News: Program aids wounded reserve Marines
Story by Aquita Brown
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- Marine reservists who are combat wounded, injured stateside or fall ill while in a duty status can be assured that they will have someone on their side. Mark Brokaw, who works at the Wounded Warrior Regiment here, wants reserve Marines to know this. Brokaw works at the Regiment as the program manager for the Reserve Medical Entitlements Determination section. Unique to the Marine Corps, the Wounded Warrior Regiment has an RMED section that tracks and manages the non-medical and medical care of wounded, ill and injured reserve Marines.
From Perrysville, Ohio, Brokaw served 26 years in the Marine Corps and retired in 2008 as the sergeant major of Headquarters and Service Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
“I saw the Wounded Warrior Regiment as my opportunity to give back to Marines,” said Brokaw.
Brokaw and his staff of twelve, which consist of Marines and sailors, maintain oversight of all reservists’ cases which includes those who require medical care beyond their duty period for service-connected ailments. Although all non-medical care support offered by the Wounded Warrior Regiment is provided to reserve Marines, the RMED section specializes in specific reserve-related elements of care coordination.
“The RMED section ensures reserve Marines receive necessary treatment and timely processing through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ralph Slaton, RMED section administrative chief. “We want each reserve Marine to be ‘worry free’ of their administrative needs because their focus should be on recovering.”
The IDES streamlines wounded, ill and injured service members’ Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefit rating results by requiring only one physical examination and rating that serves both Departments. Prior to IDES, individuals had to complete the DoD system before entering the VA process. Brokaw, Slaton and the RMED section ensure that reserve Marines’ administrative concerns are met throughout the IDES process by providing a checklist of procedures.
“This systematic process allows the RMED section to make rapid and appropriate decisions concerning all reservists’ cases,” said Brokaw. The process includes facilitating medical evaluations and determining whether a Marine should be placed in the medical hold program or Line of Duty benefits program. The medical hold program is for reservists on active duty greater than 30 days who must be retained beyond their expiration of current contract for medical treatment.
For those who do not require extension on active duty, or who desire to return to their civilian life, their medical needs can be addressed through the LOD benefits program. The LOD benefits program is authorized for any wound, illness or injury incurred during or aggravated by service requiring medical care that extends beyond the termination of a period of duty.
To facilitate case management, the RMED section utilizes a web-based system called the Marine Corps Medical Entitlement Data System. MCMEDS is used to submit, update and track medical hold and LOD cases.
The majority of the Wounded Warrior Regiment’s staff consists of reserve Marines which allows a heightened awareness with regard to reserve-specific issues. The RMED section is engaged in the case management of all reserve Marines from beginning to end. They have a high level of reservist subject matter expertise that monitors, assesses and evaluates the options required to meet an individual’s health needs. This includes providing administrative coordination of pay and entitlements, travel concerns and assisting Marines through the IDES process.
Brokaw and the RMED staffs understanding of reserve-specific issues, has led them to stress to Marines the importance of reporting their medical conditions.
“In order to best facilitate benefits and medical treatment, it is paramount that all reserve Marines understand the importance of reporting to their unit corpsman and chain of command any wound, injury or illness incurred or aggravated during a period of duty as soon as possible after occurrence and prior to termination of such duty,” said Brokaw.
Established in 2007, the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment was created to provide and facilitate non-medical care to combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, and sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they return to duty or transition to civilian life. The Regimental Headquarters element, located in Quantico, Va., commands the operations of two Wounded Warrior Battalions located at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., and multiple detachments in locations around the globe.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment or the RMED section, go to: www.woundedwarriorregiment.org or call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center 24/7 at (877) 487-6299.