unusual for a new patient to come in and tell George Wilson, LPN, patient care coordinator for VTCI at the Monument Square site, “Rich sent me here!” Wilson, whom Gola emphatically calls “a great guy,” is one of the program’s major assets, says Dr. McGarry: “Because of his own background, it makes it so much better for the patients. He’s very knowledgeable and is a veteran who knows and understands their issues.” A retired staff sergeant with the U.S. Army, Wilson served for 22 1/2 years on active duty, 111/2 of which were spent in nursing. Today, that experience has proven invaluable in his new role. “We speak the same language,” he says. As part of Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group, the Monument Square practice also offers access to the vast scope of services that can be provided by other specialists, although that is not part of the grant funding, she adds. VTCI program patients also can take advantage of other grant-funded programs in which the practice is involved, including one for individuals who are at risk of substance abuse. hen the program was being developed, the Monument Square practice was a natural for several reasons, Dr. McGarry says, not the least of which was its experience providing coordinated care for patients who have complex conditions, a common issue for veterans. “In looking at the veteran population, we knew we needed to do more than just provide services, so we adapted our model of care coordinators to the VTCI program,” Dr. McGarry explains, noting that care coordinators help look at the bigger picture when it comes to patients’ needs. For example, if patients require a prescription but won’t be able to afford the cost, their care and subsequent health suffer. “The care coordinators and physicians will look at that to say, ‘How can we make sure that if we give the patient a prescription, they will actually be able to get it filled?’ Followthrough is a huge part of the program’s erving as a staff advantages. Our patients get exceptionseargant with the U.S. Army al care because they’re being followed for 22 1/2 years, has given aggressively.” George Wilson, LPN, The program also is a good fit invaluable experience in his role as patient coordinator because of the capabilities of the family for the Veterans Total Care medicine practitioners in general, Dr. Moreover, the medical school’s focus on Initiative program at McGarry adds: “In addition to primary improved care for veterans is reflected in Monument Square. % care, within the office there are physithe practice’s services, with faculty memcians who specialize in women’s health, bers from Monument Square participating geriatrics, sports medicine, and acupuncture, which has in school-sponsored interprofessional training designed to become very popular with the veterans participating in the help improve the provision of culturally sensitive care to program.” veterans. Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE 23