On December 17, 2022, VAPIHCS will hold an event on Oahu to register new veterans under the PACT Act. Even if you were not previously eligible for VA care, you may be eligible now. VA coverage was significantly expanded by this new legislation, and we encourage every veteran on Oahu to come to Ke’ehi Lagoon on December 17, 2022, with your DD214, so we can see what new benefits and care you might qualify for.

This event will also have clinical staff available for diabetic foot checks, blood pressure checks, and vaccines. We encourage veterans to come out and talk with staff, get their shots, and make sure that they are up to date with their care.

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines

As we go into the holiday season, getting a flu shot protects you, your family, and your community. And if you need, you now can safely get vaccinated for COVID at the same time you get a flu shot – one visit, two vaccines.

You can get your flu shot at your already scheduled appointment at most clinics! Please call 1-800-214-1306 to schedule your flu shot or to verify your clinic has flu shots available. You can also get your flu shot in the community–just let your VA team know.

Hiring Surge at VA

This week, several VAPIHCS worked together to bring new employees on board. This is the first step in an ongoing process where VA plans to hire an average of 52,000 employees per year for the next five years. VA has determined that this is required to serve all the new Veterans who are enrolling because of the PACT Act. I hope folks will keep VA in mind if they are social workers, nurses, or anyone else looking to make a change. Check our listing on USA Jobs and join our Ohana!

Suicide Prevention

One of the top priorities at VA is suicide prevention. During the holidays, emotions can run high. Veterans might have emotional moments with family members that can result in mental health struggles.

Remember that the Veterans Crisis Line phone number is 988, and then press 1. You can also always call VAPIHCS and make an appointment with Mental Health Services. There are people who are here to help; all you have to do is reach out.

Thoughts From Chaplain Richie Charles

The Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was a renown as a famous painter, sculptor, and more. Legend has it that one day Picasso was sketching at a park, when a woman walked by, recognized him, and begged for her portrait. He agreed, and a few minutes later, handed her the sketch. Elated and excited, she found herself taken aback by how wonderfully the sketch captured the very essence of her character. What beautiful work she thought, and asked “how much do I owe you?” To her surprise, Picasso replied, “5000 francs, madam” The woman was shocked and outraged by such a large sum, and asked “how is that even possible, given it only took you five minutes to make this sketch?” Picasso looked up, and without missing a beat, replied: “No, madam, it didn’t take me five minutes, it took me my whole life.”

Picasso understood that what made those five minutes valuable was not merely what he did in those five minutes, but what it took a lifetime to become. Because what he did, reflected who he was.

To paraphrase one of my favorite authors: “There is an eloquence far more powerful than the eloquence of words…what a person is has more influence than what a person says…”
What a person “is,” refers to one’s character. Having positive character is about having the integrity to be the same person, from whatever angle one looks. The word “integrity” in Latin comes from the word “integer.” An integer is simply a whole or complete number, as opposed to a fraction. Integrity is about being undivided in purpose and intentions.

Integrity allows us to be people who can be counted upon, and this helps build trust with each other. Let’s be encouraged to remain committed to integrity, allowing the right principles to guide our choices.

One Team, One Ohana!
Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE
Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System
VADM, MC, USN, (RET)
36th Surgeon General, USN

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