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Trinity Health GR first in state to host on-site Veteran Service Officer

Mike Franks, Trinity Health
Photo Courtesy of Trinity Health
Mike Franks, Trinity Health

It’s estimated Michigan’s veterans miss out on around $1.5 billion in unclaimed benefits, according to the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency.

Trinity Health Grand Rapids is now the first health care system in Michigan to host an onsite Veteran Service Officer. The position is part of a pilot program with the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA) and assists patients who are military veterans or family members with Veterans Administration (VA) benefits information.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Mike Franks from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) will hold office hours at Trinity Health Grand Rapids Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for scheduled appointments.

“We are grateful to partner with the MVAA and Mike Franks to provide high quality, culturally competent care for veterans and their families. Having Mike here on our campus will be a huge blessing and benefit to our own veteran colleagues and patients,” Trinity Health Grand Rapids President Matt Biersack, MD said. “Our team has started collaborating with Mike to learn about processes and connections we can make together to improve experience and patient care. We are eager to work together to help veterans and their families in our community.”

More than 650,000 veterans live in the State of Michigan, but the Veteran Affairs Agency (VAA) says only around 20% are receiving disability benefits. Statewide it’s estimated veterans miss out on around $1.5 billion in unclaimed resources.

“I’m very flattered that I was chosen to do this,” Franks told WGVU. “It gives a lot of access to veterans who may not be aware of their veterans benefits or their healthcare options.”

Franks was born at Trinity Health Grand Rapids and grew up in Cutlerville, Michigan before his five years of service. He said he hopes his experiences will lend to a greater understanding of patients and their needs.

Appointments can be scheduled with Franks by calling 616-438-3095.

More information about Veteran Service Officers and resources can be found on Michigan.gov/mvaa.

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