Archive for January, 2018

Bill Introduced to Assist Homeless Vets Who Have Minor Children

Rep. Coffman (CO) introduced H.R. 4099, a bill which modifies the calculation of per diem payments the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes to homeless grant providers to include partial payment for each of a homeless veteran’s minor dependents.  This will ensure that a homeless veteran does not have to choose between treatment and keeping her or his family intact.

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Rep. Coffman (CO) introduced H.R. 4099, a bill which modifies the calculation of per diem payments the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes to homeless grant providers to include partial payment for each of a homeless veteran’s minor dependents.  This will ensure that a homeless veteran does not have to choose between treatment and keeping her or his family intact.

VA’s Homeless Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program has long been an important source of transitional housing for homeless veterans.  In 2016, these programs, generally operated by community providers who receive grant funding from VA, had 13,800 beds devoted to providing supportive housing and/or supportive services for homeless veterans.  Veterans may enter these programs to stabilize their medical and behavioral health issues, learn or re-learn independent living and vocational skills and seek VA services and benefits that help them recover from life on the streets. VA notes this is a successful program that in 2016, helped 16,500 veterans move from transitional to permanent housing.

Please support this legislation to assist our homeless veterans and their families.    You can use the prepared letter below to ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 4099.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/_N25xh1J_rT6d4VjVSDujA

26 Jan, 2018  Posted by Beth   Comments Off on Bill Introduced to Assist Homeless Vets Who Have Minor Children
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New Online Tool Will Provide Veterans With Customized Instructions for Discharge Upgrade Process

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense (DOD), through a joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has launched a new web-based tool that will provide customized guidance to Veterans who desire to upgrade or change the conditions of their military discharge.

By answering a few short questions, Veterans will receive information on the specific armed services board to contact, the form/s to fill out, special guidance applicable to their case, where to send their application and helpful tips for appealing their discharge.

“This new tool and partnership with DOD is one of many VA initiatives offered to Veterans who believe they may have been unfairly discharged or received an unfair discharge characterization,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Veterans who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to use the tool and then apply for review.”

DOD officials also praised the new innovative tool.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily accessible tool,” said Mr. Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “We support our Veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge.”

The military has estimated that tens of thousands of Veterans with less than honorable discharges are especially likely to have unjust discharges deserving of upgrades. These are Veterans who were discharged due to incidents relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or sexual orientation. Fragmented and confusing information has historically deterred Veterans from obtaining crucial information and — in many cases — necessary benefits.

The discharge upgrade tool is available at https://www.vets.gov/discharge-upgrade-instructions.

25 Jan, 2018  Posted by Beth   Comments Off on New Online Tool Will Provide Veterans With Customized Instructions for Discharge Upgrade Process
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VA Facilities Now Offer Same-day Care for Urgent Primary and Mental Health-care Needs

VA Facilities Now Offer Same-day Care for Urgent Primary  and Mental Health-care Needs 

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a major milestone, that 100 percent of its more than 1,000 medical facilities across the country now offer same-day services for urgent primary and mental health-care needs.

Same-day services means a Veteran with an urgent need for primary care and mental health-care receives services that may include: a face-to-face visit with a clinician; advice provided during a call with a nurse; a telehealth or video care visit; an appointment made with a specialist; or a prescription filled the same day, depending upon what best meets the needs of the Veteran.

“We made a commitment to our nation’s Veterans that we would work to reduce wait times and improve access, and we are doing it,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We were able to meet this goal, in large part, because of the concerted focus of our staff who care for our Veterans in facilities across the country.”

Since 2014, VA has concentrated its efforts on improving access and meeting the urgent health-care needs of Veterans. In 2016, all of VA’s medical centers offered same-day services for primary and mental health services.

In addition to offering same-day services, VA has reduced patient wait times. VA also implemented a new process to ensure timely follow-up appointments for time-sensitive medical needs. More than 100,000 such appointments have been completed.

In 2017, Veterans completed over 57.5 million appointments and VA clinicians saw almost 6 million patients.

To view access information about each facility nationwide, visit https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/.  The information provided at this link is not offered by any major national hospital organization in the country.

14 Jan, 2018  Posted by Beth   Comments Off on VA Facilities Now Offer Same-day Care for Urgent Primary and Mental Health-care Needs
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OUR CONDOLENCES TO ​COMMANDER JOHN BURDEN & HIS FAMILY

OUR CONDOLENCES TO  ​COMMANDER JOHN BURDEN & HIS FAMILY

Chapter & Unit 8 sends our condolences to Commander John Burden with the loss of his spouse Pat Burden.

On New Year’s Day 2018, Pat Burden passed away; Pat was one of the Founding Members of Unit 24 in Surprise and had risen to the office of Commander. She also held the office of Sr. Vice Commander for the State DAVA. This is a tragic loss for everyone who knew her and for the DAV and DAVA.​

Services for Pat Burden will be held on January 18, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Location: Christ Church of the Valley
14787 W Cholla StSurprise, AZ 

A reception will be held after the service @ DAV Chapter 20 located: 8447 N 61st Ave.  Glendale, AZ


 In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to Unit 24.  Anyone wishing to donate can mail their donation to DAV Department of Arizona, 38 W Dunlap Ave., Phoenix, AZ  85021 Attn:  Commander John Burden.

10 Jan, 2018  Posted by Carey Slade   Comments Off on OUR CONDOLENCES TO ​COMMANDER JOHN BURDEN & HIS FAMILY
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Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin declares suicide prevention as top clinical priority

Recently, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Dr. David Shulkin declared suicide prevention his top clinical priority. As part of his prevention effort, effective July 5, 2017, VA began offering veterans with other-than-honorable (OTH) administrative military discharges, an estimated 500,000 veterans, access to the full array of VA services if they require emergency mental health treatment. Former service members may enter the system to use this benefit by visiting a VA emergency room or Vet Center or by calling the Veteran Crisis Line. If it is determined to be a mental health emergency, the veteran may qualify for up to 90 days of care, which can include inpatient, residential, and outpatient care. During this time, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), will work together to determine if the veteran’s mental health issue is related to military service, which would make the veteran eligible for continuing medical care.

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The Government Accountability Office reviewed military documents of veterans with OTH discharges between 2011 and 2015, and found that over 13,000 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury received OTH discharges. According to the military’s policy, these factors should have been considered in the character of discharge decision, but were not. Prior to Secretary Shulkin’s change in policy, these veterans with OTH discharges generally lacked access to VA mental health care services.

Despite VA’s dedicated efforts to reduce veteran suicide an average of 20 veterans per day take their own lives, 21 percent higher than non-veterans. In order to reduce this number VA established a crisis line and placed suicide prevention coordinator teams at every VA medical center. To date, the crisis line has answered 2.3 million calls, participated in 289,000 chats, replied to 55,000 texts, dispatched emergency services over 61,000 times, and provided over 376,000 referrals to VA suicide prevention coordinators. Most recently, the VA announced its efforts to train all its employees to recognize suicide warning signs to help ensure vulnerable veterans do not fall through the cracks. Recent independent assessments by Altarum and the RAND Corporation, found that the VA provides mental health and suicide prevention services that are superior to the private sector by as much as 30 percent across seven different performance indicators.

VA has made significant improvements in its mental health and suicide prevention services and the Department reports that veterans who choose VA are at lower risk for suicide. Unfortunately, many veterans do not elect to use VA, or they are ineligible to receive care. Secretary Shulkin noted that 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide are not regular VA patients. The most comprehensive study to date covering veteran suicide, published in July 2016, further demonstrates the increased risks for veterans who do not utilize VA services. This study found that since 2001, the rate of veterans using VA services who committed suicide increased by 5.4 percent, compared to an increase of 38.4 percent for those who did not use, or have access to, VA’s health care services. The statistics for female veterans are of particular concern. During the same time period, the rate of female veteran suicide decreased by 2.6 percent for VA users, but increased by 81.6 percent for women veterans who did not use VA services.

While more work is required to eliminate veteran suicide, this new policy to expand mental health care to eligible veterans with OTH military discharges is a step in the right direction. Secretary Shulkin stated, “we want these former service members to know there is someplace they can turn if they are facing a mental health emergency.”

Veterans in crisis should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 (press 1), or text 838255.

07 Jan, 2018  Posted by Beth   Comments Off on Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin declares suicide prevention as top clinical priority
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