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If you are in crisis and need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255 and (PRESS 1) or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.

This Week At VA

20190402 UAV Presentation:  Veterans Administration Health Care System TBI, Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Disorders Program

20190331: VA researcher links flu to heart-failure hospitalizations: Study offers strong evidence adults need annual immunization to avoid potential complications that lead to hospitalization

20190326: VA recommends dropping legal challenge over ‘blue water’ Navy veterans benefits

20190325: Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/options-eligibility/s-dvi/

20190311: Statement by Secretary Robert Wilkie on President Trump's FY 2020 budget request

In President Trump's fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget, he has once again demonstrated his ongoing commitment to Veterans, ensuring greater quality, efficiency and timely service that our Veterans have earned and deserve.

20190311: VA strengthens care and benefits for Veterans with $220 billion budget

President Donald J. Trump is proposing a total of $220.2 billion in his fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a 9.6 percent increase above fiscal 2019.

20190227: March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day

In Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act on March 28, 2017, to recognize and thank our Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice during one of the longest wars in our country’s history. This Act designates every March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It is a time for all Americans to come together to remember and honor the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam Veterans. We remember 9 million American men and women—some 6.6 million living today—who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during our involvement in Vietnam from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975. Whether they were stationed in-country, in-theater, or elsewhere during those two decades, they answered the call to duty. I am the son of a Vietnam Veteran and career Army officer. One of the most traumatic days of my life was being told that my father had been gravely wounded in the invasion of Cambodia in 1970. I was six. After 3 long years of recovery, he returned to the 82nd Airborne Division. So, my family and I experienced first-hand the enormous sacrifices this generation of Americans made in courageous service to our Nation. This year, VA joins over 10,000 organizations across the country as a commemorative partner supporting the Department of Defense in this Vietnam War Commemoration. And I encourage all VA leaders to either host ceremonies or participate in community events from March 25th to March 29th. It is our duty to show our deep gratitude to this generation of warriors and their families. Please visit https://www.vietnamwar50th.com/ to learn how your organization or facility can be a commemorative partner and participate in this important tribute. Official commemorative partnership offers historical media and opportunity to request lapel pins and other recognition items to present to Vietnam Veterans. Thank you all for your service to VA and your devotion America’s Veterans. Robert L. Wilkie Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs


Nov 21, 2018: VA's Benefits Delivery at Discharge program improves service to Veterans 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program has made significant improvements in disability claim processing over the past year, with most service members who submitted claims through the program receiving decisions within 30 days of discharge.


Nov 21, 2018


Oct 10:   VA and DOD Senior Leaders Commit to Aligned Electronic Health Records System Rollout

Oct. 10, 2018

VA and DOD Senior Leaders Commit to Aligned Electronic Health Records System Rollout

The U.S. Secretaries of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD) signed a joint statement Sept. 26 pledging that their two departments will align their plans, strategies and structures as they roll out a new electronic health records (EHR) system that will allow VA and DOD to share patient data seamlessly. 

Signed by Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the joint statement reinforces both departments’ commitment to ensuring the successful transition from a legacy patient-data system to a modernized one that will continue to support active-duty service members, Veterans and their families.

“The joint statement between DOD and VA represents tangible evidence of our commitment to change how we deliver Veteran-focused, provider-friendly care,” Wilkie said. “The new EHR system will be interoperable with DOD, while also improving VA’s ability to collaborate and share information with community care providers. This will ease the burden on Service members as they transition from military careers and will be supported by multiple medical providers throughout their lives.”

VA signed a contract with Cerner Corp. May 17 to replace VA’s 40-year-old legacy Veterans Integrated System Technology Architecture (VistA) health care records technology over the next 10 years with the new Cerner system, which is in the pilot phase at DOD. Collaborating with DOD will ensure that VA: understands the challenges encountered as DOD deploys its EHR system called Military Health System Genesis (MHS GENESIS); adapts an approach by applying lessons learned to anticipate and mitigate known issues; assesses prospective efficiencies to help deploy faster; and delivers an EHR that is fully interoperable.

"We are committed to partnering with the VA to support the lifetime care of our Service members, Veterans and their families," Mattis said. "This modern electronic health record will ensure those who serve our nation have quality health care as they transition from Service member to Veteran."

“The EHR will give health care providers a full picture of patient medical history, driving better clinical outcomes,” Wilkie said. “It will also help us identify Veterans proactively who are at higher risk for issues, such as opioid addiction and suicide, so health care providers can intervene earlier and save lives.”


Oct 5:  VA Will reimburse for travel: 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has online form VA Form 10-3542

(Veteran/Beneficiary Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses) as a simple way to apply for mileage reimbursement without standing in long lines at your local VAMC. Contact your local VAMC Beneficiary Travel office for details as application process may differ from VA to VA.  Travel benefits are subject to a deductible. Exceptions to the deductible requirement include travel for a compensation and pension examination and travel by an ambulance or a specially equipped van.

Oct 5: Message from the Phoenix VA Leadership Team Re: SAIL update 

Aug 2: Forever GI Bill expands VA educational benefits; 15 provisions enhance benefits for Veterans; Read the complete article here: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5089


Jul 24: President Trump selects Jake Leinenkugel to lead VA commission focused on Veterans’ mental health treatment

Jul 19: VA and IBM Watson Health Extend Partnership to Support Veterans With Cancer


Jul 12: VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals Using Innovative Tools to Make a Record Number of Decisions

VA Establishes Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization to Support Transition From Legacy Patient Data System 


Jul 10: VA Partnership with National Cancer Institute Will Boost Veteran Access to Clinical Trials

June 18:

Just in the last month at the Phoenix VA …

  • Our Anticoagulation Program was just named a “Anticoagulation Center of Excellence” (ACE)! The ACE is a program of the Anticoagulation Forum that provides a comprehensive standard to define ideal practices in this field, and the recognition from ACE highlights the “excellent care you are giving to your patients.” Job well done!
  • Our Surgery Service was just identified as one of the best practice sites for our complexity. The National Surgery Office, Office of Veterans Access to Care and the Office of Strategic Integration / Veterans Engineering Resource Center commends, and would like to know more about, how Phoenix VA’s Surgery Service allows new patients to be seen in a timely manner, addresses stat consults within 48 hours, maintains low missed opportunity rates, and effectively maximizes clinic room hour utilization. In fact, leaders from the Surgery Service were invited to present at a Community of Practice call to share with other VA Medical Centers.
  • Teacher of the Year! Dr. Hugo Pinillo, Gastroenterology, was named Teacher of the Year for the GI Fellowship program by the University of Arizona College of Medicine for his “willingness to teach, approachability and the importance of evidence-based medicine in his approach to patient care and education.
  • Another Teacher of the Year! Dr. Felipe Gutierrez received the “Subspecialty Teacher of the Year” Award from the University of Arizona College of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency.
  • Community Partnership Award winner! The Phoenix VA was recently recognized as one of three winners of the VA’s Community Partnership Award for our collaboration with both the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and the Arizona Department of Veterans Services “Be Connected” Program. This partnership was established in 2009 to create an ecosystem of support for all who serve and their families throughout Arizona. Be Connected operationalizes the national Clay Hunt initiative. It brings together all of the public and private sector key stakeholders to address the elevated suicide risk of Arizona Veterans.
  • The Clinical Psychology Fellowship Program recently received its 10-year accreditation and the Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowship Program received its 4-year accreditation (on contingency). This is the maximum number of accreditation for both programs!

Upcoming Veteran Town Halls / Events

  • Tuesday, July 10, 4:30-6 p.m. – Phoenix VA Medical Center, 650 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85012, Basement Conference Rooms
  • Wednesday, July 18, 4:30-6 p.m. – Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy St., Payson, AZ 85541
  • Cancer Support Group, Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m., Phoenix VA Medical Center Community Living Center, Room K112
  • Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Support Group, 2nd Thursday of each month, Phoenix VA Medical Center, 5thFloor, Room D540
  • Crohn’s and Colitis Support Group, 3rd Friday of each month, Phoenix VA Medical Center Community Living Center, Room k112

Smoke-Free Campus

  • The Phoenix VA Medical Center is edging toward a smoke-free campus. Currently, there are two designated tobacco-use locations (one for Veterans/visitors is near the flag pole by the 7th Street entrance and one for employees behind the canteen in the marked location) on the main Phoenix VA Medical Center campus. The soft launch for this new policy (for people to only smoke in one of two locations on campus) happened May 16. Enforcement will begin July 30.

Keep it Clean, Keep it Safe

  • If you are in the Main Phoenix VA Medical Center and see a spill or other mess, please let us know. You can call ext. 6600 or tell a staff member. Thank you for your help!

June is LGBT Pride Month

  • The VA is full of pride this month as we continue to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Veterans. We work tirelessly to ensure that all Veterans, including LGBT Vets, are treated with the respect and care they deserve. Please contact the Phoenix VA Health Care System LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators, Michelle Hovis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, at 602-277-5551 ext. 3589 or Dr. Leonardo Caraballo at ext. 4828.


Please fill out surveys!

  • If you receive a survey in the mail about your experiences at the Phoenix VA, please fill them out! We want to hear from you! Additionally, if you visit one of our locations and we didn’t meet your expectations, please don’t leave without letting someone know! We’d like the opportunity to make it up to you before you leave!

Help Prevent Suicide – Be Connected

  • #BeThere – your actions could save a life. Contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, press 1 or text to 838255; or Be Connected at 866-4AZ-VETS.

 Research Study Participants Wanted

  • The PROMINENT Study is researching a potential new medication (study drug) for people with Type 2 Diabetes and elevated triglycerides (a type of fat in the body) to see if it can help prevent heart attacks and other heart-related problems. You may be able to take part if you: Have a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes for 12 weeks or longer; are a woman 55 years of age or more, a man 50 years of age or more, or are 18 years of age or more with systemic atherosclerosis (also called artery disease, which is hardening or narrowing of the arteries); have been told you have moderately high triglyceride levels. If interested, contact Shannon at 602-277-5551, ext 5889.



June 4, 2018:  VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals resolves record number of claims to date for FY 2018


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