AMVETS in Action

Tag: veterans health care

Army Cpl. Curtis J. Wells of Korean War Accounted For

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2016

Contact:
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Public Affairs)
Washington, DC 20301-2300
Phone: (703) 699-1420
Fax: (703) 602-4375

Fulfilling Our Nation’s Promise
Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Cpl. Curtis J. Wells, 19, of Ubly, Michigan, will be buried Sept. 10 in Harbor Beach, Michigan. In late November 1950, while Wells was assigned to Company C, 65th Engineer Combat Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, his company joined with Task Force (TF) Wilson to fight the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) in the vicinity of Unsan, North Korea. The TF was overwhelmed by a large force of CPVF soldiers, and by Nov. 27, 1950, they began to extricate themselves south and Company C returned to the control of the battalion. As the battalion attempted to account for its casualties, Wells was reported missing in action.

Wells’ name did not appear on any POW list provided by the CPVF or the Korean People’s Army, nor did any repatriated American POWs have any information about Wells.

In late 1953, as part of a prisoner of war exchange, known as “Operation Big Switch,” no repatriated Americans had any knowledge of Wells’ whereabouts. As a result of this, the U.S. Army declared him deceased as of March 18, 1954.

In October 1998, during a Joint Recovery Operation, a U.S./North Korean recovery team excavated a site in Kujang County, North P’yongan-Pukto Province, North Korea, based on information provided by witnesses concerning buried American soldiers. This site correlated with the area of the battle between TF Wilson and the CPVF.

To identify Wells’ remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, DNA analysis, including mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome Short Tandem Repeat and autosomal DNA, which matched two brothers, as well as dental and anthropological analysis, which matched Wells’ records.

Today, 7,802 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using advances in technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa/ or call (703) 699-1420.

EOD Warrior Foundation Seeks Tech in Need of Assistance Dog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Cher Murphy
Cher@chermurphypr.com
571-263-2128

EOD Warrior Foundation Seeks EOD Tech in Need of Assistance Dog

The EOD Warrior Foundation is partnering with MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs to pair a trained service dog with an EOD technician in need

NICEVILLE, Florida – (August 1, 2016) – Many EOD technicians need assistance when they return home from combat. Those who suffer from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often find that service dogs bring relief, others who have physical injuries, including amputations, blindness, and many others, may find benefit in having a service dog for multiple reasons. The EOD Warrior Foundation is partnering with MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs to provide an EOD technician in need with a fully trained service dog.  This dog is being donated in honor of former U.S. Navy EOD officer, Commander Kevin Childre, who passed away in May 2015 as a result of a bicycle accident while on a ride raising awareness for the EOD Warriors Foundation.

“We are pleased to work with MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs to find a fitting home for this beautiful animal, and a deserving EOD technician,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “We are also thrilled to honor Kevin, who meant so much to the country and did so much for our foundation. Kevin was a true dog lover and I feel this is a great way to honor his memory.”

Kevin Childre was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician who started the annual 2-Day EOD Undefeated Bike Ride in 2009 to support the EOD community, which quickly became the largest fundraiser for the EOD Warrior Foundation, raising almost $1.3 million in support of EOD families in its six year history. While on a 6-day bicycle ride to raise awareness for the cause he was in a fatal accident. The annual ride continues in four cities across the country this fall in his honor.

Wanting to honor his memory, MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs began training a goldendoodle puppy to become an assistance dog.  Kevin’s last dog was also a beautiful goldendoodle named Tucker.  The puppy currently in training is named KC, in honor of Kevin Childre. KC will finish training this fall and will be ready to be paired with an EOD technician in need. The EOD Warrior Foundation is working with MADE to provide the selected candidate with travel and accommodations to meet KC.

“We believe in what Kevin did for our country and feel this is a great way to honor him,” explained Hailey Jumper Mauldin, founder and executive director of MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs. “Helping fellow EOD technicians was Kevin’s life and KC will help continue the mission in Kevin’s honor. We are thrilled to be a part of this legacy.”

EOD technicians who are interested in KC can apply online at the MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs site: http://www.madeintexasassistancedogs.org.

There are over 7,000 men and women in the U.S. military who serve as EOD techs. They have one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, helping to defuse and dispose of explosive devices. They are highly trained members who are responsible for disarming, rendering safe, and disposing of bombs.

Since September 11, 2001, the EOD community has sustained serious loss of life and limbs. Since 9/11 and to date, 131 EOD Warriors have lost their lives on the battlefield, approximately 250 EOD Warriors have lost limbs, sight, experienced terrible burns, as well as paralysis, and numerous additional warriors continue to suffer from the invisible wounds of war, including traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress. The numbers of invisible injuries are unknown at this point and the suicide rate numbers are quickly approaching the number lost in combat.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members to include families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include emergency financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness retreats, and care of the EOD Memorial located at Eglin AFB, FL. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

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Marine From World War II, Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, Accounted For

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 22, 2016

Contact:
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (Public Affairs)
Washington, DC 20301-2300
Phone: (703) 699-1420
Fax: (703) 602-4375

Fulfilling Our Nation’s Promise
Marine From World War II Accounted For

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, will be buried July 30, in Alsip, Illinois. In November 1943, Oetjen was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Oetjen died sometime on the first day of battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

The battle of Tarawa was a huge victory for the U.S. military because the Gilbert Islands provided the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet a platform from which to launch assaults on the Marshall and Caroline Islands to advance their Central Pacific Campaign against Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Oetjen’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 28, 1949, a military review board declared Oetjen’s remains non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Oetjen’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched a cousin; laboratory analysis, including dental and anthropological analysis and chest radiograph comparison, which matched Oetjen’s records; as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

DPAA is grateful to History Flight, Inc. for this recovery mission.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

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Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, has now been  accounted for from World War II and will be buried July 30th in Alsip, IL
Pfc. Charles E. Oetjen, 18, of Blue Island, Illinois, has now been
accounted for from World War II and will be buried July 30th in Alsip, IL

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

“The Big 6” United Behind Veterans First Act

(Washington, D.C.)–The Veterans Service Organizations who are most often called before Congress for testimony on the state of Veterans Affairs, known in D.C. as “The Big 6,” are joining together to call on the Senate to vote on the Veterans First Act. While each has been engaged separately in traditional methods of calling for votes–such as letter-writing and email campaigns– they’re maximizing the power of social media to expand their outreach and get more veterans engaged.

“The AMVETS family is in full support of the Veterans First Act. Eliminating arbitrary eligibility requirements is crucial to ensuring family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the support they deserve and need. We support the mandate on VA to research the association between toxic exposures and health effects among exposed veterans’ offspring.”–Joe Chenelly, Executive Director, AMVETS

“We’ve recognized that Congress is starting to respond to pressure from social media, so we are doing the best we can to optimize the impact each of our members has by enlisting them to assist in less traditional ways. While Twitter may not be used by most Vietnam veterans on a regular basis, our kids and our grandkids use it. Our families will be helped most by the Toxic Exposure Research provisions within the Veterans First Act, and we are glad to bring them into the fold so they can help us let the Senate know that we all deserve a vote.”–John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America

“The VFW strongly supports passage of the Veterans First Act because it rightfully eliminates arbitrary eligibility requirements to ensure family caregivers of veterans from all eras receive the recognition and support they deserve. It requires the VA to research the association between toxic exposures and adverse health effects among the descendants of exposed veterans, and it makes urgently needed improvements to the choice program, which would ensure veterans who receive care from private sector doctors are not erroneously billed for that care.”–Robert E. Wallace, VFW Executive Director.

“The provision within the Veterans First Act that allows for the expansion of the Family Caregiver Program is a top priority for Paralyzed Veterans of America members. Caregivers are life-sustaining for veterans with a spinal cord or disease. They are the most critical component of our rehabilitation and eventual recovery, and their well-being directly impacts the quality of care provided to veterans. Caregivers for veterans of all wartimes should be provided with adequate benefits and resources, yet caregivers of pre-9/11 are made to bear the responsibility—and the toll it takes on their own personal and professional lives—alone. We urge the prompt passage of this legislation so that this inequity will finally be addressed.”– Sherman Gillums, Jr, Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director

“The American Legion stands with our sister Veteran Service Organizations to support the Veterans First Act. This bipartisan legislation has one third of the senate as cosponsors and will ensure that veterans have access to a Department of Veterans Affairs that maintains accountability, organized leadership, and parity of services for all generations of caregivers.”–Verna Davis, Executive Director, The American Legion

“DAV strongly supports Senate passage of the Veterans First Act, which would extend comprehensive caregiver support to veterans of all eras. The legislation would also increase veterans’ options for long-term care through medical foster homes; enhance VA’s efforts to recruit and retain the best and brightest medical professionals; reform claims and appeals processing by creating a fully developed appeals pilot program; and make dozens of other positive changes to improve the lives of the men and women who served. DAV looks forward to working together with leaders in both chambers of Congress, the VA, and other key stakeholders to enact comprehensive legislation to help keep the promise to all eras of America’s veterans.”–Garry J. Augustine, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

The Big 6 Veteran Service Organizations are asking their members, families, and supporters to join them during this campaign by using the hashtag #Vote4Vets1st in our Twitter Storm. The Veterans First Act is a bipartisan effort to improve accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, provide critical benefits to veterans in need, and improve existing programs. The veterans’ community deserves a vote on the Senate floor before Congress is dismissed for summer recess. In order for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fulfill Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” they must prioritize veterans over politics and pass the Veterans First Act.

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Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 10, 2016

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA) REMEMBERED AT THE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Korean War Veterans Foundation will pay tribute to the more than 8,000 men who served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War at a special commemorative event at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 9:00AM.

This ceremony will remember and commemorate the service of over 8,000 Republic of Korea soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving alongside American United States Army soldiers during the Korean War. Names of the fallen will be read throughout the day and wreaths will be presented at 9:00AM to remember all who served in the Korean War. Members of Congress along with Embassy of the Republic of Korea will be on hand to participate in the reading of the fallen.

Few Americans know, and sadly, some Korean War Era veterans fail to remember the bloodshed by those Korean nationals who were assigned to United States Army units during the Korean War.   The history of the war generally available to our people ignores the KATUSA or, if covered, tends to denigrate their contribution and use in U.S. units.   Lost in that kind of reasoning is why Koreans were assigned to US units! And, that is where this issue becomes one that ought to be acknowledged by America — for there are at least 36 plus thousand American families that should say, “Thank you KATUSAs!”.

Korean Augmentation To the United States Army (KATUSA Korean: 카투사) is a branch of Republic of Korea Army which consists of Korean enlisted personnel who are augmented to the Eighth United States Army (EUSA). KATUSA does not form an individual military unit, instead small numbers of KATUSA members are dispatched throughout the most of the Eighth United States Army departments, filling in positions for the United States Army enlisted soldiers and junior non-commissioned officers. KATUSAs are drafted from pool of qualified volunteers who are subjected to mandatory military service for Korean male citizens. While ROK Army holds the responsibility for personnel management of KATUSAs, KATUSA members are equipped with standard United States Army issues, and live and work with the U.S. enlisted soldiers. This kind of augmentation is unique throughout the entire United States Army worldwide, because KATUSA program was developed during Korean War as a temporary measure to cope with a shortage of personnel in the United States Army. The ceremony will feature

Beginning in July 1950 at the request of General Douglas MacArthur in front of ROK President Syngman Rhee, General Macarthur took command of all ROK Forces. At this time, General Macarthur implemented Korean soldiers into the U.S. Army where there were critical shortages, making the first KATUSA soldiers assigned to 7th Infantry Division, originally in Japan, but mobilized to Incheon in September 1950. This program continued after the Korean War, and KATUSA soldiers would spend 18-months with the U.S. Army learning his occupation and would then return to the ROK Army for training others on the occupation. According to the Eighth Army Wightman NCO Academy, “With the establishment of the ROKA Training Center in 1963…KATUSA soldiers began to spend their whole military tour in the U.S. Army”

About Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation (www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org)

The Memorial is unique in that it presents an aura of commitment both by a generation of young American soldiery as well as their comrades from 20 other nations of the United Nations and the Republic of South Korea. Dedicated to the concept that “Freedom Is Not Free”, the Memorial does not glorify war but rather the determination of our people to assist other people in preserving their freedom!

Unique among war memorials, and one of the most visited, the Korean War Veterans Memorial features a column of 19 sculptures representing those members of the Armed Forces of the United States that directly engaged the enemy in ground, sea and air combat and depicts the ethnic and racial makeup of those forces. The sculptures are flanked by a Wall filled with over 2500 photos depicted on the granite surface of personnel and scenes of the war.

The Pool of Remembrance at the head of the Memorial is dedicated to those killed in action, wounded in action, missing in action or held as Prisoner Of War by the enemy. Look closely at the numbers of casualties engraved in the granite border of the Pool and you will understand why the then “Police Action” now must be called a “War”! As surely as World War II was fought to save the world for democracy it can be said that the Korean War was fought to save the world from communism! The stand taken in Korea, and the “line in the sand” drawn there against armed aggression, became the catalyst for the eventual downfall of the goal of communism ,..”.. to enslave the world!”

Visit this Memorial! See for yourself why it is imperative that our goal of raising a Memorial Maintenance Endowment Fund is critical to ensure that it is maintained properly for future generations to enjoy and be inspired.

 

For media inquiries:

Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

COL(R) William Weber ~ Chairman of the Board

410-775-7733 ~ email: eagle187@hughes.net

 

 

The Mission Continues Launches Inaugural “Mass Deployment” In Detroit

The Mission Continues Launches First Annual “Mass Deployment” In Detroit #OPERATIONMOTOWNMUSTER

Week-Long Service Marathon Aims to Jump-Start Lasting Transformations in Communities of Deepest Need

DETROIT (June 7, 2016) – National veterans nonprofit The Mission Continues is launching a new program that positions veterans to be catalysts for long-term change and positive impact in communities facing daunting challenges. The inaugural Mass Deployment program will send hundreds of veterans and volunteers to participate in a week-long service engagement that will jump-start a long-lasting transformation in a city or community identified with a particularly high level of need.

For the first-ever event of its kind – dubbed Operation Motown Muster – The Mission Continues will bring more than 75 military veterans to Detroit to partner with more than 200 local veterans and community volunteers. Following Operation Motown Muster, The Mission Continues will maintain a sustained veteran volunteer presence in Detroit over the next several years to continuously support local nonprofits invested in revitalizing local neighborhoods.

“With the skills, leadership and experience they cultivated in the military, veterans are uniquely positioned to help accelerate Detroit’s comeback,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “We’re looking forward to an impactful week of service that will make a difference for the people who continue to call Detroit home and that will inspire others to take action and make a long-term positive impact in the community.”

Home to nearly 700,000 residents — many of whom are already hard at work shaping the future of their city — Detroit was a prime location for The Mission Continues’ inaugural Mass Deployment. During Operation Motown Muster, The Mission Continues veterans and local volunteers will add much-needed capacity to local organizations that are carrying on Detroit’s revitalization efforts.

Between June 23 and 30, nearly 300 veterans and volunteers from around the country will report for duty in Detroit for the organization’s first-ever “Mass Deployment” program. Dubbed Operation Motown Muster, over the course of one week, participants will partner with local community organizations to help accelerate the transformation and revitalization happening in Detroit. Each day, the team will deploy and execute a variety of high-impact missions, including construction, landscaping, painting and public arts projects. Specific projects include:

  • Refurbishing indoor and outdoor facilities at Central High School and Priest Elementary School to make the schools a safe and inviting place for students to learn,
  • Beautifying three public parks and future green spaces in the Osborn Neighborhood to create a safe, lively space for families to play, and
  • Cleaning up 40 acres of vacant land and converting portions of the Chene Ferry Market into clean, vibrant spaces for community events and an urban farm.

Following this week-long service marathon, The Mission Continues will maintain a veteran volunteer presence in the city to continually support local Detroit nonprofits over the next several years. And, in 2017, they’ll select a new Mass Deployment city with a goal of jump-starting long-term transformational change in another community.

The Mission Continues has operations across the country that engage veteran volunteers every day to have deep impact on critical challenges facing underserved communities. Veterans participate in operations by serving with The Mission Continues in one of two ways:

  • As a member of a Service Platoon, undertaking regular service missions that leverage veterans’ skills and leadership to make a positive impact.
  • As an individual The Mission Continues Fellow, embedding as a skilled volunteer with one of the operation’s nonprofit partners for a period of six months.

To learn more about The Mission Continues’ programs and opportunities to get involved, visit www.missioncontinues.org.

About The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Our operations in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth and more. Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.

For more information, please contact:

Laura L’Esperance, The Mission Continues
llesperance@missioncontinues.org

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VA Announces Personnel Actions

June 25, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced several personnel actions aimed at accelerating Veterans’ access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America’s Veterans.

At the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Leadership Summit this week in Washington, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson announced that, effective July 2, Dr. Carolyn Clancy will be named interim Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Clancy will spearhead the Department’s immediate efforts to accelerate Veterans’ access to care.

“Dr. Carolyn Clancy is a leader and a real innovator when it comes to Veterans’ health care quality and safety. As we conduct our search for an Under Secretary for Health, there’s no one better to take on the issues we face,” said Acting Secretary Gibson. “Dr. Clancy will be charged with the Department’s top priority – getting Veterans off of wait lists and in to see their doctors. She will also lead our efforts on immediate, national reforms to accelerate access to care and restore trust among our Veterans, and I’m grateful to her for taking on this critical role.”

Dr. Clancy has been at VA since August of 2013, serving as the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety and Value. Prior to her appointment at VA, Dr. Clancy, a general internist, served as Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Dr. Robert L. Jesse, current Acting Under Secretary for Health, will complete his four-year term as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health on July 2nd. A commission of health care experts and industry leaders is currently assessing candidates for recommendation to the Secretary and President on a permanent Under Secretary.

The Department today also announced that Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, Chief Medical Officer and President, Clinical Services for Hospital Corporation of America, will commence a short term assignment at VA as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary. Dr. Perlin, who previously served as VA Under Secretary for Health, is also chair-elect of the American Hospital Association. Dr. Perlin will be taking a leave of absence from his current duties.

“We’re pleased to welcome this exceptional leader back to VA,” Gibson added. “I look forward to the contributions of Dr. Perlin who is recognized for his national healthcare leadership roles, as part of the VA team as we continue our work towards accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with Veterans.”

Additionally, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson accepted the resignation of Will A. Gunn, General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective July 3. Principal Deputy General Counsel Tammy Kennedy will serve as Acting General Counsel.

Burn Pit Registry Opens for Lung and Other Health Conditions

June 19, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the opening of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to help meet the needs of Veterans who have lung and other health conditions possibly related to their deployment to the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations. The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry will enable VA to better assess the health of Veterans exposed to burn pits and other airborne hazards. The registry launch was postponed to allow adequate time to develop and test the software and hardware as well as to ensure data security and accessibility. Now that it is available, Veterans may participate and need not be enrolled in VA’s health care system to do so, because a registry is an epidemiological research tool and the receipt of a registry examination(s) and tests does not constitute the receipt of care. VA encourages all Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, and the Gulf War to participate in the registry. Veterans should sign-up now for a Department of Defense Self-Service Logon (DS-Logon) in preparation for the launch of the registry. DS-Logon can be found at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dsaccess

This registry will enhance our understanding of any identified long-term adverse health effects of exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards during deployment—ultimately leading to better health care.

Site Inspections to Restore Integrity to Scheduling Process

June 18, 2014

VA Initiates Monthly Site Inspections Across Veterans Health Facilities

WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson today directed all Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Medical Center and Health Care System Directors to conduct monthly in-person reviews of scheduling practices in every clinic within their jurisdiction. Site inspections will include observing daily scheduling processes and interacting with scheduling staff to ensure all policies are being followed to deliver Veterans the timely care they have earned.

“Our top priority is getting Veterans off of wait lists and into clinics said Acting Secretary Gibson. “We need our folks in the facilities to work directly with staff, answer all questions, and ensure our Veterans receive the timely care they have earned. Veterans must trust their health care system, and these reviews are an important step towards restoring integrity in all our scheduling activities.”
In addition to monthly reviews of over 900 Veterans Health Administration facilities nationwide, Veterans Integrated Service Network Directors will also conduct similar visits to at least one medical center within their area of responsibility every 30 days, completing visits to all medical centers in their network every 90 days.

This action follows the VA’s release of results from its nationwide Access Audit, along with facility-level patient access data.

VA Moves to Secure New Scheduling System

June 18, 2014

VA Holds Medical Appointment Scheduling System Industry Day

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) announced it is continuing the process to replace its medical appointment scheduling system through an acquisition process. Today, VA is hosting pre-solicitation “Industry Day” meetings with technology vendors to discuss the Department’s upcoming scheduling system acquisition.

“Our top priority is getting Veterans off waitlists and in to see their doctors,” said Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We’re taking a series of immediate actions to ensure our Veterans receive the timely access to quality health care they have earned and deserve. We need lasting, long-term reforms, including a complete overhaul to replace the outdated technology for our scheduling system. Bringing an innovative scheduling product into our world-class electronic health record system is a crucial part of providing the scheduling staff in our facilities with the tools necessary to succeed. Our Veterans deserve nothing less than our best, and that’s exactly what we intend to give them.”

This Industry Day presents a unique opportunity for VA to communicate directly with potential vendors on all aspects of the upcoming scheduling system acquisition. The Industry Day serves as a face-to-face platform for exchanging information about business needs, industry best practices and challenges specific to VA’s scheduling system.

VA’s scheduling technical requirements are complex and require clear, well-articulated communication to ensure comprehensive understanding by industry and potential vendors. As part of today’s events, VA is conducting a live scheduling system architecture Q&A session to ensure potential solutions seamlessly interface with VA’s VistA electronic health record.

VA uses this type of event to facilitate communication with vendors and reduce the risk of misinterpretation and miscommunication on technical requirements. The information shared during the Industry Day will provide VA with a better understanding of what needs to be included in the upcoming scheduling system solicitation, with the ultimate goals of receiving solid proposals and reducing time to field new technologies.