Veterans Affairs – 20th CVETSMEM http://20thcvetsmem.org/ Sun, 19 Sep 2021 05:26:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://20thcvetsmem.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/default1.png Veterans Affairs – 20th CVETSMEM http://20thcvetsmem.org/ 32 32 Veterans Club Inc. Hosts Motorcycle Ride to Raise Money to Reduce Growing Suicide Rate for Veterans https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-club-inc-hosts-motorcycle-ride-to-raise-money-to-reduce-growing-suicide-rate-for-veterans/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-club-inc-hosts-motorcycle-ride-to-raise-money-to-reduce-growing-suicide-rate-for-veterans/#respond Sun, 19 Sep 2021 05:10:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-club-inc-hosts-motorcycle-ride-to-raise-money-to-reduce-growing-suicide-rate-for-veterans/ After battling the terrorist threat overseas, Army veteran Mel Williams returned home to find his fellow soldiers fighting their own war. She found that nearly 20 vets a day across the country kill themselves. “While we’re busy we’re fine,” Williams said. “It’s when we’re not busy and slowing down, or when we don’t have people […]]]>

After battling the terrorist threat overseas, Army veteran Mel Williams returned home to find his fellow soldiers fighting their own war. She found that nearly 20 vets a day across the country kill themselves. “While we’re busy we’re fine,” Williams said. “It’s when we’re not busy and slowing down, or when we don’t have people around. This is when things start to happen to us. his community struggled with isolation. It continued to build up in her until last September when she hit a breaking point. “I told my husband we had to do something for the Veterans Club,” Williams said. “I said we have to give back, we have to take a ride together.” She and her husband Mike Williams have a motorcycle club called the Exodus Saints. They decided to team up with the Veterans Club Inc. to host an event called Red, White and Thunder Motorcycle Ride. They invited vets and community members to join a biker caravan heading to Frankfurt to raise awareness about veteran suicide and raise money for help. . “If you can save one life, it’s a good day. If you can save three or four, it’s a good day.” The event is now in its second year and on Friday over 100 runners joined the event. They managed to raise just over $ 3,100, more than double the amount they raised last year. The money will go directly to the Veterans Club Inc. to help make sure local vets have the resources they need to tackle the problem. According to Veterans Club founder Jeremy Harrell, the event was as successful as he had hoped. He was looking to raise more money because he said this year alone the veteran suicide rate increased by 20%. “In two weeks we had 12 veterans who were on the verge of suicide,” Harrell said. “We cannot stop at this issue. We recognize that veteran suicide does not wait until the end of the pandemic.” Harrell said the money will not only go to veteran suicide prevention efforts, but also to families who have lost a veteran to suicide. He said now that they know what they’re capable of, the plan is to make the event bigger and better next year. “Next year we want three or four hundred runners with us,” Harrell said. “We can’t do it, and we don’t want to do it without community involvement.” According to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate among veterans has increased by almost 50% since 2005.

After battling the terrorist threat overseas, Army veteran Mel Williams returned home to find his fellow soldiers fighting their own war. She found that nearly 20 vets a day across the country kill themselves.

“While we’re busy we’re fine,” Williams said. “It’s when we’re not busy and we slow down, or when we don’t have people around. That’s when things start to happen to us.”

Be a member of the Veterans Club Inc. in Shelbyville, she saw first-hand how veterinarians in her community were struggling with isolation. It continued to build up in her until last September when she hit a breaking point.

“I told my husband we had to do something for the Veterans Club,” Williams said. “I said we have to give back, we have to take a ride together.”

She and her husband Mike Williams have a motorcycle club called the Exodus Saints. They decided to team up with the Veterans Club Inc. to host an event called Red, White and Thunder Motorcycle Ride. They invited vets and community members to join a biker caravan heading to Frankfurt to raise awareness about veteran suicide and raise money for help.

“We just thought of whatever we can do to help them, we have to stand up and do,” said Mike Williams. “If you can save one life, it’s a good day. If you can save three or four, it’s a great day.”

The event is now in its second year and on Friday over 100 runners joined the event. They managed to raise just over $ 3,100, more than double the amount they raised last year. The money will go directly to the Veterans Club Inc. to help make sure local vets have the resources they need to tackle the problem.

According to Jeremy Harrell, founder of the Veterans Club, the event was as successful as he had hoped. He was looking to raise more money because he said this year alone the veteran suicide rate increased by 20%.

“In two weeks we had 12 veterans who were on the verge of suicide,” Harrell said. “We cannot stop at this issue. We recognize that veteran suicide does not wait until the end of the pandemic.”

Harrell said the money will not only go to veteran suicide prevention efforts, but also to families who have lost a veteran to suicide. He said now that they know what they’re capable of, the plan is to make the event bigger and better next year.

“Next year we want three or four hundred runners with us,” Harrell said. “We can’t do it, and we don’t want to do it without the participation of the community.”

According to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate among veterans has increased by almost 50% since 2005.


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Local WWII Veterinarian Purple Heart Recipient Gets ‘Dream Flight’ https://20thcvetsmem.org/local-wwii-veterinarian-purple-heart-recipient-gets-dream-flight/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/local-wwii-veterinarian-purple-heart-recipient-gets-dream-flight/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 16:41:10 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/local-wwii-veterinarian-purple-heart-recipient-gets-dream-flight/ John Haynes, a farm boy from Madison, first tried to join the Marines at the age of 13 during the height of World War II. He was turned down, but two years later Haynes, 15, walked into a recruiting office in Jacksonville and rigged his date of birth on the papers to say he was […]]]>

John Haynes, a farm boy from Madison, first tried to join the Marines at the age of 13 during the height of World War II.

He was turned down, but two years later Haynes, 15, walked into a recruiting office in Jacksonville and rigged his date of birth on the papers to say he was 18.

“I just had this burning desire to serve,” Haynes said. He was accepted and sent to training camp.

Since then, the 91-year-old has devoted his entire life to service and the military – fighting in the Asian Pacific and China during World War II, the Korean War and touring Vietnam twice.

John Haynes and his pilot taxi to the runway in a Boeing Stearman biplane on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Haynes, a veteran, benefited from this experience through the non-profit organization Dream Flight.

After 30 years in the Marines, he retired in 1975 as a major with a Purple Heart and a heavy string of other medals on his chest.

On Saturday Haynes lived the experience of a lifetime – a Dream flight.

The nonprofit is run by volunteers and takes veterans to the skies aboard a Boeing Stearman biplane, an aircraft once used as a military trainer in the 1930s and 1940s.

Haynes’ flight is part of Dream Flight’s “Operation September”, a two-month campaign landing in over 3,000 cities to fly 1,000 WWII veterans.

John Haynes returns from his flight over Tallahassee in a Boeing Stearman biplane on Saturday, September 18, 2021. The veteran benefited from this experience through the non-profit organization Dream Flight.

“The flight on the plane was wonderful,” said Haynes. It “reminded me of my days in Vietnam where we would take off in a helicopter. You get that rush of adrenaline.”

After his stint in the Marines, Haynes earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then spent 18 years working for the US Navy, including 15 as director of the Cape Canaveral Underwater Testing Center before being diagnosed with prostate cancer and retiring.


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Our Veterans Deserve All the Care They Need | News, Sports, Jobs https://20thcvetsmem.org/our-veterans-deserve-all-the-care-they-need-news-sports-jobs/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/our-veterans-deserve-all-the-care-they-need-news-sports-jobs/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 04:15:51 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/our-veterans-deserve-all-the-care-they-need-news-sports-jobs/ Imagine being the bureaucrats who run the federal agency tasked with making sure the nation is doing the right thing by those who were ready to fight for this country, and who need to be told to “Rapidly develop a comprehensive plan to connect veterans of Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism to VA […]]]>

Imagine being the bureaucrats who run the federal agency tasked with making sure the nation is doing the right thing by those who were ready to fight for this country, and who need to be told to “Rapidly develop a comprehensive plan to connect veterans of Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism to VA benefits and services.”

A group of 35 U.S. Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, were worried enough to send a letter saying so earlier this week. Our own Senator Shelley Capito, RW.Va., was among them.

“Over two million veterans served in the global war on terrorism, including over 800,000 in Afghanistan, and these servicemen deserve and have received the support they need.

We appreciate the VA’s commitment to providing mental health services to all veterans and request, in light of the current situation, that the department accelerate its efforts to provide resources to veterans of these recent conflicts, ” indicates the letter from the senators.

Think about how ordinary citizens have been affected by our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of a 20-year war that seems to have got us nowhere. Consider the trauma “the present situation” inflicts on the men and women who have done what their country has asked them to do, for two decades.

Those of us who have never served cannot imagine what we might experience.

But surely there are some in the Department of Veterans Affairs who can. They can surely understand the sense of urgency behind the senators’ letter.

If this group of senators and the rest of Congress find out that the VA is dragging its heels, the consequences must be swift. These veterans and all deserve better.

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Ernst and Hinson call for honoring American heroes in Afghanistan | New https://20thcvetsmem.org/ernst-and-hinson-call-for-honoring-american-heroes-in-afghanistan-new/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/ernst-and-hinson-call-for-honoring-american-heroes-in-afghanistan-new/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:28:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/ernst-and-hinson-call-for-honoring-american-heroes-in-afghanistan-new/ (Washington, DC) – After nearly 20 years of US occupation in Afghanistan, August saw the withdrawal of all US troops and the majority of US citizens from the country in the Middle East. According to figures from Brown University Costs of War project, as of April of this year, more than 2,400 servicemen have lost […]]]>

(Washington, DC) – After nearly 20 years of US occupation in Afghanistan, August saw the withdrawal of all US troops and the majority of US citizens from the country in the Middle East.

According to figures from Brown University Costs of War project, as of April of this year, more than 2,400 servicemen have lost their lives in one of the longest wars in American history, with 13 soldiers killed in the airport attack of Kabul during the withdrawal. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, along with Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, are leading the appeal to Congress to honor the American heroes of the war in Afghanistan. Ernst, a veteran herself, says she wants to make sure war veterans from Afghanistan know they are valued.

“I know there are so many of my veteran colleagues who are suffering,” Ernst said. “They just saw these horrific images on TV of our hasty and messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, and I want them to know and understand that America is grateful for their service. That we appreciate the fact that they have so much. given to keep our country safe for the past 20 years.

Ernst and Hinson introduced a resolution in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, to recognize the armed forces, diplomats and humanitarians who have rendered their service. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, along with Iowa Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Randy Feenstra, also provided their co-sponsors.

Ernst says it was difficult to see the number of servicemen who suffered, including several from the southwestern Iowa area.

“Whether it’s with our Iowa Army National Guards, whether it’s until the evacuation, Corporal Daegan Page, from Montgomery County,” Ernst said. “There are so many who made the ultimate sacrifice. There are many veterans that I have served with, and others who have served with, who have spent not just a year, but many years in serve overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. “

Among the 13 servicemen killed in the Kabul airport attack was Marine Corporal Daegan Page, who attended Omaha High School but also had ties to Montgomery County. Ernst has spoken with his grandmother, Peggy Tye, on several occasions.

“One thing I can say, he loved being a Marine,” Ernst said. “His grandmother told me, ‘Please remind everyone what an amazing young man he was.’ He had served in the Boy Scouts because he loved helping others, and he took that service from a young age, then joined the Marine Corps. There he was able to serve not only his community, but his country. as a whole. That’s what he was doing in these last days. “

Ernst says Page lived a life of service and knew his calling was to be a Marine, although he knows what can come with it. A celebration of life service is scheduled for Page at 10 a.m. Friday.

For those servicemen who survived the war but are still suffering, Ernst called on the Veterans Office to make sure they were providing adequate services.

“They need to make sure they have the right number of counselors available, that these hotlines are appropriately staffed, and that they provide the right level of behavioral and mental health services,” Ernst said. “Because so many veterans, because they are in pain, they can think about things, and we want them to know that it is okay to say that you need help or that you are confused about it. of a situation. “

Ernst says veterans who seek help can turn to Veterans Affairs website where there is a crisis hotline. She adds “A source“is also a website for veterans that lists the services available to them.

Thanks for reading kmaland.com

At KMA, we try to be precise in our reports. If you see a typo or error in a story, please contact us by sending an email to kmaradio@kmaland.com.


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The finishing touch to the new VA clinic | Local News https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-finishing-touch-to-the-new-va-clinic-local-news/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-finishing-touch-to-the-new-va-clinic-local-news/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 02:28:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-finishing-touch-to-the-new-va-clinic-local-news/ An opening date in November is the target for the new Terre Haute Veterans Affairs health clinic located in the east of the city to bring together health services for veterans in the region under one roof. Approximately 80 staff will be hired and trained to provide services to an expected clientele of 8,000 to […]]]>

An opening date in November is the target for the new Terre Haute Veterans Affairs health clinic located in the east of the city to bring together health services for veterans in the region under one roof.

Approximately 80 staff will be hired and trained to provide services to an expected clientele of 8,000 to 10,000 veterans per year.

Hires to fill staff are announced through the USAJobs.com website.

“This is a significant investment in the community and in the veterans of the Wabash Valley,” said Julie Web, project manager for the VA.

The 46,000 square foot facility was built at a cost of $ 40 million, using a “significant amount” of local materials and local labor, Webb said.

In the past, a smaller clinic on the south side of town provided some care, while other services were contracted out to other providers. This will no longer be the case.

The new clinic will provide primary health care, expanded physiotherapy, as well as additional optometry, audiology, laboratory services and a community pharmacy.

Mental health services will include addiction, PTSD, depression and other areas of mental health care.

The ground was laid on the new facility in late summer 2020. While an opening was slated for late summer this year, some supply chain challenges have pushed the opening to November.

In mid-September, Webb said the contractor was done with the property and the VA was adding furniture and equipment, as well as hiring and training staff.

The center is located at 5080 Bill Farr Drive, conveniently located behind Walmart off Indiana 46 and US 40. The 12-acre site also has plentiful parking, Webb said.

The project had been in the making for years and got off to a good start in early 2017. At the end of 2017, Congress approved funding for the Terre Haute facility, as well as new medical centers in Lafayette and Brownsburg, which recently opened. .

The Terre Haute project was officially unveiled at an event in December 2019 at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

All veterans are encouraged to register with the center to determine their eligibility for care through the VA system, Webb said.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.


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Veterans Affairs has a staffing model, but does the department use it? https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-affairs-has-a-staffing-model-but-does-the-department-use-it/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-affairs-has-a-staffing-model-but-does-the-department-use-it/#respond Thu, 16 Sep 2021 16:15:13 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/veterans-affairs-has-a-staffing-model-but-does-the-department-use-it/ The best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews at Apple podcasts Where PodcastOne. Staffing – keeping all of its available positions with the right people has been an ongoing challenge for the Department of Veterans Affairs. And VA has a staffing model. But the VA inspector […]]]>

The best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews at Apple podcasts Where PodcastOne.

Staffing – keeping all of its available positions with the right people has been an ongoing challenge for the Department of Veterans Affairs. And VA has a staffing model. But the VA inspector general’s office finds that the model fails to translate into a clear picture of staffing needs. For more, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Health Care Inspections at the Department of Veterans Affairs Julie Kroviak.

Tom Temin: Dr Kroviak, good to see you again.

Julie Kroviak: Thank you very much for having me.

Tom Temin: And again, we’re not talking about the hiring process, but the process of understanding staffing needs. And this report was something of great interest to Congress, wasn’t it?

Julie Kroviak: Especially since it was led by the 2020 Appropriations Committee. Essentially, we were asked to review VHA’s progress towards developing a comprehensive staffing model, as well as a timeline for the implementation. implementation of this model. We’ve expanded the scope a bit just to include information on the hiring issues during the pandemic.

Tom Temin: Understood. And so you were looking specifically at the model. And I’m guessing why the model doesn’t give VA executives a clear picture of the jobs they have open or the jobs they will need in the future. What did you find here?

Julie Kroviak: So if I can go back a bit, you know, since fiscal 2014 we’ve published reports that describe the severe staff shortages at VHA. And in each of those reports, including the last three, where we explore the facility level to get principals to cite what they perceive to be their needs, we always make a recommendation: get a role model. staffing. This is the only way to understand what your facilities need to meet their demand. So these were always directed to the Acting Undersecretary, we always got the approval, but in fact the problems remain for a long time despite their plan of action.

Tom Temin: And is a staffing model something that other big healthcare organizations, say commercial hospitals and so on, other nonprofit hospital chains, have it? they?

Julie Kroviak: Absolutely, staffing models can be a way for any clinical or non-clinical organization to identify their needs in a more proactive and consistent manner. And even in a large healthcare system, like VHA, where the needs of local and regional populations may vary, this model can still provide an important framework for those who hire and even for other budget decisions.

Tom Temin: So VHA doesn’t have the same, shouldn’t have the same staffing ratios and precise models for each of its 140 or so large health centers in the clinics, they have to adapt it to each location?

Julie Kroviak: Well, we would actually be in favor of a model that can be customized to suit local population needs and many larger hospital systems can and do. VHA has unique issues, as VA is also a collaborator in this decision making and the design of the staffing model. So, some of the things we found in this report added additional hurdles to getting things done.

Tom Temin: And so what is the net result of this problem with a staffing model?

Julie Kroviak: So it’s a bit complicated, but overall the fundamental question concerns the effectiveness of VHA’s control over their use of labor. An endowment model is only one of these controls, but it can establish a framework that can guide the budget. Who are we hiring? How much? Do we staff the care of the establishment? Do we go out into the community? These are really important questions and really expensive questions. And right now they’re guided by an actuarial model, which uses historical data on the workload. But at the end of the day, VHA, visionary leadership, facilities don’t have a standardized way to identify requirements. So you end up with a scenario where no one can weigh the funding against the needs.

Tom Temin: And is that one of the reasons there are so many vacancies at VA?

Julie Kroviak: They have legitimate hiring problems. And a lot of that goes back to the reports we’ve been doing since fiscal 2014 that talk about compensation. So, you know, competitive compensation is a big deal. There are geographic barriers to meeting demand and certainly in more rural areas. So it’s a bit more complicated because they don’t have the model. But the model is an essential tool to really understand the need.

Tom Temin: We are talking to Julie Kroviak, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Health Care Inspections at the Department of Veterans Affairs. And what is Directive 5010? And how does that play into all of this?

Julie Kroviak: So that dates back to 2017. It was a memo from the OMB that required all federal agencies to reduce the size and cost of the federal civilian workforce. So VA, a few months later, creates VA Manpower, and from there, two years later comes this directive – the VA directive 5010. So there are three main offices within the department that are involved in what we do. – what is the staffing model or how would it come to fruition, so you have VA Manpower, you have VHA Manpower, and then you have this office of productivity, efficiency and VHA staffing. Thus 5010 entrusts VA Manpower with the responsibility of verifying, validating and approving the models. VHA Manpower is responsible for determining workload and staffing levels, and then this productivity office is tasked with simply developing data reports to inform those staffing decisions at the local level. So, up to 5010, VHA Manpower has the responsibility for development, but there is no requirement or authority for implementation. So VHA and VA can come and go to develop models to get them approved, but then there is no authority to implement them, which is a big gap in the policy.

Tom Temin: Yeah, looks like they could generate a lot of shelves. So what are your recommendations here for tightening up all of this?

Julie Kroviak: So we made three recommendations to the Under Secretary of Health. Basically, it is a question of reviewing the roles, responsibilities and the number of people necessary to develop, validate, but also implement these models. And from there, they have to figure out a timeline. Yes, we can develop, we can validate but we have to put them in place, and Congress is rightly asking for a timeline of what this is going to look like. And then there’s another recommendation we make regarding some HR, Smart VA human resources, software, that they were not meeting some of the requirements of this policy.

Tom Temin: Imagine software that does not meet the requirements. What an original idea. What if VA can tighten that up and take these recommendations over the line, and by the way, do they agree with them?

Julie Kroviak: Yes, so there is a concordance. The problem is coordination – VA and VHA, don’t look at models the same. And then there is this missed opportunity to actually demand their implementation. So, until VA and VHA are on the same page, cooperating, collaborating and agreeing, it is difficult to be optimistic about the implementation and use of these models.

Tom Temin: And if they were implemented and used in some nirvana, maybe they could all come out of Vermont Avenue and go somewhere in neutral territory to discuss it, what would be the effect on the staff?

Julie Kroviak: It is actually so important to know what you are spending, where and why. There is nothing more expensive than health care, and you talk about a program that also provides care within VHA, but they also buy a ton of care, and these are decisions that need to be based. on a budget. Is it cheaper, better for us to buy cardiology from the facility down the street? Or is it cheaper and better for us to buy cardiologists and provide care here? Without the model, it is almost impossible to make these decisions in a meaningful way.

Tom Temin: Even if these are sincere decisions. And while we have you, what about hiring and staffing in the event of a pandemic? What did you watch there? And what did you find?

Julie Kroviak: So we were actually looking at this increase and really trying to figure out how VA handled itself to meet these dramatic hiring needs during the pandemic. So first, we looked at the workforce levels during the pandemic, but we also polled all [ Veterans Integrated Service Network] director, just to understand their perceptions of staffing during the pandemic. And overall, the majority of managers indicated that staffing needs were met. They had the push that got them more staff and they also reorganized the staff to cater for different types[s] requests related to the pandemic. Directors of VISN said they were in fact happy with the quality of the staff that were hired during the push.

Tom Temin: And what happens now that the staff no longer need them?

Julie Kroviak: The hope is therefore that they will remain permanent on this front. But you’re right, this will be another hurdle for VHA to try and retain the staff who were hired during the push.

Tom Temin: Because these people need the money to stay and that would come from Congress, and then there’s the mission need for them and they might not match the staffing needs of a time without a pandemic.

Julie Kroviak: Sure. And this is not a problem unique to VHA hospitals. So naturally there are a lot of unknowns out there.

Tom Temin: Julie Kroviak is Assistant Deputy Inspector General for Health Care Inspections at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thank you very much for joining me.

Julie Kroviak: Thank you for. I appreciate it.


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Vaccination rates vary within Virginia as mandate expands to a larger federal workforce https://20thcvetsmem.org/vaccination-rates-vary-within-virginia-as-mandate-expands-to-a-larger-federal-workforce/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/vaccination-rates-vary-within-virginia-as-mandate-expands-to-a-larger-federal-workforce/#respond Wed, 15 Sep 2021 22:47:22 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/vaccination-rates-vary-within-virginia-as-mandate-expands-to-a-larger-federal-workforce/ While the rest of the federal workforce awaits more guidance on the recently announced vaccination mandate from the Biden administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is following its own policy for health workers. Since the department first announced a vaccination warrant in July for some Veterans Health Administration employees, VA has seen a 9% increase […]]]>

While the rest of the federal workforce awaits more guidance on the recently announced vaccination mandate from the Biden administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is following its own policy for health workers.

Since the department first announced a vaccination warrant in July for some Veterans Health Administration employees, VA has seen a 9% increase in inoculations based on data from its internal medical records, the VA said on Wednesday. secretary Denis McDonough to reporters.

That number could be higher, given that some employees may have received doses outside of the VA hospital network and the department is still collecting attestations and documents, McDonough said.

About 380,000 VHA employees are subject to the VA vaccine mandate, which the agency expanded in August.

Of this population, 82%, or 311,600 VHA employees, have so far confirmed their vaccination status. Of that number, 88%, or 274,208 employees, are fully or partially vaccinated, McDonough said.

VHA employees have until October 8 to get a full immunization or request medical or religious accommodation. McDonough said it is not clear how many VHA employees have made medical or religious exception requests so far.

“We’re going to use this next period… to provide education,” he said. “We are working with influencers to try to make sure that we get information to them, to include the doctors… to include our union partners, who have generously agreed to work with us to communicate with the workforce.”

Those who fail to comply with the VA vaccine mandate by the October deadline will go through the “progressive discipline” process.

“The purpose of this discipline is to get people vaccinated,” McDonough said. “The last thing we want to do is lay off qualified staff. “

Supervisors at the local VA level will implement the disciplinary process, McDonough said. Those who do not get vaccinated after going through this process will be fired.

“I’m not yet in a position to say how much that might be,” he said. “But we are preparing to do this for the simple reason that the best way… to keep our veterans safe is to have these personnel vaccinated. Our goal, through this process, is to reach 100%. We have experience of this both in terms of rollout of vaccination but also rollout of disciplinary action with last year’s influenza mandate. “

Immunization rates vary among employees in other corners of the VA, McDonough said.

“These are rough estimates,” he warned, giving the vaccination figures from memory. “We receive these daily updates from our colleagues; it’s pretty fun actually because they’re making really good progress.

At the Veterans Benefits Administration, some 85% of the workforce has certified status, and just over 80% of these employees are fully or partially immunized.

Almost 90% of National Cemetery Administration employees have disclosed their immunization status, but 62-63% of these workers are fully or partially immunized.

These employees have until November 22 to be fully immunized under the recent presidential decree for all executive workers.

VA continues to see an increase in the number of employees who are not available for work because they are sick with COVID-19, leading some facilities to cut back on care in certain situations, McDonough acknowledged.

No region stands out as needing “major cuts” in health care, said Mark Upton, acting deputy health assistant secretary for community care, on Wednesday. But VA tracks installations in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and a few other parts of the country that have seen larger outbreaks of the delta variant.

Employees can register to be deployed as Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel (DEMPS) at facilities that are understaffed, both due to COVID-19 or other emergencies.

“VA employees have been on the ground for every emergency that arises over the past two months, helping vets where they need it most, when they need it most,” McDonough said. “I know it’s tiring for our VA colleagues. I know how demanding it is and I know how hard you worked for 18 months during the pandemic.

More than 180 VA workers recently volunteered to deploy to Louisiana as DEMPS in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the department said.

“We have a lot of people who live in these communities; they work, ”McDonough said. “Many spent the night several days or more than a week working at the New Orleans establishment while their homes were torn apart.”


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The University of Notre Dame continues to open its doors to veteran students https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-university-of-notre-dame-continues-to-open-its-doors-to-veteran-students/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-university-of-notre-dame-continues-to-open-its-doors-to-veteran-students/#respond Sat, 11 Sep 2021 15:12:00 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/the-university-of-notre-dame-continues-to-open-its-doors-to-veteran-students/ SOUTH BEND, Ind. – “So, I was in the navy, I spent 6 years”, explains John Noonan. “I moved to Washington and was stationed on a submarine there for four years.” “I was in the army for three years. I was in South Carolina at Fort Jackson for 5 months, then I spent a year […]]]>

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – “So, I was in the navy, I spent 6 years”, explains John Noonan. “I moved to Washington and was stationed on a submarine there for four years.”

“I was in the army for three years. I was in South Carolina at Fort Jackson for 5 months, then I spent a year in Korea at Camp Cacey which is next to the DMZ. Then I went home for four to five months, then I was deployed to Iraq and I also spent time in Syria and 9 months in the Middle East, ”says Joshua Korhorn.

“I was in the Navy for 6 years,” says Shauna Staples. “I was a nuclear electrician. I spent the majority of the time in Norfolk, Virginia. I must have attended a few schools in Saratoga Springs, New York, and South Carolina, so I moved a few times. “

John Noonan, Joshua Korhorn and Shauna Staples share one thing in common. They have all served our country. But now the trio are sharing something else.

“I was accepted to Notre Dame when I was in Iraq, so it was cool,” Korhorn says.

“There was an officer on board, he was a former student of Notre-Dame, and when I listed my schools and he keeps saying Notre-Dame and Notre-Dame, so I left him fall and I finally chose this school. I don’t regret it at all, it was probably the best decision of my life, ”says Noonan.

They are students at the University of Notre Dame.

“You spend some time serving your country and you go out and there is this big question of what now,” says Staples. “Opportunities for veterans can really point people to their next step in life, whether you make 6 or 20 in the military. I think this is important because they take care of you while you are inside, but you just have to find out while you are away.

Since September 11, just over 5 million Americans have served in the military. 50,000 were wounded in combat and over 7,000 made the ultimate sacrifice. Nearly 2 million men and women who served in uniform will return to civilian life.

“These men and women are amazing, they are heroic, they fought the enemy on the battlefield but they are more terrified of their transition to civilian life than to the enemy, so this project prepares them mentally. but also academically at a pinch. an academic environment, ”says Regan Jones, director of military and veterans affairs at Notre Dame.

Each year, the University of Notre Dame opens its doors to veteran students. Thanks to the Warrior Scholar Project, a college training camp now in its 5e year, helps those who enlisted right out of high school for academics they will face in an elite institution. But more than the opportunities offered by the University, this is also what veterans bring to campus.

From the overview …

“I think seeing people from all these different walks of life makes you appreciate what you have been given, but it motivates you and inspires you to at least do the best you can do, and to give it all that you have, to take advantage of the opportunities you were given, ”says Korhorn.

If only the experiences …

“I ended up doing a specific deployment to the East, so I went to Hawaii for a moment which was our port of rest and relaxation,” Noonan explains. “Then I did a race in the Arctic, so I went to the North Pole to become a blue nose, to make the submarine surface through the ice. Defeat the British in a rugby and American football match. They beat us in football, but 2-1 and best of three.

“When playing against the Kurds in football, they had a beaten grass pitch and we drove our trucks and played with them for hours every night,” Korhorn explains.

It’s these stories told on campus, the conversations they spark, the opportunities they create, that show that at this university, it truly is God. Country. Our Lady.


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Allsup Adds VA Accredited Claims Agent for Veterans https://20thcvetsmem.org/allsup-adds-va-accredited-claims-agent-for-veterans/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/allsup-adds-va-accredited-claims-agent-for-veterans/#respond Wed, 08 Sep 2021 19:31:08 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/allsup-adds-va-accredited-claims-agent-for-veterans/ Belleville, Ill., September 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Allsup, a national provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and veterans’ disability appeal services, has announced Today Anna Klucker was appointed Veterans Affairs (VA) accredited Claims Agent. She joins the ranks of complaints officers accredited with Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®. Brett Buchanan, Allsup VA […]]]>

Belleville, Ill., September 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Allsup, a national provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and veterans’ disability appeal services, has announced Today Anna Klucker was appointed Veterans Affairs (VA) accredited Claims Agent. She joins the ranks of complaints officers accredited with Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services®.

Brett Buchanan, Allsup VA Accredited Claims Agent, said, “Not only are we proud of Anna for meeting the requirements and passing the rigorous VA review process, but we can’t wait for her to contribute even more to the job. from Allsup to help veterans with their disability benefit appeals.

Klucker will be responsible for the preparation, presentation and prosecution of veterans benefits claims before the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She will review medical and service records, as well as VA laws and regulations to advise veterans and claimants on their best appeal options after their denial. If necessary, she will also represent veterans at hearings before the Veterans Appeal Board.

Klucker joined Allsup in 2005 and has held a number of positions throughout her career including Disability Claims Representative, Appeals Analyst and Claims Consultant for Allsup in the area of ​​SSDI. She switched to Allsup® Veterans Disability Appeal Services about three years ago to support Veterans through this Allsup service.

“Anna has become an exceptional asset to our team and now, as a VA Accredited Claims Agent, will help Allsup provide even more expert advice and support to Veterans who have been denied VA benefits for a number of reasons, ”Buchanan explained. “She will communicate directly with veterans regarding their military and medical history, helping them obtain the necessary evidence to support their appeal.”

While appeals are frequently denied by the VA, veterans who used a VA accredited claims agent were more likely to be approved on appeal with a 32.2% approval rate compared to a 26.2% approval rate without an agent in fiscal 2020, according to the Annual Report for the Veterans Appeals Board. “The decline percentage was 29.2% without representation versus just 21.5% with an agent,” Buchanan said.

Recently, the VA announced the addition of three presumptive conditions – asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis – for veterans claiming benefits. “This announcement indicates that the VA recognizes that exposure to overhead hazards such as fireplaces, air pollution and other particulates is a serious concern for many veterans,” added Buchanan.

For more information, visit Veterans.Allsup.com.

ABOUT ALLSUP

Allsup and its affiliates provide national Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work and health care benefits to individuals, their employers and insurance companies. Allsup professionals provide specialized services to help people with disabilities and the elderly so that they can lead as financially secure and healthy lives as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is headquartered in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at Allsup.com and @Allsup or download a free PDF of Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance: Getting it Right the First Time.

        


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VHA Employee Vaccinations Rise Amid Rising COVID Cases and Deaths https://20thcvetsmem.org/vha-employee-vaccinations-rise-amid-rising-covid-cases-and-deaths/ https://20thcvetsmem.org/vha-employee-vaccinations-rise-amid-rising-covid-cases-and-deaths/#respond Wed, 01 Sep 2021 22:32:45 +0000 https://20thcvetsmem.org/vha-employee-vaccinations-rise-amid-rising-covid-cases-and-deaths/ The Department of Veterans Affairs sees an increase in employee vaccinations, a month after the agency first announced a mandate of sorts for healthcare workers – and amid an increase in the number of cases in his network. Since Secretary Denis McDonough announced on July 26 his intention to require the vaccine for healthcare workers, […]]]>

The Department of Veterans Affairs sees an increase in employee vaccinations, a month after the agency first announced a mandate of sorts for healthcare workers – and amid an increase in the number of cases in his network.

Since Secretary Denis McDonough announced on July 26 his intention to require the vaccine for healthcare workers, the number of doses administered by VA to employees has more than doubled from a low earlier in the month, a spokesperson for the department told Federal News Network.

McDonough has since expanded the vaccination policy to include almost all healthcare workers, contractors and volunteers within the Veterans Health Administration.

About 9,000 additional employees have received at least one dose of VA since the end of July, the department said.

To date, VA has not started giving booster shots to employees, the spokesperson said.

According to an Aug. 13 directive from the VHA, employees must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or apply for a medical or religious exemption from the policy. Those who have approved medical or religious accommodation must undertake in writing to wear a mask.

Employees who have received doses at VA or who have already submitted documentation proving their vaccination do not need to do anything else. Those who have not submitted proof of vaccination must complete a VA form and submit it by the deadline. VA medical facilities must remind their employees of the requirements.

“Compliance with the policy, via vaccination or exemption, is required by October 8, 2021, after which disciplinary action related to non-compliance may be applied,” a VA spokesperson said Wednesday in an email to Federal News Network. “Those who violate this directive may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from federal service. “

In total, VHA is seeking proof of vaccination from 384,000 employees, the department said.

In the meantime, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Federation of Federal Employees, both of whom represent frontline healthcare workers at VA, said they are still negotiating with the department over the details of the vaccination policy.

With negotiations underway – and the prospect of disciplinary action for non-compliance still at least a month for some employees – VA’s current vaccination efforts mirror, in many ways, the programs other agencies are trying to establish. .

“All employees are currently encouraged to certify their immunization status,” the spokesperson said. “To help provide the safest healthcare environment for our country’s veterans, employees who certify that they are not vaccinated, not fully vaccinated, or choose not to provide vaccine information will be tested. weekly on site. “

Testing is not part of VHA’s own guideline, but VA does comply with policies created by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the department said. VA contractors on-site who are not vaccinated or refuse to respond must wear a mask and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the previous three days, the spokesperson said.

Like much of the country, the VA is experiencing its own spike in COVID-19 cases among veterans and employees.

“We have … unfortunately continued to see an increasing number of COVIDs and staff calling sick,” Steven Lieberman, the manager serving as Deputy Health Secretary, said in an Aug. 26 email to employees. by VHA.

As of August 30, 17 VHA employees have died last month due to complications from COVID-19, the department said.

Lieberman said at one point that the department in August experienced the highest number of employee deaths from COVID-19 in a single month since the start of the pandemic.

But the department has since confirmed it was wrong; VHA actually saw the most employee deaths in a month last December, when 28 staff members died from the virus.

Still, VA data provided to Federal News Network shows the department saw an increase in the number of COVID-related deaths among employees in August.

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

The data comes from Integrated Veterans Services Networks across the country, which report employee deaths to the Veterans Health Administration central office when new information becomes available. Most employees are not treated at VA facilities, which means that the release of some data may be delayed, the department said.

“I understand how upsetting this can be and the heartache that can accompany such losses,” Lieberman said in his email to VA staff. “Please continue to reach out and be there for your colleagues and take advantage of resources such as the Employee Assistance Program when needed. “

The department is currently tracking 13,951 active COVID cases among veterans, employees and others, including 1,163 cases in the HAV workforce. Last month, VA employee cases soared to 300 at the end of July.

VA facilities in Bay Pines, Gainesville, Orlando and Tampa, Fla. Had the most active cases of COVID-19 among employees on Wednesday, the department said. public dashboard.

A total of 177 VA employees have died from complications from COVID-19, according to the department.

VA facilities in New Jersey, Indianapolis, Dallas, Denver and Reno, Nevada, have recorded the highest number of deaths in the workforce, with six employees having died in each location since the start of the pandemic.

VA said the increase in active cases and employee deaths is due to the delta variant, which has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

“As a high reliability organization, the safety of veterans and personnel is the top priority in the provision of health care services and procedures,” the VA spokesperson said. “Since the start of the pandemic, VA has worked to ensure that its staff have access to an adequate level of supplies and equipment, and VA has increased the number of days of supply available from 30 days to 180 days for ensure adequate coverage. “

Citing privacy concerns, the department declined to say whether employees who died from COVID-19 were vaccinated.


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