Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced actions to strengthen the Caregiver Support Program and establish a timeline for expanding the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for
Family Caregivers (PCAFC) in accordance with section 161 of the VA MISSION Act of 2018 (MISSION Act). Under the MISSION Act, VA will expand the PCAFC to eligible Veterans from all eras using a phased
approach. Currently, the program is only available to eligible Veterans seriously injured in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001. Prior to expanding, VA must upgrade its information
technology (IT) system and implement other improvements to strengthen the program. “Caregivers play a critical role in the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable Veterans,” said VA
Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Under the MISSION Act, we are strengthening and expanding our program to positively impact the lives of Veterans and deliver the best customer experience to them and their
caregivers.” In December 2018, VA suspended certain discharges from the program due to ongoing concerns about inconsistent application of eligibility requirements at VA medical centers. Since then,
VA has held listening sessions with caregivers and other stakeholders, developed or amended 14 standard operating procedures to clarify program requirements for VA staff, increased oversight in each
Veterans Integrated Service Network, provided training and education to staff and caregivers and is boosting operational capacity with the hiring of more than 680 staff. To modernize its caregiver IT
system, VA is adopting a three-phased approach and will deploy a new system based on a commercial off the shelf product called Caregiver Record Management Application (CARMA) beginning in October
2019. VA will deploy phase two in January 2020 to centralize and automate stipend payment calculations and expects to deploy phase three in the summer of 2020, which will enable caregivers to apply
for benefits online. VA will then perform testing and verify that the system has full functionality before expanding the program as required under the MISSION Act. The expansion will occur in two
phases, beginning in the summer of 2020 or once the Secretary has certified that the new IT system is fully implemented. In the first phase, PCAFC will be expanded to eligible Veterans who incurred
or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. The final phase of the expansion will begin two years later. It will expand PCAFC to eligible Veterans who incurred or
aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty after May 7, 1975 through September 10, 2001. Additionally, VA has gathered input and is developing regulatory changes to streamline the program and
provide more clarity for Veterans and their family caregivers. VA will publish a proposed rule for public comment prior to issuing final regulations. VA is also working across the department to
ensure caregivers have a positive experience through program improvements and initiatives to include:
• Providing home and community-based care alternatives through the Choose Home Initiative at 21 VA medical centers.
• Establishing the Center for Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research named after Senator Elizabeth Dole.
• Expanding telehealth services to enable Veterans and their caregivers to get care in the comfort of their homes.
• Delivering valuable programs for caregivers such as peer support mentoring, a Caregiver Support Line, self-care courses and educational programs to help caregivers succeed.
Caregivers play a critical role in enabling Veterans to maintain their highest level of independence and remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. VA leads the nation in
providing unprecedented benefits and services to caregivers. The MISSION Act strengthens VA’s ability to serve as a trusted partner in the care of our nation’s most vulnerable Veterans. To learn more
about the many support services available for caregivers of Veterans, visit www.caregiver.va.gov or call the Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.
Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center has sharply reduced surgeries as it overhauls operations, the latest sign of significant troubles at the hospital for the area’s military veterans. The
Decatur facility stopped performing routine surgeries because of serious problems involving medical procedures, two employees told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One cited management and equipment
issues including shortages in sterilized equipment and sutures, staff not showing up on time and veterans canceling at the last minute. Both employees spoke on the condition of
emergency surgeries have been performed since Sept. 23, and normal operations aren’t expected to resume until the end of October.
lengthy layoff will add more wait time for veterans. Surgery dates at the hospital already can take three months or more, according to two other hospital employees, who also spoke on the condition of
anonymity. The VA confirmed to the AJC that operations have been scaled back, but didn’t share specifics behind the decision. “Atlanta VA Health Care System is committed to
continuously improving patient safety,” the hospital wrote in an email. “That’s why the facility’s leadership made the decision … to temporarily reduce the number of Veterans treated for elective
cases until the end of October, when the facility’s operating rooms will begin phasing in additional cases.”
cases are regularly scheduled surgeries. Hospital staff can still perform emergency surgery.
said between Sept. 23 and Oct. 10 it rescheduled or sent out 100 patients to non-VA facilities. The hospital has performed 130 surgeries. The VA said surgical staff will spend a month training
and reviewing procedures, practices and policies. The Atlanta hospital has been wracked by problems for years. It posted a one-star score last year in the VA’s hospital rating system, the
lowest-possible score. It also reported the most difficulty of 140 medical facilities in recruiting workers, with doctors and nurses topping the list, according to a September VA inspector
the employees told the AJC this week that shortages keep some doctors and nurses working 10 to 12 hours a day and still not being able to get all their work done. Suspending routine
surgeries for a month is highly unusual, according to medical experts. “Even a week would be out of the ordinary,” said John Gialanella, co-founder of Surgery Management Improvement Group,
a Michigan business that consults nationally on setting up and managing surgical units.
Westley Clark, a psychiatrist who worked with private hospitals and for the VA for 14 years in California, said he has never heard of shutting down an operating unit for a month. It’s good
they had the courage to shut down and deal with the issues, but it’s bad that the problem reached a point that needs a month to fix, said Clark, who teaches public health policy at Santa Clara
University and serves on the advisory board of the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute.
complex in Atlanta drew national attention early last month when Joel Marrable, a veteran dying from cancer, was found by his daughter covered in ant bites. On Sept. 16, national leaders
put regional director Leslie Wiggins on administrative leave. The regional medical director, Dr. Arjay K. Dhawan, was assigned to administrative duties pending a review of quality and safety of care
issues. Seven staff members were reassigned to non-patient care. The interim regional director, Scott Isaacks, was assigned from a VA hospital in Charleston that posted four- and five-star
scores in recent years. Five is the highest score in the system.
https://www.outsideonline.com/2394553/veterans-outdoor-therapy-could-become-law "Studies have shown—and veterans organizations
strongly concur—that outdoor recreational activities can provide powerful therapeutic and healing benefits as well as camaraderie for veterans struggling with combat-related injuries or
post-traumatic stress," said Smith in a statement. "We should be thinking outside-the-box to discover as many ways as possible to help veterans, and opening up federal lands and removing barriers to
access for remedial outdoor recreation is a no-brainer. My legislation would help increase access to this treatment option."
Naples already organizes fishing trips for veterans throught the Take A Soldier Fishing group. Contact them to join a boat for the day. Become a captain and share your backwater
fishing boat to introduce saltwater fly fishing with conventional baitcasting fishermen. Learn more about saltwater fly fishing through the local club, Backcountry Fly Fishers.
Dozens of charities have risen in the wake of starting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Servicemen from America and its coalition of the willing
have been severely injured by combat. It comes at great expense to the military hospitals as well as the victims. Once Servicemen are medically discharged or retired, the costs of care
and recovery are overwhelming. Veterans have no means to pay for all their needs once they are civilians. The following list includes groups that improve Servicemen's severely injured
quality of life. They live up to our philosophy of "Service before Self".
1. Hope For The Warriors
2. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
3. United Service Organization
4. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
5. Wounded Warriors Family Support
6. Puppies Behind Bars
7. Homes For Our Troops
8. Thanks USA
9. Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
10. Fisher House Foundation
11. Collier County Veterans Council!
Empathetic young men have invented treatments for struggling veterans who carry the scars of war with them every day. Private
companies have stepped forward help veterans where the VA, public services, and private doctors have come up short. They address different issues, but the esprit de corps remains the same.
Groups trying to pick up the pieces of shattered lives include:
The Raider Project
Hooves For Heroes
The Darby Project
The Oscar Mike Foundation
One piece of the veteran recovery process is the need for affiliation. A Silkie's Hike is really fun, but only lasts a short time.
A more enduring treatment is the continuous relationship with peers at the gym. Lift For The 22 is a program that
raises money for veterans in order to get them off the couch, out of the house, and out of their vicious cycle of depression. Reaching out to veterans by inviting them to the gym is a great
solution for both finding your own gym partner and soothing the pain OIF/OEF vets feel.
"In March of 2015 Lift For The 22 began as a hashtag social media movement designed to
encourage service members to connect and support one another in gym's all over the nation. Specifically, the program addresses the broken transitional system and aims to limit veteran struggles
thereby limiting veteran suicides. After being contacted by a local gym owner, the Lift For The
22 movement became more than a hashtag, but rather a movement to provide veterans with one-year gym memberships across the country. On July 23rd 2015
Lift For The 22 provided the first 3 veterans of the program with
one-year gym memberships at Workout Anytime in Beaverton Oregon. Since July 2015, over 300 Veterans have now received one-year gym memberships in a growing movement to end veteran suicide through
transitional support. The Lift For The 22 program is all
about having an outlet, building yourself up, and then being connected with a peer-to-peer support network of veterans who assist one another in the transition from military service.
The Veterans Council of Collier County & the American Red Cross of Collier County are working together to support the needs of our soldiers
overseas. The Red Cross will send our Care Packages to individuals in the military through their system, which is quicker and better than send them through regular mail. Several of our local churches
and civic groups already have programs in place to start assembling these Care Packages, we just need names & addresses of soldiers to send them to.
Typical Care Packages will include:
• Stationery (Letter Paper & Envelopes)
• Pens & Pencils
• Disposable Razors
• Playing Cards
• Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
• Baby Wipes / Cleaning Wipes
• Clearasil / Stridex Pads
• Hard Candies
• Coffee and Hot Chocolate Pouches
You can also mail your donation to:
Veterans Council of Collier County
Attn: Chief William Carl, President
527 107th Ave N
Naples, FL 34108
Please make checks payable to the Veterans Council of Collier County.
Collier County Veterans Council is registered with the IRS as a 301C non-profit organization. All donations will receive acknowledgement via phone, e-mail or letter.
Government agencies and non-profits, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes initiative use ID.me to enhance individual access to benefits and services and prevent fraud through strong identity verification services.
Over 400 of your favorite brands, such as Under Armour, SeaWorld and Verizon, use ID.me’s verification
technology to offer exclusive discounts to members of the following communities: Military, Students, First Responders, Teachers and Government Employees.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the White House Domestic Policy Council hosted an innovation summit Sept. 23 as part of The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the
National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) task force. The summit brought together more than 100 leading researchers, clinicians, innovators and decision makers to discuss research on public health
solutions to end Veteran suicide. The interagency group is charged with implementing a roadmap for Veteran suicide prevention at the national and community levels by March 2020. “Collaboration and
research are integral parts of VA’s public health approach to suicide prevention,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The work of the PREVENTS task force, like this summit, move us closer to solving
the problems that lead to suicide and ultimately finding an end to Veteran suicide.” Held during Suicide Prevention Month, the summit provided a unique opportunity for public and private sector
collaboration — to research and explore innovative ways to reach Veterans in crisis — and provide them with support in their communities. A request for information that went out in August generated a
wealth of ideas and elicited new insights for developing a national research strategy to end Veteran suicide. Those results will be compiled into action items as part of President Donald Trump’s
March 5, Executive Order establishing the PREVENTS task force in June. Suicide is a complex national public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans —
including more than 6,000 Veterans — dying by suicide every year. The summit strengthened public-private partnerships that will identify gaps in the current suicide research environment and implement
ideas to fill them. Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.