Every Veterans Day is special and important—but this year’s commemoration is particularly meaningful.
Exactly 100 years ago this weekend, the guns of the Great War fell silent across Europe. It was at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the World War I armistice was signed. The “war to end all wars,” ended. The infantrymen started coming home. November 11 became an enduring symbol from that moment of the commitment they made to our country.
Fast forward to today – our commitment to remember our veterans’ service is proudly and solemnly highlighted on Veterans Day. But it goes far beyond thoughts and prayers.
At Blue Shield of California, we have more than 150 veterans on our staff, and we serve more than 150,000 veterans across the state for their healthcare services. While Veterans Day is an important opportunity time to say thank you, it’s also an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to them by preserving and enhancing the lifelong benefits they have earned.
Our company is proud to be one of 12 non-profit shareholders, along with two academic teaching facilities, of TriWest Healthcare Alliance. TriWest supports the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in administering the Patient-Centered Community Care and Veterans Choice Programs in 28 states in the western U.S.
Through these programs, more than 1.2 million veterans have received nearly 10 million total appointments for care in the community when VA was unable to provide that care within clinical network.
In California alone, Blue Shield of California would like to thank our network of more than 40,000 medical providers involved in TriWest. Without these providers, the veterans in our great state would not have received enhanced access to care, closer to home.
As TriWest expands to a nationwide footprint over the next couple 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. And that’s a good outcome.
We’ve all been inspired by American service men and women who make sacrifices for our country. And we’ve seen the good our veterans have done at home in our communities – the dreams they have made achievable. Now, it’s our turn to give back and serve them.
I am proud to be an executive co-sponsor of Blue Shield’s employee resource group for veterans known as Operation VET, along with Peter Long, President and CEO of the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Operation VET’s mission is to support veterans and their families at Blue Shield to increase awareness of their needs, while supporting the organization’s commitment to provide access to high-quality, affordable healthcare to all Californians.
On this Veterans Day, and every day, let us 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.