Veterans getting better care through partnerships, says VA secretary


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Veterans are getting progressively better care through partnerships, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said Oct. 16 at an Association of the United States Army luncheon.

Partnerships help Veterans through several different areas, adding to VA’s ability to provide services.

Wilkie said he convened the first all-government panel Oct. 15 to end Veteran suicide. The group included the Department of Health and Human Services, the Indian Health Service, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Institutes of Health.

The partnership is looking for a medical, holistic and social answer to Veteran and military suicide. Veteran suicide has long been a national concern, Wilkie said, saying the Army started collecting suicide data in 1893.

“We are finally having a national conversation that does not just look at the last tragic act of a Soldier’s life, but looks at the continuum of issues that might lead to that tragic act,” he said.

Another partnership Wilkie cited is the unified electronic health record for Veterans. The record will put everything in one place, from when people enlist until they’re discharged and receiving VA care. He said the joint Department of Defense and VA partnership will lead to a seamless record, far from the hundreds of printed pages Veterans used to carry around.

Veterans deserve better care

Veterans deserve this better care because of the enormous price they have paid for the nation, Wilkie said.

Wilkie shared a personal story of growing up during Vietnam as a child at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The secretary said when friends in elementary school were called up to the principal’s office, there was a chance there was bad news from Southeast Asia.

He said one of these times was April 4, 1975. Before South Vietnam fell, President Gerald Ford ordered Saigan orphanages evacuated under Operation Baby Lift. One of the medics on the C-5 was Air Force Master Sgt. Denning Cicero Johnson.

A faulty cargo door caused the plane to crash during takeoff from Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Dozens of Vietnamese children, 35 Defense Attaché members and 11 Airmen died, including Johnson. His daughter, Denise, and the future VA secretary shared the same classroom.

Wilkie escorted Denise to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall April 4, 44 years to the day after. She touched her father’s name on the last row of the last panel – the “1W” panel at the center of the memorial.

Meaning of service

During the event, Wilkie highlighted the stories of several Army Veterans. One of those, Cpl. Alvin York, received a Medal of Honor during World War I. York’s heroism resulted in 25 German dead and the capture of 132 more.

Someone asked York in 1941 about the wisdom of fighting World War I when America was on the verge of having to fight again in World War II.

“He said the thing that these so-called experts forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop,” Wilkie said. “Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and keep fighting forever to hold onto them.”

The secretary told the audience helping Veterans shows thanks for their service.

“Every time you look to protect our warriors in the field, or hire them, or help them, fund pro-Veteran causes like the Fisher House, you are doing more than helping these deserving young people,” he said. “You are setting an example for this country, and reminding everyone that we have our Veterans to thank. It’s not the pundit. It’s not the professor. It is not the protester. It is those young people who have never shied away from the call of duty.”

Author

Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.

Comments

  1. Keith Jackson    

    The VA does not give a dam about the Veterans, They only care about they own pay checks. They are still taking Monts to complete a disability claim. Its just a joke to them..

  2. DARRELL A    

    Advanced sadness with a hint of msg to give it a longer shelf life.

  3. Sean Collins    

    I recommend that any veteran seeking benefits or curious to know what benefits they are entitled to should contact their local Veteran Services Officer (VSO). My VSO told me of state and federal benefits I did not know about and he helped me to apply for these benefits.

  4. Georgia Colason    

    The Mission Act has given the VA hospitals the club they need to deny care so yes when we can get out into the community it is wonderful. But getting there is a whole different challenge.Mr Wilkie this continues to show that, as always, you are completely out of touch with what actually goes on on the veteran level. When we are atrached to a completely disfunctual VA facility, like Loma Linda VA hospital, we are lied to every time they open their mouths and we are given no recourse to make it right. They have gotten away with it for so long they are now comfortable in their deceit and the veterans can go bark to be treated. Hell, the building was infested with Legionaires disease for over a year with it was being kept secret so that the hospital directior could get his year end bonus while patient and employee were exposed to life threatening conditons unknowingly. You need to stop lying to us .Come down to the facility level and see exactally what does go on and fix that. Then maybe some of your veterans will stop walking into VA facilitues and taking their lives. Come to Loma Linda…I can show you one happening right now and you can see the bold face deception first hand. But I have a feeling you would rather believe the fairy stories you are trying to sell. Trust me…the veterans are laughing at you and don’t believe a word you say. Not until you get in the trenches and experience what we are dealing with. Show some real courage. We did…Oh and we are saying to veterans not in the system to run for their lives. Not to even consider going for what laughing is called care under the VA banner. You Mission Act is a joke to those it is suppose to help.

  5. Robert M Applegate    

    VA’s re-evaluation of additional AO related diseases was due out in 2017. Are they simply trying to out wait our life spans before they present this report?

  6. Gary LeBouef    

    I’m in the same Boat the VA has done nothing to help me with my Dental Problem all I Received was Grief and pain. I put 32 yrs in the Army 100 percent
    Disabled Viet Nam I guess that my reward for my Service.

    1. Jon    

      Are you seeing a VA dentist? I get all myself dental work done including implants.

  7. Donna Gilbert    

    My husband Guy Anderson who passed away in Feb. 2019.Guy was in the Navy for 11 years, and also worked for the patent office for 13 years. No one has helped me with pension which Guy, was due. I am his widow and got absolutely no help from the Navy! I am appalled at the lack of help in getting any kind of help.
    I await a prompt reply,
    Most Sincerely, Donna Gilbert

    1. M Tomlin    

      Donna, you most likely need to contact the Office of Personnel Management about any due pension you are due from his job within the US Patent Office. As for any VA benefits, because Guy was a veteran, I’d recommend reaching out to your local Veterans Service Officer, not the Navy, because it sounds as though Guy was discharged. VSOs help widows file claims for benefits from VA. I hope this helps!

  8. Nancy    

    The VA here hates to do any sort of referral for fear it will look bad on them and in the meantime…..

    On 2/19/19 saw PCP concerning pain on the lower right side.

    On 06/10/2019 Only a transabdominal examination was obtained. The uterus is surgically absent. The ovaries are not identified. In the right adnexa, there is 19 mm (.75 inch) cystic foci. No free fluid is noted in the pelvis

    10/03/2019 08:00 women’s health – I was told they only do the top half I the women’s clinic and I was sent to the wrong clinic should have been OBGYN. echogram pelvic b-scan &/or real-time w/imaging transabdominal I was told since I had a partial hysterotomy I did not need a pap smear is not due as per guidelines. Per their notes, I did not decline the pelvic exam, which would be done in the OBGYN clinic. I was told they would notify PCP to put in for a consult for echogram pelvic b-scan &/or real-time w/imaging transabdominal and then be followed up in the OBGYN clinic.

    10/17/2019 in the meantime……. 240 days later……still waiting……. stomachache is still here.

  9. Nancy    

    The VA here hates to do any sort of referral for fear it will look bad on them and in the meantime…..

    On 2/19/19 saw PCP concerning pain on lower right side.

    On 06/10/2019 Only transabdominal examination was obtained. The uterus is surgically absent. The ovaries are not identified. In the right adnexa there is 19 mm (.75 inch) cystic foci. No free fluid is noted in the pelvis

    10/03/2019 08:00 women’s health – I was told they only do the top half I the women’s clinic and I was sent to wrong clinic should have been OBGYN. echogram pelvic b-scan &/or real time w/imaging transabdominal I was told since I had a partial hysterotomy I did not need a pap smear is not due as per guidelines. Per their notes I did not declined pelvic exam, that would be done in the OBGYN clinic. I was told they would notify PCP to put in for consult for echogram pelvic b-scan &/or real time w/imaging transabdominal and then be followed up in OBGYN clinic.

    10/17/2019 in the meantime……. 240 days later……still waiting……. stomachache is still here….

  10. glenn martin    

    The Atlanta VA Hospital; has got to be the worst in the Nation???? They will call you and say call them back? Called back put on hold up to an hour or either they hang up. Went to the Hospital and Joyce called the Dental Clinic for me and finally got through. We talked to Dr. Comer who promised the world. I will make sure you will get an appointment and call you back or e-mail you. That has been seven days ago and nothing. Tried to call every day but no answer???? All I here is there is a problem with the phone system. This has been their excuse for 2 years now. If the phone system is broke and you know it then fix IT> They continue to drive on a flat tire??? Veterans are very frustrated with this Hospital and something needs to be done. No wonder Veterans commit suicide.

  11. isabi    

    wow thats awesome!!!

  12. Bill Silson    

    I was hired by Mears Transportation in Aug 2019. I tested for my CDL drivers permit, then went to the Advent Center Care Where I had my DOT physical. They could not give me my DOT MED card until the VA filled out statements directly from my Doctors about Cardiac health and results of my Dobblers and all tests I have had to indicate that I was in good health. Well that was August 21. I had carried the paper work-my PAC made 3 copies of the paper work- assured me it would be taken care. After numerous phone calls and attempting to get patiences Advocate involved nobody got it done. Not only that I have only received 4 calls back 2 assuring me it was being done . Never has been it’s been 2 months and chances of getting this job is not going to happen. My family(wife daughter grandchild 5) are kind of homeless because we are living with our son. Everybody works but I need a bit more income to buy a house. This job would have taken care of that. ,

  13. Eugene Martin    

    I moved to Sun City Arizona from Minneapolis Mn. I have tried to change my V.A. medical care to the clinic closet to me. They tell me they have no openings, and I should go to a clinic much farther away. I then asked if there was a waiting list, and if they would call me when there was an opening. they said know to both Questions. I don’t think this is acceptable patient care.
    They say they are short of Doctors and Medical staff. Please help with this situation.

  14. Kenny Griff    

    Send a letter to your state VA, your district representative and your state Senator. Send them the facts.

    1. Bill Silson    

      Sent Letter to Sen Scott 2 times. No reply.. Sen Rubio as well. It’s now dead in the muck.

  15. victor klodetsky    

    When will VA work with Silver Sneaker’s program !!!

  16. victor klodetsky    

    When will the VA work with Silver Sneaker’s program ???

  17. Thomas Edward Friedrich    

    Same old thing, The VA has changed one thing now you will get you answers on claims faster denied. Let me see how many more claims are denied or sent back. I bet it up 1000 % over the last 4 years. Dental 30 day or outside appointment, okay cool. One visit to the dentist needs filling 30days later cleaning appointment, 20 days cleaning appointment 30 days cleaning appointment, 2 visits dentist, so your 30-day appointment is more like 60 to 90 for a filling. How about being 50 years old and told you will be getting dentures. Dental implants would cost too much, and it more than the budget for the dental clinic has so no implants for you kids. That was what I was told after losing teeth to a coma and cancer. I am 50 years old and in school to become a Chaplin. I have a 100% service-connected disability. 2014 a new surgeon messed up put me in a coma, I have a colostomy bag for the rest of my life. The Patient Advocate told me they are a go-between to help veterans and staff. That the Roles of the Mediator The mediator’s ultimate role is to do anything and everything necessary to assist parties in reaching an agreement. And then, the doctor’s note is deleted, and the Doctor is out of the VA in less than 30 days.
    Now you like to talk about suicide, how about not getting your medication, even when you call them and tell them. Service dog for PTSD how about passing the bill. PAWS ACT H.R. 3103, And the numbers are every 22 hours ONE VETERAN WILL KILL HIMSELF 500 last year in CA. I DONT SEE THE Partnership. , but maybe you can tell my Mr. Secretary Robert how this Partnership going to help me when I am sitting in the tub covered with shit from a colostomy bag that came off. Thinking is this my life after being in charge of 250 MARINES. No help from the VA, and they put me this way. So happy we do much better.

    .

  18. Darrell Thompson    

    What can you do when you’re not receiving the care you need? I am on community care and cannot get anyone to return a phone call. I even left messages for the patient care advocate. No return call. I can’t believe they won’t at least return the call. I’ve never had this happen to me since I have been with VA care.

  19. Darrell Thompson    

    What can you do when you’re not receiving the care you need? I am on community care and cannot get anyone to return a phone call. I even left messages for the patient care advocate. No return call. I can’t believe they won’t at least return the call. I’ve never had this happen to me since I have been with VA care.

Comments are closed.