U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968, Richard Gola has had his fair share of dealings with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the challenges that obtaining health care services can present. So when, at a meeting early this year with other Vietnam War veterans, someone spoke about an upcoming program that promised shorter waits for appointments, integrated care, and no impact on his VA benefits—all at no cost—he was intrigued … and a bit skeptical. “Free health care? It didn’t sound like something that could be true,” recalls Gola. “But I decided to give it a shot, and I can’t be more pleased. They cared, were considerate, treated you with respect. It was he veteran experience is a big difference. I look very different from back at my experience the civilian experience, and can’t say enough and that needs to be recognized and reflected good things about this in the medical care and program.” services provided. . . . Being Dubbed the Veterans involved with a program Total Care Initiative like this one feels like (VTCI), the program— we’re on the right side a joint effort by Robert somehow,” says Wood Johnson Medical Barbara Jo McGarry, MD, School’s Department of associate professor of Family Medicine and family medicine and community health. % Community Health, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School—is the first of its kind to provide expedited, integrated medical and behavioral health care and peer support to veterans, regardless of branch or type of military service. VTCI debuted in January 2016, less than one month after Robert Wood Johnson Medical School received word that $1.5 million in state funding had been approved for a six-month pilot program, says Barbara Jo McGarry, MD, associate professor of family medicine and community health, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Family Medicine at Monument Square provides the clinical services for New Brunswick–based health care, while UBHC 22 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE administers the program, and New Jersey Medical School provides clinical care for veterans in the Newark area. “There’s no long waiting period. You call on Monday and by the end of the week, you’ll have seen somebody— sometimes even the same day,” Gola says, noting that it could take months for him to get an appointment with the VA, only to “waste half a day” to learn the doctor was not available and the visit needed to be rescheduled, with another lengthy wait. “This is a much more convenient and easy program to deal with. I tell everybody how great it is.” In fact, in the months since his first visit, the Manville resident —and VTCI’s first patient at Monument Square — has become one of the most outspoken advocates for the program, spreading the word about its benefits to fellow veterans and encouraging them to give the program a try. It’s not