August 2014

ANN ARBOR VETERANS COUNCIL

Meeting: September 23, 2014 Time: 10:30 – Noon Room: 728

Minutes for August meeting and AGENDA

July meeting minutes accepted.

Visitors to observe our meeting from the Center for Clinical Management Research: Caitlin Reardon, Jordan Sparks, and Kristen Sukraw. They are going to start a Council of Veterans at their Center to give advice and input on projects and programs conducted by their Center. They came to see how we work; and, they will give us updates on their progress.

Guest Speaker: Joe Jurasek, Industrial Hygienist. Joe has worked as an Industrial Hygienist in the VA for 28 years. His responsibility is to make sure the VAAAHS is following appropriate guidelines to maintain a safe, healthy environment for Veterans and staff. Proper disposal of hazardous material and substances are also an important part of his duties. Both of these activities require close, professional attention to details and procedures that prove safeguards against any potential dangers or unsanitary conditions. VA employees are trained to correctly identify labels on products used in the VA and follow procedures that assure the safe application and disposal of these supplies and equipment. Joe said the best, most important part of his job is to provide healthy conditions for Veterans and staff. He respects the role of the Inspector General and the need to have strict requirements that maintain a high-quality, safe, healthy work space for delivering medical care to Veterans. Our VA has never been cited by the EPA for improper disposal of hazardous supplies or equipment. Precautionary procedures are implemented according to official rules and HEPA (privacy) requirements. Widespread observation and monitoring of activities within the VA is constant/continuous to make sure official standards are maintained. Kirk L. asked about classification of work orders. Joe said there is a low, medium, or high priority placed on work orders that are needed to provide a healthy, safe work environment. John B. asked about what is done about violations or requests for operational improvements. These and work orders must be addressed within the 14 day correction requirement; also, there is a continual adjustment and reworking of the Safety Plan (policies) that responds to new information and the Safety Committee addresses this input. Mark L. brought attention to environmental concerns and problems in the nearby area outside of the VA. Joe said the VA is involved and interacts with the surrounding community when environmental events may affect the VA. Linda H. suggested, acknowledging our Council interest and input during Joe’s presentation, that having a Veteran on the EOC Committee will be useful. Kirk L. has volunteered to be our Council Representative on this Committee.

Vincent Warren joined our Council and explained what the HUD-VASH Program does to help homeless Veterans find appropriate housing along with helping them improve their lives.

Linda H. said that the advice from one of the Veterans focus groups is that the CLC needs to add space on the third floor to expand the care for Veterans; also, one of the biggest challenges is to make sure all areas are wheelchair accessible. There will be a Veterans Town Hall meeting in our auditorium on Monday, September 22, 1:30 – 3:30. Our Director will give us an update on what is going on in the VAAAHS and an opportunity to participate in an open discussion about how to improve the care given to Veterans.

Billie W. helped us think about Lincoln Johnson, a long-time Council Member who has missed meetings because of medical problems. His wife has also had many medical problems; she passed away and Billie gave us a chance to write a message to Lincoln on a card. We send our thoughts and best wishes.

Paul J. gave an update on the 2nd Annual Community Mental Health Summit. He and I participated in this successful event. A major focus was to get current returning troops from the Mideast conflicts to enroll for VA care and services. Two wives of these Veterans gave a very moving, emotional presentation about the need to give support and care for these Veterans and their families.

Lori Y. said it is very important to reduce the negative effects of stigma experienced by many Veterans; there is a general lack of awareness and understanding of this problem. Veterans should be welcomed back after serving our country. They have to deal with so many problems after returning and then they are presented with additional difficulties caused by stigma. Kirk L. has had trouble getting insurance because of PTSD. Mark L. brought our attention to the need to acknowledge the accomplishments Veterans achieve after their military service. Our Council needs some input from Derek A.; Paul J. will ask him to come to our next meeting.

Daniel Gerhaocli (100% service-connected disability) joined our Council. He has had trouble with the care he receives from VAAAHS. Council gave him some suggestions and he will discuss this situation with his doctor; he will let us know what happened at our next meeting.

AGENDA

  1. Preliminary activities: Sign-in Sheet, Minutes acceptance, New Members.
  2. Derek A.
  3. Phillip and the new GI Clinic Vet-to-Vet Group.
  4. Linda H.
  5. Paul J.
  6. Vet-to-Vet.
  7. Other Thoughts, Topics, Comments, Suggestions.

Please mark your calendar – Our next Council meeting will be October 28, Tuesday, 10:30 – Noon in Room 728.

Members:

Terry Keck, Gary Bourdeau, Don Behm, Ed Roberts, Joe Riedy, Ryan Christman, Paul Jingozian, Maurice Warren, Alex Beach, Lori Young, Erik Cuolahan, Felicia West, Mark Lyubkin, Kirk Lanam, Vincent Warren, Brian Rounsifer, Greg Poulos, John Branstetter, Mark Lindke, Teresa Kamphorst, Linda Harrison, Billie Whittaker, Vicki Dawson, Derek Atkinson, C. Beau Nelson, Lloyd Suter, Bruce Schultz, Larry Blanchard, Bob Board, Jon Luker, Rick Donley, Asuki ONeill, Ray Pasquantonio, Daniel Gerhaozli, Rudy Beegen