PAVE 2016 Annual Report

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Advocating for better patient care

Savvy patient

By Davis Cracroft, M.D., Union Tribune, AUG. 14, 2014

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/14/professional-patient-advocates/

It’s crucial that advocates feel comfortable speaking up if they have questions or feel the need to seek more information regarding a diagnosis, medications or surgery recommendations. Medical errors can occur in even the most careful environments or seemingly optimal circumstances, and asking the right questions may help prevent unnecessary harm. To that end, patient advocates need to have good communication skills as well as the “people” skills to interact assertively yet respectfully with caregivers. An effective advocate functions as an integral part of the health care team. Read more

Chance for a cure to VA scandal

Chance for a Cure to VA Scandal

By Harvey Shapiro
San Diego Union Tribune – May 14, 2014

With San Diego County serving as home for the largest concentration of veterans in the United States, most of us know or are related to a veteran being treated at San Diego VA Hospital. Many of us have worked there. Forty years ago, as a UCSD faculty member, I practiced there. Having then just moved from the University of Pennsylvania, I was amazed at the hospital’s spic-and-span spaciousness and its dedicated staff and was proud to work there.

Walking its halls today, one realizes it is a more crowded and impacted facility. I recently returned to the VA to introduce a new concept in patient care to its staff. PAVE, Physician Advocates for Veterans, offers to pair a veteran directly with a retired volunteer doctor who privately helps her/him to better navigate the often-confusing health care system. We do not treat patients, but rather educate them as to their disease ramifications and treatment options, and prepare them for their doctor appointments. Thus empowered, they can become advocates for themselves and the interaction between their VA health care providers made more efficient.

Read more

“Hey, Doc. Know What Happiness Is?”

Integration of a Psychiatrist on a Military Physical Rehabilitation Unit
By Steven J. Davis, MD, DLFAPA

Davis is a long term member SDCMS member, currently retired.
He serves on PAVE’s Board of Directors

Reprinted from San Diego Physician Magazine, May 2014, pp 26-27

A therapy session at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, DC began with: “Hey, Doc. Know what happiness is? Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” He entered on crutches with a left transtibial amputation and combat memories as a sniper. He had neither good health nor good memories. He had very little happiness.

In response to the attacks of 9-11, the United States embarked upon two wars, in Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF). I had the unexpected privilege of working as a locum contract psychiatrist at Walter Reed from 2010 to 2012 at the height of aggressive combat when village foot patrols were at their highest. By then, we had been sending young men and women on multiple deployments for over nine years.

Whereas, in professional and popular writing, TBI and PTSD were the signature invisible OEF/OIF war injuries, at Walter Reed, the signature injury was traumatic amputation. 90-95% of amputee patients were admitted and treated at WRAMC. By the end of 2012, they had received and treated over 1700 amputee patients, generally carrying 150 active patients at any given time. Read more