|By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, Commanding General,
Installation Management Command
Effective in July, the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is
standardizing and streamlining the process for delivering respite care
to eligible Families in need of support.
The EFMP is a mandatory enrollment program that works with other
military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive, coordinated
community support, housing, educational, medical and personnel services
to Families with special needs. It is focused on helping these Families
find the support and care needed to ensure all their members can thrive.
Respite care is one way EFMP helps to provide support for all Family
members — in this case, the caregivers.
Caring for a Family member with special needs, especially severe chronic
medical conditions, is an around-the-clock job. There may be no end to a
caregiver’s love, but everyone who shoulders such responsibilities needs
a break to rest and recharge. EFMP respite care provides that break.
Qualifying Families are eligible for up to 40 hours of respite care a
month for each certified Family member.
In an effort to enhance service delivery to EFMP-enrolled Families,
IMCOM has revised EFMP respite care policies and procedures. The
revision is effective this month. It includes changes in eligibility
criteria and the Family Services Needs Matrix, and online training for
EFMP managers and physicians. An EFMP respite care panel will be
established at each garrison to review and recommend approval or
disapproval of all respite care submissions to the garrison commander,
who is the decision authority.
Garrison EFMP managers are available to provide more detailed
information to Families currently receiving respite care. Soldiers or
Family members who have questions about it or other EFMP-related
services also can visit the EFMP Web page at Army OneSource (http://www.myarmyonesource.com/).
This revision to policy and procedures is part of the Army EFMP
Strategic Action Plan to improve services and support for Families with
special needs. Also, as part of the strategic action plan, at the
beginning of this fiscal year EFMP added 43 Systems Navigators, or
non-clinical case managers, at 26 garrisons stateside and overseas to
connect Families with required systems of care.
The focus on enhancing the effectiveness of EFMP could not be more
important or timely.
Important, because the EFMP is one way the Army keeps key promises it
made in the Army Family Covenant: providing access to high-quality
medical care, educational opportunities and Family programs that foster
an environment in which Families can thrive.
Timely, because while the Army’s commitment remains as strong as when
the covenant was signed in 2007, we are operating in a different fiscal
reality in 2011. Just as any Soldier or Family member asks “Is it worth
it?” before opening their wallet, we are doing the same, making sure we
are using resources as efficiently as possible to provide quality
services to Families. Army life poses challenges for any Family, but
especially for Families with special needs. It is part of our job, our
commitment, to make sure we are delivering the right services in the
right way to support the health and well-being of all Family members.
Support and Defend!
(For more information about the EFMP in the Fort McCoy Community,
call Army Community Service at 608-388-3505.)