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Ensuring Volunteers' Health During and After Service

The Peace Corps' top priorities are the health, safety and security of Volunteers. The agency is continually working to improve the quality of care and support for both current and returned Volunteers.

To ensure continuity of high-quality care, the Peace Corps has:

  • Established and promoted a direct line to medical professionals at Peace Corps headquarters for current and returned Volunteers who have concerns, questions and comments about their health care.  Volunteers currently in service can contact the Quality Improvement Unit at qualitynurse@peacecorps.gov.  Returned Volunteers can contact the Post Service Unit at psu@peacecorps.gov.
  • Enhanced the overall quality of medical care provided to Volunteers by improving the supervision, hiring, credentialing and management of Peace Corps medical officers at each post.  Peace Corps has also upgraded technical guidance on a range of medical topics, including sexual assault, malaria suppression, injury and trauma, and mental health.  A Health Care Quality Assurance Council has also been established to oversee, monitor and report on the quality of Peace Corps health services.
  • Strengthened the policy and guidelines for malaria prevention and treatment.  Volunteers meet individually with their Peace Corps medical officer, where they are informed of the risks, benefits and side effects of the four different malaria suppression medications available to them, depending on their location. Volunteers are then given a choice of medications, depending on whether they prefer a daily or weekly regimen.
  • Sponsored a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study on how to improve malaria prevention and compliance with anti-malarial drugs among Peace Corps Volunteers. The CDC will conduct focus groups and anonymous survey research among currently serving and returned Volunteers to help Peace Corps improve the quality of our malaria prevention program and increase compliance with malaria suppression medications. Following the study, the Peace Corps will draw on its findings to launch a global education campaign on malaria prevention in collaboration with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State.

For Current Volunteers, the Peace Corps has:

  • Proactively provided referral forms, known as PC 127 forms, that guarantee coverage for readjustment counseling to all Volunteers upon Close of Service so they are readily available as needed when Volunteers return home.
  • Reformed medical evacuation procedures so all Volunteers who are medically evacuated to Washington, D.C., are met at the airport by a Peace Corps representative and have a choice of healthcare providers for their care. Medically evacuated Volunteers are encouraged to provide feedback to the agency on their experience to ensure the quality of the process.
  • Created a 24-hour sexual assault hotline pilot program staffed by mental-health clinicians that allows Volunteers to anonymously talk with a professional about available Peace Corps services and options for reporting an assault if they choose to do so.
  • Hired a nurse case manager who specializes in sexual assault services to oversee the medical care provided to medically evacuated Volunteers following incidents of crime.

For Returned Volunteers, the Peace Corps has:

  • Conducted extensive analysis of post-service Volunteer healthcare issues and collaborated with the U.S. Department of Labor to create solutions that address concerns related to Volunteer claims under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). Peace Corps has established a strong working relationship with the U.S. Department of Labor to improve FECA communication and streamline processes.
  • Hired new staff in the Peace Corpsí Post Service Unit to accelerate FECA case resolutions, which has led to significant progress, and added a billing specialist trained on FECA to work closely with returned Volunteers on their claims.
  • Reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that allows for several medical conditions to be treated by Peace Corps without prior approval, helping to make the process more efficient for returned Volunteers.

Fact Sheet: Ensuring Volunteers' Health During & After Service (PDF)

Last updated Jul 15 2014