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Oklahoma City VA Health Care System


Returning Service Members

In America, many men and women choose to serve our country in the various branches of the military. Service members who do tours of duty in OEF/OIF/OND face especially difficult and dangerous missions. Although their service is appreciated, it sometimes comes at a high price to them personally. (Steve Scruggs, Psy.D.)

For more information, please contact one of our OEF/OIF/OND staff members:

Michele Diesselhorst-Reese MSW/LCSW/CCM, OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager, 405-456-3215

Kaela Brooks MSW/LCSW, OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator, 405-456-5732

Kate Cox MSW/LCSW, OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator, 405-456-3862

Tanya Gutierrez MSW/LCSW, OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator, 405-456-3214

Kelly White MSW/LCSW, OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator, 405-456-5556

Sandra Nikkel MSW/LCSW, Caregiver Support Coordinator, 405-456-5569

Waco Blakley OEF/OIF Veteran, Transition Patient Advocate, 405-456-1410


Special Eligibility and Coordination of Care for Combat Veterans Serving in Combat Theater After 11/11/1998- Returning Servicemembers (OEF/OIF/OND)

VA is ready to provide health care and other medical services to our nation's returning OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers. The Oklahoma City VA Health Care System has a team ready to welcome OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers and to help coordinate their care. For more information about the various programs available for recent returning service members, log on to the Returning Servicemembers web site.

Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations also have special eligibility for VA health care. Under the "Combat Veteran" authority VA provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6 or higher for 5 years from the date of discharge or release from active duty, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group.

Combat Veterans who enroll with VA under this enhanced Combat Veteran authority will continue to be enrolled even after their enhanced eligibility period ends, although they may be shifted to Priority Group 7 or 8, depending on their income level, and required to make applicable copays. Additionally, for care not related to combat service, copays may be required depending on their financial assessment and other special eligibility factors.

NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these Veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.


Michele Diesselhorst-Reese MSW/LCSW/CCM
OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager

Kelly White MSW/LCSW
OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator

Tanya Gutierrez MSW/LCSW
OEF/OIF/OND Lead Coordinator

Sandra Nikkel MSW/LCSW
Caregiver Support Coordinator

Waco Blakley OEF/OIF Veteran
Transition Patient Advocate