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Trinity Health Grand Rapids welcomes new onsite Veteran Service Officer

Pilot program becomes official and focuses on providing veterans with better access to VA benefit information

Trinity Health Grand Rapids welcomed a new onsite Veteran Service Officer, U.S. Army Captain Austin Ramey, from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to assist military veterans and their families with Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits information. Originally a one-year pilot program started in 2023, Trinity Health is the first private health system in Michigan to support this access for colleagues and patients.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and provide space for a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) at the Grand Rapids hospital,” said Jennifer Chaffer, LMSW, ACM-SW, director of Community Health & Well-Being, Trinity Health Grand Rapids. “Colleagues and patients who have served in the United States Armed Forces will have easy access to Austin Ramey, VSO, a veteran of the U.S. Army. Austin brings expertise and a passion for service to this work and is eager to support our veterans and their families in accessing the benefits for which they are eligible. We are grateful for this partnership and are delighted to welcome Austin to our campus.”

Ramey joined the Army’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) while attending Spring Arbor University. After graduating, he was commissioned by the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer before spending seven years in the service. Now, Ramey is a fully accredited Veteran Service Officer. His predecessor, former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Franks, was the first VSO to arrive on the Trinity Health Grand Rapids campus as part of the pilot program. The service continues to grow with Ramey’s arrival.

“After my time serving, I was glad to find an opportunity to support fellow veterans,” said Ramey. “Navigating VA benefits and compensation can be complicated, especially since each veteran’s case is unique. This partnership with Trinity Health Grand Rapids allows me to assist each patient, colleague, and family that needs support with VA benefit applications, or simply getting connected to resources.”

Ramey is a resource for individuals who want to apply for VA benefits. He can guide veterans on their eligibility for service-connected compensation or non-service-connected pension benefits in addition to obtaining military discharge documents, applying for VA health care, and more.

There are more than 550,000 veterans in the State of Michigan, and more than half are not linked to VA benefits. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, only 21 percent of vets in Michigan receive disability benefits. This program aims to connect veterans with the benefits they may have otherwise missed and to help remove barriers to accessing health care.

“Veteran support starts with access, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do at Trinity Health Grand Rapids,” said Ramey. “Whether a patient, family member, or colleague, my office doors are open to anyone looking for guidance.”

To learn more about services Trinity Health Michigan offers to veterans and their families, please visit their website.


About Trinity Health Michigan

Trinity Health Michigan is a leading health care provider and one of the state’s largest employers. With more than 24,000 full-time employees serving 29 counties, Trinity Health Michigan operates nine hospitals located in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Howell, Livonia, Muskegon, Pontiac and Shelby, and two medical groups. The health system has 2,314 beds and 5,446 physicians and advanced practice providers. With operating revenues of $4.16 billion, Trinity Health Michigan returns $184 million back to their local communities each year. Together with numerous ambulatory care locations, home health and hospice agencies and 23 senior living communities owned and/or operated by Trinity Health, Trinity Health Michigan provides the full continuum of care for Michigan residents. Trinity Health Michigan is a member of Trinity Health, one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the country serving more than 30 million people across 22 states.