Next CVO Meeting October 17, 2018

Featured

The next meeting of CVO is this Wednesday, October 17th at Jesse Brown VA (820 S Damen in Chicago) at 7 PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Room. Come at 6:30 to ensure your pizza is hot and to talk with Executive Committee Members.

The agenda includes a return by Bill Luna and his presentation on the history of Mexican American Veterans. Bill has made a dynamic presentation on this subject before and you can be sure there will be a lively discussion.

We will also have an update on Veterans Dental Care and the introduction of S 3133, the Senate version of the House bill calling for Dental Care for all veterans.

As usual, pizza will be served. Parking in the garage will be validated; get the validation when you arrive.

See you there!

Next CVO Meeting September 19, 2018

The next CVO meeting will be held at Jesse Brown VA (820 S Damen in Chicago) on this Wednesday, September 19th, at 7 PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Room. Show up at 6:30 PM to chat with the Executive Committee members and have some hot pizza.

We will memorialize and honor our fallen comrade and CVO Co-Founder David Rogers.

The agenda will also include a presentation on “Home Funding Options for Veterans” by Marcus D. Jefferson. Fundraising will also be on the agenda, plus Dental Care for Veterans and our Hyde Park office and the grant with the University of Chicago.

There will be pizza. Garage parking will be validated; get the validation when you arrive at the front desk.

See you there!

Jackson, Kash

Kash Jackson for Governor of Illinois

Kash-Jackson--Governor
Proper care of our veterans is paramount to me. As a veteran myself, I consider veterans’ issues and their access to healthcare a top priority.  There are obligations to veterans that we have made as a state and as a federal government, and we must live up to those obligations. Furthermore, the government should be mandated to fund the promises they made to veterans. At the same time, we must look for the best possible solutions to the problems facing our veteran programs today. I am willing to consider and evaluate every option on the table.

One of the top areas of concern is veteran homelessness. Tens of thousands of veterans are homeless on any given night in this nation, and over 20 veterans commit suicide every single day. These are issues that we must come together as a community to address. Proper mental health care to veterans must be expanded in order to meet the mental health needs of veterans.  More specifically, I recommend expansion of mental health programs by both public and private health care systems to provide necessary care and outreach to those veterans needing treatment (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5563010/). I will work to protect military pension benefits as service members make unique sacrifices through their deployments and the physical and mental trauma that is often associated with military service.

Candidate for Governor Kash Jackson, and Lt. Governor candidate Sanj Mohip

Candidate for Governor Kash Jackson, and Lt. Governor candidate Sanj Mohip

Also, through my own activism and research, I have found that a huge factor contributing to veteran homelessness is the struggle to pay child support obligations (https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/ssvf/docs/Veteran_HHS_VA_ABA_Collaboration.pdf).  Too many veterans are pushed out of their homes because they cannot afford child support. This especially resonates with me because I have personally struggled with the decisions adjudicated through the family court system. I relate to their struggles because I struggle with this issue as well. As governor, I will fight to change policy that currently straddles financially inequitable child support payments to veteran parents who are burdened with an amount they cannot afford to pay. Military disability pay should be 100% protected. The proper procedure for an ex-spouse is to apply for apportionment through the Secretary of the VA.

Providing job opportunities to veterans is crucial as they reintegrate into civilian society. One of the best things we can do for them here in Illinois is to foster a job friendly environment that will provide opportunities for veterans once they come home. As Governor, this would be one of my main objectives. Specifically, I will work to continue the “Recruit and Hire a Veteran” program as facilitated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (http://www.ides.illinois.gov/Pages/Veteran_Services.aspx). I will also continue to support policy and legislation that offers incentives for hiring veterans such as tax credits currently available to employers who hire veterans.

Illinois is experiencing an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease at the veterans’ home in Quincy. This is one example of how we are failing in providing adequate medical care to veterans.  Recent media coverage abounds on exposing the inadequacy of health care to veterans, whether through unsanitary medical supplies to a dearth of medical facilities and staff https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/14/privatizing-the-va/;https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/index.html; https://freopp.org/achieving-health-care-independence-for-veterans-62e0bd7c8947).  The health care system to veterans is crumbling. In an effort to address these issues, I support the use of vouchers for veterans to seek healthcare in the private sector.  Currently, the Veterans Choice Program gives veterans vouchers to seek care if the wait time is over a month or if a veteran lives too far from a VA healthcare facility. This type of voucher system can be expanded to include more veterans thereby giving them more of a choice in meeting their healthcare needs.

About my service: I entered the U.S. Navy on August 19, 1996. My tours included: USS Nebraska (Gold Crew); Naval Recruiting District New Orleans; Detachment Undersea Research & Development (Two Tours); Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois; Naval Submarine Support Center Bangor, Washington; Naval Service Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois. I had the honor of receiving many personal and unit awards including the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal (6), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, Military Outstanding Service Medal, and numerous other awards. I retired in 2016 after 20 years of service.

Website for Kash Jackson: https://www.kash2018.com/

CVO is 501(c)(3) organization, so we do not endorse candidates. Our request for candidate inputs will be put on our website, so that veterans can educate themselves on the candidates.

Vets complain of poor VA dental care, non-profit group steps in to help

Featured

By: Natalie Bomke

They fought for our country and now they are fighting for care. FOX 32 has learned of serious neglect in the national policy for our veterans’ dental care.

In some cases, the Department of Veterans Affairs is allowed to pull out all of a veteran’s teeth, but not replace them, leaving the veteran toothless.

Charles Medalis served his country in Vietnam, but 50 years later, he’s taking on a new battle. Medalis suffered an extensive infection in his mouth back in 2015.

Doctors from the Department of Veterans Affairs performed surgery and had to pull out all off his teeth.

“So they called me in there, and they ripped 23 teeth out at once,” Medalis said.

The surgery fixed the infection, but Medalis was left toothless. He then asked for dentures, but was told he didn’t qualify for dental care from the VA.

“It changes your whole life, you can’t eat right, you can’t look right, and people don’t understand what you say as much,” Medalis said.

He was left looking for answers, and then the group “Smiles for Veterans” stepped in.

“If it had not been for our program, Smiles for Veterans, providing Charles with that full set of dentures, he would have been toothless for 3 years,” said Patricia DeVore.

DeVore is the founder of Smiles for Veterans — a program developed by VFW Auxiliary Post 74-52 in Montgomery, Illinois.

In three years, the non-profit has funded dental care for nearly 100 veterans who don’t qualify for it through the VA.

“Most are Vietnam-era veterans, they were subjected to Agent Orange, which everybody knows that poison stays in their systems forever, and one of the places that it does first show its ugly head is on the mouth, their teeth,” DeVore said.

In the fine print, seven categories of veterans are eligible for VA dental care including former POW’s, homeless veterans and veterans deemed 100 percent disabled by the VA.

Medalis fell into the latter category earlier this year, and received dental implants from the VA.

“They should replace your teeth, they should make you whole again, under any conditions,” he said.

“There’s a cost to it, but there’s also a cost to not doing it, that leads to much more expensive health problems among our veterans, so healthy veterans ultimately save dollars in the long run for the VA,” said Congressman Randy Hultgren.

“Vets gave this country a shot at losing their life, and anybody who does that should be re-considered and given benefits,” Medalis said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs told FOX 32 that, “when veterans do not meet VA dental eligibility criteria, we try to work with agency partners to help ensure they receive the dental care they need.”

However, the veterans we spoke with indicated it was up to them to fund the cost of dentures or partials.

Seven Illinois congressmen and women are co-sponsors of legislation that would provide dental care to all veterans.

Smiles for Veterans is asking you to contact your member of congress and urge them to become a co-sponsor.

Original source: www.fox32chicago.com/news/local/vets-complain-of-poor-va-dental-care-non-profit-group-steps-in-to-help

In memory of David J. Rogers, Jr.

Featured

David J. Rogers, Jr.
1948 – 2018

DR_w_memorialCVO Founder and Director David Rogers passed away on Sunday, September 2, 2018. He was also the Executive Director of VetNet, a member of Strike Force, Chair of the Lockhart Institute Veterans Program, and a member and participant in many other organizations and committees, including the Mayors Committee on Aging. He was an immense presence in the Veterans Movement and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Please join The Multi-Faith Veterans Initiative, Arthur Lockhart Resource Institute & Family in celebrating the Life Of David J. Rogers Jr.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 Arthur Lockhart Resource Institute 4941 W. Chicago Ave. 10am-12pm

Next CVO Meeting August 15, 2018

The next CVO meeting will be held on this Wednesday, August 15th, at 7 PM at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center at 820 S Damen in Chicago. Arrive at 6:30 to chat with Executive Committee members.

The agenda will include new information on the Jesse Brown VAMC, the Accelerator Program and the interns for CVO, Announcements of upcoming events, a report from the Veteran Affairs Committee and more.

As usual, pizza will be served. It will be hotter at 6:30 if you arrive early. Parking in the garage will be validated; get it validated at the front desk as you arrive.

See you at the meeting!

Ball, Claire

Claire Ball for Illinois Comptroller

Libertarians are known for being highly critical of government run social programs, but one thing I, and most libertarians, believe in is taking proper care of our veterans. Over the years, there have been many concerns about the quality and availability of health care through the VA. Reasons given for millions of backlogged services have ranged from bureaucratic red tape, to a shortage of physicians and administrators, to the fight over whether a medical condition is service related.

The Choice Program sought to solve this problem by allowing veterans to go through private facilities for care, as opposed to government run centers, but with strict guidelines – this option was only available for veterans living 40+ miles from a VA clinic or those waiting more than 30 days for an appointment. There were other flaws in the Choice program as well, such as veterans being met with refusal on the part of private physicians, because they were not being paid for their services. This reminds me of the budget impasse Illinois recently ended, with social service providers having to close their doors because they weren’t getting the funds needed from the state. As an accountant, I find that situation to be inexcusable. There are certain things most everyone can agree on that we want our tax dollars to fund, and veteran care is one of them. As such, it should be high in the payment priorities of the state, and the nation. In June, President Trump signed the VA Vision Bill into law in an attempt to improve upon the Choice Program, expanding those choices to all 9.1 million veterans. The National Commander of the VFW has called this new legislation “the right balance,” but only time will tell if it helps our veterans get the care they deserve.

Mandatory Funding and Payment Prioritization

There are many places to slash spending and end government handouts, but Veterans Services should not be one of them. When asked, Libertarians will tell you that Illinois does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem, and it’s no different on the national level. As Illinois Comptroller, I would prioritize payments to social services that care for those who truly need it, such as our state’s veterans homes, above special interests and pet projects. Likewise, the federal government should prioritize funding for veteran services. We should never find ourselves in the situation where insufficient, or total lack of payment for services provided by private physicians caused veterans to be turned away. We must do better, and I hope the Vision Bill will help to correct those errors. Expenditures for veteran care should always be among the top of the prioritization list, and I fully support mandatory funding of veteran services.

Privatization

Many Libertarians, including our own Governor candidate and 20-year Navy veteran Kash Jackson, have rallied under the battle cry to “privatize it!”

While Libertarians believe that the private market does the best possible job of ensuring affordable, high quality care, we also agree that it is undoubtedly Uncle Sam who should foot the bill when it comes to our nation’s veterans. The 2019 VA budget is currently estimated to be $198.6 billion and even if half of that number were used for administrative costs, it still leaves over $10,000 per veteran that could be put into an insurance pool, perhaps similar to Tricare, from which medical and dental care could be purchased through private providers. This would put some control back into the hands of our veterans by allowing them to go through other providers.

Service related health needs could continue to be covered at 100%, and this would eliminate the situation we have now, where many veterans have been forced to either go without care or to purchase private insurance on top of their VA benefits. A special prescription card could be issued to veterans in order to retain the low price the VA currently pays for prescription drugs.

This is one, of many, ideas that could increase the quality of care our veterans receive. These conversations may be difficult, especially as we understand that many in the veteran’s community are adamantly against privatizing the VA; however, it’s a conversation worth having. Our veterans put everything on the line to ensure our freedoms, and we should be willing to do everything possible to ensure the best, most affordable care possible once they come home.

Dental Care

Dental care, which I initially thought was a standard part of the healthcare package for our veterans, is limited to only a small portion of veterans, those with specific needs and backgrounds such as pow’s or those who are 100% disabled. Dental care is important for every person as, according to the Mayo Clinic, oral health is linked to endocarditis and cardiovascular disease, as well as conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Beyond that, research has shown that veterans are at a higher risk for heart disease. Oral care is important, not only for good quality of life, but to help reduce costs related to heart disease or Alzheimer’s.

In order to truly care for our veterans, access to proper dental care is not only the humane and ethical thing to do, but it’s important in regards to overall health. Sponsored by New Hampshire Representative Shea-Porter, H.R. 4556 would ensure proper dental care for all 9.1 million veterans. And while I wasn’t able to find cost estimates for this writing, you can bet I will be watching this bill closely.

CVO is 501(c)(3) organization, so we do not endorse candidates. Our request for candidate inputs will be put on our website, so that veterans can educate themselves on the candidates.