On Veterans Day, Americans come together to offer our thanks to the millions of military veterans who have served our country. Through generations, our nation’s veterans have humbled dictators, liberated continents, and freed millions from oppression while protecting the United States and our way of life. They come from diverse backgrounds, represent the best of America and have the gratitude of our nation.
World War I ended 100 years ago today—at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918—and millions of soldiers began coming home. In the aftermath of WWI, better medical care and better benefits were created to help the many veterans who returned injured. Then, just 21 years later, 16 million more American men and women stepped forward to fight for freedom during World War II. Since then, millions more have fought for our country and come home needing medical treatment and health care benefits.
At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), we are proud to be one of 12 nonprofit shareholders, along with two academic teaching facilities, of TriWest Healthcare Alliance. TriWest serves active duty members of the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves, along with retired uniformed service members, their families, and survivors.
Working alongside TriWest, we have the privilege of caring for America’s active duty service members, alongside the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in administering the Patient-Centered Community Care and Veterans Choice Programs. Through these programs in TriWest’s 28-state region, more than 1.2 million veterans have received nearly 10 million appointments for care in their own communities when VA was unable to provide that care.
BCBSAZ would like to thank our network of more than 14,400 providers who have cared for 104,530 local veterans. Without these providers, Arizona’s veterans would not have received enhanced access to care within their communities. As TriWest expands to a nationwide footprint over the next couple of months in support of VA’s mission to care for all 20 million men and women living today who have served in this Nation’s armed forces, even more veterans will benefit from community health care.
We’ve all been inspired by the millions of American veterans who make sacrifices for our country. We’ve all seen the good they have done, the hope they’ve encouraged, and the dreams they have made achievable. On this Veterans Day, and every day, we pledge our continued loyalty and commitment to our veterans and their families as we work to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned and so richly deserve. We are proud to be able to give back and serve them. I hope what we do every day at BCBSAZ helps make their lives a little easier.
Pam Kehaly is president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.