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JULY 2014 VA COALITION MEETING

Our next Veterans Action Coalition of South Louisiana Public Meeting will  be held: at the Southside branch of Lafayette Public Library on Thursday, July 24 at 7:00 PM.

We will discuss the status of the future CBOC, the Veteran’s Memorial at the Lafayette Central Park, The start of the Lafayette Central Park Veterans Memorial Foundation, PCP at the Lafayette CBOC on “The Role of the Primary Care Physician in Health Care in the U.S. and the VA system.

In addition our guest speaker will be Dr. Michel Dioubate, local VA Primary Care Physician from the local Lafayette VA Clinic.  Dr. Dioubate will speak on the importance of primary care.

 

Please make all efforts to attend and bring a friend and fellow Veteran.  Please note that these meetings are not only limited to Veterans but all concerned for the healthcare of Veterans.  These meetings are very beneficial to Veterans, their families, friends, etc.

Hope to see you there!

 

***Please mark your calendars for August!!!***

The VA COALITION will hold their public meeting for AUGUST on 28 AUGUST 2014 @ 7:00pm.  The meeting will be held at the South Regional Library.  Representative Charles Boustany will be one of our guest speakers.

 


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Congratulations to VA Coalition Member Bob Lowe

Bob Lowe, outgoing commander of American Legion Post 69 in Lafayette, was named Legionnaire of the Year by the local post recently. Lowe was cited for his work as commander and “continued support for the American Legion family.” Lowe recently collected $8,000 in donations for Joseph Grabianowski, a soldier who is trying to live an independent life after having much of his body below the waist amputated after being severely wounded in Afghanistan.(Photo: Paul Kieu, The Advertiser )

 

Congratulations Mr. Lowe!  The Coalition is very proud of you and your efforts!!!

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VETERANS NEWS 7-21-14

As seen in THE DAILY ADVERTISER

Veterans News: 7-21-14

Written By: Veteran, Lloyd King

 

Includes:

-Meetings this week

-Events this week

-Officers Installed

-Stanley-Martin-Felix Ducrest American Legion Post 69

-Blue Star Mothers of America

-Appliance Needed

-Honor a Combat Wounded Veteran

For the full article please visit: Veterans News 7-21-14

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FREE CAR WASHES FOR VETERANS

On the 1st  TUESDAY of every month Todd’s Car Wash offers a FREE CAR WASH for Veterans (valued at $20.00).

For more information please visit Todd’s Car Wash.

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House Negotiators Move Off Demands for Full Offset of VA Bill Costs

 July 18, 2014

House Negotiators Move Off Demands for Full Offset of VA Bill Costs

By Connor O’Brien, CQ Roll Call

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller has said he is willing to consider a deal to overhaul the veterans health care system that is not totally offset in cost, and is hoping for some give from his Senate counterpart, Bernard Sanders.

The Florida Republican met Thursday afternoon with Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in talks that have been ongoing since a conference committee was appointed nearly a month ago to resolve differences between House- and Senate-passed bills to ease lengthy waiting times at Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities.

While Miller attributed the initial hurdles to an attempt to get a revised cost estimate for the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office — which was released last week — lawmakers have yet to resolve the most nagging quandary: how, or if, the legislation should be paid for. Miller said in an interview that the House made an offer to the Senate on Monday, but had yet to receive a counter offer, despite expecting one on Wednesday. Miller would not disclose the details of his offer to Sanders.

“I’m not going to negotiate in the press,” he said.

From the outset of negotiations, lawmakers have grappled with cost estimates from the CBO that members of both the House and Senate have said are unreasonably high. A revised estimate issued July 10 by CBO pegged the total cost of the Senate’s version of the bill (HR 3230) at roughly $35 billion over 10 years, with language permitting certain veterans to seek treatment outside of VA consuming $33 billion of that total through fiscal 2017.

Miller acknowledged that finding the offsets would be “very difficult … and we’ve said that from the very beginning.”

“We’ve moved towards not offsetting the majority of the first year” of the bill, Miller said, which the CBO said would clock in at just under $10 billion in fiscal 2015. Miller said the House was “moving off of a total pay-for” and expressed his hope that the Senate would give ground as well. Sanders has said no offsets are needed because the legislation would address a legitimate emergency.

“I would hope that the Senate would move back to our position now and at least look for some offsets,” he added.

Arizona Republican John McCain, who helped write the Senate legislation with Sanders, called progress on the talks “slow” and similarly hinted that a partial offset could be possible.

“Actually, I’m for anything. I would like to see pay-fors and I would like to see reductions in the cost by CBO,” McCain said. “But nothing should stop us from enacting this legislation.”

Negotiations are unlikely to be helped by a VA request for $17.6 billion in additional resources to address health care access issues through fiscal 2017. The request, which was unveiled by acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson during his testimony before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is the product of several weeks of consultation with the Office of Management and Budget.

Gibson told senators that $10 billion of the requested funds would be dedicated to purchase care and hire 10,000 additional staff, including 1,500 physicians. Another $6 billion, Gibson said, would be dedicated to expanding VA’s infrastructure.

While it is unclear if Sanders will push to include the additional funding in the conference talks, Miller balked at combining the two.

“That can’t be part of the discussion,” he said of Gibson’s request.

Miller said that VA had not provided enough information to support its request. According to Miller, his staff was briefed Wednesday by VA with “three pieces of paper.” More questions remain, he said.

“Does the administration consider this emergency funding? Are they going to ask for a supplemental?” Miller asked.

“We need more convincing than that,” he added.

Despite the seeming gulf between the two chambers, lawmakers on both sides still seem to agree that a deal can get done before Congress leaves for August recess.

“We’re going to have to have a showdown within days on this,” McCain said.

“In other words,” he elaborated, “we’ve got to sit down and get this done because we cannot go out [for] recess in August without having acted on this bill.”

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The Final Inspection…

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

‘Step forward now, Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?’

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
‘no, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.

I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

‘Step forward now, you Soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.’
~Author Unknown~

It’s the Soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It’s the Soldier, not the poet,

Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It’s the Soldier, not the politicians that ensures

Our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the flag.

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Jobs for Vets-Custom Tower LLC

Custom Tower Hiring Veterans

Custom Tower LLC is looking to hire several Veterans. They must not be afraid of heights and work out of town for up to 2 weeks at a time. They will train you.
We install radio communication tower and install antennas and coax, we also install microwave dish on these towers of heights of 0′ to 500′. We work out of town a lot, therefore we stay in hotels.
we pay $30 per night for the per diem and we pay for the hotel rooms, a guy with no experience can start off a $12 per hr and $.25 per foot, the footage equals to about $2.50 an hour.
After 90 days we give them a raise accordingly to their performance. They’ll make about $47K to $50K the first year. They will go through an 8 hr. Fall protection class and an 80 hr.
Training class to teach them the basics of knot tying, 100% tie off, rigging, operating electric cap stand, assembly & installing microwave dishes, connectors, path aligning the dishes, etc,
 Please visit:
For more information please contact:
Ricky Guidry
402 Facile rd.
Scott, LA. 70583
337 873-9113 office
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VA CLINICS IN ACADIANA ARE NEARING CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL

VA clinics in Acadiana are nearing congressional approval

 La. VA chief meeting with officials, vets

BY MARK BALLARD

mballard@theadvocate.com

July 17, 2014

Long awaited veterans’ clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles could receive federal authorization within the next couple weeks, the head of the state Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.

Secretary David LaCerte, who is visiting Washington during a two-day trip, said he received assurances from members of the veterans affairs panels in the U.S. House and Senate that the Lafayette and Lake Charles clinics would stay in the legislation that is being worked over in conference committee.

“I’m being told that they want to finish this and send it to the president before the August recess,” LaCerte said after meeting Wednesday afternoon with U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, which rounded out his visits with the Louisiana congressional delegation.

“I’m confident, based on what I have been told, that Lafayette and Lake Charles are going to stay where they are in the final version” of the legislation, LaCerte said.

The U.S. House passed veterans’ affairs bills last year, but they never were taken up in the Senate because of procedural wrangling. The Senate drafted its own measures, which were passed in June in response to the recent national uproar following media reports the some veterans died while waiting for appointments. Inspectors then reported that some members of the VA staff falsified records and created secret lists to cover-up the delays in giving veterans appointments for medical treatments.

A number of issues are addressed in the sweeping legislation. U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, threw into the legislative gumbo authorizations for the VA to include the Lafayette and Lake Charles clinics in a rules exception that would allow the VA to lease space for 26 medical clinics in 18 states that have been delayed.

Plans for the clinics stalled when congressional budget officials adopted a new, higher-cost formula for estimating lease expenses. Both sides in the veterans’ legislation seemed to have agreed to exempt the clinics from the budget rules and allow the VA to lease the space.

But those provisions have not been approved yet and congress is still hammering out differences between the bills.

LaCerte said veterans in Acadiana became uncomfortable after hearing a couple weeks ago that U.S. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., withdrew plans from the legislation for a clinic in Tulsa.

Coburn voiced concerns about continuing the project: “There is little evidence it will markedly improve quality of health or access for Tulsa area veterans over what currently exists.”

“Some of that language made a lot of folks in Acadiana uncomfortable,” LaCerte said. “When I heard about that, I wanted to make sure that nobody on the conference committee was pushing to further reduce authorization that would put our two facilities in jeopardy.”

Lake Charles has no outpatient clinic; however, in May 2012 the VA started providing services in a recreational vehicle.

In Lafayette, services for veterans are being offered at the existing community-based outpatient clinic. That clinic is in an 11,208-square-foot Lafayette Consolidated Government-owned building at the corner of Pinhook Road and Jefferson Street.

LaCerte said he also wanted to tell the congressmen about the complaints he’s hearing from visiting veterans around the state in “town hall” meetings.

“On the state level, I will continue to meet personally with Louisiana veterans so that I can learn about the issues they are facing,” LaCerte said.

He has scheduled meetings next week in Houma and north Louisiana the following week.

 Proud to Serve Our Veterans

 Michael McNaughton

Veteran Outreach Director/Special Projects

Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs

Phone: 225-219-5006

mike.mcnaughton@la.gov

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VA CRISIS CREEPS INTO LOUISIANA

 

Dear Friend,

Ever since reports of mismanagement at Veterans Affairs clinics across the country starting coming to light, I’ve been doing my best to make sure that these issues aren’t affected veterans in Louisiana. Unfortunately, there are problems here too.

Recent reports have suggested that the Overton Brooks VA Hospital in Shreveport has been keeping a secret wait list and downplaying wait times for veterans. Internal email leaks and employee testimonies are starting to bring the situation in Shreveport into the national spotlight – clearly not in the way we want. I am doing my absolute best to get to the bottom of the situation.

 

 

Click here to learn more about the situation at the Overton Brooks VA hospital.

Employees at Overton Brooks say there are multiple lists and spreadsheets of over 2400 patients that have not seen a doctor in as long as 15 months, while about 620 veterans have not seen a doctor at all. In fact, one email even indicates that 37 veterans died while they were on that list. If these allegations are accurate, that’s an outright disservice to the veterans the hospital is meant to serve.

At the same time, I’m looking into a potential cover up by the VA Hospital in New Orleans regarding the recent death of a veteran. A constituent recently came to me with information about her deceased father – a veteran – who received what she described as poor care at the VA health care facility in New Orleans. The VA has refused to provide information to the constituent about her father. That’s just wrong, and the VA needs to be in overdrive working to restore the trust of our veterans. They can start by providing information about what steps they’re taking to address problems like this.

I’m working to get the VA to explain both of these situations, and to have the independent inspector general conduct a full investigation.

In addition to fighting for answers in Shreveport and New Orleans, I am fighting tooth and nail to get two VA clinics built in Lafayette and Lake Charles. Our veterans should not have to travel long distances to receive the healthcare they need. These clinics will give these veterans the quality care they deserve and help alleviate some of the horrible wait times.

If you’ve experienced problems with the VA, or if you have family, friends or neighbors who have, I want to hear your story. Please share your experiences athttp://www.vitter.senate.gov/va-stories.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on these and any other issue important to you. Please contact me with your ideas at any of my state offices or in my Washington office. You can also reach me online at http://www.vitter.senate.gov.

Sincerely,
David Vitter Signature
David Vitter
United States Senator

P.S. Please visit my website to sign up for regular email updates from me on the issues important to Louisiana families.

For any other questions or concerns visit my Web site at: www.vitter.senate.gov.

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Veterans Clinic Bill

Boustany and Roe Introduce Bill to Increase VA Transparency

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-LA) and Congressman David “Phil” Roe, M.D. (R-TN) today introduced the ‘Equalizing Transparency for Veterans Act.’ This bill would allow veterans to compare the quality of VA hospitals, community-based outpatient clinics and nursing facilities in the same way seniors do now under Medicare for hospitals and nursing homes.

The VA’s existing comparison website currently provides limited data, giving military veterans less accountability and transparency than Medicare patients receive. Boustany and Roe argue veterans deserve better quality information on facility-specific treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction, and wait times. This consumer information will improve VA providers’ performance and provide better value to VA patients and taxpayers.

 

Boustany said: “America’s veterans have earned top-quality care through their service. Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have discovered just how far from that standard of care the VA has fallen, allowing veterans to die waiting on care that never came. I believe empowering veterans to make their own choices about where to seek care within the system is a good start to correcting this problem. I’m proud to stand with Congressman Roe to introduce this legislation to make the system more transparent, flexible, and efficient.”

Roe said: “After last week’s release of the disturbing audit of VA health centers around the country, it is clear that Congress has a lot of work to do to improve veterans’ health care. Transparency is a key component to successfully reforming the way our nation cares for veterans, and one step in the right direction is to give veterans and their families access to important information about the quality of care at various VA health facilities. I am proud to introduce this legislation and I thank Dr. Boustany for his support and leadership on this important issue.”

###

Jack Pandol
Communications Director

Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr. (LA-3)
1431 Longworth HOB | Washington, DC 20515 | 202-225-2031