Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Administration / Affairs

15
Oct
09

208. New Era of Responsibility?

A transformed VA will be a high-performing 21st century department, a different organization from the one that exists today. Beyond the next five years, we’re looking for new ways of thinking and acting. We are asking why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, this Secretary had to adjudicate claims for service-connected disabilities that have now been determined presumptive. And why, 20 years after Desert Storm, we are still debating the debilitating effects of whatever causes Gulf War Illness. If we do not stay attuned to the health needs of our returning veterans, 20 or 40 years from now, some future Secretary could be adjudicating presumptive disabilities from our ongoing conflicts. We must do better, and we will.

General Eric Shimseki,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Back in January Wanderingvets posted news of retired General Eric Shinseki taking the office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs .(Real Changes Ahead for Veterans Affairs?) With the confirmation of General Shinseki there was great hope that the VA would be revamped to better serve the needs of our growing veteran population. This week General Shinseki addressed Congress with a “State of the VA Message” that is the result of 9 months of assessments within the VA.

Out of my discussions with Veterans, three concerns keep coming through — access, the backlog, and homeless Veterans.

It would seem that General Shimseki has a very accurate pulse on the shortcomings that have been demonstrated with the current VA system.
From medical negligence to a long backlog of disability claims for veterans,the layers of improvements needed for treating our veterans with the services they deserve seems to have been identified.

It’s very encouraging to see the needs of our homeless veterans being acknowledged and addressed by the VA. With 25% of all homeless Americans being veterans this is an area that has been put on the back burner for too long. The current VA system does little to reduce the burden of homelessness for veterans and historically has let community organization bear the burden of providing for homeless veterans. Sadly, in this current economic climate community resources aren’t able to meet the growing needs of all homeless citizens and many of our veterans remain on the streets without shelter.A survey by the National Coalition for The Homeless shows that shelters for the homeless only provide shelter for less than 40% of people in need of basic services.  A previous statistic by the VA estimated 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experince homelessness at some point during the course of a year. The VA claims this number is being reduced despite the overall rise in the homeless population in the US and the need for expanded VA services due to returning military from Iraq.

Veterans lead the Nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse, and suicides. We now estimate that 131,000 Veterans live on the streets of this wealthiest and most powerful Nation in the world, down from 195,000 six years ago. Some of those homeless are here in Washington, D.C. — men and women, young and old, fully functioning and disabled, from every war generation, even the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will invest $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans — $2.7 billion on medical services and $500 million on specific homeless housing programs. With 85 percent of homelessness funding going to health care, it means that homelessness is a significant health care issue, heavily burdened with depression and substance abuse. We think we have the right partners, the right plans, and the right programs in place on safe housing. We’ll monitor and adjust the balance as required to continue increasing our gains in eliminating Veteran homelessness. We are moving in the right direction to remove this blot on our consciences, but we have more work to do.

The men and women of the armed forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country in military service, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned. Sadly, the VA has fallen short on this promise to our Veterans on many accounts. Does this recent report to Congress mark a new era of responsibility  to our Veterans or will we continue to have the “blot” of  unkept promises on our consciences? Only time will tell.

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14
Sep
09

207. Mobile VA Clinics for Tampa Veterans

mobile-outreach-clinic
Wanderingvets recently received this notification of mobile health services within the Tampa area:

James A. Haley Veterans hospital in Tampa Florida is pleased to announce the release of our new Mobile Outreach Clinic, It will be in our community delivering flu shots, homeless assistance, and so much more.

More information about services of this mobile clinic for the Tampa area can be found at The Department of Veterans’s Affairs/

18
Aug
09

206. 8 to 12 Hugs a Day?

hug

Dear Friends:

Today August 18th 2009 was a most dysfunctional reality check at the V.A.

One of my close ,old friends who is a long time Wanderingvets supporter and who is also aiding me while I am in North Carolina dealing with my health issues, picked me up this morning and drove me to the VA for a scheduled Compensation and Pension Examination.

Arriving promptly at 9AM for my scheduled appointment, I was surprisingly ushered right in to have my vitals checked, all good there (111/71 BP, 97.9 Temp). I was then whisked right across the hall to where I met a very nice PA-C (Certified Physician Assistant). It was all a roller coaster ride after that. Continue reading ‘206. 8 to 12 Hugs a Day?’

13
Nov
08

182. Remembering Veterans 365 Days a Year

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I’ve always been amused by the tradition of designating one day each year to celebrate  the importance of various groups. Don’t get me wrong. I think honoring people is important but it’s also important to carry this sense of honor for people throughout the entire year .  When it comes to honoring our Veterans we should carry a sense of gratitude each and every day of the year for all of our Veterans who have given so much to this country. And during each day of the year we should honor these brave soldiers by deeds that show how much we appreciate their sacrifices. Continue reading ‘182. Remembering Veterans 365 Days a Year’

12
Oct
08

179. Making This Country a Good Place for All

 

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.            Theodore Roosevelt

With the recent events of the past weeks and the staggering money placed into the financial markets, it is good to see that there is also being money being funded for those Americans who could really use a helping hand.  These Americans who I am referring to are our veterans who find themseves homeless. Unlike the CEOs of corporate America, our homeless veterans aren’t  asking for another million dollars in severance packages or an all expense vacation to a resort funded by our government .  In fact,many of our proud homeless veterans don’t ask for anything at all.  Continue reading ‘179. Making This Country a Good Place for All’

13
Aug
08

172. Veterans Not a Divided Issue for Presidential Candidates

Anyone who passes through this site on a regular basis will know that Wanderingvet has very strong opinions about the Veterans Administration services for our veterans. There are numberous articles throughout this site about the shortcomings of the VA in terms of serving the veterans of our country. Of course, this is just the experience of one man who has been part of the VA system,but there have been other readers who also have noted various points of concern regarding the VA and the service it provides to our veterans. Interestingly, our current Presidential candidates have also  noted that the VA is a government agency that could benefit from a major “make over”. Continue reading ‘172. Veterans Not a Divided Issue for Presidential Candidates’




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Wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com AnAmerican@wanderingvets.com

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