Alaska Sleep Education Center

Veterans with Sleep Disorders: Finding a Preferred Provider

Posted by Jennifer Hines

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on Nov 11, 2019 3:00:00 PM


You may be wondering why you received a Veterans Choice Card in the mail.

On November 5, 2014 the Department of Military and Veterans affairs began implementation of the Veteran's Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014. The program's goals are to help alleviate difficulties veterans have been having in finding adequate and expedient health care.

Problems veterans were experiencing included long wait times to receive care at VA owned medical facilities and difficulty traveling to these health facilities that were far from their home.The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to find care at non-VA medical facilities as long as they meet certain criteria. To meet the criteria, certain situations must apply to you:

  • A local VA medical facility tells you that you need to wait more than 30 days from your preferred date or the date medically determined by your physician

  • Your current residence is more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility (as dictated by a straight line drawn on a map, and not actual road miles)

  • You need to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to your home

  • You face an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to a VA medical facility based on the presence of a body of water (including moving water and still water) or a geologic formation that cannot be crossed by road

If you meet these criteria you may be eligible for a "Choice Card." Once you receive your "Choice Card" you can begin to search for a non-VA health care provider of your choice. However, you still must find an approved care provider in your community. If the health care provider you have chosen isn't a preferred provider by the VA, they will assist you with recommendations of preferred providers and work with you to schedule an appointment.

To find out if you qualify and to schedule an appointment, call 1-866-606-8198.

For more information on the Veterans Choice Program, visit here, or check out the video below from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.



Veterans and Sleep Disorder Care

Sleep disorders are more common among returning veterans than they are in the general public. One study found that approximately 54% of military personnel that have served since September 11, 2001 have reported experiencing insomnia, compared to 22% reported by civilians.

There are a number of contributing factors which makes reports of insomnia and other sleep disorders more prevalent among veterans than civilians such as:

  • Stress of deployment and combat

  • Irregular work shift schedules both during deployment and at home

  • Difficulty adjusting to civilian life once back home

  • Service related injuries & illnesses including traumatic brain injury

  • Symptoms of PTSD

Another study published in the scientific journal SLEEP found that active duty military personnel had a high prevalence of sleep disorders and a high rate of short sleep durations. The study was based off of 725 polysomnograms (PSGs) conducted at the Madigan Army Medical Center in 2010. Some highlights from the study show:
  • 85.1% had a clinically relevant sleep disorder

  • 51.2% had obstructive sleep apnea

  • 24.7% had insomnia

  • The mean sleep duration was 5.74 hours per night with 41.8% having less than 5 hours of sleep per night

  • 58% had medical comorbidities that included

    • Depression (22.6%)

    • Anxiety (16.8%)

    • PTSD (13.2%)

    • Mild traumatic brain injury (12.8%)

These numbers and statistics show just how critical it is that active duty personnel and veterans seek treatment for sleep disorders. Fortunately, with the Veterans Choice Program, finding quality care that is both timely and convenient is now easier than ever for veterans with sleep disorders.

Replacing a Lost Veterans Choice Card

We understand that sometimes people misplace or lose their Choice Card. It's okay! Just give us a call at 866-606-8198, and we will send a new card to your last known address. Please understand that for security purposes and the protection of Vetreans and VA, TriWest cannot accept an updated address at the same time we process a request for a card replacement.

To update your address because you have moved or otherwise changed your primary residence, please fill out the VA Form 10-10EZR to update your information, contact your Enrollment Coordinator at your nearest VA medical facility, and/or call 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

Alaska Veterans Information

For veterans living in Alaska, getting a "1st Choice" card is much easier than in others states as there are no VA owned hospitals in the state. This means that veterans that apply for the card will more than likely qualify to receive help from the program and be able to find a sleep disorder center near them.

The Alaska Sleep Clinic is a contracted network provider with the VA through TriWest. If you are a veteran living in Alaska and believe that you are suffering from a sleep disorder, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic today to schedule a free 10-minute phone consultation and receive rapid access to the highest quality care in the state for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.

Finally - Sleep Consultation

Topics: sleep disorders

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