Veterans' critical needs.During the 2006 Mid-Winter Conference, National Commander Paul W Jackson delivered the DAV's National Legislative Program to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho). Commander Jackson urged lawmakers to adopt legislation that would guarantee adequate funding for veterans medical care and the benefits delivery system. Following are highlights of the Commander's presentation, which received enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation from the hundreds of DAV See WebDAV. and Auxiliary members gathered for the event.
Mr. Chairman, today, America's sons and daughters are serving in our armed forces, protecting our freedoms here and abroad. And having returned from Iraq on February 22, I can tell you that those brave men and women representing us over there make me very proud to be an American. They make us all very proud.
Sadly, though, all too many of them have come home bearing the wounds and scars of war. Not since the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. has our nation had to deal with such a significant number of severely disabled wartime casualties.
Although they receive excellent medical care from the military, I am concerned about whether they will be able to receive timely, quality health care from the VA well into the future.
In March 2005, then DAV National Commander James A. Sursely, expressed our concerns about the VA's ability to care for our nation's veterans. In his testimony to the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees, he cited a number of news articles about budget shortfalls at VA facilities across the country. Unfortunately, at that time his concerns fell mostly on deaf ears.
Then last June, the VA finally admitted to a critical shortfall, which Congress had to cover with supplemental appropriations.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you, Ranking Member In United States politics, the ranking member or ranking minority member is a member of a congressional committee from the minority party, frequently the member with the highest seniority. Daniel Akaka Daniel Kahikina "Dan" Akaka (born September 11, 1924) is the junior U.S. Senator from Hawaii and a member of the Democratic Party. He is the second U.S. Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry and is currently the only Chinese American member of the Senate. (D-Hawaii) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Kathyrn Ann Bailey Hutchison, usually known as Kay Bailey Hutchison (born July 22 1943), is the senior United States Senator from Texas. She is a member of the Republican Party. (R-Texas) for your advocacy in providing those much-needed funds. I also want to commend Senator Patty Murray Patricia Lynn Murray (born October 11, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from Washington. A member of the Democratic Party, she was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and has held the position ever since, becoming the first woman to represent Washington in the Senate. (D-Wash.) for bringing the funding crisis to light very early on. Thank you all very much.
However, despite that welcome infusion of funds, we continue to hear from the field that budget problems still persist. The hiring freeze Noun 1. hiring freeze - a freeze on hiring
freeze - fixing (of prices or wages etc) at a particular level; "a freeze on hiring" is still in place. And employee levels in VA health care remain unchanged for the years 2005 and 2006.
And what's worse, we understand that VA medical facilities are required to pay back the money they received to cover last year's funding shortfalls. And for some facilities, the increase they received will only help pay for salary increases. Others report continued deficits and backlogs. Some are actually reducing health care. And some medical facilities are wondering how they will make it through this year.
Mr. Chairman, veterans health care remains under-funded, and that threatens the quality and availability of care to America's sick and disabled veterans. Just what kind of message does that send to the brave men and women who are fighting in the war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act ?
Under the President's budget, medical services would rise from $22.5 billion to $24.7 billion, or a 9 percent increase. The DAV and The Independent Budget organizations are calling on Congress to provide about $26 billion for medical services. That is almost $1.3 billion more than the President has requested. And we are united in opposing new fees and higher co-payments on certain veterans who choose to get their care from the VA. Those veterans, some of whom are DAV members, already pay for the health care they receive from the VA. Adding to their out-of-pocket costs out-of-pocket costs Managed care Health care costs that a covered person must pay out of pocket–eg, coinsurance, deductibles, etc. See Copayment. would force them out of the system and put an even greater strain on resources needed to treat their fellow veterans. The cost of medical care for these veterans is the least costly care of any group of veterans treated by the VA, and these groups bring in the highest level of collections.
A medical system that only treats the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor is not sustainable and would be undesirable. In the end, it would seriously erode the quality of care for today's veterans and tomorrow's.
Mr. Chairman, we believe the veterans health care system is certainly worth the investment. The VA provides top-quality, cost-effective care to a most deserving group of Americans.
Today, the quality of VA care is recognized worldwide. Improvements in veterans care are a result of the Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996. In order to continue providing this world-class, quality health care, the VA needs a critical mass of veterans--young and old, healthy and sick--to ensure it can continue to provide a full range of care.
The long-term viability of the veterans health care system also depends on an adequate, reliable funding stream. The DAV and other veterans service organizations are united in calling for guaranteed, mandatory funding. Only then will sick and disabled veterans be able to receive this quality care in a timely manner, now and in the future.
We believe funding for veterans benefits and health care should be a top priority for our government. They are a continuing cost of our national defense.
Mr. Chairman, I will now focus on the benefits side of VA.
A core mission of the VA is providing benefits to relieve the economic effects of disability upon veterans and their families. Disability benefits are critical, and they should always be a top priority of the government. We are pleased the President's budget would add more staffing in the education, vocational rehabilitation Noun 1. vocational rehabilitation - providing training in a specific trade with the aim of gaining employment
rehabilitation - the restoration of someone to a useful place in society , and employment programs. But we are perplexed by the recommendation to reduce staffing for compensation claims processing.
Likewise, we are concerned about long-standing problems and chronic understaffing in Compensation and Pension Service. That is compounded by an expected increase in disability claims. While the President's budget calls for cutting 149 employees from the current levels, The Independent Budget has recommended adding 1,300 claims workers. Because the already unacceptable backlog would grow even larger in 2006 and 2007, we urge the Committee to recommend adequate staffing for C&P.
Mr. Chairman, DAV's legislative mandates have been made available to your staff, so I will only comment on a few of them at this time.
In addition to reforming the budget process for VA health care and improving accuracy and timeliness of the claims process, the members of the DAV call upon this Committee to:
* Increase the face value of Service Disabled Veterans' Insurance and authorize VA to revise its premium schedule to reflect current mortality tables.
* Extend eligibility for Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance to service-connected veterans rated permanently and totally disabled.
* Support additional increases in grants for automobiles and specially adapted housing and provide an automatic annual increase based on the cost of living.
* Support legislation for full concurrent receipt of military longevity retirement pay and VA disability compensation for all affected veterans.
* Extend commissary COMMISSARY. An officer whose principal duties are to supply the army with provisions.
2. The Act of April 14, 1818, s. 6, requires that the president, by and with the consent of the senate, shall appoint a commissary general with the rank, pay, and emoluments and exchange privileges Exchange Privilege
The opportunity given to a mutual-fund shareholder to exchange a fund for another within the same fund family at no additional cost.
This privilege allows investors to switch funds when market conditions change. to service-connected disabled veterans.
* Extend space-available air travel aboard military aircraft to 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans.
* Support legislation to allow all veterans to recover amounts withheld as tax on disability severance pay Severance Pay
Compensation that an employer gives to someone who is about to lose their job.
Severance pay is not always paid to employees. It depends on the situation in which the employee is losing their job and whether legislation requires severance to be paid. . Currently, a three-year statute of limitations A type of federal or state law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought.
Statutes of limitations, which date back to early Roman Law, are a fundamental part of European and U.S. law. bars many veterans from recovering the non-taxable money withheld by the Internal Revenue Service.
* Restore protections against unwarranted awards of veterans' benefits Throughout history war veterans have received compensation. Roman soldiers were given rewards at the end of their service including cash or land (praemia). Augustus fixed the amount in AD 5 at 3000 denarii and by the time of Caracalla it had risen to 5000 denarii.  to third parties in divorce actions by prohibiting courts from directly ordering payment of such benefits to third parties, other than dependent children.
* Support the fullest possible accounting of our POW/MIAs from all wars and conflicts.
* Support an expansion of POW presumptions.
* Provide educational benefits for dependents of service-connected veterans rated 80 percent or more disabled.
We also ask support for S. 633 to authorize minting of commemorative coins to help fund the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
Mr. Chairman, since our inception, the DAV has sought to protect the interests of all disabled veterans. The purpose our founders set for themselves in 1920 remains the same today: building better lives for America's disabled veterans and their families. So, I am extremely proud of what the DAV stands for and what we have accomplished in our 86-year history.
In fulfilling our mandate of service, the DAV employs a corps of 260 professionally trained National Service Officers, located throughout the country, and 24 Transition Service Officers at military separation centers. All our NSOs and TSOs are wartime service-connected disabled veterans. About half of them are Gulf War veterans. Last year alone, our professional service officers counseled--free of charge--a quarter-million veterans and their family members in their claims for VA benefits.
The DAV's Mobile Service Office program puts our NSOs on the road to assist veterans where they live. Some of these offices on wheels were deployed to the areas hardest hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And the DAV provided nearly $1.8 million in direct funding to disabled veterans and their families affected by the storms.
In addition to those professional services (job) professional services - A department of a supplier providing consultancy and programming manpower for the supplier's products. , the DAV and its Auxiliary together have more than 16,000 volunteers in VA hospitals and clinics. Last year, they logged 2.4 million hours of free service to the patients and VA.
Since we began our free transportation program, the DAV has purchased and then donated to the VA nearly 1,700 vans, at a cost of $34 million. This year, we will be presenting the VA with 129 more new vans. Since the transportation program began in 1987, our vans have provided nearly 9.5 million round trips to veterans, traveling more than 360 million miles. This program serves disabled veterans in every state and every congressional district Noun 1. congressional district - a territorial division of a state; entitled to elect one member to the United States House of Representatives
district, territorial dominion, territory, dominion - a region marked off for administrative or other purposes in the country.
For all they do to serve our veterans and their communities, these magnificent volunteers are a source of pride and inspiration for us all. And I want to publicly acknowledge their commitment and compassion to our nation's veterans. Thank you all very much.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my testimony. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans The Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, is an organization for disabled veterans that helps them and their families through various means. It currently has over 1.2 million members.
The DAV was controversial during the 2006 election cycle. to share our proud record of service to veterans and our country and to discuss our agenda and our concerns for the second session of the 109th Congress. Thank you also for all that your Committee has done and for all that you will do for veterans in the future.
May God bless America. And, may god bless America's brave young men and women who have been placed in harm's way harm's way
A risky position; danger: a place for the children that is out of harm's way; ships that sail into harm's way. in our fight against terrorism.
CRSC CRSC Combat-Related Special Compensation (US military)
CRSC Center for Research in Scientific Computation
CRSC Northern Californian Rabbit Specialty Club
CRSC Calibration and Repair Support Company Combat-Related Special Compensation
This program provides monthly compensation to military retirees with combat-related disabilities. The tax-free benefit supplements retired pay.
* To be eligible for CRSC, applicants must: * have served 20 years of active or reserve duty; * be age 60 or older; * be on retired status; * be entitled to retired pay offset by Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Affairs is a term of the business that deals with the relation between a government and its veteran communities, usually administered by the designated government agency. disability payments (VA Wavier); and * have at least a 10% disability rating.
* Combat-related disabilities for which applicants seek compensation must have been incurred: * in the performance of duty under conditions simulating war (exercises; field training); * while engaged in hazardous service (flight, diving, parachute duty); * through an instrumentality Instrumentality
Notes issued by a federal agency whose obligations are guaranteed by the full-faith-and-credit of the government, even though the agency's responsibilities are not necessarily those of the US government. of war (combat vehicles, weapons, Agent Orange; or * as a direct result of armed conflict.
* Documentation of combat-related injuries must be included with the application. Supporting documents should show a direct link between the disability claimed and how it was incurred in a combat scenario. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. CRSC analysts, the main reason for disapproval of applications is a lack of supporting documentation. Documents to include are: DD-214/DD-15; * VA rating decisions, VA physician reports and VA medical records; * award certificates; * military medical treatment facility records; and * military orders.
* Retirees who have lost or no longer have medical records should contact a VA hospital or military treatment facility. After providing current medical information, personnel records and a signed statement of how the injury occurred, a doctor can provide a written medical consultation for inclusion in the CRSC claim.
* To obtain combat documents, write to: U.S. Armed Forces Center for Research of Unit Records (USAFCRUR), 7779 Ciena Road Springfield, VA 22150 or call 70'3-428-6801.
* For personnel or military medical records, write to: The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR NPRC-MPR National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (US National Archives; St. Louis, MO) ), 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100, visit www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel or call 314-801-0800. Also visit the National Archives National Archives, official depository for records of the U.S. federal government, established in 1934 by an act of Congress. Although displeasure concerning the method of keeping national records was voiced in Congress as early as 1810, the United States continued Record Agency at www.archives.gov/research or call 866-272-6272
* Each service branch has the authority to determine your eligibility. Applicants are urged to contact their own branch of service for additional information. For more information on how to apply contact your parent military service branch:
ARMY: Department of the Army U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency Combat-Related Special Compensation, 200 Stovall St., Alexandria, VA 223320470. Toll Free: 866-281-3254. www.crsc.army.mil
AIR FORCE: U.S. Air Force Personnel Center Disability Division (CRSC), 550 C St. West, Suite 6, Randolph AFB AFB
AFB Acid-fast bacillus, also 1. Aflatoxin B 2. Aorto-femoral bypass , TX 78150-4708. Toll Free 866-229-7074. www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/disability/ CRSC/CRSCnew.htm
NAVY & MARINE CORPS: Department of Navy Naval Council of Personnel Boards Combat-Related Special Compensation Branch, 720 Kennon St.S.E., Suite 309, Washington Navy Yard The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Washington, D.C. The yard currently is a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. , DC 20374-5023, Toll Free: 877-366-2772. www.hq.navy. mil/ncpb/crscb/combatrelated.htm
COAST GUARD: Commanding Officer (RAS (1) See network access server.
(2) (Remote Access Service) A Windows NT/2000 Server feature that allows remote users access to the network from their Windows laptops or desktops via modem. See RRAS and network access server. ) U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, 444 SE Quincy St., Topeka, KS 66683-3591. Toll Free: 800-772-8724.
VA Recognized for Electronic Information Sharing See data conferencing.
The VA'S industry-leading electronic medical record system has earned the department a prestigious national award in information technology.
The Excellence.Gov award cites VA's collaboration with the Department of Defense on an innovative capability to exchange electronic medical record data for patients receiving care from both departments. Competition was among more than 80 federal executive branch information technology projects.
The award was given by the American Council American Council may refer to:
"VA patients see the benefits of our electronic patient records every time a lab test isn't repeated because the results were lost, when health care professionals can see X-rays on their laptops, when pharmacy prescriptions don't conflict with other medication," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Noun 1. Secretary of Veterans Affairs - the person who holds the secretaryship of the Department of Veterans Affairs; "Bush appointed Edward J. Derwinski as the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs" R. James Nicholson said in a VA news release.
The interagency in·ter·a·gen·cy
Involving or representing two or more agencies, especially government agencies. program permits the secure, real-time exchange of medical record data between VA and DoD, thereby avoiding duplicate testing duplicate testing Lab medicine The inappropriate repeating of lab or other diagnostic evaluations–eg, CBC, U/A, CK-MB, BMP, more often than allowed by Medicare or third party payers or even surgeries. Currently, nine military treatment facilities are able to accept health data from VA. All VA facilities can view the military's health care information electronically.
The health data exchanged includes patient demographic information, outpatient prescriptions, laboratory reports, radiology test results and drug and food allergies Food Allergies Definition
Food allergies are the body's abnormal responses to harmless foods; the reactions are caused by the immune system's reaction to some food proteins. .