Veterans Health – Starting With VUpdated: March 24, 2021
Find common veterans health and medical topics starting with the letter V related to military service history. The guide covers health topics from A to Z. Read on for more information about VA Hospitals, vaccines, and other medical issues that begin with “V”.
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.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a large database of electronic forms veterans may need to start, continue, re-evaluate, or end different types of care or benefits. This database contains forms in several formats depending on the form and the submission requirements.
The VA official site reminds users that some forms (fillable PDFs) may be completed online, for future printing. Other formats available from this VA database (XFT forms) may be completed online, printed, and saved to your PC but may not be revised later.
Other forms available on the site (some PDFs) are provided as printable blank forms. When using the VA forms database, be sure to first turn off any pop-up blockers or your ability to use or fill out certain forms online may be affected.
You may need to download electronic document viewer software before using or opening these electronic forms. Download viewer software directly from the VA official site.
There are multiple ways to search for the forms you need. One is by using a search tool with the form’s official name (such as the Application for Furnishing Nursing Home Care to Beneficiaries of VA) and/or the number of the form (such as VA Form 10-1170).
There are dozens of individual pages to search through manually if you prefer to search from a longer list of possible options.
VA Hospital Locator
One of the most critical pieces of information a newcomer to the VA healthcare system needs is a list of VA hospitals and other facilities near the veteran. Convenient access to VA care is crucial for making appointments and getting routine treatment, and it’s also important to know where your go-to caregivers are located in case of an emergency or an urgent need for medical help.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a page on its official site listing the names and locations of VA hospitals and VA medical centers all over the country. This list is presented in a single-page format so you can scroll through the various listings organized alphabetically by state.
The page linked above does not list other VA facilities that may specialize in certain medical issues or disciplines such as audiology, cardiology, dental care, etc. You will find a separate search tool for all VA facilities (not just hospitals or medical centers) at the VA official site under the Find Locations link.
VA Nursing Homes
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates roughly 100 Community Centers, also known as VA Nursing Homes, across the United States. The idea behind these facilities is to operate a residential care facility that resembles an actual home as much as possible.
The VA official site says vets are permitted to stay in these Community Centers for short-term care, and in “rare instances” care may be offered for the remainder of the veteran’s life.
The VA official site states, “The mission of a Community Living Center is to restore each Veteran to his or her highest level of well-being. It is also to prevent declines in health and to provide comfort at the end of life.”
Who is eligible for this type of care? Criteria are based on medical need, availability of care in your area, and all applicants for stays in a VA Community Center must be deemed “medically stable” as well as “psychiatrically stable.”
Veterans may be charged a copay for these services; such payments will be based “on your VA service-connected disability status and financial information.”
To apply for Community Center benefits, complete the Application for Extended Care Benefits (VA Form 10-10EC) or learn more from the VA official site at the Paying for Long Term Care section of the VA official site.
Veterans, especially those at or near retirement age, should take full advantage of their options for vaccinations under VA health care programs, local flu shot drives, and other opportunities. Seasonal illnesses can be prevented or delayed by the use of vaccines, and while there are certain risks associated with certain vaccinations, these risks normally do not affect the population as a whole, but a specific percentage of the population.
It is normal to have adverse effects from a vaccine from a small percentage of patients; there is no way to effectively remove the possibility of certain adverse effects for 100% of all who get the vaccines.
The VA official site reminds veterans to discuss concerns about vaccines with a trained, professional healthcare provider who can help dispel myths about vaccines and explain how the science of these medicines works.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a list of suggested vaccinations that include (but may not be limited to) the following:
Chickenpox (varicella): If you were born after 1966 and have not had Chicken Pox, it is important to get vaccinated. Adults have an elevated risk of complications associated with Chicken Pox.
Seasonal Flu: Shots are available for those six months and older. The flu virus mutates or has the potential to mutate from one year to another, which is why an annual flu shot is needed. You can’t assume the protection you had last year will work again this year due to virus mutation issues.
Pneumococcal: If you are not yet 65 years old, anticipate needing a booster shot once you reach your 65th birthday OR if five years have passed since your last inoculation.
Hepatitis A: Hep-A shots, as they are sometimes known, are useful for a variety of situations including overseas travel or if you live in an area known for elevated rates of Hep A. If you have certain types of liver disease, have injected drugs, or engage in certain types of sexual practices, a Hepatitis A shot is strongly recommended.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is the type of Hepatitis you may contract via sexual contact with an infected partner. Other modes of transmission include passing the virus from an infected mother to a newborn, and sharing of needles (or other personal items that could result in sharing bodily fluids) with an infected person.
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): Were you born after 1956? This population, plus “all women of childbearing age who have not had these diseases or been vaccinated against them” should consider getting these immunizations according to the VA.
Shingles (herpes zoster): Those 50 or older should get vaccinated against Shingles even if you have had them already–unlike Chicken Pox, you may get infected with Shingles more than once.
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis: Booster doses of tetanus-diphtheria are needed every ten years. Anyone between the ages 19-64, and those 65 and older who are in contact with infants “should get a one-time dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) to protect against whooping cough” according to the VA.
The VA began working with its clients to create an environment of veteran-directed care designed to give veterans “…of all ages the opportunity to receive the Home and Community-Based Services they need in a consumer-directed way.”
The VA Veteran Directed Care program is intended for those needing help with basic daily self-care, and there are provisions to offer relief to the primary caregiver for these veterans.
The VA official site describes this program as offering a flexible budget for services that may be managed by the patient or the family of the veteran and is seen as a way to help veterans remain at home for as long as possible.
Veterans and their families are given the freedom to:
- Choose the appropriate combination of services
- Hire their own preferred personal care aides up to and including a family member or neighbor
- Purchase the right goods and services that will help the veteran retain independence
Learn more about Veteran-Directed Care at the VA official site.
Veteran Transportation Services (VTS)
There are multiple transportation programs offered to veterans that bring VA-provided help for the problem that some veterans face getting to and from VA care. VTS partners with local veteran-friendly organizations to offer such services Those programs include:
- Beneficiary Travel (BT)
- Veterans Transportation Service (VTS)
- Highly Rural Transportation Grants (HRTG)
The VA Beneficiary Travel (BT) program pays veterans back when they must pay for travel to and from VA care. Certain “pre-approved transportation solutions” or “special mode transportation” may be available through this program as well as “common carrier” travel such as via bus, train, taxi, etc.
Veterans must qualify for this benefit; general eligibility includes but may not be limited to the following criteria:
- The veteran has a service-connected rating of 30 percent or more OR
- The veteran must travel for treatment of a service-connected condition OR
- The veteran receives a VA pension OR
- The veteran’s income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate OR
- The veteran must travel for scheduled compensation or pension
Apply for this type of travel reimbursement by completing VA Form 10-3542, Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses.
Highly Rural Transportation Grants
The VA Highly Rural Transportation Grants (HRTG) is offered to Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and State Veteran Service Agencies to help these agencies provide transportation services for veterans who live in “highly rural areas.” According to the VA, such grants are available in counties “that have fewer than seven people per square mile.”
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are several causes of hepatitis, including alcohol abuse, medication, certain medical conditions, environmental issues, etc.
There are multiple versions of hepatitis including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The abbreviation “Hep” is often used by laypersons and medical professionals as a medical shorthand.
More than sixty thousand people will be infected each year with one of the three versions of hepatitis, and patients should know that hepatitis A and hepatitis B are treatable with vaccines; this is not true of hepatitis C which has no vaccination at the time of this writing.
According to VA literature, hepatitis spreads through feces, body fluids, or certain contact with an infected person. Hepatitis may be asymptomatic, meaning you may not know how to tell you are infected. As many as 50% of those treated for the condition may have been unaware they had it in the first place.
There are VA healthcare options for those with hepatitis. If you have concerns about the virus, speak to a primary care provider to see what tests may need to be run.
VA Voluntary Service
The program known as VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) is involved in bringing more Americans into volunteer service programs. Their efforts in this area have led VA Voluntary Service to join forces with another program called United We Serve to place more volunteers in the position to help in a larger pool of events, outreach, and care.
VA Voluntary Service works with more than 75,000 volunteers annually, bringing approximately 11 million hours of volunteer service to help American veterans.
You can sign up to be a VA Voluntary Service volunteer by calling or emailing the closest Department of Veterans Affairs facility to you. Tell the operator you are interested in volunteering with VA Voluntary Service to learn where you will need to participate in a VA interview, background check where applicable, orientation and training, etc. Use this handy tool to find the VA facility nearest you.