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has publicly committed itself to insuring, “that Veterans with LGBT and related identities know that they are welcome at VA.”
Did you know there are LGBT services “at every facility” according to VA.gov that can help with:
- Hormone treatment
- Substance use treatment
- Tobacco use treatment
- Treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections/PrEP
- Intimate partner violence
- Heart health
- Cancer screening, prevention and treatment
The VA official site has a locator page to help LGBT veterans find VA services in most states. Furthermore, the VA official site reminds veterans that the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to “provide care to transgender Veterans or pay for services in the community.”
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, can be the result of a head injury, impact on the head, or penetration of the skull by a foreign object. Not all head injuries result in TBI, but in cases where it is possible there is a range of severity.
That range can go from injuries that cause mild disorientation or loss of consciousness to a more severe or prolonged period of unconsciousness. The VA official site recognizes TBI severity as being a “continuum” and assigning severity levels to TBI cases may be problematic in certain cases.
TBI severity is determined by several factors:
- Loss of consciousness and its duration
- Length of memory loss or disorientation
- Alertness following the brain injury, ability to hear and respond, etc.
TBI may lead to personality changes, difficulty thinking, headaches, dizziness, memory issues, behavioral problems, and many other issues. The severity of the injury may play a role in the severity of such symptoms.
Vets suffering from TBI or TBI-like symptoms should explore their treatment options at their local VA Medical Center or community health care providers as soon as possible.
Traumatic Brain Injury treatment options may include medication, therapy and coping strategies, rehabilitation therapies, occupational therapy, speech therapy and many other options.
If you aren’t sure where to start with getting care for a possible TBI, discuss your concerns with your primary care provider or call the VA directly to request an evaluation.
TSGLI, or Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection is an automatic insurance coverage plan for all enrolled in SGLI.
It offers “short-term financial assistance to severely injured Servicemembers and Veterans to assist them in their recovery from traumatic injuries” and is offered for both combat and non-combat related injuries on or off duty.
The VA official site says this coverage is offered to active duty, members of the Guard and Reserve, and those doing funeral honors or one-day muster duty.
Who is eligible to receive TSGLI payments? All of the following conditions must apply to you:
- Insured by SGLI at the time of injury
- The traumatic injury must have occurred “prior to midnight of the day that you separate from the uniformed services”
- The patient must have received a scheduled loss within 2 years (730 days) of the traumatic injury
- The patient must “survive for a period of not less than seven full days from the date of the traumatic injury”
Consider filling out the VA eligibility questionnaire to determine whether you are eligible for this VA benefit.
|VA Benefits Guide||State Veteran’s Benefits|
|VA Claim Exam||Best States with Veteran Benefits|
|How to Apply for Disability Pay||VA Priority Groups|