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March / April 2009

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March / April 2009


The Veterans Health Care Committee continues to identify issues and needs relevant to the well-being of veterans and their families. In accomplishing these goals, we are educating veterans and their families to maintain medical records when they use private health care facilities.

Some veterans have had excellent insurance benefits while working. Now that they have retired, their benefits may not be as good or they may not have any benefits at all. As a result, many veterans are looking to the VA to see if they qualify for benefits or help with medication. In some cases, these veterans would have been—or could be—eligible for compensation, but medical documentation is needed to complete an application for benefits. If veterans have not maintained their private health care medical records, they cannot show the progress of symptoms or illness since the completion of their military service.

In advising the newest generation of veterans, we try to educate them so that they do not make the same mistakes our generation made. We also are working on influencing the private health care sector to take complete military histories of patients so that documentation will be there for veterans as they progress through life.

Every day illnesses are added to the presumptive list, and these medical histories will be vital to veterans if their illnesses are added later. Education and communication will be facilitated through VVA’s newly established Veterans Health Council. The Veterans Health Care Committee is working with VHC.

Another area the Health Care Committee has chosen to explore is visual disturbances. We will be providing more information on aspects of visual impairment that result from disease, trauma, or degenerative conditions. At the 2008 Leadership Conference, we conducted a session on Traumatic Brain Injury. During that session, visual impairment was identified as a likely result of TBI. Visual disturbances will also be contributing factors with the growing number of diabetics.

A program was presented by the Health Care Committee on hepatitis C at the 2008 Leadership Conference. This subject has been a growing concern among veterans. A hepatitis C brochure was developed during the past year
by VVA.

The committee will continue to review programs and services provided to veterans, and we will continue to assess the quality of health care and services that veterans receive from the VA health care system.

If you have any questions or would like the committee to provide information on other health care subjects, please contact the committee.

The Veterans Health Care Committee: Pat Bessigano, Chair; Dr. Tom Berger, Vice Chair. Members: Pete Bessigano, Thomas Burke, Ned Foote, Marsha Four, John Margowski, Sara McVicker, Sandy Miller, Pat Pudetti, Dr. Ed Ryan, Dr. Linda Schwartz, Dick Southern, Sandie Wilson, Jerry Yamamoto, Dr. Tom Hall. AVVA Advisor: Linda Haberkorn. Staff Advisors: Carol Engle, Bernard Edelman, Rick Weidman, and Susan Edgerton.








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