January 21, 2016 - Each year the military discharges over 240,000 veterans to reintegrate into civilian society. It's a professional transition, but it's also a personal one.
Veterans go from TRICARE, the Department of Defense's own health care system, to navigating the ins and outs of the civilian health care system. Under TRICARE, military service members are cared for in a manner that meets their needs. When they're discharged, their new health care providers might not know that they were ever in the military.
Asking "Have you served in the military?" may seem like a minor issue, but it's actually much more important than you might think. And it's a question that few doctors make a point of asking, even though many medical residents and medical students receive all or part of their clinical training at VA medical centers and hospitals.
In fact, Jeffrey Brown, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Vietnam veteran, has called it the "unasked question." When physicians don't ask, they may miss critical parts of their patient's medical history, making it harder to provide the best possible care.
Why 'Have you served?' is a critical question read more>>>