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VAC Meeting TUESDAY 3-21-17 7:00PM

Photographs from our VAC Meeting held TUESDAY 3-21-17 7:00PM

Photos are courteousy of Mr. Bryan J. Anthony

The VAC would like to thank Mr. Anthony for capturing them.VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #1 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #2 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #3 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #4 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #5 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #6 VAC Meeting 3-21-17 #7

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VAC MEETING AGENDA 21ST MARCH 2017 (LAFAYETTE)

VETERANS ACTION COALITION OF SOUTH LOUISIANA

GENERAL MEETING AGENDA (LAFAYETTE)

LAFAYETTE REGIONAL LIBRARY, SOUTHSIDE BRANCH

21ST MARCH 2017, 7;00PM

1. CALL TO ORDER ………………JIM NUNN

2. PRAYER……………………………..CHARLES McGOWEN

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE……RODNEY HAMILTON

4. WELCOME………………………….JIM NUNN

5. INTRODUCTION OF SPECIAL GUESTS……… AL LEGER/JIM NUNN

6. VA-AFGE UNION MASTER AGREEMENT STATUS ..JIM NUNN

7. MISSION OF TOM GREEN IN D.C……JIM NUNN

8. HOW IT IS GOING / VA STAFF MANNING ACTUAL vs. REQUIRED NEW CLINIC
Comments By: VALERIE RUSSELL or PETER DANCY

9. CHOICE CARD UPDATE ……VALLERIE RUSSELL

10. CBOC LAF. VOLUNTEERS PROGRAM STATUS……RAY BIAS/TOM GROTE

11. OTHER CBOC CONCERNS……………..TOM GROTE

12. VETERAN MEMORIAL in Central Park Lafayette …….……..JIM NUNN

13 .STATUS Of LAKE CHARLES CBOC…………JIM NUNN

14. OTHER BUSINESS……………JIM NUNN

15. NEXT MEETING DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2017

16. ADJOURNMENT………………….. JIM NUNN

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VETERANS OUTREACH PROGRAM JOE SINCENO VISIT (LAKE CHARLES)

Joe Sinceno with the Veterans Outreach Program will be in LAKE CHARLES to assist Veterans and to answer questions regarding their VA benefits.

Please share with any Veteran needing assistance with their VA benefits.

No appointments needed. Veterans sign in as they arrive.

Please see flier for more details.JOE SINCENO VISIT (LAKE CHARLES)

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VETERANS OUTREACH PROGRAM JOE SINCENO VISIT (LAFAYETTE)

Joe Sinceno with the Veterans Outreach Program will be in Lafayette to assist Veterans and answer questions regarding their VA benefits.

Please share with any Veteran needing assistance with their VA benefits.

No appointments are needed. Veterans sign in as they arrive.

Please see flier for more details.JOE SINCENO VISIT (LAFAYETTE)

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REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CULBERSON (TEXAS)

Improving the Department of Veterans Affairs

3-17-17
Dear neighbor,
Our veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice to fight for our country, and they deserve the best health care possible after they leave our armed services. Over the last several years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has struggled with accountability issues, and has not provided the care America’s heroes deserve. Most of the VA’s employees are honest and hardworking individuals, but it is unfair to good employees that those guilty of misconduct are not held accountable.

This week, the House voted on legislation aimed to improve the VA’s employee accountability system. Under the agencies’ arcane rules, it’s incredibly difficult to remove a poorly performing VA employee. These rules have allowed a nurse that participated in a veteran’s surgery while intoxicated and an employee that engaged in armed robbery to stay on the VA’s payroll for far too long. In fact, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, Elizabeth Rivera was reinstated and awarded back pay.

The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 provides the Department of Veterans Affairs increased flexibility to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for performance and misconduct. This legislation also allows the VA Secretary to recoup bonuses or relocation expenses from an employee who engaged in misconduct prior to receiving the funds.

The Department of Veterans Affairs needs to retain good employees as well, which is why the House passed H.R. 1367 to improve the VA Secretary’s authority to hire and retain high-quality health care providers. A 2016 Best Place to Work survey ranked the Department of Veterans Affairs second to last for large agencies, and second to last in effective leadership. It is clear that the VA needs a serious overhaul to provide quality care for our veterans.

The VA’s current hiring process is overly bureaucratic and very lengthy. This legislation recognizes that the VA’s future depends on its ability to effectively recruit highly qualified physicians to treat our men and women after they serve. The bill establishes new staffing and recruitment programs to help the VA find first-class employees and retain them long-term.

We owe our veterans the best health care, and these bills help repair the VA to better provide for our heroes.

It is an honor and privilege to represent you and Texas in the United States House.
Sincerely,

John Culberson

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LAKE CHARLES CBOC ACTIVATION PLAN

Lake Charles Activation Plan

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LAKE CHARLES CBOC LAYOUT PLAN

Lake Charles CBOC Layout

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VA Secretary David Shulkin : Our Plan to Deliver Greater Accountability to America’s Veterans

Friends – Below is an op-ed written by Secretary Shulkin. Please distribute widely. I’ve copied and pasted the text below, but the original website is also at the bottom.

On February 28, 2017 President Trump, while addressing a Joint Session of Congress, once again identified accountability in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a top priority. The President is right, veterans deserve much better.

There have been well publicized incidents of VA employees who have failed in our mission and have done harm to those I and all VA employees have been entrusted to serve.

If there is evidence that an employee has broken the law, caused harm to veterans, or have violated the public trust, they should be terminated immediately. Instead, due to overly cumbersome and lengthy arbitrations as well as extensive bureaucratic red tape, VA has not been able to remove employees as quickly as we would have liked. Some employees, like the former VA pharmacist who was stealing medications, have simply retired before VA was able to fire them – allowing them to avoid accountability all together.
This is unacceptable.

I am empowering our leaders to start taking swift and immediate actions when the evidence warrants a removal. VA recently fired the San Juan Medical Center Director after an investigation revealed unethical behavior that ran contrary to our VA values.

Just a few days ago, one of our Veterans Integrated Support Network directors proposed the removal of another medical center director. These actions are examples of the strong leadership we need to cultivate in VA. There should be no doubt that VA will seek greater accountability going forward.

Having said that, my team and I can’t do this alone. I am pleased that Congress is poised to act on accountability legislation in the coming weeks.

It is critical for us to set politics aside and tackle these challenges together. We won’t succeed with a bill that only partially solves the problem.

Veterans and the American people expect us to get this right. That is why my team and I have been and will continue to provide our partners in Congress with the right solutions that will give VA the flexibility to conduct removals quickly while ensuring due process and reducing the risk of a court forcing us to reinstate underperformers.

Accountability is a two way street. We can’t just make it easier for us to fire people, we must make it easier for us to hire people.
It takes VA an average of 240 days to complete the hiring process for executives joining VA from outside government.We are losing talented people because it simply takes too long.

The VA must be able to compete effectively with private sector health care organizations to recruit doctors, nurses, administrators, and other key staff.

We also need to attract innovative leaders and strong front-line staff to help us modernize VA.

If given direct hiring authority, comparable pay, schedule flexibility and the ability to offer competitive recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives, VA will be able to attract and retain world class talent.

As I have said many times, the vast majority of our employees are dedicated and hard-working people. They come to work every day to provide veterans with the best care and services they can. There is nothing more demoralizing than having a few bad apples constantly distracting you from your mission.

I am confident that if Congress grants VA additional authority and flexibility, both veterans and our employees will be better served.
Our veterans have waited far too long for these changes. No matter how divided we may seem, we are Americans first. And we will keep our promise to our veterans and military families.

David Shulkin is the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Here is the link below:

VA Secretary David Shulkin Plan to Deliver Greater Accountability to America’s Veterans

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VA HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS MAY SERVE AS MODEL

For more information please click the link below:

New VA Hospital in New Orleans May Serve as A Model

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VE-HEROES (VIETNAM ERA VETERANS )

VE-HEROeS is the first large-scale study on the health and well-being of Vietnam era Veterans in 30 years. A group of 54,000 scientifically selected individuals received an invitation to join the study, including Veterans and a comparison group of Americans. If you were invited, please participate in this important study.

 

For more information please click the link below

 

 

VE-HEROES Epidemiology Studies