THRIVE Program – Frequently Asked Questions
We know you and your family might have questions about the THRIVE Program. We’re happy to answer them. We’ve assembled the most common questions asked by our participants here. Our brochure has a lot of program information. What follows below are answers to other questions you may have. If you still have questions about the THRIVE Program after reviewing these (or if your question wasn’t addressed by those below) please don’t hesitate to contact the THRIVE Program team at 984-215-5151 or THRIVE@unc.edu. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Program description & eligibility
What is the THRIVE Program?
THRIVE stands for Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans. The THRIVE Program is made possible due to a $12.5M pledge made by the Avalon Action Alliance to UNC-Chapel Hill, to allow us to establish a new outreach program dedicated to treating traumatic brain injuries and related health conditions, promoting overall wellness for Veterans and First Responders. The THRIVE Program consists of three parts; 1) A 3-day comprehensive evaluation in Chapel Hill, 2) Intensive Outpatient Program (if eligible), and 3) Follow up for up to one year after evaluation.
Who is eligible for the THRIVE Program?
Veterans and First Responders who have a history of mild to moderate TBI and PTSD are eligible for the program (regardless of location, insurance, service branch and discharge status).
How do I determine if I am eligible?
You can start by filling out the program eligibility prescreening form or you can give us a call at 984-215-5151 to complete it over the phone.
Does my TBI history have to be service-connected?
No, your TBI history can include service-connected injuries and injuries obtained prior or after your service.
What if I don’t have an Honorary Discharge status?
We provide care for all veterans regardless of discharge status.
What if I am currently active duty?
If you are within 3 months of your terminal leave, you meet military status eligibility requirements. If you are greater than 3 months away from your terminal leave, we will be happy to connect you with programs that serve active-duty service members and encourage you to connect with your Primary Care doctor for additional services.
What if I had a TBI within the past 6 months?
Our team cannot evaluate and treat acute injuries. If you have obtained a TBI within the past 6 months, we will encourage you to connect with your local medical providers.
If I’m determined ineligible for the 3-day evaluation, what happens next?
We will discuss possible resources you could benefit from and help establish relationships with those organizations for you.
What does the 3-day evaluation look like?
The 3-day evaluation will require you to travel to Chapel Hill, NC for an evaluation during the week between Monday-Thursday. It involves individual assessments with our interdisciplinary team that includes (but not limited to):
- Behavioral Health
- Case Management
- Clinical Pharmacology
- Physical Therapy
- Speech Language Pathology
- Vestibular Therapy
A case manager will navigate you throughout the three-day evaluation. On your last day, the THRIVE Program Medical Director, along with your care team, will meet with you to review a discharge summary (care plan). This discharge summary provides summaries and recommendations from each member of our interdisciplinary team. It also includes recommendations to provide to your Primary Care provider to help implement locally, including possible referrals and follow-up care.
What happens AFTER the three-day evaluation?
Your case manager will check-in with you regularly at least 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months post three-day evaluation. You will discuss if you need assistance implementing recommendations locally and if you’ve seen overall improvement in your physical, cognitive, and mental health.
When will the three-week intensive outpatient program (IOP) start?
We are currently scheduling participants for our IOPs in 2023. The IOP integrates conventional medicine from the three-day evaluation interdisciplinary team with complementary and alternative medicine approaches. During the IOP, participants will receive extensive education regarding traumatic brain injury and other health conditions to improve symptom self-management aimed at enhancing quality of life.
Who has access to my medical records?
Your privacy is very important to us. When you are seen for your three-day evaluation, a Medical Record Number (MRN) in the UNC Health electronic medical record system will be created. All your medical records are kept confidential and will not be released unless you sign and provide a Release of Information (ROI) request. The THRIVE Program team involved in your care will maintain your confidentiality. Members of the clinical team will discuss relevant details of your care with each other in order to effectively coordinate and provide you with optimal assessment/treatment.
Is everyone eligible for the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?
No. Eligibility is determined AFTER the three-day evaluation.
Will THRIVE Program services impact my VA benefits?
We do not provide evaluations for the purpose of VA disability ratings. You will have access to the medical records that we create and can use those however you would like, but we are not involved in VA disability ratings or disability claims. Our focus is on treatment recommendations for your TBI, PTSD, and other related health conditions.
Is my partner/spouse allowed to come with me?
Yes! We encourage your partner/spouse/family member to attend the three-day evaluation program with you. If you agree, they are welcome to join you in nearly all of your appointments to provide insight on your injury and symptoms, as well as receive guidance on ways to support your wellness. There will be some appointments where the partner/spouse/family member won’t be able to attend due to the individualized testing requirement of the appointment. Your partner/spouse/family member is welcome to attend the feedback portion of that appointment.
Does the THRIVE program provide any support or resources for my partner/spouse?
The THRIVE Program recognizes the importance of including family members in the treatment process and helping them build their own support systems. Our social workers would love to speak with your family member during or after the three-day evaluation about their needs to help connect them to resources and organizations.
Can my service dog go to the 3-day evaluation with me?
Yes! Your service dog is allowed to accompany you at the clinic and hotel.
Can I book my own travel?
You will have the option to book your travel or have our team do so. Your flight costs can be reimbursed if the ticket has been booked at least two weeks in advance and is for the main cabin. We do not reimburse for 1st class tickets. Travel options will be discussed with you once you have been approved for the THRIVE Program and have selected a date for your three-day evaluation.
What airport would I fly into?
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
Where do I stay at if I am traveling from out of town?
The THRIVE Program has partnered with the Rizzo Center, located a few miles away from the clinic. Our team will book your stay and provide transportation to and from the hotel if needed.
Will I need to rent a car? Will I receive mileage reimbursement?
If you fly into Raleigh-Durham, your THRIVE Program case manager will coordinate transportation to and from the airport and between the hotel and our clinic. We do not cover the cost of a rental car. If you are driving to Chapel Hill, we reimburse mileage up to 750 miles round trip.
What should I wear to my appointments?
We recommend comfortable workout clothing and comfortable shoes.
How does billing work and why do you need my insurance?
Your primary insurance/VA coverage will be billed first for the services received during the three-day evaluation. We will request a copy of the front and back of your insurance card and/or military ID in order to set-up this billing process.
What if I use the VA as my primary healthcare? How may this impact billing?
Our goal is to complement the services you receive through the VA, not replace it. We will encourage you to continue receiving services long-term through your VA providers. We will request an authorization from the VA to determine if they will cover some costs during the three-day evaluation and IOP.
How does travel reimbursement work?
You can receive reimbursement for travel-related expenses by either direct deposit or by receiving a check in the mail. If you choose direct deposit, you will be asked to complete a direct deposit form and provide a voided check. The reimbursement is processed and received within 7-10 days after your three-day evaluation.