October 29, 2008

HealthPartners and American Hospital Association Partner for National Launch of Joining Forces

HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have partnered with more than a dozen national organizations to launch an initiative designed to generate awareness among medical professionals and others within communities about the challenges -- medical, social and emotional -- that veterans and their families face as they return home from military service. Through the Joining Forces program medical professionals will be provided much needed education on dealing with the medical issues facing our nation's troops as they return home from service through a series of online programs.

"Our returning troops have unique medical challenges, which are sometimes difficult to detect," said Dr. Carl Patow, executive director of HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education. "This series sheds light on those conditions so physicians can provide our returning troops with the best possible care."

HealthPartners first partnered with Twin Cities Public Television, the Minnesota Army National Guard and Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to create the series in 2007 after learning that many veterans were seeing their hometown physicians instead of military doctors for treatment after deployments. After sharing throughout Minnesota, the groups involved decided to promote nationally in an effort to help veterans throughout the U.S.

Since that time, the AHA and more than a dozen organizations (see full list below), including the Association of American Medical Colleges, have signed on to help spread the word about the program and ensure our returning troops receive proper care and treatment.

"What began as an effort to educate health caregivers in one community in Minnesota about the special needs of returning veterans and their families has grown into a collaboration among national organizations involving hospitals, doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy and many others all across our nation. Like hospitals everywhere, HealthPartners saw a need in their community and partnered with others to meet that need. And in the best tradition of community service, they want to make what they did available to every individual and organization that cares about serving the women and men who have served our nation in the military. The American Hospital Association is proud to help make that happen," said Rich Umbdenstock, President and Chief Executive Officer, the American Hospital Association. "One look at the organizations that are coming together to spread the word about Joining Forces tells an important story about the debt we owe our troops and the enormous level of support they enjoy back home."

The four-part series focuses on the most common issues our returning soldiers face.

The program was based on the award-winning medical conference recognized by the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education with the 2008 Award for Outstanding Collaboration.

Visit www.joiningforcesonline.org for more information and resources.

* Additional partner organizations include:

-- American Association of Critical Care Nurses

-- American College of Emergency Physicians

-- American Organization of Nurse Executives

-- American Society for Healthcare Engineering

-- American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services

-- American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration

-- American Society for Healthcare Risk Management

-- American Medical Women's Association

-- Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals

-- Association of Healthcare Administrative Professionals

-- At Large AHA Individual Membership

-- Catholic Health Association

-- Federation of American Hospitals

-- National Alliance on Mental Illness

-- National Council of Churches

-- Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy

-- Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development

-- The Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care

-- The Society for Hospital Medicine

HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education

HealthPartners family of care includes the HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education, which provides clinical education to measurably improve care. The HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) family of health care companies serve more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide and is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.

About AHA

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 4,800 hospitals, health care systems, networks, and other providers of care, and 37,000 individuals. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at www.aha.org.