Key Veterans Bills Include New Burn Pit Registry in 2013

United States Capitol west

On Thursday, January 10th President Barack Obama signed key veterans’ bills into law.  One of the bills was the Improving Transparency in Education Opportunities for Veterans Act (HR 4057), which was crafted by the VFW.   The bill ensures that the VA will offer quality consumer information and consumer protections for student-veterans.  Another key bill, S. 3202, is a comprehensive bill that improves cemetery protections for grieving families of veterans and also:

Here is a list of all bills signed recently signed into law that relate to and either directly or indirectly affect veterans issues:

H.R. 1339, which designates the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard;

H.R. 4053, the “Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012,” which clarifies requirements for Federal agencies to use improper payment information to determine program or award eligibility; establishes a Do Not Pay Initiative; and expands OMB responsibilities in the effort to eliminate and recover improper payments;

H.R. 4057, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a comprehensive policy for providing information regarding higher education and training programs to veterans and members of the Armed Forces;

H.R. 6620, the “Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012,” which restores lifetime Secret Service protection of former Presidents who did not serve as President prior to January 1, 1997, and their spouses; and provides for protection of all children of former Presidents until they become 16 years of age;

S. 3202, the “Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012,” which amends authorities of the Department of Veterans Affairs related to: cemetery matters; health care; and miscellaneous matters.


Welcome to Clark Veteran Cemetery Restoration Association

HUD-VASH Voucher Program Aims to Stop Homeless Veterans Epidemic

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are working together to provide the fastest and most complete service possible to those who served our country who now need housing assistance.  Housing vouchers known as HUD-VASH are now available that can help veterans resolve their housing situation if they are in danger of becoming homeless.

The first step is to locate the VA center closest to you, register, and explain your circumstances. If you are a low-income veteran, the VA will refer you to the local housing authority nearest you that offers the HUD-VASH vouchers. These housing vouchers are funded by HUD, coordinated by the VA and administered by local housing agencies.  They allow veterans to live in the place of their choice.

The basic eligibility requirements are determined initially by the VA, as the veteran must be eligible for VA medical services and his or her economic situation should be classified under the definition of homeless as defined by law. Read all the details here.

The person must participate actively in obtaining services to help stabilize his or her situation. A requirement for participation is to accept the assistance of a social worker to help with handling your case, whether that is related to physical or mental disabilities. The most vulnerable veterans are ideal candidates for this program.

The next step is to contact the housing authority, who determines whether or not the veteran’s income level meets the program requirements.   The housing authority also verifies that the veteran and any immediate family member residing with him/her are not known sex offenders, which automatically disqualifies the person.

Once the eligibility process is determined, the veteran receives a list of homes whose owners are interested in renting to people with housing vouchers.  The veteran can select the property he or she wants, provided the owner agrees to receive payment for the rent on a contract with the housing authority and the tenant. The property must pass inspection to verify that it is habitable and sanitary housing.

If you need help, do not wait. Call the National Center for Homeless Veterans Assistance at 1-877-424-3838.

How to Fast Track your Agent Orange Claim

AGENT ORANGE Fast Track Claims Processing System

With recent reports of VA Disability Claim backlogs approaching the 1 million mark, and an average 125 day wait, this is valuable information for Agent Orange exposed veterans filing claims for the first time.

The Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website that is dedicated to processing claims for Vietnam Veterans who are filing first-time service connection claims for any of the following conditions:

Exposed veterans can use the website to apply for disability benefits for these conditions if they served in the Republic of Vietnam or in-land waterways between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.  Veterans who have previously applied for service connection for these conditions, or who wish to apply for service connection for any additional conditions,  should apply using the traditional claims process at the nearest VA Regional Office or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Agent Orange Fast Track has many features to expedite the claims process.

  • You can submit an application for benefits and evidence supporting your claim;
  • You can view your claim status;
  • You can view a list of evidence VA has received;
  • Your physician can submit evidence online; and can also send hardcopy evidence to the Fast Track Claims Processing System.

UPDATE: All veterans can now electronically file and submit copies of medical evidence in support of their claim. See the VA eBenefits for more information.

National Veterans Golden Age Games 2012 in St. Louis, MO

May 31st -June 5, 2012 in St. Louis, MO

Athletes at the Arch

The 26th National Veterans Golden Age Games will be held in St. Louis, MO! The Games will be held May 31 – June 5 offering exciting competition for Veterans age 55 and older who receive care at the VA.

More than 700 Veterans have registered to compete in this national event, which is one of the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation programs in the United States. It is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games is also one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world, offering 14 different sports and recreational activities including:

Air Rifle, Bowling, Cycling, 9-Ball, Checkers, Croquet, Dominos,  Golf, Horseshoes, Table Tennis, Shot Put, Discus, Shuffleboard,  and Swimming….Learn More >


Special Events

Interested in creative arts or attending a sports clinic? Check out these VA sponsored special events that are coming up soon.

Missouri Veterans Homes and Cemeteries in Jeopardy: Please Support HB 1731

Update: May 12, 2012

Great News!!!!
HB 1731 passsed out of the House early this morning and is now on it’s way to the Governor’s desk. Thanks to everyone for their support in this effort.


Original Post March 23, 2012:

Unless Missourian’s express their support of HB1731, the closing of area Veterans Homes and cemeteries is eminent.

The bill, which establishes a dedicated funding source to keep veterans homes and cemeteries up to par and operational, arrived in the Missouri Senate March 8, 2012 after overwhelmingly passing the Missouri House of Representatives (149-0) on March 1st, 2012.

The Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations (MAVO) held a rally in the state capitol on Thursday, March 22nd.  Hundreds of veterans, veterans family members, and veteran caregivers flooded the rotunda to show their support of the bill. Several nationally recognized speakers relayed their thoughts and feelings about the horrible reality of possible closures.

Here is a basic description of what the bill entails:

WHEREAS; if additional funding is not made available during Legislative Year
2012 (January thru May 2012) it will become necessary to begin the process of
closing beds, wings, and, possibly close one or more homes and cemeteries, and

WHEREAS; the current waiting list for admission to Missouri Veterans homes is
over 1600 and if such closings are permitted to happen the number waiting will
increase, and

WHEREAS; if homes are closed, Missouri State will owe the Department of
Veterans Affairs for the Federal share of 65% of the unappreciated costs of the
homes, now, therefore be it

RESOLVED; by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Missouri (VFW)
that the VFW URGE the 2nd Session of the 96th General Assembly while convened
in Jefferson City to enact legislation approving a one dollar ($1) addition to the
Entry Fee to all Missouri Gaming Boats and that the entire one dollar ($1) be
deposited in a dedicated Veterans Commission Fund, and be it further

RESOLVED: that the VFW and its entire membership be instructed that this is the
highest priority and that this be communicated to the Governor, all members of the
Legislature and the Executive Director and Commissioners of the Missouri
Veterans Commission.

HB 1731. Modifies how funds from the Lottery and the Gaming Commission Fund are distributed. Sponsor:. LR Number:. 5770H.03P. Fiscal Note not available. Committee:. Veterans’ Affairs, Emerging Issues, Pensions and Urban Affairs. Last Action:. 3/8/2012 – Second Read and Referred S Veterans’ Affairs, Emerging Issues, P

Please contact your local Missouri Senator and the Missouri Veterans Commission to express your support of HB 1731 quick passage in the Missouri Senate so that we can continue to house and properly bury Missouri’s veterans!

Telehealth: Connecting Veterans at Home with VA Nursing Staff through Videoconferencing

Veterans who are hundreds of miles away from the nearest VA hospital are now able to be “seen” by a VA physician without having to leave their home.  Thanks to modern technology, many different types of exams and clinic visits can be done using real-time videoconferencing, saving patients long drives and long waits.

Since 2003, the VA has been using a state-of-the-art technology known as Telehealth.   Use of this new-age service has resulted in more accessible healthcare for veterans everywhere.  VA healthcare providers are now able to see, hear, and talk to patients through a TV screen, while allowing the same privacy and clinical standards as patients visiting one of their facilities in person.

Each VA has a Telehealth Coordinator who collaborates with participating healthcare providers in setting up videoconferencing clinics so that specialist clinicians (like dermatologists or surgeons) can see a veteran patient living in a remote area.

General Telehealth (CCGT) improves access and visits to healthcare provders for veterans in rural or underserved areas.  By using video-conferencing technologies and diagnostic equipment, specialists from VA Medical Centers can treat patients in an outpatient clinic close to their home, avoiding travel and offering easier access to specialist care.

Home Telehealth (CCHT) is a service available to veteran patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, and mental illness.  Veterans with these illnesses can be monitored at home using telehealth technology, often delaying or preventing veterans from being admitted into long-term care facilities. This particular program provides services that include:

*Symptom management

*Vital sign monitoring


*Medication management & adherence

*Socialization and caregiver support

*Service coordination

For home telehealth, the type of home technology selected is individualized for each veteran, and a “Care Coordinator” is assigned to the patient.  The care coordinator is usually a registered nurse or social worker who manages patients with the technology to meet their complex medical and social needs.  This program helps keep veteran patients as independent as possible for as long as possible.

The cost of CCHT averages $1,600 per annum, and this has been compared with the $13,121 per annum for VHA’s home-based primary care service and $77,745 per annum for private nursing home care. Information on patient satisfaction with CCHT-based care is collected from patients every 3 months. Surveys in 2006 and 2007 found a mean satisfaction score of 86%.

Telehealth technologies are only one of several services that the VA provides at their PolyTrauma Rehab Centers located in Tampa FL, Minneapolis MN, Richmond VA, and Palo Alto CA.  These particular sites help improve access to care for combat wounded veterans who have multiple injuries by arranging for them to receive their care closer to home.

For more info contact:

Care Coordination Services (11CC), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue N.W., Washington DC 20420
Read Related Article: The Veterans Health Administration’s CCHT Programme – mainstreamed home telehealth and care coordination

VA and DoD Electronic Health Partnership: Origins and Registration Information

If you are a veteran discharged prior to 2002, then you may not be aware of the partnership now in existence between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).  These once separate entities now share health information between their unique Electronic Health Record systems.

The VA’s computerized system is known as the VistA CPRS (Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture/Computerized Patient Record System), and they have been working together with the DoD’s Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA, formerly known as CHCS II) to share information for nearly a decade.

The concept of shared information has improved clinical efficiencies and health care outcomes for both entities.  Veterans and active duty Service members can now receive needed health care without having to endure the unnecessary “duplication” of medical tests.  Thanks to modern technology, both VA and DoD clinicians can quickly review important health data from each other’s facilities.

The VA and DoD now share the following health information:

*Admission, disposition, and transfer data *Allergy data *Clinical theater data *Consults *Deployment Health Assessments *Drug and food allergy data *Laboratory orders and results *Outpatient pharmacy data *Patient demographics *Progress notes *Radiology reports *Vital signs data

Future plans include the development of a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) to ultimately share benefit, personnel, and health data from the start of a recruit’s military service through their transition to Veteran status and for the remainder of their life.

If you are a veteran who has NOT registered with the new electronic system (My HealtheVet), then please visit the following website to

register TODAY:

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VA and DoD to Pursue Joint Electronic Health Record