The Veterans Health Administration System of Care for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Costs, Benefits, and Controversies

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The Veterans Health Administration's (VHA's) Polytrauma System of Care, developed in response to a new cohort of patients back from Iraq and Afghanistan, is described with particular focus on the assessment and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI). The development of systemwide TBI screening within the VHA has been an ambitious and historic undertaking. As with any population-wide screening tool, there are benefits and costs associated with it. The purpose of this article is to identify and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the VHA's TBI clinical reminder and subsequent evaluation and treatment processes. Complicating factors such as increased media attention and other contextual factors are discussed.

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