By James Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy
Last week I had the opportunity to tour one of the three Military OneSource call center sites. Hopefully you have heard of Military OneSource –a Department of Defense-funded one-stop-shop for comprehensive information on every aspect of military life for service members and their families. The no-cost program consists of a 24/7/365 call center, confidential help, health and wellness coaching and an array of specialty consultations, as well as a very robust website.
What really struck me was the depth and breadth of the remarkable resources available in the Military OneSource program. I heard multiple examples of extraordinary questions, requests and support. One that struck me was about a new military spouse who found out she was pregnant just before her husband deployed. She decided to move back home to be closer to her support network.
On her drive home, her car was broken in to and she lost everything – her cash, credit cards, ID, you name it. She was stuck, alone, and in the middle of nowhere.
She made two calls – the first was to the police and the second was to Military OneSource.
Why? Because she had been told in a pre-deployment brief that Military OneSource would be there if she ever needed it.
Within 20 minutes of her call, her Military OneSource consultant had determined her location and identified the nearest family support center – where staff arranged for no-cost overnight lodging and for her to get a new military ID card. The consultant also helped her contact the America Red Cross to get a message to her deployed husband’s rear detachment command, cancel her credit cards (and get new ones sent to her parent’s home), and found a branch of her bank so that she could get some cash to continue her journey home.
All it took was a call.
So why is this resource important to you – our wounded warriors and caregivers? Because Military OneSource is there for you, too. And, not just while the service member is on active duty, but for life. (Unlike the general military population where Military OneSource support is available until 180-days post-deployment.) These resources are here for you when you may need us the most.
Here are my top take-aways for our military community:
One of Military OneSource’s specialty consultations is all about wounded warriors and their caregivers. These consultants provide a safety net for wounded warriors and their caregivers through personal and detailed phone conversations instead of automated responses or a link to a website. The dedicated staff at Military OneSource works collaboratively with the service wounded warrior programs, TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs to create an action plan within 96 hours of the initial call. This doesn’t mean the issue is resolved in that time, but what is does mean is that the service member or caregiver has a road map to having their issue resolved and they have a specific point of contact to guide them through the process, no matter how complex. It’s worth noting that this special consultation enjoys a 95% – 98% success rate year-to-year in solving issues for our warriors and caregivers
If you are struggling to keep track of your appointments, doctors, medications, and contact information, download the Keeping It All Together handbook. We hear from many families that it really helps them document and organize important information during the service member’s treatment and recovery. You can download the handbook from Military OneSource or request a hard copy bycalling the Military OneSource call center.
I believe that health and wellness is life changing. It has been for me and my family. I have seen it in the resilience and determination of our service members at their bedside, during their recovery process and as they are competing in the Warrior Games, Paralympics, getting ready to climb Mount McKinley or just walking down their driveway for the first time during the recovery process.
If you – the service member or the caregiver – are struggling with your personal wellness, Military OneSource’s health and wellness coaching are there for you. This coaching focuses on weight management, fitness and nutrition, health condition mhttps://www.facebook.com/WarriorCareanagement, stress management and life transitions. They will assist you in creating an action plan to achieve your goals, eliminate roadblocks or barriers that stand in your way and be with you every step – virtually – right through when you celebrate your success.
We at the Office of Warrior Care Policy proactively support our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery, reintegration or transition to civilian life. Programs like Military OneSource are also part of that Family Readiness System of support – the network of programs, services, people and agencies, and the collaboration among them, that promotes readiness and quality of life – that is available to you. My call to action to you is to use these resources.
Contacting Military OneSource is easy — whether you’re in the U.S. or overseas. Military OneSource services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 800-342-9647, visit the website – www.militaryonesource.mil – or connect with the program via Facebook or Twitter.