Wounded Warrior Transition Unit Cadre Competes for Warrior Games Spot

SSG Michael Lage, Cadre, Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Unit, focuses on his archery technique during the Warrior Transition Command Warrior Games archery and sitting volleyball trials held on Fort Belvoir, VA Feb. 25-March 1. Lage is one of more than 40 athletes competing for a spot on the Army’s Warrior Games team. (U.S. Army Photo by Monica Wilson)

SSG Michael Lage, Cadre, Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Unit, focuses on his archery technique during the Warrior Transition Command Warrior Games archery and sitting volleyball trials held on Fort Belvoir, VA Feb. 25-March 1. Lage is one of more than 40 athletes competing for a spot on the Army’s Warrior Games team. (U.S. Army Photo by Monica Wilson)

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom
Everyone has a story and SSG Michael Lage is no different. After an improvised explosive device claimed the lives of the other members of his team, Lage sustained third degree burns over 35 percent of his body and a left hand and right thumb amputation. However, the sole survivor has a positive outlook on life and uses his experience in an important capacity as cadre at the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU,) Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

“I wanted to be a squad leader at a WTU because I know what the Soldiers are going through,” Lage said. “They want people who have experienced what they have.”

“I was hurt when I was 29, but many of these Soldiers are getting hurt at 18, 19 or in their early 20’s,” he added. “Many of them think life is over when they are injured, I’m there to show them that it’s not true and they can do whatever they want as long as they work at it.”

Lage is one of more than 40 athletes competing in the final sitting volleyball and archery trials hosted by the WTC on Fort Belvoir, VA, February 25-March 1 for a chance to represent the Army in archery, cycling, shooting and sitting volleyball during the 2013 Warrior Games.

“Warrior Games is a chance to be part of a group and be a team player,” Lage said. “It’s good to show that my door closed in one direction, but opened in another.”

During the 2011 and 2012 Paralympics Texas Regional competitions, he won first place when shooting with a mouth tab – a tab attached to the string used to assist the archer with pulling the bow. Also, in November, Lage cycled 500 miles from Wichita Falls, Kansas to Corpus Kristi, Texas.

Lage plans to use the knowledge and experiences he has gained to help the Soldiers in the Fort Sam Houston WTU.

“I’m the cadre in charge of the adaptive reconditioning at my company,” Lage said. “Regardless of the Soldiers performing adaptive sports and reconditioning activities, we are changing their lives.”

“We actually mandate five hours of physical activity per week,” he added. “I’m hoping once a Soldier is finished with the rehab portion, they’ll get into something that they are interested in and will keep them occupied.”

Regardless of how he does during the trials, Lage plans to continue his adaptive reconditioning journey by cycling 350 miles throughout France shortly after Warrior Games.

February 2, 2012: Celebrating 111 years of Army Nursing

By Jim Wenzel, WTC STRATCOM
“Embrace the Past – Engage the Present – Envision the Future”

The history of the Army Nurse Corps began in 1899 when the Surgeon General used lessons learned from the Spanish-American War to articulate the need for a reserve force of Army nurses to meet wartime shortages.

Since that time, Army nurses have been serving the nation’s Soldiers on battlefields across the world.  They have endured the same hardships and dangers as our Soldiers on the front lines and earned the deep respect, gratitude, and trust of the American people.

As our Soldiers stand on point for our nation, defending freedom across the globe, they can rest assured that the Army Nurse Corps will continue to selflessly tend to our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers both on and off the battlefield.   As the Army transforms to meet the requirements of today’s battlefields, Army nurses will continue to consistently provide the quality of care our Soldiers expect and deserve.

“In her keynote address at the MHS conference, LTG Horoho asked that all healthcare professionals focus beyond patient visits and focus on improving health.” said COL Suzanne Scott, WTC Command Nurse, speaking on the role of nurses in the WTU triad of care. “Nurse case managers in our WTUs do just that.  We are there to help guide our Soldiers and their families through the transition process so that they can effectively move from point of illness or injury back to health and even greater; self determination.”

Scott continued, “Nurse case managers are at the forefront of influencing patient lives. Today is a great day to celebrate both our accomplishments and our goals for the future. The words of the 1944 Nurse Corps Song written by Private HY Zaret still rings true today for nursing and for case management:

‘We march along with faith undaunted,

Beside our gallant fighting men.

Whenever they are sick or wounded,

We march them back to health again.

As long as healing hands are wanted,

You’ll find the nurses of the Corps.

On ship or plane, on transport train,

At home or on a far off shore;

With loyal heart we do our part,

For the Army and the Army Nurse Corps.’

The Army Nurse Corps continues to care for the thousands of Soldiers recovering at Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) throughout the Army, and the Warrior Transition Command commends their tireless efforts to help them heal.

 

Army Warrior Games Training Comes to Fort Bliss

January 13, 2012 MSG Fernando Verones, Army Shooting Team Assistant Coach, demonstrates how to shoot the air rifle during the WTC shooting clinic held at the University of Texas, El Paso. Clinic participants are vying for a spot on the Army's Warrior Games 2012 shooting team. Photo Credit: SGT Valerie Lopez

By SGT Valerie Lopez, Headquarters 1st Armored Division
Inhale… exhale, the sound of breathing in a small quiet room, inhale…exhale, then a sudden pop as the pellet is shot from an air rifle into the target. The room is filled with Soldiers taking their shots at the tryouts for the 2012 Warrior Games Army shooting team.

25 wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers gathered from different installations at Fort Bliss and El Paso to participate in the Warrior Transition Command (WTC) shooting training clinic from January 11-14.

“This is our very first of three shooting clinics for selecting the 2012 Warrior Games Army shooting team,” said MSG Howard Day, Army shooting coach and student at United States Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA). “We partnered with University of Texas El Paso and Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB, and representatives from Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in order to make this clinic happen.”

The first Warrior Games was held in 2010, as an introduction to Paralympic sports for wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers and Veterans of all services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Special Operations. During this year’s games, servicemembers and Veterans will compete in seven sports: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball.

This year the Army’s shooting training camp was held at the University of Texas, El Paso’s (UTEP) ROTC building. The participating Soldiers and Veterans lodged in the Fort Bliss WTB Barracks.

“This year’s mission is to bring home the gold from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado”, said Day.

During the clinic, the organizers setup three stations:-mental, physical, and range practice.

In the mental station, Lindsay Holtz, Performance Enhancement Specialist assisted shooters to create imagery scripts to do mental practice when they don’t have a weapon.

“It’s like a movie script that you play in your head to  help you keep your patterns, muscles, and mind prepared for when you go back out there,” said Holtz.

UTEP women’s shooting coach George Brenzovich and student athlete Andrea Vautrin, exchanging ideas with the shooters on different ways to deal with anxieties and the pressures of competing. They also demonstrated alternate positions for shooting pertaining to each person’s disabilities or weaknesses.

The third station was an indoor air shooting range at the ROTC building where the participants practiced shooting and received instructions from coach Day, assistant coaches, and USASMA students MSG Fernando Verones, MSG Roger Lewis, and SGM Martin Barreras with the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU).

“Despite their circumstances, these participants all come together to compete,” said Day.

One Soldier, SPC James Darlington, from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center WTB, at the young age of 19 was deployed with the 82nd Airborne when his group was hit with two rocket propelled grenades in July 2010, and his arm was struck. With nerve damage and muscle loss in his right arm, Darlington, now 21 years old, has his mom with him as his non-medical attendant.

“He did his job well,” said Gery Darlington, “because everyone came home from that deployment. He’s here alive, and we can deal with whatever happens with his arm.”

“The WTB has great programs to help Soldiers transition back to their units, and other activities to keep us from getting down,” said Darlington. “The shooting clinic helped us get better at shooting. I’m looking forward to getting on the team.”

The Soldiers’ injuries here run the full scope,” said Day, “from traumatic brain injury (TBI), to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to amputations. Many have multiple injuries and other medical conditions that challenge them.

SSG Tracy J. Smith, Alpha Company, CBWTU Georgia, Army National Guard with 48th Brigade, was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, survived mortar rounds, explosions, and firefights. Now battling TBI and PTSD, three pins in her knee and 50% hearing loss, Smith continues to stay active in everyday life.

“I was initially introduced to adaptive sports, and wanted to stay active and physically fit, so I did archery, seated shot put, track and field events, power lifting, and now marksmanship,” said Smith.

Smith said because of the TBI and the PTSD, she was at first nervous to handle a weapon, but after watching someone use the air rifle, it was not as “off-putting”. It was almost therapeutic.

“It’s almost a very easy reintroduction into the basics of Soldiering, but also very different from what we are taught in marksmanship,” said Smith. “I am doing this for those that can’t, for my battle buddy who is partly paralyzed and unable, because he would have if our situations were reversed.”

“Eighty-three Soldiers applied, and 75 were notified that they were eligible for these clinics,” said Day. “From these clinics, the best [shooters] will be put together to form our Army team.”

As a wounded Soldier himself, Day said it is vital for Soldiers to recognize that the injuries are not the end of their career and definitely not the end of possibilities in life.

“This is nothing but a speed bump, a simple turn in the road,” said Day. “There is a big bright future and lots of opportunities.”

For more information on the Warrior Games, visit http://usparalympics.org/military-and-veteran-programs/warrior-games-presented-by-deloitte

Commander’s Drumbeat: Military Athletes Compete at Warrior Care Month Sitting Volleyball Tournament

Soldiers playing sitting volleyball block at the net

SGT Juan Alcivar, left, and SSG Jessie White block at the net during a sitting volleyball match between the Army and a Pentagon team of Navy Reservists at the Pentagon Athletic Center on Nov. 22. WTC hosted the All-Service Sitting Volleyball Tournament as a part of Warrior Care Month. Photo Credit: James R. Wenzel

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

The energy was off the charts yesterday as the Pentagon Athletic Center filled with people cheering on our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines—Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve—during the Army Warrior Transition Command Warrior Care Month Sitting Volleyball Tournament.  

 Across the Army this month, units and installations have hosted events and engaged local communities and media to highlight warrior care. This tournament was the Army’s Warrior Care Month pinnacle event in the National Capital Region.  I wish all of you could have experienced the excitement of being among so many people joined together celebrating these wounded, ill and injured men and women—celebrating their service, their abilities, and their amazing spirits. Among the attendees were several senior military leaders including the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Director of Army Staff and the Army Surgeon General. 

 Three of the four sitting volleyball teams were made up of wounded, ill, and injured service members—Army, Marines and a Joint team. The fourth team was a Pentagon team of Navy Reservists. I offer a huge shout out to the Pentagon team—they won the tournament with the Army taking second place. It wasn’t an easy win, these players gave their all.

 Army Sgt. Jonathan Duralde said it best, “The other teams were great; it was especially good to see the strategy of the Pentagon team. For us it was a competition and we were there to play regardless of the teams and regardless who won.”  

 Duralde, a below the knee amputee, wounded in Afghanistan in June 2010, recently reenlisted and is continuing on Active Duty. He is assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Belvoir and will soon start working in the Warrior Transition Command. 

 My biggest shout-out goes to all of the competitors. The tournament was about teamwork, cohesion and esprit d ‘corps. You all exemplify the best part of who we are.

 Not only did we see world class military athletes compete, we were privileged to have world class support and participation at this event. Well deserved shout-outs go to some special people:

  •  John Register, one of our tournament commentators. A Paralympics athlete and Army Veteran, he understands the healing power of sports and the significance it can play in the rehabilitation and recovery of our wounded, ill, and injured.
  •  John Kessel, Managing Director, Region Services, USA Volleyball. Kessel joined Register as a commentator and between the two of them kept everyone up to speed on each and every play with interviews about the power of adaptive sports and reconditioning activities between games.
  •  Kari Miller, a former Soldier who lost both her legs as the result of an auto accident involving a drunk driver, who went on to win a Paralympics silver medal in sitting volleyball in 2008. She taught the athletes the tips and tricks of sitting volleyball and refereed the tournament.
  •  Elliot Blake, Sitting Volleyball and Athlete Recruitment Coordinator, USA Volleyball. He also coached and refereed.
  •  Vic Breseford and his team from the Army Media & Visual Information Directorate. They did a super job with sound and getting us live coverage on DVIDS and the Pentagon Channel.
  •  Defense Media Activity (DMA) supported with visual and print staff.
  •  Candice Barlow-Jones. An invaluable member of the WTC team who lent her exceptional voice to our  national anthem, kicking off the event.

 Congratulations to all of the participants.

 I’d enjoy hearing about your Warrior Care Month plans and experiences. Please post your comments on this blog by clicking on the headline and scrolling to the bottom of the page to the comment box.

More information on events at WTUs around the country is available on the WTC website at http://www.wtc.army.mil/.

WTU Cadre Recognized for their Commitment to Wounded Warriors

By SSG Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom

Men and women from Warrior Transition Units (WTU) across the United States and Europe were recognized for their dedication to the wounded, ill, and injured warriors and their Families during an award ceremony at the U.S. Army Medical Command Training Symposium.

BG Darryl Williams, Commander of the Warrior Transition Command (WTC), and CSM Benjamin Scott, WTC Command Sergeant Major, commended them for their gallant and courageous support and efforts.

“All professionals involved in the triad of care provide a considerable support system for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers,” Williams said. “The Army cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to our Soldiers.”

“These individuals demonstrate an unrelenting commitment to the Soldiers and Families they serve,” said Williams. “They’re passionate and skilled about their work and about helping Soldiers recover transition and move forward with their lives.”

The winners and nominees from each category are:

Category 1—Warrior Transition Unit Squad Leader of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
SSG Forrest Two Crow, Warrior Transition Unit, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

Nominees:
SFC Katrina O’Coin, Warrior Transition Unit Fort Belvoir, VA
SFC Yancey Caldwell, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sam Houston, TX
SSG Ryan Stern, Warrior Transition Unit, Europe
SGT Jeremy Madrid, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Carson, CO

Category 2—Warrior Transition Unit Platoon Sergeant of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
SFC Sharon Pickett-Williams, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Nominees:
SFC Norbert Fuata, Warrior Transition Unit, Schofield Barracks, HI
SFC Glasglow Griffin, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Lewis, WA
SFC Innocenzo Iorio, Warrior Transition Unit, West Point, NY

Category 3—Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit Platoon Sergeant of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
SFC Richard Driscoll, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, MA

Nominees:
MSG Lawrence Smith, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, CA
SFC Rose Mays, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, AK

Category 4—Warrior Transition Unit Nurse Case Manager of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
Ms. Deborah Cashwell, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Bragg. NC

Nominees:
LTC Sharon Stanley-Alden, Warrior Transition Unit, Europe
Ms. Linda Ward, Warrior Transition Unit, Schofield Barracks, HI
Ms. Renae Allen, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Carson, CO
Ms. Karen Jackson, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Stewart, GA

Category 5—Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit Nurse Case Manager of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
1LT Joe Samudio, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, AK

Nominees:
MAJ Teresa Golan, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, MA
MAJ Sandra Holmes, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, CA

Category 6—Warrior Transition Unit Primary Care Manager of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
MAJ Kate Mitchell, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Huachuca, AZ

Nominees:
LTC David Wallace, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Drum, NY
MAJ Timothy Switaj, Warrior Transition Unit, Europe
CPT Sally DelVecchio, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Category 7—Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit Primary Care Manager of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
COL Deborah Davis, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, AL

Nominee:
CPT Pablo Sanchez-Barranco, Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit, IL

Category 8—Warrior Transition Unit Social Worker of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
Mrs. Rebecca Barron, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Jackson, SC

Nominees:
Ms. Donna Gatewood, Warrior Transition Unit, Schofield Barracks, HI
Ms. Janet McDermott, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Wainwright, AK
Mr. James Elliott, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC
Mr. Maurice Murphy, Warrior Transition Unit, Europe

Category 9—Warrior Transition Unit Occupational Therapist of the Year, Warrior Care and Transition Program Cadre Award for Excellence:

Winner:
Dr. Sheryl Michel, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Nominee:
Ms. Sara Hook, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC

Commander’s Drumbeat: Setting the Tone

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Williams speaking at the Army Medical Command Symposium

WTC Commander BG Darryl A. Williams (left) welcomed more than 100 attendees from the WTC and WTU personnel from across the Army on the first day of the Army’s Medical Command Training Symposium in San Antonio, TX.

The first day of the Army Medical Command Training Symposium started off on a high note with me getting to meet with about 100 attendees from the Warrior Transition Command and WTU personnel from across the Army. Before the symposium ends I’ll meet with WTU commanders, we’ll host a WTC cadre recognition ceremony, discuss some personnel issues, and delve into adaptive sports.

Yesterday, I kicked off the Warrior Transition Command track by discussing the Comprehensive Transition Plan or CTP, as we call it. I believe that the CTP is at the core of what we do—and some WTUs are doing it very well. We ask a lot of Warriors in Transition and we owe them the resources to help them heal and transition simultaneously. When you do it right, when the fundamentals of the CTP are in place, the plan works.

This week we have the benefit of a lot of smart people coming together for the greater good. I found it very interesting to hear the participants highlight the vital roles Family members play in setting and achieving CTP goals. I was also impressed by the discussion of the importance of including the right multi-disciplinary specialties in the scrimmage and in focused training reviews so that we help Soldiers map out their way ahead and help knock down any obstacles in their paths to success.

My three priorities are cadre training, education, and jobs and careers. These go hand-in-glove with being able to successfully support our wounded, ill, and injured warriors as leaders and mentors. I reiterated this yesterday at the symposium and want to ensure that we continuously look at improving cadre training, educating our Soldiers more, and setting up conditions so that our Soldiers and their Families have a good place to land whether they remain in the military or transition out of military service.

I charge my team to continue to provide the highest caliber support to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers—they deserve nothing less. We are all here to prepare them to turn potentially limiting events into unlimited potential. This is going to be a great week! Hooah.

Commander’s Drumbeat: Fort Campbell’s “Warrior Leaders”

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams

I’ve been traveling to WTUs a lot over the last few weeks—most recently to Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. It’s important for people to understand what’s going on at these units, especially the people there. So I’m going to start blogging every time I visit a WTU, and I encourage you to read these posts to learn more about the people who make up the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program.

I’ll start with my recent trip to the Fort Campbell Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB). They’re doing a lot of things right, especially the team they’ve built. The “warrior leaders”—that’s what they call WTU cadre at Fort Campbell—are incredible. They’ve got an unrelenting commitment to the 573 wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers recovering at the Fort Campbell WTB. They’re postured to provide comprehensive support to the Soldiers already assigned to the WTB and those returning from deployments who may require six months or more of complex medical care.

The WTB leadership was impressive. I especially want to congratulate LTC Christopher Jarvis, the WTB Commander, COL John Cook, the Commander of Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, and CSM Cody Mosier, the Command Sergeant Major who recruited several Soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard to serve as WTB cadre. And even though the leadership will be transitioning over the next several weeks, these leaders laid solid groundwork for success for those who follow.

In my strategic vision for the Warrior Care and Transition Program, I have four pillars: set the team, set the environment, set the program, and tell the story.

The folks here at Campbell have done an excellent job setting the team. The “warrior leaders” here demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to the Soldiers they serve. They’re passionate about helping Soldiers recover and transition and move forward with their lives. I was particularly excited by the nurses, AW2 Advocates, and liaisons from the Department of Veterans Affairs, who all work together to support the wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers. And there were a few people who particularly excited me, including:

  • SSG Jason D. Jacobs, who serves as a squad leader. On top of his squad leader duties, he leads adaptive swimming sessions for 300 Warriors in Transition, three times a week, to help them understand their abilities and how much they can still accomplish.
  • SPC Bryan Camacho, a COAD Soldier who works at the SFAC. SPC Camacho made it his personal mission to mentor Warriors in Transition who use wheelchairs—to make sure they understand how much they can still accomplish.
  • Ms. Ronette Bailey, a licensed clinical social worker whose infectious laugh and enthusiasm brightened the days of everyone she met, including the wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Families that she counsels throughout the recovery and transition process.

I wish there was room to list all the incredible people I met on this trip, and to tell you more about the good things happening at Fort Campbell. And Campbell isn’t alone. There are dynamic teams at all 29 WTUs and 9 CBWTUs, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of them. I encourage you to check back to the blog soon to read about my visits to other WTUs and the people who are making a difference there.

 

SGT Seyward McKinney Returns to Warrior Games

By Donna Butler, WTC Stratcom

SGT Seyward McKinney will compete in the 10K recumbent cycling and sitting shot-put events at the 2011 Warrior Games.

In March 2009, AW2 Veteran SGT Seyward McKinney’s life changed. After returning from Iraq, McKinney was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in her brain. She was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and underwent numerous surgeries and nine days after the last, one of the vessels in her brain leaked, which caused her to have a stroke. Paralyzed on the right side of her body, she lost her right-sided peripheral vision. Although her injuries are not combat-related, she is a living testament that non-combat related injuries can challenge Soldiers just as much as combat-related injuries.

McKinney is stationed at the Walter Reed Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) and is working diligently to learn how to overcome her injuries. Her efforts have empowered herself to reach another milestone in her life—competing in the 2010 Warrior Games. She competed in the women’s sitting shot-put, in addition to 10K recumbent cycling, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball. These events helped her attain the sense of teamwork she enjoyed in the Army and now can continue to enjoy with athletics. At the 2010 Warrior Games, she won a gold medal in cycling and a bronze medal in shot-put. These two achievements demonstrated to McKinney that with determination and passion, she could continue to succeed.

Over the past year, she continued physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and uses horseback riding as a way to help treat her injuries. Her performance at the 2010 Warrior Games inspired her to continue striving to reach other goals. Since 2010, McKinney purchased a home, participated in a Paws for Purple Hearts internship to work with animals that assist wounded, ill, and injured Veterans, and competed in the New Orleans Ironman competition. These achievements inspired McKinney to raise the bar.

Today, McKinney continues to not let her injuries stand in her way. In a short few weeks, she will return to the Warrior Games to compete in 10K recumbent cycling and sitting shot-put. Her father, William McKinney, is her coach and personal trainer and helps her train for the Warrior Games at the YMCA. Every week, she completes aggressive workouts three times a week and bikes on various local trails. When asked why she is competing again, she responded, “I’d like to keep improving my time on the bike and distance on the shot-put. Looking for speed and distance this time will hopefully lead towards the opportunity to earn another medal.”

She sees the Warrior Games as an opportunity to compete against herself. It’s an opportunity to prove to herself that if she can make it to this level athletically once again, then she can continue to succeed in other areas of her civilian life.

Case Management—Where it All Comes Together

By COL Suzanne Scott, WTC Clinical Support Division

COL Suzanne Scott explains the importance of Case Managers and how they improve their skills to better serve Warriors in Transition and their Families.

Although our Warrior Transition Command Annual Training Conference was canceled, education and training of our case management team continued this week in order to better deliver services to our Warriors.

Case management is a specialty area of practice that requires additional training and ongoing education. To help our Army military and civilian case managers better support Warriors in Transition, the Army Medical Command Medical Management Department hosts a monthly training seminar for case managers and other members of the medical management team.

Our speaker was Navy CPT Andy Spencer, the Chief of Medical Management, TRICARE Region Office North. His seminar focused on defining the role of the nurse case manager and exploring how this role is integrated in the overall model for medical management.

How does this apply to the wounded warrior community? Our Warriors in Transition and their Families are at the center of everything we do. One of the case manager’s roles, and certainly a key focus area, is the integration of healthcare services. CPT Spencer noted that case management is a collaborative process. Case managers use their talents to collaborate and help integrate services between our Military Health System facilities, with our civilian network partners, and with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).

Case managers are instrumental in communicating between locations, between disciplines, within the unit, and most importantly with our patients and their Families. Case managers must look at key standards and benchmarks to ensure that our Warriors in Transition and their Families have appropriate access to care. Case managers ensure that the healthcare team and our Warrior Transition Unit team are achieving the outcomes expected to better support Warriors in Transition.

The “so what” of what CPT Spencer addressed is that case managers all entered the profession and became nursing case managers because of their sincere passion for delivering care to Warriors in Transition. In order to effectively assist our Warriors in Transition, we as case managers have a responsibility to determine what is safe and effective. To do this, case managers must turn to evidence based practice guidelines to help guide the delivery of care. The goal is to deliver efficient, proven, and effective care that is consistently medically necessary and safe for Warriors in Transition.

Case managers have lots of new and emerging tools to help with the communication and collaboration process. We use secure e-mail capabilities and Web enabled data transfer tools to exchange information with our healthcare partners at other military medical treatment facilities and with the VA. We use social media to help affect communication and collaboration between patients and providers, and between members of the healthcare team. In addition to the Twitter and Facebook pages used by the Warrior Transition Command, case managers have access to professional forums to exchange best practices and develop better clinical and business processes. To help disseminate data such as patient and staff education seminars, nurse case managers turn to video and audio conferencing through Defense Connect on Line.

So, faithful blog readers, what does this mean for you? If you’re a Warrior in Transition or Family member or a member of the healthcare team, you can feel confident that you have a dedicated member of your team who is focused on bringing all the other members of the team together to help you achieve you or your Warrior’s goals. If you’re a nurse case manager, and had an opportunity to attend this month’s seminar, you have a better sense of how what you do fits in to the larger model. If you did not have a chance to attend, we’re going to repeat this seminar on Thursday, 21 April at 0900. Talk to your Regional Senior Nurse case manager for the Defense Connect Online portal connection information and dial in number.

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