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The VA Is Using Advanced Technology To Predict Which Veterans Are At Risk Of Suicide
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new system to identify veterans who are at risk of committing suicide, and VA Secretary David J. Shulkin says it’s already having an impact.
“This cutting-edge program is saving lives by identifying at-risk veterans and connecting them with the specialized care and support they need,” Shulkin said in a statement on Wednesday.
The system, dubbed Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health —Veterans Enhanced Treatment Program, or REACH VET, was designed to aid VA clinicians in providing preemptive care and support for vulnerable veterans, even if they’re not actively seeking treatment from the VA.
REACH VET employs an advanced predictive analytics tool that analyzes data from health records to identify veterans who, according to the VA, are “at a statistically elevated risk for suicide, hospitalization, illness, or other adverse outcomes.”
Predictive analytics tools are widely used in both the public and private sectors, and “help organizations discover patterns and trends in structured and unstructured data so they can go beyond knowing what has happened to anticipating what is likely to happen next,” according to IBM.
Some of those veterans identified by REACH VET may not even realize they’re at risk of becoming suicidal, or if they’re prone to developing any of the other potential health problems the software detects.
Once identified, at-risk veterans will be contacted by their VA mental health or primary care provider. The clinicians will check in to see how the veterans are doing and develop a plan for further care if it’s required.
“Early intervention can lead to better recovery outcomes, lessen the likelihood of challenges becoming crises and reduce the stress that veterans and their loved ones face,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, national director of the VA’s Office for Suicide Prevention.
The REACH VET pilot program launched in October 2016 and was implemented nationwide this week.
Since 2001, veterans suicides have increased by a staggering 32%. Last year, the VA released a study that found that , an average of 20 veterans took their lives every day in 2014. The REACH VET program is part of a broader effort to reduce that number dramatically.
“One veteran suicide is one too many,” Shulkin said.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.