Orange County Community Foundation and Orange County Veteran and Military Families Collaborative (OCVMFC) have partnered together to launch the Ask the Questions campaign to encourage healthcare agencies, social service organizations, and other groups, organizations, and agencies to ask the questions:
1. “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” so that anyone who has ever served in the military (regardless of their discharge status, era or age) and their family members can be identified and connected to services.
2. “Do you have any children?” So that children of anyone who has served in the military can get connected to specific services for them. Children of veterans are a highly under served population.
Of the over 130,000 veterans residing in Orange County, only a fraction receives their healthcare from the VA. Not all veterans are eligible for care through the Veterans Administration and some veterans choose not to seek their care.
The Ask the Questions campaign provides an opportunity to educate and engage the civilian sector in understanding our military and their families better serving this population. Today, these questions are not included on the vast majority of health history forms in Orange County, nor is it routinely included when people access other community programs and services.
This campaign will not only Ask the Questions, but it will also educate providers about referral pathways and identify resources when a veteran answers "yes" the questions. The initiative can help lead to more accurate diagnoses and also identify whether a veteran is eligible for VA healthcare services and benefits. ASK THE QUESTIONS strives to improve access to care for veterans and their families through identification, improved access to care and verification of veterans, their families and their children receiving services. Asking the question, is a simple step that can open the door to greater care, treatment, and understanding.