VVA Chapter 744

Winnemucca Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 744

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“MITT ROMNEY: Our Veterans Deserve Better”

Posted by vvasecy on 2011/11/21

Very few people know that Mitt Romney just proposed a dramatic change to how veterans and military families get health care.

Speaking at a roundtable on Veterans Day, he proposed a health care voucher system for veterans — essentially a plan to privatize the benefits our service members count on when they leave active duty.

Here’s what it would mean: veterans would receive a set amount of money to put toward their health care, regardless of their individual needs.

Since the Veterans Health Administration (V.H.A.) is already uniquely well-equipped to deal with extreme cases and make expensive procedures accessible, this plan would unreasonably target our wounded warriors and anyone else who needs specialized care.

These are men and women who have made some of the largest sacrifices for our country. And instead of acknowledging the debt we owe them, Mitt Romney wants to leave them to fend for themselves against the astronomical cost of specialized care. For anyone who’s not a millionaire like Mitt, this plan could ruin families.

Watch the video, then share Mitt’s plan with anyone you think needs to know.

Romney’s radical proposal for veterans’ health reflects his Wall Street values. And it’s up to us to get the word out.

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Veterans March for Occupy Wall Street

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/11/05

Veterans March For Occupy Wall Street — And It’s Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen Before

A solemn march in near silence.

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Heller Asks Super Committee to Preserve Veterans’ Funding

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/11/05

Today U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) called for the Super Committee to preserve veterans’ funding even though President Obama’s deficit reduction plan targets these benefits.

Because the Committee has chosen to negotiate behind closed doors, Heller sent a letter to its co-chairs to let them know that Nevada’s veterans are concerned about changes to retirement benefits and rising health care fees.

“The Super Committee has managed to find time to brief special interests on their plans while veterans are left wondering if the benefits they earned are on the chopping block.  The commitments our country made to these service members are important for recruiting and retaining the greatest military in the world. The Super Committee should come forward and make sure men and women serving our country know they will receive everything promised to them,” said Senator Heller.

Full text of the letter :

October 6, 2011

The Honorable Patty Murray                   The Honorable Jeb Hensarling
448 Russell Senate Office Building          129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20510                                Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Murray and Representative Hensarling:

As I speak with service members and veterans throughout Nevada, they have expressed a strong concern that military benefits will be cut by the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee.   They, like me, do not support attempts to reduce veterans’ benefits and reject the proposal outlined in the President’s deficit reduction plan.  Instead of meeting in secret with Washington special interests, this Committee should publicly commit to our nation’s veterans.

Because your Committee has chosen to proceed in secret and not conduct open debate on the issues, I am taking the opportunity to write on behalf of my constituents to inform you of our grave concern with any recommendation to alter or reduce retirement benefits of career military members or increase to Tricare fees.  While I recognize the very serious dangers posed by our nation’s debt and share your commitment to address it, I join veterans across Nevada who do not believe that we should balance the budget on their backs.  Doing so jeopardizes the futures of our service members, their families, as well as important recruitment and retention tools for our all-volunteer force.

By bringing military retirement compensation in line with civilian plans, the Committee is disregarding the incredible sacrifices and demands imposed on a career service member.  The military retirement package is earned compensation and the brave men and women in our Armed Forces pay a very steep premium to earn them through many years of service.  This vitally important recruitment and retention tool has been tailored to address the needs of our military personnel, which may not be met by a civilian retirement plan.

I share your commitment to addressing the federal debt and provide a long-term solution to our nation’s fiscal problems.  As the lead sponsor of the Budget Control Joint Committee Transparency Act (S.1501), I believe this plan needs to be crafted with the input of all Americans through an open process rather than a series of closed-door meetings.  Unfortunately, recent news reports have shown special interests access and influence in the process.  I find it deeply disturbing that a special interest handout could be offset by cutting veterans benefits.

Members of the Super Committee should publicly announce whether they are cutting vital services to our nation’s veterans.  I encourage you not to follow the Administration’s recommendations and instead reaffirm our nation’s commitment to our nation’s military men and veterans.   While seeking ways to meet our financial obligations, this body must first and foremost meet its obligation to the brave men and women who serve and have served in our Armed Forces.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter, and I look forward to receiving your response.


U.S. Senator Dean Heller

Sen. Max Baucus
Rep. Xavier Becerra
Rep. Dave Camp
Rep. Jim Clyburn
Sen. John Kerry
Sen. Jon Kyl
Sen. Rob Portman
Sen. Pat Toomey
Rep. Chris Van Hollen

Posted in Benefits, Veterans Admin | Leave a Comment »

Heller-Tester Vets Bill Passes Senate

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/11/05

Protects Legion from frivolous lawsuits, dues can be paid electronically

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) welcomed Senate passage of a bill he introduced with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), the American Legion Charter Modernization Act (S.1639).

“The American Legion has been an effective voice for our nation’s veterans for many years. The Senate has agreed to allow veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to access helpful resources more easily and protect this important network of veterans from frivolous lawsuits. I hope my colleagues in the House will pass this measure quickly so the President can sign this bill into law,” said Senator Heller.

The bill protects The American Legion from frivolous lawsuits and reaffirms the autonomy of community posts throughout America.  An additional benefit of this change will allow for online collection of dues for members and prospective members.

“The American Legion has fought in courts throughout this country to prove our local posts and state departments are not under control of the national organization.  In passing this law, the Senate has affirmed what the courts have upheld,” said national legislative director Tim Tetz. “We appreciate the leadership and efforts of the Senator on this bill.”

The American Legion was chartered in 1919.  In 2010, the National Convention of The American Legion adopted a resolution outlining an amendment to their national charter.  As a congressional chartered veteran organization, all changes to the Legion’s charter must be approved by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States.

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VA Updates Information Sharing Rule with DOD

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/28

Federal Rule Change Enhances Collaboration and Preserves Patient Privacy

 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it is amending an agency rule in the Code of Federal Register (C.F.R.) to remove an inappropriate restriction on sharing of information about treatment for certain types of medical conditions with the Department of Defense (DOD).  This update to the regulation removes the restrictive VA provision and enhances VA’s collaboration with DOD so Veterans can receive better and more timely treatment, services and benefits.

“VA and DOD clinicians must have the most accurate and comprehensive data available to ensure they provide the highest quality care possible. We have discovered that, particularly in this age of electronic health records, this regulatory restriction created an impediment to maximizing this exchange of information,” said Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

This interim final rule removes a restriction that is not required by the statute, 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 7332, and is inconsistent with the intent and purpose of that statute.  This confidentiality statute was enacted before other privacy laws were in place to protect against the unauthorized disclosure of VA medical records relating to treatment for drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and sickle cell anemia.

Because Congress never intended the protection of such records to interfere with the treatment of Veterans, the statute contains an exception that permits VA to share the protected records with DOD.  38 U.S.C. § 7332(e).  However, when VA published the implementing regulation in 1995, 38 C.F.R. § 1.461, the rule further narrowed the exception to allow the interchange of only a subset of these records: those pertaining to a period when the individual was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

A recent VA review of information sharing processes with DOD found that this restriction, which is narrower than the statutory exception, impedes VA’s ability to share important medical information to coordinate the care and treatment of Veterans.  The updated rule removes this extra restriction and makes the agency rule consistent with statute.  It allows for the appropriate sharing of this treatment information and continues to preserve Veteran and patient privacy in accordance with § 7332 and other privacy statutes and regulations without obstructing the delivery of medical care to Veterans.

The interim final rule, which may be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=VA-2011-VHA-0025-0001, is effective the date posted to the Federal Register. Written comments may be submitted through www.regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to the Director, Regulations Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Room 1068, Washington, DC 20240; or fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to “RIN 2900-AN95—Sharing Information Between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.”

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Do You Know if Your Bones are Healthy

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/28

Technician working with a patient. Because women are four times more likely than men to get osteoporosis, it’s often considered “a woman’s disease,” but men can get osteoporosis. Two million American men have osteoporosis with another 12 million at risk. Despite the large numbers of affected men, osteoporosis remains under-diagnosed and under-reported. Known as “the silent disease,” osteoporosis is generally painless, but it causes bones to become fragile and more likely to break. “Crush fractures of the vertebrae in the back can lead to chronic pain. If not prevented or treated, osteoporosis generally progresses,” says Elizabeth Streeten, MD, director of the Metabolic Bone Clinic at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

When bone density is lower than normal it’s considered “low bone mass (osteopenia),” diagnosed by DXA (dual xray absorptiometry), a painless 15-minute test to assess bone strength. Not every person diagnosed with low bone mass (osteopenia) will progress to osteoporosis, but risk factors may increase the development of osteoporosis. “Fractures are a major concern for older adults with low bone mass,” said Streeten. “For older adults who test with low bone mass (osteopenia), who have not had a fracture, providers  use an online resource called Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (or FRAX) to help decide who needs a prescription medication to help prevent fractures.”

What can you do on your own to prevent osteoporosis and fracture?

  • Keep body weight in the normal range (low body weight and obesity both increase the risk of fracture).
  • Avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol (more than two drinks per day).
  • Do regular weight bearing exercises.
  • Add calcium (by taking in dairy products or taking a supplement) and take a vitamin D supplement (1,000 units daily is enough for most adults).
  • Avoid falls by removing loose carpets in your home and practicing good safety protocols.
  • Speak with a health care provider about osteoporosis. This is important, particularly if taking medicines or managing a chronic disease such as celiac disease, which increases the risk for developing osteoporosis.
  • Ask your provider if you need a Bone Mineral Density Test (DXA), the most effective way to diagnose osteoporosis in people who have not had a fracture.  This is a simple 15-minute painless test that calculates the strength of the spine and hip (or forearm if the spine or hip cannot be imaged).

Risk Factors

  • Research indicates that genes (family history) are an important risk factor for osteoporosis.
  • Other risk factors for osteoporosis and fracture include advanced age, low body weight, low testosterone in men and menopause in women, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, three or more servings of alcohol per day, some medications such as Prednisone and some medical problems.
  • Aging is the most important risk factor for osteoporosis because we all lose bone strength with age.

How is DXA interpreted?

  • Bone Mineral Density Test results are reported as a “T score” (in men over 50 and postmenopausal women), which compares bone density to that of healthy young adults. The World Health Organization has defined T-scores as this:Normal bone density: -1.0 to zero and any positive number
  • Low bone density or osteopenia: between -1.0 and -2.5
  • Osteoporosis: -2.5 or higher negative number
    When DXA is repeated, it is best to use the same testing machine at the same facility. This increases the accuracy of the comparison between the two tests.

What is the FRAX tool?

Developed by the World Health Organization, the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (or FRAX) calculates the risk of fracture in the next 10 years by including most known risk factors for fracture, in addition to the bone density of the hip (femoral neck) from DXA. Using the FRAX tool helps providers to identify those who have a T-score in the low bone mass range but are at high risk for fracture and need treatment, and to avoid treating those who are at low risk of fracture.

Who should have a DXA?

  • All women over 65 and men over 70. Also, any adult with:
  • A fracture resulting from a mild fall (eg. from standing height)
  • Chronic treatment with prednisone
  • Men with low testosterone
  • Women being treated for breast cancer with medication to lower estrogen level
  • Men with prostate cancer being treated with medication to lower testosterone levels
  • Spine fracture or thin bones noticed on X-ray

How is osteoporosis treated?

In addition to calcium, vitamin D and exercise, many medications available now are effective in treating osteoporosis, which reduce the risk of fracture by 50 percent. Your health care provider will determine whether you need medication and if so, which medication is best for you.

Importance of Vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D decreases bone loss and lowers the risk of fracture, especially in older men and women. It may also decrease the risk of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
  • Vitamin D is made in the skin after exposure to sunlight, but most people do not make enough vitamin D to meet their needs and should take a supplement.
  • Although there is some controversy about how much vitamin D is ideal, most adults need 1,000 units of vitamin D daily to maintain a normal vitamin D blood level.

How long is osteoporosis treated with medication?

Treatment duration needs to be individualized. For some patients who are at moderate risk for fracture and have responded well to treatment, treatment can be stopped after 5 years. For patients who remain at high risk for fracture after 5 years of treatment, treatment should be continued.

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Applebee’s to offer FREE meals to Veterans on Veterans Day

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/26

I know we don’t have an Applebee’s restaurant in Winnemucca, but if you’re going to be in Reno on Friday, November 11th, you might want to stop by one of the many Applebee’s restaurants throughout the city.

Applebee’s will again say THANK YOU to our nation’s veterans and active duty military by inviting them to their neighborhood Applebee’s for a free meal on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011.

Here are the details:

  • All U.S. veterans and active duty personnel with proof of current or former military service will be treated to a free meal at all Applebee’s in their respective neighborhoods on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011.
  • Proof of service includes the following: U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform or wearing uniform, DD214, Citation or Commendation.


Posted in Announcements | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Vietnam in HD — a Call for Photos

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/26

HISTORY is proud to join the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) Call for Photos, a nationwide campaign to collect a photograph for each of the 58,272 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall. Collected photographs will be displayed in the future Education Center at The Wall and will also appear online on the VVMF’s Virtual Memorial Wall.

This October and November, HISTORY will host a series of Call for Photos events in New York City,  Philadelphia,  Atlanta, and Chicago with VVMF to advance the collection of the more than 35,000 photos still needed to complete the display. Anyone with a photo of a service member listed on The Wall is urged to scan and submit their photo online or bring it to the event where it can be scanned.

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2011 National Veterans Day Poster

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/26

The Veterans Day National Committee recently selected the National Veterans Day poster for 2011 designed by John Magine, a Vietnam Veteran who works as a visual information specialist at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, FL. It is the second time the committee has selected his artwork for the national poster — his previous design won the 2008 contest. “It was a great honor to have my work selected again as this year’s winning poster design. I attempted to create a design that reflected not only the unique year, month and day of the 2011 celebration, but the National pride, courage and sacrifice our Veterans represent: the guardians of our freedom and liberty,” said Magine.

Check out some of the other posters from previous years or higher resolution that can be used at your veteran’s day celebration at VVA.gov

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National Veterans Day Program to Give Away 36,000 Canes

Posted by RockBlot on 2011/10/26

Free Canes for Veterans. Presented by Hugo®, Anywhere you want to go!

Free Hugo® Canes for Veterans

Available Exclusively at Sam's Club

In honor of Veterans Day, Sam’s Club® locations nationwide will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes free of charge on November 9th, 10th and 11th, 2011 to U.S. military veterans in need of mobility assistance.

We salute our veterans for all the incredible contributions made to our country. To all who have served… Thank You!

Limited quantities available only while supplies last. Sam’s Club® Membership is not required. Proof of military service may be required. Canes provided by Hugo®. Sam’s Club® is a proud sponsor of this program.

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