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VFW Washington Weekly, December 4, 2009

Posted at 04:05 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2009 by Dept MO-VFW

In This Issue:
1. VFW Strongly Supports New Afghan Strategy
2. VA Medical Care Funding Hearing
3. GI Bill Education Roundtable
1. VFW Strongly Supports New Afghan Strategy: President Obama announced Tuesday evening that he will send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan as part of a new strategy that includes a civilian surge and a partnership with neighboring Pakistan, where bolder and more frequent attacks are occurring.  The president is giving U.S. forces "what they need to succeed in Afghanistan - more boots on the ground and a clearer mission focus," said VFW national commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr.  "What we now need is for Congress and the American people to get behind him and destroy this global threat to world peace once and for all."  To read the VFW press release, go to http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5314.
2. VA Medical Care Funding Hearing: The House VA Committee held a hearing this week to discuss how resources are allocated throughout VA's 21 VISNs.  VA's current model for medical care, the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (or VERA), allocates funding based on patient workload, costs and severity of illness/injury.  It also accounts for historical workload as well as future projections of workload.  The committee members asked hard questions about how money is spent throughout the medical centers, and how veterans are receiving care. According to Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), the appropriations for VA medical care have increased some 40% in the last few years, but access and quality of care remain a problem throughout the system.  For complete hearing coverage, visit the House VA website at http://veterans.house.gov/.
3. GI Bill Education Roundtable: VFW participated in an education roundtable held by the House VA Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.  Representatives from several VSOs, MSOs and universities and colleges were on hand to discuss GI Bill implementation issues.  Keith Wilson, the VA director of education service, was on hand to answer questions about progress on the benefit.  With the end of the fall semester nearing, there are still some 23,000 veterans who have not yet received GI Bill housing allowances.  The discussion concentrated mostly on prospective changes to more quickly and efficiently provide GI Bill benefits to students.  The VA is slated to launch a new IT solution in May 2010.

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