MercyOne Dyersville Medical Center announced the launch of the Military and Veterans Health (MILVET) Program during a ceremony Nov. 8 at the Dyersville Medical Center.

According to a press release from MercyOne, “The program will provide high quality, compassionate and culturally competent care to military service members, veteran and their families.”

Kay Takes, president of Eastern Iowa Region of MercyOne, said the program will help medical providers understand the care veterans may need. “The program is intended to really improve the care we provide to military personnel and veterans by identifying them when they come into our healthcare system. It will allow us to have a better understanding of what their experience has been, what their situation has been so we can provide better care.”

Patients will simply be asked about their military service when they are seen at MercyOne in Dubuque or Dyersville.

Christina Schauer is the director of clinical and professional development at MercyOne and said the information provided may then tailor treatment to best fit the patient. “When they identify themselves as a veteran on their admission, they will be asked more specific questions, such as the era they served. If they are a Vietnam veteran, then perhaps we should be on the lookout for anything that might be the effects of Agent Orange. It just helps us provide more comprehensive care for that patient and a better understanding of them as a whole.”

Takes said the program is a Trinity Health-sponsored program and that MercyOne locations in Dubuque and Dyersville are the first in the MercyOne system to implement the program.

“From a national perspective, military health leaders within Trinity Health really had the inspiration and idea for this. Our focus is on how do we work together in community with the VA (Veterans’ Administration) and the other veteran services organizations in partnership to take good care of this population.”

Takes said an important part of the program will come from MercyOne staff who have served in the military. “As we bring the program up, having employees, colleagues and providers who are retired military veterans in leadership roles so they can bring their own stories for implementation will be a key piece.”

Takes said the program is designed to help veterans throughout their lives. “Our goal at MercyOne is to provide personalized care to everyone we serve, but this population is extra special. We are really excited to be able to take the care a step further and really help them achieve outcomes, not just when they are sick, but throughout the course of their lives.”

For those seeking more information about the MILVET program, visit www.mercyone.org/dubuque/milvet.