The Damage is Done with “Thank You For Your Service”.

You can thank veterans for their service—and should—but more powerfully, find your own way to show them that they are valued leaders in our country.” Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a film screening of Thank You For Your Service at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, gave the introductory keynote to the event. With a title like the one of this movie, I was interested to see two things: first, what is the message of the film, and second, what is the authenticity-factor of the work? The film nailed the authenticity piece. Scenes and dialogue felt realistic, and the acting of Miles Teller was impressive. As the event host aptly noted, “this is not a good date-night film”, and it did not shy away from raw violence. Unfortunately, despite the film striking a genuine chord, the overall message set veteran empowerment back by a decade. For years we’ve been working on multiple fronts to address challenges, while also striving to beat back the tragically elastic “broken” veteran narrative. The focus of this film was most assuredly hyper-focused on the struggle some veterans face, with no evidence of any veteran returning from war to a semblance of stability. Read more at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/damage-done-thank-you-your-service-william-hubbard

My HealtheVet: Vital resource during emergency.

Palm trees being blown in a storm.

My HealtheVet provides Veterans with online access to their medication refills, VA health records, Secure Messaging and other valuable tools even when the brick and mortar buildings are inaccessible. My HealtheVet provides Veterans with online access to their medication refills, VA health records, Secure Messaging and other valuable tools even when the brick and mortar buildings are inaccessible. If the weather forces you to evacuate to another area, your VA medical records travel with you in your My HealtheVet account. Here are a few ways My HealtheVet can help in an emergency:  http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/41712/healthevet-vital-resource-emergency/

VIDEO: The latest version of #Trumpcare would throw the health care of 1.75 million veterans into crisis.

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TAKE ACTION: Call your Senator at the Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121 and tell them to reject #GrahamCassidy to protect the men and women who sacrificed for our nation. Tell your senator to vote NO on #GrahamCassidy! Watch video at https://www.facebook.com/votevets/videos/10154754299291022/

VA Providing Support to Veterans in Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands in Aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Official seal of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it continues to provide vital health care and other support to displaced Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

In Puerto Rico where electricity was knocked out by Hurricane Maria, the San Juan VA Medical Center (VAMC) — currently operating on generator power and staffed by 800 employees — is providing health care for 338 inpatients, with primary care and mental health services available for walk-in patients.

“We have been in constant contact with VA Caribbean Healthcare System leadership in San Juan and are sending relief resources to the VA Medical Center as soon as possible through available transportation assets,” said VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour. “Along with hurricane-hardened construction standards, the San Juan VAMC has enough fuel, water and other supplies to last at least seven days, if not more.”

Since Hurricane Maria also damaged communication systems, such as cellular phone towers and telephone landlines, VA officials have been monitoring the VA Caribbean Facebook page, and responding to family requests for status of both patients and staff.

Meanwhile, all community clinics, including Vet Centers in Puerto Rico and USVI, have been closed until further notice. Patients with appointments will be contacted as soon as possible to reschedule. Veterans Benefits Administration offices are also closed. VA national cemeteries in Puerto Rico are also temporarily closed.

VA is also coordinating standby personnel to deploy in the event they are needed, along with mobile shelters for use as sleeping quarters, as well as mobile medical units, which can be used to augment medical services in the area.

VA teams will begin damage assessments as soon as it is safe to do so and travel routes are clear. Once assessments are complete, officials will share information about when VA clinics will be operational.

The following resources are available for Veterans and employees impacted by the hurricanes:

https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2954

How Repealing Obamacare Would Hurt Veterans.

If Republicans vote for Graham-Cassidy, nearly 1.75 million disabled and low-income veterans could lose health care while the VA would be crippled by 245,000 more visits per year.  As Republicans were launching their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare last week, this time in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill, a study was released offering some disturbing statistics about one group that would likely be hit hard by the proposed legislation: veterans. At the very least, reversing the coverage gains that occurred under Obamacare would increase the population of uninsured veterans from 5.8% to 9.1%, according to the study, which was conducted by the RAND Corporation. But there would likely be many more negative implications for retired service men and women of scaling back Obamacare, formally called the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, the study predicted that most of the nonelderly veterans who would lose their health coverage would be low-income and unhealthy. That could spell trouble for the VA hospital system, which has struggled over the past several years to provide quality care to its growing population of patients. “Some veterans who lose health insurance coverage as a result of ACA repeal will become more likely to seek care from the VA health system, leading to additional strain on a health care system that already faces challenges in ensuring adequate capacity,” said the study’s lead author, economist Michael Dworsky, in a statement. Read more at https://www.forbes.com/sites/arleneweintraub/2017/09/21/heres-how-repealing-obamacare-would-hurt-veterans/#423a06d72d18

National Veterans Crisis Line, 800-273-8255.

You never know when you or a Veteran you know might need some help, right now.  Now you have a number that can help.

Thank you.

Curtis L. Coy

Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, DC 20420

VA Core Values:  Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)