Program Profile

An Interdisciplinary Clinic for Former Prisoners of War

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At present, FPOWs from World War II outnumber those of all other conflicts; however, this group is rapidly dwindling in numbers. World War II FPOWs are aged > 85 years, and therefore among the most frail and dependent of veterans. Often they are homebound and unable to physically travel to clinics for assessment. To serve these veterans, we are modifying the FPOW Clinic to utilize telehealth. The Telehealth FPOW Clinic will obtain relevant data from review of the electronic health record and telehealth-based clinic visits. Telehealth also may be used for assessments of Vietnam War veterans (eg, Agent Orange exposure), atomic veterans, and Gulf War veterans. Once fully designed and implemented, we believe that telehealth will prove to be a cost-effective way to provide clinic benefits to rural and older veterans.


The VHA provides priority medical treatment to FPOWs as well as timely and appropriate assessment of their eligibility for veterans’ benefits. The complexities benefit programs established for FPOWs is often beyond the ken of VHA physicians, social workers, and nurses. Because of this unfamiliarity, referrals of eligible FPOWs to appropriate programs can be overlooked. We established a clinic-based interdisciplinary team (FPOW Clinic) that was fully trained in FPOW benefit programs to identify overlooked benefits for FPOWs and were able to increase the disability rating on approximately one-third of the FPOWs seen in the FPOW Clinic. A telehealth-based version of the FPOW clinic is now being developed.


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