Program gives hospital staffs opportunity to thank patients for military service
Covenant Health has introduced a new initiative to recognize and thank patients who are veterans or on active military status. This initiative was put in place at Covenant Health hospitals on Nov. 3, 2020.
Of the 17 million veterans in the U.S., only about one-third receive hospital care at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, while the other two-thirds receive hospital care at civilian hospitals.
Covenant Health’s new program will help identify veterans as part of the hospitals’ admission process. Case managers have information on hand to help connect military service men and women with VA healthcare and other possible benefits
Clinical social worker Cindy Winterberger, LMSW, has coordinated a military recognition program as part of her responsibilities at Covenant HomeCare and Hospice, and she has been integral in implementing training and activities related to active military and veterans’ care at Covenant Health.
Winterberger explained that questions about military service have been added to the hospitals’ patient admission process. “It creates a moment for our staff to thank and honor that person. When a patient has been identified as having served, they will be offered a special pin and certificate thanking them for their service and sacrifice,” she said. Winterberger added that noting military information in a patient’s file will be helpful for recognition if the patient has any future admissions to Covenant Health hospitals.
“The first few days of this initiative have already proved meaningful for our staff who are veterans,” Winterberger said. “I think about all the lives we are going to impact. People who are sick and seek healthcare may also receive a special moment of thanks, and that touches my heart. My dad is a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran and my Grandpa was a World War II Army veteran. Pride in my country has been instilled in me from a young age. If not for the brave men and women who have stood to defend our nation, where would we be?”
Since the launch of the program on November 3, Fort Loudoun Medical Center has had the privilege to pin and recognize 18 veterans.
Community collaboration is key to meet the needs of the veterans in our community. Covenant Health actively participates in the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council, The Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee as well as other local veteran organizations.