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Providing health care to America's Veterans

Brush away deadly illness, find your patient advocates, VA programs to help you find peace, VA whole health approach


Providing health care to America’s Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is home to America's largest integrated health care system, serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year. Join your fellow Veterans. Here are some of their stories.

male Veteran and two physicians showcasing how to brush teeth

How your toothbrush can reduce your chances of pneumonia

VA is using a surprisingly simple life-saving weapon against disease and it’s not new, nor is it high-tech: It’s a toothbrush.

Poor oral hygiene is associated with a greater chance of developing pneumonia in hospitals. That’s because not taking care of teeth can lead to plaque, which creates a bacteria-friendly environment in the mouth. In turn, those bacteria can easily travel down the throat and into the lungs.

The good news: proper brushing and good oral hygiene can help prevent that from happening.

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patient advocate smiling

Your patient advocates wants to hear from you

At VA, we believe that patient advocacy is everyone’s responsibility. We want your feedback, including compliments, concerns, complaints and customer service-related issues. Sharing your concerns not only improves your care but also the care for the next Veteran, too.

Our patient advocates act as guiding lights for patients through the complex health care system, mediating between patients and the health care team. Many are Veterans who understand, respect and lend impartial care.

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James Seddon

Fighting invisible battles & finding peace

US Navy Veteran James Seddon learned about his grandfather's traumatic war experiences when his grandfather finally sought therapy. And a year after Seddon himself returned from deployment, he knew deep down that he was not the same man who had left home. "My temper was far worse. My family walked on eggshells around me. Hyperaware, I startled very easily," he recalls.

"My VA therapist listened to my skepticism but was convinced she could help me. Her confidence in the outcome, if I followed the program, kept me going. During my treatment, I mentioned my grandfather. She said she wished she could have treated him."

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Mitchell playing tennis

Veteran changes his life with support of Whole Health coach

“I was a walking billboard for pain before I met Ms. Dobson,” says Reverend James Mitchell of Bluefield, West Virginia.

After several foot surgeries, sciatic nerve issues and 40 years of smoking, Army Veteran Mitchell was using a walker, was stressed out and his quality of life was at its lowest point. Then he started his Whole Health journey with Nicole Dobson, Whole Health coach at the Beckley VA Medical Center in West Virginia.

He committed to the hard work of setting goals, weekly coaching sessions, acupuncture and yoga. Mitchell has been 18 months smoke-free and no longer uses a walker or even a cane.

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