June 2014

ANN ARBOR VETERANS COUNCIL

Meeting: July 22, 2014 Time: 10:30 – Noon Room: 728

Minutes for June meeting and AGENDA

May meeting minutes accepted.

Laurie, the coordinator for My HealthyeVet, talked with our Council. She asked about any problems or concerns with the program. Kirk L. said it would be helpful to be able to send a direct message to the Patient Advocate office, and links to VSO connections. Laurie said the PA link should be listed on the website and she will look into why it is not available. Please go to the 1st floor library for help with My HealthyeVet or for contacting her. For specifics about personal/private information problems please contact the My HealthyeVet help desk: 1-877-327-0022; Monday – Friday, 7am – 8pm (EST).

Linda H. said our “Welcome Center” Lobby project is progressing; the concept has been approved and work with the architects continues. The VA wants to use our plans for a nationwide model program; Amy, our Design Manager in charge of the program, will go to Washington D.C. for discussions, give them our plans but explain that we need to proceed without delays associated with the national program. WIFI is now available, a formal announcement will happen soon; signage and Helpline information will be provided. A focus group will be formed to get input from Veterans about eligibility and income verification procedures. Paul J. expressed the need to make sure all Veterans are able to receive VA healthcare services. Kirk L. explained that the IRS has specific forms that Vets need to file to separate their financial situation from their spouses’ income.

John B. attended a six hour meeting at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR). This was the first time they had a Veteran participate in their meetings. They have a team with 150 staff and 40 investigators in a 25000 sq. ft. U of M building a mile from our medical center. CCMR’s mission is to advance knowledge, promote innovation, and engage in collaborations that will improve the health and health care of Veterans. They have three main research goals: 1. Promoting patient-centered and personalized decision making and performance measurements; 2. Improving safety and outcomes for the most vulnerable and high-rise patients; and, 3. Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of patient-self-management and treatment engagement. John said they want and need to improve communication with Veterans and healthcare providers. They will continue to have Veterans involved in their program. John will look into having one of their team give a presentation to our Council.

Mark L. gave us information about the first graduation (9 graduates) of the Treatment Court (Veterans Court and Mentor Program). Many High-Rank Judges and Leaders were part of this impressive, successful event. They are planning two graduations a year. The program continues to grow; more Mentors are needed and Mark will look into getting some type of flyer our Council can use to promote this very useful program.

Felicia W. told us about the successful Flint StandDown event. Many Vets (including Women Vets, and this is helpful for her Vet-to-Vet for Women program). VA and VSO representatives participated in the event to help Vets in the Flint area.

Lori Y. explained that the Sexual Trauma Program Coordinator has contacted her and will give presentations to our Vet-to-Vet groups. This is a very important program for all genders and Lori will follow-up on the details and keep us informed.

Dr. Greenstone (Associate Chief-of-Staff, Ambulatory Care) presented information about the “Accelerating Access to Care Initiative” and how this affects our A2 VA. Audits have been conducted throughout the national VA system to make sure scheduling directives are followed, no “secret” wait lists are used, and acceptable wait lists are used to improve the services for Veterans. It was found that scheduling directives were not clear in some areas; it is an old system that is being updated. A2 VA did not misrepresent any lists (no “secret” lists were used) but there were some concerns because during the last 10 years we had 1100 Vets on a NEAR (New Enrollee Appointment Request) List. An A2 VA investigation found that 99% of these Vets received services they requested within 26 days (global average is 30 days); at this time A2 VA is working on correcting a 45 day wait period caused by lack of staff and an increase of Veterans needing services. Difficulties and the complex procedures associated with the NEAR List is why the A2 VA was put on the 112 sites to be re-audited. Additional staff has been (and will be) hired and a 3-part check system has been implemented to correct any remaining problems and help Vets get the care they need when they want it. The new national VA mandate states that if Vets cannot receive care within 90 days they will be put on the Electronic Wait List (No “Secret” Lists). Dr. Greenstone is not satisfied with 1% of Vets not being served; he and A2 VA staff will continue to improve access to care for all Veterans.

AGENDA

  1. Preliminary activities: Sign-in Sheet, Minutes acceptance, New Members.
  2. Linda’s Update.
  3. Paul J.
  4. Stigma discussion.
  5. Vet-to-Vet.
  6. Other Thoughts, Topics, Comments, Suggestions.

 

Please mark your calendar – Our next Council meeting will be August 26, 2014, 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, Frank Kimberlin, Ron Lamirand, 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, Kirk Lanam, Rudy Beegen