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Development of an Interdisciplinary Case Management Program for Combat Veterans

Zilke, Tracey M. MSN, RN; Morrison, Ruby Shaw DSN, RN, CMAC; Kirby, Angela MSN, RN; Martin, Troy Scott MSW


The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, prompted a major mobilization of Alabama active military reservists and Alabama National Guardsmen to serve in the Middle East. Health problems related to geographic relocation, environmental threats, combat and other traumatic events, and the stress associated with serving in an active capacity have resulted in an increase in the number of patients and the variety of illnesses being seen at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. The Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center developed a combat veterans care coordination program to efficiently and effectively manage the care of returning combat veterans. The development and first-year outcomes of the program are described.

Tracey M. Zilke, MSN, RN, is Director of the Office of Care Coordination at the Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center. She has 15 years' combined experience in emergency nursing and case management. Her interests are working with community and other VHA agencies to improve access, quality, cost, and customer service for all veterans. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Case Management Society of America, and the American Nurses Association.

Ruby Shaw Morrison, DSN, RN, CMAC, is Associate Professor of Nursing at the Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, teaching nursing research, leadership and management, and graduate courses in human resource and fiscal management for case managers. Her research interest is in outcomes of nursing case management.

Angela Kirby, MSN, RN, is Program Coordinator, OIF/OEF, Transition Center, Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center. She served as the OIF/OEF Combat Veteran Case Manager, but was later assigned as the OIF/OEF Combat Veteran Program Coordinator. She makes numerous and sustained contributions to the returning combat veteran population not only at the Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center but also throughout the network.

Troy Scott Martin, MSW, is currently a health system specialist, facility planner, and staff assistant to the Deputy Director at the Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center. He is also a captain in the United States Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps as a clinical social worker. After receiving his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Alabama, Mr. Martin worked as a clinical social worker on an Acute Psychiatric Unit at the Department of Veteran Affairs for 6 years, he then went into management, and eventually advanced into his current position.

Address correspondence to Tracey M. Zilke, MSN, RN, Office of Care Coordination—GEC, Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center, 3701 Loop Rd East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 (

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.