To combat suicides by veterans, VA turns to an algorithm

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Every month, Dr. David Oslin receives a list of about 50 local veterans considered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be very high risk for suicide.

The list includes veterans identified, in many cases, by staffers at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center. But it is generated by a computer program that analyzes health records and uses an algorithm to determine the veterans most at risk of suicide.

The Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health – Veterans Enhanced Treatment program, known as REACH VET, was fully implemented across the VA about 18 months agofollowing a brief pilot program. It's among the latest strategies to combat the longstanding issue.

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According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 20,000 U.S. military veterans make up roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population with nearly half (47.1 percent) age 65 or over. Over the past half-century, the number of 

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