Deployment Health Assessments Provide Vital Screening and Health Services


Story Number: NNS111115-07Release Date: 11/15/2011 1:46:00 PM
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From U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the Navy's lead for the Deployment Health Assessment (DHA) process, is reinforcing the need for all Sailors to complete a Post Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA DD2796) and Post Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA DD2900) upon returning from a qualifying deployment in accordance with OPNAVINST 6100.3.

A qualifying deployment is an assignment to an ashore location outside the continental United States without a fixed military treatment facility (MTF) for more than 30 days or when directed by the component commander (COCOM) or the unit's commanding officer.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert emphasized the necessity to provide support to Sailors and family members.

"Our Sailors and families make enormous sacrifices to serve their country and to support the Navy's mission," he said. "We have a professional and moral obligation to uphold a covenant with Sailors and their families - in turn, we must always be ready, at any moment, to get them the necessary care and support they have earned."

"Sailors deploying to overseas locations like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Haiti, and Japan have the potential to be exposed to a variety of health threats," said Dr. Christopher Rennix of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. "The threats can be physical, such as disease or combat related injuries, but can also include stress-related psychological injuries such as post traumatic stress (PTS)."

Sailors are required to complete their PDHA within 30 days of returning from deployment. Unit and temporary assignment duty (TAD) Sailors complete the PDHA at their parent command or local MTF. Individual augmentee (IA) Sailors complete the PDHA at the Navy Mobilization Processing Site (NMPS) during the re-deployment process.

Due to the delayed nature of some stress-related injuries, such as post traumatic stress (PTS), a second assessment, the PDHRA, is conducted 90 to 180 days after return from deployment. PDHRAs are completed at the Sailor's parent command, local MTF, Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), or in certain cases when the Sailor is remotely located, via telephone.

The PDHA and PDHRA both consist of an online questionnaire, followed by a face-to-face interview with a healthcare provider. If any issues are identified, the provider will refer the Sailor for a follow-up appointment to address potential injuries or illnesses. DHAs conducted at these critical times in the deployment process are a key component in monitoring the health of our Sailors.

"The purpose of the DHAs is about keeping our commitment to service members returning from operational deployments," said Rennix. "The process is designed to identify stress injuries and other health concerns that require further assessment or treatment. If deployment-related health issues are identified as a result of the DHAs, Sailors are referred for further medical assessment or treatment as appropriate.

"Recent trends have helped us recognize that many of our returning service members may not experience certain health issues until days or months following their return," he said. "The purpose of addressing health issues in the screening is to provide early identification and assistance before problems become more severe."

The ability to compartmentalize the stressors of non-traditional deployments or put those experiences quickly aside enables Sailors to stay focused on the mission and is a useful tool. However, after a Sailor returns, the DHA process provides the opportunity to review health issues related to the previous deployment and address any problems.

The DHA process supports the Navy's health protection strategy to deploy healthy, fit, and medically ready forces, minimize illnesses and injuries during deployments, and evaluate and treat physical and psychological problems following deployment.

For more information and guidance on the DHA process, visit
http://www.nmcphc.med.navy.mil/Deployment_Health/ and
http://www.pdhealth.mil/.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil.

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