BY CHUCK BYERS, CHAIR
Members of the Veterans Health Care Committee have been meeting remotely every week to discuss VA health care with the VA and the impact of the COVID pandemic on the VA Health Care System.
We started out by writing a small article for COVID-19 care providers—doctors, nurses, and First Responders—thanking them for their support. We also drew parallels between today’s experiences dealing with death and dying and our Vietnam experiences with combat death and dying, as well as the combat wounded in hospitals and in the field.
When we returned home we tried to suppress some of those unpleasant memories, but they remain with us today. We know that many health care workers will need help and support, and that it is okay to seek help.
We have been tracking the number of veterans dying in veterans homes. We want to ensure that the VA has oversight at these facilities, and we want to know how the homes are being managed during the pandemic. We also want to make sure that the death certificates from COVID-related deaths also indicate the complications from service-connected conditions. This will help expedite DIC claims and benefits.
We will continue to monitor this situation. I am thankful that our small committee has taken on some of these tasks. As Vietnam veterans get closer to needing long-term care, it is very important to have this dialogue with the VA: “What is the Future of Long-Term Care for Us and Are You Ready?”
As of today, we still do not have our Pre 9-11 Care Givers Program in place. We understand there have been some delays in implementing this program, but it is a very important program for our generation and we need it now.
Please ask how our committee can help you.