Army Warrior Care & Transition Plan (WCTP)
What is it?
The Army Warrior Care & Transition Plan (WCTP), formally known as the Army Medical Action Plan (AMAP), systematically transformed how the Army cares for its wounded, ill and injured in order to facilitate a Soldier returning to duty or transitioning to civilian life.
The WCTP continues to improve the integrated and comprehensive continuum of care and services for Warriors in Transition. Warriors in Transition are Active or Reserve Component Soldiers who meet the appropriate criteria to fall under the provisions for assignment or attachment to the Warrior Transition Units (WTUs). The focus of the WTUs are Soldiers who were wounded, ill or injured in theater and /or with complex medical requirements that require intensive case management. Warriors in Transition do not include Initial Entry Training, Advanced Individual Training, or One Station Unit Training Soldiers except in extraordinary circumstances. Exceptions to this definition must be approved by the local military treatment facility and the Soldier’s unit commander. The continuum of care includes family members and both Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian health care providers.
What has the Army done?
The Warrior Care & Transition Plan (Army Medical Action Plan) was published on 4 June 2007 as a Department of the Army Execution Order (DA EXORD 118-07) entitled “Healing Warriors”. The WTU program now consists of 35 WTUs organized with 1 Warrior Transition Brigade at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 16 Warrior Transition Battalions and 18 separate Warrior Transition Companies. The WTU program focused on ten areas initially:
- Improved Command and Control. The WTUs are now the focus of the Army’s new Soldier-centric health care system.
- Institutionalizing the Structure. Manning documents now authorize personnel to provide leadership, clinical oversight, and coordination, administrative and financial support.
- Prioritized Mission Support. Warrior in Transition facilities and furnishings are top priorities for repairs and improvements.
- Flexible Housing Policies. Eligible single Soldiers are allowed to choose a non-medical “caregiver” who will receive military or guest house lodging in the same manner that Family members of married Soldiers have been authorized.
- Focusing on Family Support. The Warrior in Transition’s family is now included in all phases of their Warriors recovery and transition.
- Development of Training and Doctrine. Training programs for new WTU commanders and cadre have been developed and all WTU personnel attend the training prior to assignment.
- Maintaining Full Patient Visibility. The Joint Patient Tracking Application has improved patient visibility to the Warrior’s commander.
- Facilitating the Continuum of Care and Benefits. Army Medical Command has co-located Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) liaison nurse case managers to support the continuum of care and benefits, thereby easing the transition of care and support from the military to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Improving the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) Process. New access-to-care standards and the creation of the MyMEB website on the AKO webpage, allows Warriors to go online and access the status and progress of their MEB.
- Enhancing Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Representation. Warrior Transition Battalions have legal assistance to provide additional legal advocacy for Warriors undergoing the PEB process.
What is the Army doing now?
While the Army has come far in a short time, we have reached a maturity level that requires us to re-look our efforts to provide world class care for our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and determine how we can do provide better care. We need a concerted effort led by our Senior Mission Commanders to move our programs to the levels we all desire.
The CSA has directed the Army to continue to execute our current plans, but with increased efforts and focus directed in four key areas.
- Immediately right-size our WTU populations to allow us to provide focused care to our wounded and severely injured Soldiers who require comprehensive care. Well-intentioned efforts to relieve unit commanders of non-deployable Soldiers must be handled outside the WTU structure. Senior Mission Commanders are responsible for ensuring that WTU cadre levels meet the designated ratio for warrior care.
- Streamline the MEB/PEB process and make it more efficient while ensuring we protect the rights of our Soldiers. Senior Mission Commanders should work with MEDCOM to ensure trained personnel and resources are available to break local log jams, simultaneously we will direct an outside look to better inform us how to institutionalize a more efficient process.
- Improve and streamline the processing of Soldiers in and out of our WTUs. The G1 will lead the effort, but I want to attack the peacetime bureaucratic procedures that are extending the time our Soldiers have to spend in the WTUs. I want Senior Mission Commanders to examine local procedures and set local standards to expeditiously return Soldiers to their units once they have healed.
- We must also work to improve the availability of mental health care to our Soldiers and Families. The Surgeon General is developing a comprehensive Mental Health Care Program in conjunction with the G1 that will be unveiled in the coming months. In the interim, I want Senior Mission Commanders working with The Army Surgeon General (TSG), to develop local solutions to improve access to quality mental health care for our Soldiers and Families.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The WCTO will develop the enduring mission for the Army’s WTUs. This enduring mission will include: Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP0 for all squad leaders and platoon sergeants. A comprehensive list of metrics to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the comprehensive case management provided to our wounded, ill and injured. A cadre trained to deliver the best medical care in the world. A comprehensive transition plan for each warrior to provide a holistic approach to heal our Soldiers and their families whether they are returning to duty or transitioning to civilian life. Coordination and cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to better educate warrior on the VA benefits available to them upon separation.
Why is this important to the Army?
The brave men and women of the United States Army continue to serve courageously in this era of persistent conflict to eradicate terrorism that threatens the well-being and future of all Americans. In keeping with the Warrior Ethos which declares that America’s fighting men and women will never leave a fallen comrade, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General George W. Casey, Jr., has said that, “Taking care of wounded warriors is the most important thing we can do.”