Study: Providing Quality Care for Military Families Requires Understanding Military Culture

A new study from the University at Buffalo, published in Military Behavioral Health, concludes that health care provider networks that serve veterans and families in the military community need to have a fundamental understanding of military culture in order to provide effective care and improve patients’ health outcomes.

The new findings underscore the critical importance of understanding how military service impacts care utilization—fundamentals that the US Family Health Plan provider organizations have standardized in their enduring tradition of serving nearly 150,000 military family members and veterans.

A unique quality identified in the research about this population is that military family members and veterans often “don’t complain about little things” – a phrase which is included in the subtitle of the final research report – and may feel unsupported and underappreciated by those providing them care. The University of Buffalo researchers found that veterans and military families often feel that health care providers minimize their concerns or do not communicate clearly with them.

The US Family Health Plan view is that service members and their families deserve the greatest respect for their service, and also the highest-quality health care. The US Family Health Plan has been a leader in quality care for military families, retirees and other beneficiaries in the Military Health System for more than 30 years, systemically instilling the critical components of care outlined in the study’s findings:

  • An in-depth knowledge of military culture, values and ideals;
  • An understanding of the stressors of military life and post-service adjustment;
  • Recognition that a person’s military service might influence his or her care utilization habits;
  • Avoidance of individual barriers to a patient-provider relationship.

By knowing who our patients are, understanding their needs, and clearly communicating their care and treatment options, the US Family Health Plan provider organizations effectively care for chronic conditions, reduce emergency room visits and achieve better health and wellness outcomes. Our beneficiaries get appointments when they need them, and they receive sustained and reliable access to care through a 24-hour nurse help line, in-home monitoring and other advanced approaches to care delivery. It’s no wonder that US Family Health Plan beneficiaries are among the most satisfied patients in the country.