GARDEN GROVE/SCA – As your constituent and a member of Veterans-For-Change, an advocacy group for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment, my co-members and I would like to bring to your attention the ever-increasing problems affecting veterans and their families every day.
President Obama has clearly stated, “Whether you left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned. That’s why I’ve pledged to build nothing less than a 21st-century VA”.
Supporting the President’s position about Veterans benefits and care, Secretary Shinseki of Veterans Affairs, has accepted the “solemn responsibility to uphold our sacred trust with our nation’s Veterans”.
According to the U.S. Air Force, Secretary Shinseki stated, “We are going to break the back of this backlog this year…” The article states that, “Once the paperwork is intact, VA reps then will ‘work with the veteran to put together the best and strongest argument to win the case,” quoted Shinseki. “This is VA going to bat with itself…”
Perhaps that is what NEEDS TO BE DONE
The VA needs to go into a paper work and computer generated war to battle with itself. It is an issue and a battle that every Veteran who files a claim must continue to fight…battle…fight…battle, like a hamster or a guinea pig spinning along a cage – getting nowhere in a hurry!
Secretary Shinseki stated in another article quoted, “Since my confirmation as Secretary, I’ve often asked why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, we’re still trying to determine the health consequences to our veterans who served in the combat theater. Veterans who endure a host of health problems deserve timely decisions”.
Perhaps you, Secretary Shinseki and President Obama are not aware of the problems affiliated with the VA and Veterans Benefits. Veterans-For-Change would like to address the following problems/issues:
Dental Health Care for all veterans is a major concern. According to the VA’s website, “Federal law limits the dental benefits provided by the VA. The question needing to be clarified and addressed is: “Who is eligible and HOW do they apply for this benefit? The website continues describing eligibility:
- “Veterans who receive money for a service-connected dental disability, or those who are 100% service-connected for any condition;
- Veterans who were prisoners of war;
Veterans recently discharged from active duty who did not have their dental treatment completed before discharge.
They can receive one-time treatment if their DD214 shows dental treatment was not completed. An application must be made within 180 days of separation from active duty.
Who is eligible for emergency dental care?
Veterans with an outpatient dental emergency, such as severe pain, infection, trauma, or significant bleeding, may receive an evaluation free of charge. Treatment for patients not otherwise eligible is limited to treating pain or treating a dental condition that endangers the patient’s life or health. These patients will be billed for the treatment and referred to the private sector for routine care needs. The present fee for emergency care is $298.00 per visit.”
With the economy and unemployment escalating at such a rapid, unpredictable rate, it must be stated that $298 for emergency care is something most veterans, homeless, retired, or living on a stretched budget, cannot afford. Most of these veterans will fail to get dental care – of any type, and their health will continue to deteriorate.
For most veterans, it takes months to get a simple appointment, or VAMC’s do not have the proper facilities to care for and meet their needs or the needs of their dependent children.
Countless thousands of veterans and their dependent children often go without proper dental care and treatment due to a lack of services provided at a VAMC or lack of funds to pay privately. In the event you are not aware, healthy dental care is crucial for a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. Many Veterans who do not have medical coverage, or cannot afford dental health checkups will have their health deteriorate, all because of the lack of medical coverage for dental care.
Dental Health Care is also a matter of quality of life, and can be related to self-esteem. Regular dental care works to cure oral health issues such as gingivitis (periodontal disease) and decay which in turn can also cause major health problems and/or worsen those the veteran already has including heart conditions and diabetes. If dental care is left untreated, these treatable diseases could deteriorate the body and health of the Veteran.
A simple preventative Dental Health Care Program could really make the difference to Veterans, their spouses, and minor dependent children. Treatment on a regular basis could improve the health of the Veteran, thereby reducing the costs and expense of not just dental care, but total health care.
If a preventative care program was initiated and limited to those who are 30% service-connected and above [and on a small sliding scale fee system based on current income] could make a significant difference. For Veterans 50-100% service-connected there would be no fee based service, but a portion of their benefits and those less than 50% could be phased in over time.
You, as a member of Congress, can change this! You can draft legislation to correct this problem and help not only your veteran constituents but also veterans and their families nationwide. Since 2010 is an election year, this could be a great way to stand up and make a statement for your Veterans.
VAMC Physicians not up to date on testing and pharmacology:
Veterans go to local VA Medical Facilities to be treated and expect that their doctors are up to date on all medical testing and the latest drugs available to treat the illnesses they are being seen for.
Sad to say, VA Doctors are not required to keep CEU’s up, not required to take state board exams, and not even required to be licensed in the state they practice medicine in.
Additionally, they’re not required to attend “In-Service” classes within the VA Hospitals to become up to date on any new medical testing, procedures, or potentially better drugs.
Veterans-For-Change respectfully requests that a full scale IG investigation and inspection be conducted of all VA Medical Facilities to address these problems, and propose immediate correction.
Veterans-For-Change expects members of Congress to uphold the promises of decades to care for those who fought to defend our Country, and to practice what was established by the Continental Congress in 1776 — “the United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans for any nation in the world”. Now, in the Twenty First Century, it is time to draft, sign, and present legislation to correct wrongs from centuries ago. It is time to practice what was created and promised to motivate, service and care for our veterans – ‘nothing less than a 21st-century VA.’
President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end”.
If our nation rescinds its promises and ignores its obligation to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world, we compromise the right to ask our men and women to serve and defend our national principals. The choice is yours. With the election of 2010 in mind, please take action to defend and serve our country and our proud and deserving veterans today!
Take a stand to stop the endless spinning wheel of a hamster or guinea pig. Take a stand so our Veterans are treated as human beings, not pin cushions, or undeserving human beings. Veterans served our country with dedication to duty. Isn’t it time America and the VA treated our soldiers and veterans with the respect, and the benefits so promised.
Veterans-For-Change has been crying out to all 535 members of Congress now for four years as of April 2010, as President Wilson said, a leader’s ears must ring with the voices of the people! Veteran’s voices will be ringing in the polling places come November! Do you hear us?
Veterans and their families are tired of campaign promises and yellow ribbons. We need politicians on Capitol Hill to take immediate action to truly support all Veterans.
Jim Davis is the son of USMC MGySgt. Lesley Davis (Ret.) who passed away on April 24, 2006, from ALS caused by Agent Orange. His dad’s mission before he passed on was to ensure all veterans, spouses, children, and widows all received the benefits, medical care and attention, and proper facilities from the VA.
Because of the promise made to his dad to carry on the mission, in May 2006 Davis began as a one-man show sending out 535 letters every single week to all members of Congress requesting and politely demanding the fulfill their promises made over the past decades to care for life those who wore the uniform and their families.
Veterans-For-Change was born in August 2006 with a very small membership of 25 people composed of veterans, spouses, widows, family members, and friends and to date continues to grow.