Maui County Veterans Council Newsletter – November 18, 2014

9 items.  Please scroll down.

Naval Hospital, Danang Vietnam, 1968
This film clip, which was done in August 1968. It captures activities at the Navy hospital in Da Nang, South Vietnam at the height of combat operations during the war. Be forewarned � the filming done in the operating rooms is graphic and the accompanying voice-over narrative is both riveting and compelling. A lot of progress has been made in medical procedures and treatment since then yet it is astounding to see and hear about the outstanding level of care our horrifically wounded Marines received over 44 years ago.


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 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 sacrifice.   Sincerely, Robert A. McDonald



Honoring Hawai’i Veterans with Action
I hope you and your ‘ohana have been doing well. This week, we celebrated a day of reflection and expressions of gratitude for the selfless veterans in Hawai’i and across our nation. It is the sacrifices that they and their family make, in the service of our nation, that makes it all the more important that our nation honors its commitment to them.Last week, I received some good news for Hawai’i veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that ALL eligible Hawai’i veterans will be receiving a Veterans Choice Card to access non-VA care in their communities, regardless of how long they’ve been sitting on a wait list.I fought hard for this option after news broke of the VA scandal in Phoenix and again when I learned Hawai’i’s veterans were facing the longest wait times in the nation to get their first appointment with a primary care provider. I also called on President Barack Obama to provide this access, and introduced my own bipartisan legislation to accomplish this. The foundation of that proposal was included in the bipartisan VA healthcare reform bill that was passed this summer. This next step will allow our selfless veterans to access a benefit they have sacrificed greatly for and have earned. If you have any questions about your eligibility for a Veterans Choice Card, please contact: 866-606-8198. For more information about the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, please visit:
With aloha,Tulsi Gabbard Member of Congress (HI-02)

SBA Hawaii District Office – News and Upcoming Events


General Petraeus On The Military Today




This is a long shot but perhaps you can help.
I am an Australian Infantry Vietnam Veteran and for the past 19 years I have worked for much of that time in
Vietnam guiding mostly veteran tours.  My wanderings have taken me to the DMZ many times and during
those visits I have picked up 3 USMC dog tags..  I have found one and was given two by the workers in the area..
Two of these I have managed to find and send back to their rightful owners but I have a third which I collected
at Con Thien from a young man digging out unexploded NVA 130 mm shells..
The details are as follows :
2388289     A

I made a few enquiries and was told this man well may be Hawaiian.

I am more than happy, if he or his family can be found, to mail the dog tag back to him..
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Garry Adams
Isa Cocallas is the lady who made up the Veterans Council pins served/supporter as a gift to the Council for the Veterans Day Picnic. Please wear them with pride as we are trying to expand our reach to those who have not heard of us.
Thanks again Isa and thanks troops,
Paul Laub, President

Petition To Keep Military In Hawaii

Aloha All:  You may have read or heard that the DOD is considering downsizing the military presence in Hawaii.  You may have also read or heard that this act will save billions of dollars.  The reason to keep the military in Hawaii is not money, it is so that the USA can have a quick reaction force close to the major area of concern – the Asian continent.  As most travelers realize flying someone from the US mainland to Asia will not only be time consuming but will place these individuals at risk as their bodies catch up to the time zone change.  We as citizens should take time to sign the petition to keep troops in Hawaii, not because it will cost jobs but because it will save lives and let our enemies and friends know that we are ready to bring the fight, if necessary.

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