The story behind us is personal, as is our mission to change the lives of Veterans suffering from chronic pain,
Our founder, Micaela Bensko, was Vice President of Rebuilding America’s Warriors since 2007, providing free reconstructive surgery to troops returning from war, and became increasingly aware of enduring pain conditions the Warriors still endured. In 2011, the tables turned with an accident in her driveway which left her wheelchair-bound, with over 20 spine surgeries and procedures, and a diagnosis of two of the most painful chronic pain diseases of the spine known today. After six years of 80-90% bed confinement, it was a stem cell treatment, funded by
a family friend, which not only altered the devastating trajectory of her condition, but inspired what is now Veterans In Pain, Inc (V.I.P.) providing pro bono Regenerative solutions to Veterans suffering from chronic pain by connecting civilian physicians with our country’s heroes.
WHY ARE WE HERE?
Veterans In Pain’s mission is to assist our country’s Veterans suffering from chronic pain in connecting with civilian physicians yearning for the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the quality of life of those who sacrificed their health in service to our country.
Today, more than ever before, Veterans are experiencing delayed onset of degenerative conditions incited years and sometimes decades prior, due to injuries incurred in or around their service to our country. Often times there may not be one inciting injury, but a compilation of various impact episodes such as parachute exercises, physical endurance training, and/or exposure to high impact concussive explosives which launch a series of events resulting in premature deterioration of one’s joints, spine and psyche; All of which are relevant in the onset of chronic pain.Chronic pain is not a condition or a symptom. It is a disease of the central nervous system. A fact too often overlooked.
Due to inconsistent treatment parameters, the plethora of red tape, and lack of time allotment per patient, many Veterans suffering from chronic pain are left devoid of proper diagnosis and treatment. Instead, a majority find themselves searching for answers for years, dismissed as difficult, only prescribed opioids, or told there is nothing which can be done to allay their pain. In addition, the lack of access to, or coverage of, the majority of alternative protocols have created a void we are here to fill.
It is our goal at V.I.P. to ensure our country’s Veterans have options, understand they are not alone in their journey for answers and validation, and bring awareness to the very harsh reality our Veterans face every day in their search for proper diagnosis and expanded options for pain relief.
Your donations go toward travel and accommodations for the Veteran and a companion to and from treatment, uncovered medical costs such as OR and Anesthesia, awareness campaigns in support of solutions for Veterans seeking proper pain management, physician outreach, as well as Veteran outreach.
We can only accomplish this with your help in allowing the financial support necessary to ensure our continued expansion nationwide, and to change the way Veterans in pain are viewed and cared for by our country.
WHAT ARE OUR IMMEDIATE NEEDS?
We are currently accepting qualified physicians nationwide to ensure treatment viability for Veterans in cities spanning all 50 states. Accessible care is mandatory due to the difficulties travel can entail for patients in chronic pain.
V.I.P. is active in communicating with Veterans Affairs programs and Administration as to how we may work together in unison toward increasing the quality of life for our Veterans. Our goal also entails ongoing awareness expansion of chronic pain diseases via editorial, and online virtual outreach campaigns.
Integral to the success of our program is Physician outreach. Our efforts in procuring physician participation are accomplished through exhibiting at national Pain symposiums, speaker panels at Pain-related healthcare conferences, personal outreach to qualified physicians in the area of need, physician to physician outreach, editorial submission to medical publications, local news coverages featuring treatments of Veteran-approved media coverage segments, social media networking and uniting with medical care networks operating within FDA compliance regulations. Every physician which joins our effort undergoes a back ground check and review of good medical standing.
HOW ARE WE FUNDED TO COMPLETE OUR GOALS?
The majority of Veterans In Pain’s funding is provided solely by smaller individual donations. Our ongoing efforts entail expanding into the realm of private and government grants. At this time, there are no salary expenses incurred by V.I.P. Administrative costs, and are used to defer pejoratively to the expansive awareness building necessary to make our program possible.
Our Board consists of nationally renown physicians in their respective fields of pain management, as well as Veterans, including a Purple Heart recipient, a recipient of Medal of Valor, and Special Forces spanning various wars, who are committed to serving their fellow Veterans on their journey through the secondary battlefield on the home front of medical care.
HOW DO WE ASSESS OUR SUCCESS?
The key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which our organization assesses our progress toward our intended impact is an ongoing anonymous collection data throughout the treatments facilitated through our program. In addition, the information collected will include conditions presented, methods of treatments, and long term analysis of participating V.I.P. Veterans. All treatment for Veterans is private and not shared with any other entities whatsoever. This is to culminate in a study gauging the success rates of Regenerative and Biologics in real time assessment to include in our efforts to bring alternative science options as a thoughtful proposal for inclusion someday to the current Veteran Affairs covered treatment protocols currently available. This process will also allow us to consistently assess our physician selection success rate as well as our physician match process.
Although V.I.P.’s website is HIPPA compliant, at no time do we receive, accept or distribute personal medical/imagery scans/reports or history offered by the Veteran. V.I.P. is purely a facilitator between the Veteran and the physician. Although applicants to our program apply through our secured website, this information covers mostly personal contact information and a brief overview of their underlying condition to help us assess qualifications for entry, being the possibility ratio for best possible outcome, and physician selection. All medical reports and history requests, etc. are performed solely by the physician’s office once they are matched. All treatment assessment and designated protocols defined by the physician, are kept between the parties of Veteran, Physician and V.I.P., unless approved by the Veteran.
Lastly, Veterans In Pain is committed to coordinating an annual retreat in tandem with fellow nonprofits for our program’s Veterans to reunite, eradicate previous limiting physical boundaries, and rediscover the possibilities their new quality of life has to offer. Included in this retreat are professional guides for various outdoor experiences, emphasizing the necessity of incorporating the psychological support necessary in the multidimensional approach to the proper care of those who have endured chronic pain.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
With the majority of alternative treatments not covered by insurance, offered via the military healthcare system, or acknowledged for reimbursement by the VA, our greatest fear is being il-equipped financially to meet the needs facing our Veterans in chronic pain. . Repeatedly, we receive feedback that ‘we’ are their last hope. Chronic pain is a national enigma misunderstood not just in the civilian community, but in the traditional medical community as well. Even more so, is the misunderstanding of the Veteran as a patient.
Treating a Veteran brings with it a vastly different toolset necessary in order to approach such care with efficacy. From the Veterans instilled training to isolate and self-preserve, to the reliance on strangers to preserve what is left, our Veterans suddenly find themselves in a conflict in identity and purpose. Once steeled in mission, Veterans in chronic pain often find themselves mourning the loss of who they ‘were’ and what they assumed their life would become. This can be in reference to self as well as in role of parent/spouse/provider. Veterans are trained to eradicate any element of vulnerability during service, only to find themselves steeped in this very quality they have, been trained to refute. The once formidable form of a soldier finds him/herself grasping for position in life foreign to any previous stretch of their imagination, without a strategy, without access to adequate directives, and devoid of the tools necessary to successfully complete the most impossible mission, that of conquering chronic pain. We are here to help prevent more of our Veterans from losing hope. To be that phone call they make before it’s their last. And to remind our Veterans they have not, and will never be, left behind by the country they have served.