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More Hoosier vets seeking healthcare assistance from the VA,

A move the VA says comes at a much needed time
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Posted at 8:55 AM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 09:33:56-04

INDIANA — Nearly 40% more Indiana veterans have enrolled in healthcare this past year, something the VA says its certainty a win, but add work is not done yet.

It comes at a much needed time for veterans. Globally the conversation around medical care for vets has been a topic widely discussed.

It's no secret immersing yourself back into civilian life after being an active duty military member can have it's challenges.

Historically the homelessness rate of veterans is high.

It's one of the reasons the VA says they're doing all they can to help vets get enrolled in healthcare.

It's an effort the VA isn't alone in. Helping Veterans and Families (HVAF) is also a part of the effort.

HVAF is offering resources to help vets learn more about the care and benefits they are eligible for.

They also help with a number of other things from food to housing resources too.

For former Sargent Pamela Coleman, a US Army Veteran, it's a place that not only helps her but also gives her a space to give back to her fellow brothers and sisters in arms.

"You have to kind of find your balance again," Coleman said.

Coleman knows first hand the challenges re-entering civilian life can have on a vet.

"It was like I got to be okay. I have to. Because I have family, I have friends, I have people that depend on me," Coleman said.

But Coleman says serving often times doesn't just take a physical toll, but a mental one too.

It's one of the reasons she says health services are so important for vets to seek out.

"Go before you hear those words you should've came in 6 months ago," Coleman said.

It's a message the VA has been pushing, and they say it's worked.

More than 71,000 vets enrolled in healthcare in the past year through the VA.

A nearly 38% increase than the year before.

"I'm encouraged to see a lot of veterans taking advantage of that and getting the care that they deserve," Emmy Hildebrand, the CEO of HVAF said.

Hildebrand says it's something they help veterans utilize.

"We do support our military. It's more than just thanks for your service it's action behind that to make sure that when people serve in the military again when they have a condition that's linked to that we're here to take care of them," Hildebrand said.

The VA recently expanded healthcare eligibility for millions of vets through the PACT Act, which gives veterans exposed to burn pits, agent orange, and other toxic substances more access.

"The VA has really stepped up with their doctors and all of their people working together," Coleman said.

It's healthcare at a space vets like Coleman say they're grateful for.

"They're always trying to give you, give me, and the other veterans what we deserve. Not just what we can get," Coleman said.

She said the VA has given her a new lease on life by helping her get her health matters in order.

She says she has lost a significant amount of weight, her diabetes under control, and she is able to better manage not having it all together all the time.

The VA says moving forward they will aggressively reach out to veterans to encourage them to come to the VA.

You can learn more about applying for healthcare at va.gov.