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An Open Letter to America’s Veterans 


 

At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we have one of the most noble and inspiring missions in Government.  I accepted this job and joined this mission to better serve you—our Veterans—and improve the delivery of the care and benefits you have earned.  It is our privilege to serve you, and I have made clear that as we move forward as a Department, we will judge the success of all our efforts against a single metric—the outcomes we provide for Veterans.

 

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), enacted less than 3-months ago, goes a long way toward enabling VA to meet the demand for Veterans health care in the short-term.  VA has put considerable focus and attention on ensuring the law is implemented seamlessly, without confusion, and without creating hardships for Veterans.  This legislation provides authorities, funding, and other tools to better serve Veterans in the short-term.  We are appreciative of this temporary measure to improve access while we build capacity within the VA system to better serve those who rely on us for health care.

 

From June 1 to September 30, 2014, VA completed more than 19 million Veteran appointments in our facilities and made nearly 1.1 million authorizations for Veterans to receive care in the private sector and other non-VA health facilities—a 46.6-percent increase over the same period in 2013.  This was all done under existing programs prior to the passage of VACAA, and sets the stage for strengthening existing partnerships between VA and the private sector.  We have much we can share with one another to the benefit of Veterans.

 

VA has signed contracts with two private health care companies to help VA administer the Veterans Choice Program (Choice Program) under VACAA.  The Choice Program is a new, temporary benefit allowing some Veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility.  It does not impact your existing VA health care or any other VA benefit you may be receiving.  We will begin implementing this benefit on November 5, as required by law.  A call center is now operational to answer your questions and verify your eligibility for this program. 

 

As part of this new program, we are issuing a Veterans Choice Card to every Veteran who is potentially eligible for the new, temporary health benefit.  The Choice Card allows Veterans to elect to receive care outside of VA when they qualify for the new program based on the distance of their residence from a VA care facility, or when wait times for VA health care exceed the standards established in law.  The Choice Card does not replace the identification card you already use to access other VA benefits; please do not throw away that identification card.

 

The Choice Card will be issued in three phases.  The first group of Choice Cards along with a letter explaining eligibility for this program is currently being sent to Veterans who may live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.  The next group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent shortly thereafter to those Veterans who are currently waiting for an appointment longer than 30-days from their preferred date or the date determined to be medically necessary by their physician.

 

The final group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent between December 2014 and January 2015 to the remainder of all Veterans enrolled for VA health care who may be eligible for the Choice Program in the future.

 

We are continuing to work with our partners—Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, and others—to get the information about this health program out to Veterans in as many ways as possible.  Please visit our Web site at www.va.gov/opa/choiceact where we have provided helpful information on Choice Program eligibility.  We will work with our partners to keep you informed as we improve our delivery of high-quality, timely care.

 

Thank you for your service and sacri

 

Sincerly,

Robert A. McDonald
















WELCOME HOME

The term “Combined arms” is a military term often associated with assaults, ambushes and other dramatic actions, but for the families and friends of the 837th Engineers Company out of Lorain, Ohio, not so much.  The hometown definition is quit different.  “Combined arms” simply means that we will combine all our efforts to ensure that ALL of our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and family have all that is needed to return home safe and sound, and to that end the Family Readiness Group for the 837th Engineers had a benefit party and dance at the Stadium Bar and Grill at 8330 Tyler Rd. Blvd, Mentor, Ohio 44060 (440.205.4745). 

All proceeds from this benefit were used to furnish personal care items of the deployed troops.  For more information contact the SERV program at 216.481.8486. 




 
Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV) is currently partnering with the Cleveland Stokes VA Medical Center  to establish a nationally mandated Veterans Mental Health Council. 

The mission of the council is to facilitate humane, quality, compassionate mental health services and provide education for Veterans and their families, to ensure that all Veterans, family members and partners feel comfortable using the Medical Center's mental health services. We will seek opportunities to partner with the Medical Center's mental health department and other community mental health organizations and improve the perception of mental health in the Northeast Ohio area. If you are a Veteran, family member or the member of a community mental health organization please join us at to kick off Cleveland's Veterans Mental Council

 

Summary of the October's  meeting; How to improve the veterans access.  The Veterans Mental Health Council was at the Cleveland Veterans Mental Health Summit. We discussed funding, the National Veterans Mental Health Council teleconference and The annual report. We will have the agenda on the first of the month. 

See you at the next meeting

 

7000 EUCLID AVENUE, SUITE 202
ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 1:00PM-3:00PM.
I will keep the website updated with any changes
 
If you have any questions feel free to contact me John Merritt at: j.merritt@SERVprogram.com or 216.798.3540. 

 

 

 SEE THE INITIAL MEETING ITEMS


 

 


Who is the SERV Program?

 
The Veterans Research Group (VRG), a 501 (c) (3), supports veterans and veteran's families interested in higher education.  VRG is the parent organization of Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV).  SERV is a program designed to assist in creating a more veteran friendly college campus environment for our returning OEF-OIF service-members.  Section T of the “Higher Education Opportunity Act” calls for model programs for Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.  SERV has been selected as one of the best programs in the country.  (Nov 12, 2008 Wal-Mart Ace award).  Cleveland State, a SERV school at the time was also selected for the Tillman Scholarship award.




 


John Merritt

Director

j.merritt@servprogram.com

216.798.3540

216.481.8486 Office

21039 Goller Ave.

Euclid, Ohio 44119-1850