The Club was honored to have Thom Shortt, Prtesident ot Meghan's Foundation and Jeff Hoerger, Director of the Bucks County Vet's Center
speak this morning which provides readjustment counseling to returning veterans and their family members toward a successful post-war adjustment.
Jeff runs one of 300 mental health counseling Vet Centers in the U.S. There are over 50,00 vets in Bucks County alone, so the needs of vets and their families are great.The center has been open since 2010 and has served over 600 vets and their families. The center provides a very wide range of services, focusing heavily on the treatment of PTSD, as well as providing totally confidential counseling and tools to vets also struggling with drug and alcohol-related issues. Responding to a member's question, Jeff noted that while they can not dispense medication, they provide direct evaluations and feedback to the VA physicians/medical professional. Jeff and his staff are experts at helping vets understand their benefits as well as finding resources to address their challenges.
Families are encouraged, as needed, in participating in the center's services, all of which are free. They work with 80-90 vets a month. A related service that some vets have found very helpful is meditation and yoga. Thom Shortt, a former Vietnam Marine Vet, is president of Meghan's Foundation and provides 6 classes a week to vets in yoga and meditation in a variety of locations. He and his wife started the foundation after losing their 29 year old daughter (who was married to a Vet in Iraq) in 2011. All classes are free to vets, who are often referred to him by Jeff.
Thom and his wife do not take any salary. All of their work related to the foundation is a "labor of love". Jeff serves on Thom's Board and noted that he has seen multiple cases where the classes alone have had a life-altering impact on his clients.
Both men received a big round of applause for their fine work and presentation. Members stayed afterwards to ask individual questions. Special thanks to President-Elect Jeff for asking them to come and speak to our group,too!
For veterans who have been diagnosed with serious mental illness or believe they have mental illness and don't have insurance and are not eligible or don't know if they are eligible for HealthChoices, they can call the location below that is nearest their home for an intake appointment.
Depending on a veteran's financial resources and/or insurance coverage there are many ways to find the type of service(s) they need. If they have a private health plan that covers these services, they should contact their health plan administrator.
Any Bucks County resident who is Medical Assistance-eligible may call the toll-free number for assistance and referral for mental health issues. Professional staff will answer your call, help you through a crisis, or provide referrals to community-based treatment centers, if there is a need.
Mental Health services offered by Bucks County are offered by contracted provider agencies. These providers usually accept HealthChoices, Medicare, and other insurance. A sliding scale is available for those with no insurance.
Where To Turn For Help With Drug and Alcohol Issues In Bucks County
This informational sheet will help you or your family member access treatment for a drug and/or alcohol problem, as well as give some other resource information. The first step in accessing treatment is for the individual to get a professional assessment to determine the extent of the problem and the type of treatment and recovery plan needed. Adult and adolescent services are available throughout Bucks County. For more information, please call our Approval of Care Department at 215-773-9643.
To access treatment for those who have private health insurance, call the number on the back of the insurance card listed under Mental Health/Substance Abuse.
To access treatment for those with Medical Assistance, call Magellan Health Services at 877-769-9784 and they will give information as to the nearest treatment agency for an assessment or go to one of the listed assessment sites below.
To access information regarding Veteran’s Benefits, call 877-222-8387 to find out eligibility for services. Individuals who are Veterans are eligible for county funding.
For individuals with no insurance, there may be county funded treatment available as well as other supportive services. The individual must go to one of the assessment sites listed below, either as a walk in or calling for an appointment. The individual will need to bring certain documents to the assessment, including proof of Bucks County residency, and other documents to complete a Medical Assistance application. Due to limited funding, County funding for residential treatment is budgeted on a monthly basis, which limits the number of individuals who can be admitted into that level of care each month. However, other treatment alternatives, such as outpatient treatment, are available. Individuals that are considered a priority population, such as pregnant injection substance users, pregnant substance users, injection substance users, overdose survivors, veterans and adolescents are exempt from any limitations. Preferential treatment is given to pregnant females.
We also presented Jeff with an additional two gift certificates to provide meals to needy veterans.