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Thread: VA needs to inform veterans

  1. #1

    Thumbs up VA needs to inform veterans

    VA needs to inform veterans

    Carl Young/My Word/The Times-Standard
    Posted: 12/04/2008 01:30:47 AM PST





    Too many veterans are unaware of the benefits and services that are available to them.
    Many of those veterans have health issues and need medical care. Others may be eligible for benefits, but they don't know how to go about getting them.
    The sad fact is, there are millions of veterans who have little, or no, medical insurance and are paying for care that our Department of Veterans Affairs should be offering them for little or no cost.
    There are veterans in America today that are suffering from illnesses directly related to their service who are not aware there is help out there.
    Needless to say, this is a national disgrace. The VA has established a listing of “presumptive illnesses or disabilities” that provide a direct link to where and when a veteran served. The problem is getting that word out.
    For example, the majority of “in-country” Vietnam veterans who have survived prostate cancer, or have died, had no clue that it was related to their service. The reasons that information like this doesn't get to veterans are as varied as the cancers that are now recognized by the VA.
    The bottom line is, the VA is doing a crappy job of informing veterans of their rights, even though they are required to do so by law! Veterans dating back to World War II have been identified as being higher risk groups for all forms of leukemia (with the exception of chronic lymphocytic leukemia). Cancers of the thyroid, breast,
    pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract, brain, bone, lung, colon and ovaries are recognized as service-connected.
    Bronchiolo-alveola carcinoma, multiple myelomas, lymphomas, and primary liver cancer (with the exception of cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated) are also on the list.
    Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War have been showing signs of medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms that have existed for six months or more. The signs are chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and any undiagnosed illness that the secretary of Veterans Affairs determines warrants a presumptive of service connection. All of the mentioned have at least a 10 percent rating.
    How many veterans are aware that within one year of their release from active duty, those chronic diseases (such as arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension) can be linked to their time in the military?
    How many veterans know that if they spent 90 days or more active duty, and were diagnosed with amyotophic lateral sclerosis (ALS -- Lou Gehrig's disease), they may have it because of time they spent in the military?
    When I hear the old refrain from the VA that they do not have the resources to inform our veterans of these options for treatment and help, my blood boils. There is absolutely no reason that the VA can't work more closely with the traditional media such as television, radio, and newspapers to get this important information out to the vast veteran population in our country.
    In this new age, all avenues should be explored to get the word out. The VA should work the Web to provide easy-access blogs that give medical updates, and a more friendly service approach than the traditional VA Web site which is like navigating through a maze.
    I support the good things the VA does, such as the recently implemented Veterans Suicide Hotline. For the record, that hotline was in response to the orders of the federal court to inform veterans of their options and to help them regardless of where they were in the country.
    Without information, veterans have no hope when they become ill and wonder where to turn. Getting information to them is a matter of life and death. Especially, if a veteran dies and his/her family are left paying crushing private medical bills that should have been handled by the VA.
    Despite talk of caring for veterans, the VA is not walking the walk when it comes to informing them of their rights and medical benefits. VA clinics nationally need to step up and have handouts available (where they can be easily seen) for veterans whose lives may depend upon the knowledge in them.
    By not making more of an effort than it is to get this valuable information out to all veterans, the VA is failing in its mission to us. Men and women who have served their country honorably are now being dishonored by this lack of attention to something so vital.
    The theme of the 75th anniversary of the VA was to outreach to every living veteran to inform them of what services were available to them. Veterans are still waiting for that grand claim to come true. Let's not make them wait another 75 years before action is actually taken.
    For further information, contact the Humboldt County Veterans Service office at 445-7341, the VA at 1-800-827-1000 or the VA's Web page, http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/benefits/f...umpeg_0307.doc.

    Carl Young is the spokesman and member of the executive board for the Humboldt Memorial Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. He resides in Fortuna.

    http://www.times-standard.com/othervoices/ci_11135856

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyB View Post
    How many veterans know that if they spent 90 days or more active duty, and were diagnosed with amyotophic lateral sclerosis (ALS -- Lou Gehrig's disease), they may have it because of time they spent in the military?
    A 2005 Harvard University study found that men and women with any history of military service in the last century are at a nearly 60% greater risk of the disease than men and women who did not serve in the military. Thus the law changed this year, giving presumptive service connection to any veteran who served 90 days or more on active duty and incurred ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

    ALS is a rare and fatal neurological degenerative disease with no known cause or cure. The strongly identified link between military service and the disease remains a mystery. The new law is effective immediately and applies to all applications for benefits received by VA on or after September 23, 2008. This law also applies to claims pending before VA or on appeal at the time the law was passed.

    Veterans who are diagnosed with ALS, including those whose claims were denied in the past, or the surviving spouse of a veteran who died as a result of ALS, should contact a veteran service organization or VA for more information.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Could be the fumes from gunfire. Only other thing going back that far is DI spit.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Pendleton View Post
    Could be the fumes from gunfire. Only other thing going back that far is DI spit.
    LOL...touche, Sue. But I always thought it was recruit spit that presented the gravest threat to mankind. I needed more antibiotics as a drill instructor than any other time in the Corps.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Damn hard to spit at that ugly mugly when your face is in the mud. Seriously, when did all the vaccines in a short period of time start? Now if those were all preserved by mercury there might be a link between mercury and something. Going back to WW1 exposure to chemicals like mustard gas in battle and CS or its predessesor in training could sure stick in the lungs for a long time. I wonder if they followed those poor squids they tested mustard gas on for ALS over the years.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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