For Philip Martini, April 8th, 2009 marked the third, painful anniversary of his son’s death in Fallujah, Iraq. While visiting the cemetery on that day, Philip met the corpsman who treated his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Philip Martini, in his last moments. This interaction would then give Philip’s life a new sense of purpose.

“This was the corpsman who tried to save my son’s life, this was the corpsman who was over my son’s body [in the photos I’d seen of my son’s death],” said Martini, who was recently speaking to an audience in Washington, D.C.

After speaking, Martini learned that the former sailor, named Woody, was having a hard time finding a job as an emergency medical technician. Woody received no offers even though he had extensive military experience. Martini thought he could make some phone calls and get him in, but that was when he discovered the obstacles that corpsmen and medics encounter once they return.

Shortly after, the father went on to create the nonprofit “Heroes to Healthcare” to assist military medical personnel in finding civilian health care jobs.

According to Martini and those who spoke at the American Legion’s National Credentialing Summit on Wednesday, the main issue affecting roughly 8,000 medics and corpsmen who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan is the inconsistent, state-based licensing and credentialing requirements. The requirements do not necessarily consider veterans’ experience into consideration.

Multiple new programs have popped up in the past few years to assist veterans in transferring their skills from the military into civilian health jobs. This was largely in response to the 2011 Hire the Heroes Act, in which the Labor Department was required to work with states to allow military training to be considered for certain certifications and licenses.

Advocates from the summit claim that obstacles still remain in areas of education, training, and state participation in programs.

“If these skilled medics can provide primary care in a combat zone, certainly they can provide care in the civilian setting,” stated Randy Danielsen, dean of the Arizona School of Health Sciences.

The Defense Department has made various changes since it improved its schools for training enlisted military medical personnel in 2011. The changes at the Medical Education and Training Campus in San Antonio, which educates about 12,500 Army medics, Navy corpsmen, and Air Force med techs a year, include a curriculum that teaches recognized skills, as well as partnerships with various colleges that consider METC courses and skills for veteran students.

Other organizations, like the Health Resources and Service Administration, have also contributed to providing veterans civilian jobs:

Two years ago at the Veterans Affairs Department, a pilot program was introduced at 15 VA hospitals and clinics that employed 45 medics and corpsmen as “intermediate care technicians.” Karen Orr, of the VA Health Administration’s office of nursing services, claims this opportunity provides a pathway to acquire advanced training and degrees. The ICT program has proved successful and 33 additional VA facilities have requested to enter the program.

“We are now in the process of expanding the ICT role as a permanent specialty [employment] classification,” Orr stated.

The National Governors Association oversees a program in six states that assists service members in earning credentials in three different fields: licensed practical nurse, EMT/paramedic, or other occupations such as physical or occupational therapy.

Recently, Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican physician from Louisiana, brought forth a bill that would supply grants to states that are simplifying EMT certification for veterans. “Veterans trained as emergency medical technicians in the service should not have to repeat the training that they’ve already had […] This is about jobs, easing transition, to civilian life and providing emergency services to fellow Americans,” he said.

Veterans advocates hope someday the transition for enlisted medical personnel to civilian health jobs will be as simple as it is for military doctors, who can transition to civilian positions and be considered doctors regardless of their location.

Martini urged state governments, academic institutions and veterans organizations to work to improve job opportunities for former military personnel.

He claimed, “there’s no more rewarding work than to provide gainful employment for these returning veterans.”

The Archuleta Law Firm handles injury, death, and veterans medical malpractice claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act. We handle claims in all 50 States and Worldwide. Our focus is helping Veterans, and the families of Veterans and Military Service Members in their claims involving Veterans (VA) Hospitals, Doctors and Clinics and Military Hospitals, Doctors and Clinics. We handle claims involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force.

Source: Military Times