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Trinity Health Grand Rapids welcomes MVAA Veteran Service Officer

VSO Mike Franks
Photo courtesy: Trinity Health Grand Rapids

An MVAA Veteran Service Officer (VSO) has become the first VSO in the state to hold regular service hours in a hospital through a pilot program at Trinity Health Grand Rapids.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Franks will have office hours Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., at Trinity’s “Neighborhood” coworking space.

He will help assist military veterans and their families with Veterans Administration (VA) benefit information.

“Trinity Health is growing their veterans’ program,” Franks said. “They would like to provide better services, not only for their veteran employees but also their veteran patients that are here getting treatment.”

“I will serve as a resource for people who need to check into their veteran benefits while one of their loved ones is seeking treatment,” he added. “I counsel and guide veterans on their eligibility for service-connected compensation benefits or non-service-connected pension benefits.”

One aspect of the benefits equation is called non-service-connected pensions for wartime-era veterans. “They don’t necessarily need to have gone to war,” Franks said. “Maybe they find themselves with severe out-of-pocket medical expenses or maybe they’re in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living and have to pay out of pocket for in-home care.” In those circumstances, Franks will counsel the veteran on what documents the VA needs to see and help them navigate the financial parameters and the application process to get the VA to help pay for some of that cost of care.

Franks served five years in the Marines after graduating high school. He received his MBA in strategic management from Davenport University.

His connection to Trinity Health started at birth. He was born at Saint Mary’s Hospital and grew up in Cutlerville, south of Grand Rapids.

Franks’ service at the hospital is a one-year pilot program.

“We are grateful to partner with the VA 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,” said Trinity Health Grand Rapids President Matt Biersack. “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.”