Next CVO Meeting January 16, 2019

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Due to the scheduling of CVO meetings and the dates of the holidays this year, CVO will not meet again until the third Wednesday of January: January 16, 2019. We’ll meet, as usual, at 7 PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Room of Jesse Brown VA. The CVO Executive Committee will meet at 6 PM before the membership meeting.

Have a great holiday season. We’ll send out reminders as always before the next meeting.

Next CVO Meeting October 17, 2018

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!

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

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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

Next CVO Meeting June 20, 2018

The next meeting of CVO is on Wednesday, June 20th at 7 PM at Jesse Brown VA (820 S Damen in Chicago) in the 2nd floor Conference Room.

The agenda will include an update on the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and an update on the CVO Flipcause Fundraising Campaign. We will also talk about the struggle against VA privatization.

Additionally, we will have a report on the fight for Dental Care for veterans. Attendees are encouraged to bring in any article, email, or other communication from a national veterans’ organization regarding HR 4556 on Dental Care. We need to see what other organizations are doing about this issue.

As usual, pizza will be served and parking will be validated.

Come and support CVO!

Next CVO Meeting July 19, 2017

The next meeting of CVO will be this Wednesday, July 19th at 7 PM in the Prescription Conference Room on the 2nd Floor of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center at 820 S Damen Ave in Chicago. Parking will be validated.

The agenda will include feedback from all Member Organizations in attendance on what they need and expect from CVO and the direction of CVO in the future. Further, we will continue our discussion of Veterans Dental Care. There will be a presentation about a program where veterans who dropped out of high school to enlist, can now get their diplomas.

We will have a sheet where attendees will put in their names as well as those of their State Senators and Representatives. The purpose will be to have a list of who is represented by whom, but it will also show who does and does not know who their legislators are.

REMINDER: If you have not already done so, please contact your State Senator and Representative, asking them to sign on as cosponsors for Senate Bill 922 and House Bill 1803, to provide dental care for veterans. In addition, please spread the word to the members of  your organizations, and please tell the members of your organizations to do the same. If these bills die in committee, for a lack of support, we will have only ourselves to blame.

As usual, there will be light refreshments.

See you at the CVO

Help Get Dental Care For Illinois Vets

Not all vets get their health care through the VA, but even for those who do, only some get dental care. We now have a chance to try to get dental care for Illinois Vets, provided that we all put forth the effort to make it happen.

State Sen. Omar Aquino has introduced SB 622 (http://cqrcengage.com/dentalil/app/bill/853397?7), and State  Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez introduced a corresponding bill, HB 1803 (http://cqrcengage.com/dentalil/app/bill/863394?1), that would, among other things, give us dental care.

Hopefully, these will be enacted, but it’s also highly possible that they will die in committee without ever reaching the floor for a vote. A key to moving the bills forward is for many other State Reps. and Senators to sign on as cosponsors. So far, the Senators who have signed are: Iris Martinez, Julie Morrison, and William McCann. The Reps. who have signed are: Kathleen Willis, Silvana Tabares, Sara Feigenholtz, and Will Guzzardi.

Ask members of your organization to contact their State Senators and Reps. to ask them to support this legislation by signing on as cosponsors.

If you don’t know who they are, go to: http://il–nea.capwiz.com/nea/il/directory/statedir.tt?state=IL&lvl=state

If you don’t like that website, and you vote in Chicago, go to www.chicagoelections.com. Click on the tab for VOTING, and from the dropdown menu, click on VOTER INFORMATION. Enter your information and click SEARCH. Then click on your name, and on the next page, click the tab for PUBLIC OFFICIALS, and you will not only get your State Rep. and Sen., but also every other elected official who represents (or rules over) you.

To track the progress on these bills, go to ilga.gov.  On the upper left part of the page is a window where you can input the number of the bill, and the latest information will be displayed.

Sincerely,

Larry E. Nazimek
CVO Vice Chmn.
Chmn. Of Veterans Affairs Cmte.

CVO: State legislation concerning dental care for vets

The Coalition of Veterans Organizations is trying to get dental care for veterans, because relatively few are able to get this care through the VA. In other words, many veterans are not eligible for VA healthcare, but among those who are, only a fraction are eligible for dental care. Far too many veterans walk around with rotted teeth and other obvious signs of a lack of dental care.

The VA has arranged for dental insurance that veterans may purchase, but it isn’t cheap. Veterans end up paying for what the VA should be providing in the first place.

Vets who are ineligible for VA healthcare and are under the age of 65 can get a good health insurance package at a good price through the State, and this includes dental care, since this type of care is an essential part of healthcare.

In other words, if an Illinois veteran can not get VA healthcare, then he can purchase a comprehensive healthcare plan that includes dental care, but for those who are covered by VA healthcare, except for dental care, they must pay for this care either through a separate dental plan or out of pocket.

An important part of dental care is the examination for oral cancer (which is what ultimately killed my father and other veterans), where early detection can mean the difference between life and death.

If you go to Dixon Mounds, you will learn that the reason these indigenous peoples had such a low life expectancy was that they died of infections due to their lack of dental care.

There is now proposed legislation in the IL General Assembly, HB1803 and SB622, that would give us dental care.

Bill Detail: HB1803

Bill Detail: SB622

Larry E. Nazimek
CVO Vice-Chair and Chair of Veterans Affairs Comm.