Below is a message from Kris, an Iraq War Veteran, concerning the health care provided to those who fought and were injured during our nation’s misguided battles.
Right now the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) have a team working on a project called “Storm the Hill” to press Congress to try to gain reform in the VA Disability Benefits system, and you can help. (Ironically, winter storms have shut down DC this week and made things very hard on the team). This team urged Congress to get the new GI Bill passed, and it happened. Last year they got advanced funding for the VA, something that hasn’t been done in decades. This is how we get these things accomplished- by working at a local level.
The following is an excerpt from a report written by Erin Mulhall with Vanessa Williamson. I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you spread the word, repost the note, and especially- send a copy to your Congressional Representative and other Elected Officials and encourage everyone you know to do the same. After the piece of the report I will provide links to both the full report, and an easy way find out how to contact your Congressional Representative and other elected officials. If you send a copy (it only takes a few seconds), please comment on the note and encourage others to do the same!
Red Tape – Veterans Fight New Battles for Care and Benefits
In February 2007, The Washington Post shocked America when it published a series of articles that chronicled the deplorable conditions faced by some wounded warriors receiving outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. These servicemembers suffered grave injuries in war, but were welcomed home with overworked case managers and facilities that reeked of neglect from scattered mouse droppings to stained carpets. For many injured troops, however, the problems run much deeper. And they cannot be solved with new carpets and a fresh coat of paint alone.
More than 35,000 troops have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of others have suffered injuries not recorded in the official military tally. These new veterans and their families are shouldering an unacceptable burden: recovering from their injuries while navigating antiquated and deeply-flawed military and veterans’ health care and disability systems.
As troops transition from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), medical records and military service records regularly get lost in the shuffle, leading to lengthy waits for care. Injured veterans also face redundant and confusing DOD and VA disability systems. While less than half of the DOD and the VA’s disability caseloads involve Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, these cases and their complexity have strained capacity in the two departments. As a result, hundreds of thousands of veterans are forced to wait months, and sometimes years, for disability compensation.
While the VA and DOD have made efforts in recent years, including the development of a Joint Disability Evaluation System that promises to streamline the disability process, progress has been painfully slow. In the interim, America has learned that Walter Reed was merely the canary in the coal mine for a host of problems facing our nation’s wounded heroes. The following report outlines these obstacles—from the moment a wounded servicemember returns homes, to their transition from the DOD to the VA, and to their long waits for VA care and disability compensation.
Our troops have served courageously overseas, they shouldn’t find themselves returning home to fight a new, complex, frustrating enemy: red tape.
I’m hoping that what you’ve read so far sparked an interest for you to read the rest of the note- because that’s what we need our elected officials to do. Here’s the full report:
And here’s who to tell about it:
Congressional Representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Everyone else from your state legislator to the President: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml