Veteran-Directed Care

00:00:01 Speaker 1 

Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Thomas Patterson, person-centered counselor with Veteran- Directed Care at the Agency. And I'm your host, Ernest Churchwell. Welcome to the program Tom. 

00:00:23 Speaker 2 

OK, Ernie, thank you very much for having me. 

00:00:26 Speaker 1 

It's our pleasure. Now longtime listeners of the show heard a kind of a quick overall of Veteran- Directed Care from Julie Andrews Krieger a few weeks ago. But as the person who actually works for it on the ground floor, so to speak, I'm sure you can give us some insights. 


Although a lot of the things in Veteran-Directed Care are on a a similar premise as those of our longer standing Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services, I understand that there are some differences. What can you tell us about those? 

00:01:08 Speaker 2 

Oh, OK so one of the biggest differences that that has occurred in Veteran-Directed Care is the utilization of background checks. The VA requires that anybody working for the veteran, such as an authorized representative or the direct care worker receive a background check to make sure that they're suitable for employment while working with the veteran. 


In addition to that, we also perform an on-site assessment in the home to determine what level the veteran can function regarding his ADL's, which are activities of daily living or individual active activities of daily living. We just want to make sure what the veteran can and cannot do for himself to remain safely in his home. 

00:02:01 Speaker 1 

And speaking of making sure that people are properly vetted for what they're doing, one of the main reasons that you are part of this program is you are yourself a veteran of the United States armed forces. Can you tell us what role you played there? 

00:02:19 Speaker 2 

Certainly, I was in the United States Army, I served in the Gulf War, the first Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I was a combat engineer, we worked to clear defensive positions, sweep minefields, lay minefields, dig fighting positions for tanks or things of that nature. Anything you could think of that would provide a defensive position or secure a perimeter using mines or deactivating enemy mines. Also putting up temporary bridges. Things of that nature. 

00:03:00 Speaker 1 

I'm sure our listeners would join me in thanking you very much for your service because it sounds like an awful lot was expected of you in that role. 


I'm sure that people that are hearing about Veteran-Directed Care for the first time are probably wondering what needs to be done to apply for it. What should they do? 

00:03:20 Speaker 2 

OK, so the first requirement I'll call it is, is that the veteran is a patient at the Veterans Administration currently receiving services. 


Now say if that weren't the case, it is fairly easy to get services these days, especially with what they call the PACT Act that covers people that were exposed to toxic burn pits. Things of that nature, and either the Gulf, Afghanistan, several areas of operation. 


So, it is easier today to get signed up with the VA than it used to be. So, if they're not, they can do that. But if they are, that's the requirement, be a VA patient in the VA medical system. What they should do is ask their primary care physician for a Veteran-Directed Care assessment through their PACT team social worker to get to get the program started. 

00:04:20 Speaker 1 

Gee, you know, time is flowing, I guess we were having fun. We just have enough time for you to tell us how people who have questions can contact you. 

00:04:31 Speaker 2 

People that have any questions regarding this can call me at our office phone number 716-836-0822, ext. 103. That's probably the best way to get a hold of me. 

00:04:42 Speaker 1 

Thanks so much for being with us, Tom. 

00:04:44 Speaker 2 

Well, thank you so much for having me. 

00:04:46 Speaker 1 

You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Thomas Patterson, our person-centered counselor for Veteran-Directed Care, and I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.