As seen in original PDF
(from email link)


Disabled American Veterans

Department of Florida

Newsletter
By Al Linden
Executive Director


July 31, 2014


As of July 31, 2014 our membership was 58,680,
The goal for life membership for this year is 1730.




Commander Andy Marshall Message

It is an honor for me to have you elect me as your Commander for 2014-2015. I will attempt to follow the course set by my predecessors to ensure the Department of Florida is the best Department in the DAV. I will work with any Chapter to help them with any issue/problem that may arise. I look forward to seeing you in my travels. The officers of our Department stand ready to assist you whenever possible.



New Department Officers

The Department Convention held in Lake Mary on June 26, 2014 elected the following officers for the 2014-15 year: Commander: Andy Marshall; Sr.Vice Commander Buddy Rickman: Jr. Vice Commander Jack Johnson: 4 year Finance Denny Joyner,; Judge Advocate Jim Sursely; Chaplain T.J. Payne; Gill Brown, Area 2 committeeman, alternate John Trenkle; Area 3 Service commissioner Wally Tyson; and area 4 committeeman Roger Powell, alternate Brad Bouters. Appointed Officers were: Adjutant & Treasurer Al Linden; Assistant Adjutant and State inspector Carlos Rainwater; 1yr Finance committee Sheila Sanders. Ken Wolfe was reelected President, Service Foundation and Larry Kyser was reelected Chairman, Service Commission.



WASHINGTON — After passage of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 3230, Chairman Jeff Miller released he following statement: “The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis caused by corruption, mismanagement and a lack of accountability across the board. VA is in need of reform, and I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing legislation to do just that. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 does three important things. First, it gets veterans off of waiting lists and helps provide them with the medical care they have earned. Second, it empowers the VA secretary to hold failing executives accountable. Finally, it starts a larger conversation about how we can reform the department so it will better serve veterans for years to come. This is an honest solution to an urgent problem. One that is focused on making government more accountable and providing veterans with real choice in their health care decisions. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to send this bill to the president’s desk in short order so we can start fixing what is now a broken bureaucracy.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Also be reminded that Chapter Annual Financial Reports are due by September 30 each year.
Chapter Officers Reports
are due within 10 days after installation each year or when changes are made.



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BALANCE SHEET
As of July 31, 2014
TOTAL ASSETS $1,404,316
TOTAL LIABILITIES $148,891


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TOTAL LIABILITIES and FUND BALANCES $1,404,316
FUND BALANCES
Bay Pines VAVS $0
Gainesville VAVS 0
Tampa VAVS $0
Lake City VAVS $0
WPB VAVS $0
MiamiVAVS $0
Orlando VAVS $0
Eglin CBOC $0




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BOOKS: VERY FEW CHAPTERS ARE TAKING ADVANTANGE OF THE LEE GREENWOOD GIFT BOOK "GOD BLESS THE USA".
WHAT AN EASY WAY FOR YOUR CHAPTER TO MAKE MONEY.
YOU MUST HAVE BOOKS ON HAND AT YOUR CHAPTER, AND USE THEM EVERY TIME YOU HAVE A FUNCTION AT YOUR CHAPTER OR COMMUNITY.
THE BOOKS WILL SELL IF YOU PRESENT. BOOKS COST YOUR CHAPTER $1.50 AND CAN EASILY BE SOLD FOR $5.00.
100 BOOKS SOLD WILL NEW YOUR CHAPTER $350.00. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE DEPARTMENT OR PAY 10%.
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ME AT davl50jack@gail.com, or 352-250-4743. I ALSO HAVE ABOUT 600 OF HIS BIOGRAPHY, SAME DEAL.

MEMBERSHIP


THE MEMBERSHIP DRIVE CONTINUES, EVEN IF YOU HAVE MET YOUR QUOTA. OUR MEMBERS ARE PASSING DAILY, SO WE MUST CONTINUE TO REPLACE THEM. TELL A POTENTIAL MEMBER THAT BECAUSE OF THEIR SACRIFICE THEY HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO JOIN THE DAV. IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO JOIN YOU DESERVE TO BELONG. REMEMBER THE 3 WAYS YOU CAN SIGN UP A MEMBER. OUR MEMBERS ARE ALL LIFE MEMBERS, SO THE EASIEST WAY TO JOIN IS TO PAY THE FULL MEMBERSHIP WITH THE CONVENIENCE OF YOUR CREDIT CARD AND NEVER PAY ANOTHER PREMIUM. THE SECOND WAY IS PAY $40.OO NOW AND THE BALANCE TO BE PAID QUARTERLY OVER A THREE YEAR PERIOD UNTIL THE FULL PREMIUM IS PAID. THE THRID METHOD IS GO TO THE DAV WEBSITE AND MAKE A $10.OO REOCCURANT PAYMENT ON YOUR CREDIT CARD UNTIL IT IS PAID. LETS MAKE FLORIDA THE NUMBER ONE STATE IN THE NATION. THE POTENTIAL IS HERE, SNOWBIRDS WILL BE COMING DOWN IN GROVES AFTER THE HARSH WINTER THEY HAVE HAD. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE MEMBERSHIP.
CSO'S CAN EARN GIFT CERTIFICATES TO THE OUTBACK STEAK HOUSE. DO NOT BE LEFT BEHIND. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS EMAIL ME AT dav150jack@gmail.com or CALL 352-250-4743. The following chapters have not made goal: 1, 5, 6, 30, 38, 63, 67, 70, 126, 129, 133.



FROM: Anthony L. Baskerville, National Membership Director
SUBJECT: Automatic Electronic New Membership Dues Payments
Date: July 30, 2014


I am very pleased to announce that over the last eight months the test of our new online billing product has proven to be an overwhelming success. We’ve obtained nearly 17,000 new members using this method. Prospective members who provide their credit card information and agree to pay at least $10.00 per month are continuing to pay the installments to satisfy the minimum requirements of Article 11, Sections 11.4 and 11.9 of the National Bylaws, which requires a minimum of $40.00 to initiate life membership. Of the 17,000 new members who’ve utilized the online billing product, more than 6,600 or nearly 40% have already paid their life membership in full. Forty percent of new members reaching full paid life member status within 8 months is remarkable and far exceeds past performance.

DAV recurring payments provides new members with a complete, predictive online payment experience that helps drive the adoption of low cost billing and payment methods; increasing the number and time it takes for part life members to achieve full life membership.

To take advantage of the DAV Automatic (New) Member Recurring Payment Program, you and prospective members can access our website http://www.dav.org/membership/join and click apply online now. As a reminder, any method of membership recruitment other than this online reocurring credit card payment process will continue to require a minimum of $40.00 to establish a new membership.

You are welcome to assist prospective members to take advantage of this opportunity using your personal computer, but it’s imperative you enter their email address on the online application. For membership applicants without an email address, create and insert an email address for them using the following formula; firstnamelastnamezipcode@davdonor.org. Be sure to also provide your name as sponsor and membership code number on all DAV membership applications.

With clarification of the National Judge Advocate and approval by the National Commander no changes to our National Bylaws are required to fully implement this method of new membership application processing. DAV is concerned about the security of its members’ personal information and is Payment Card industry (PCI) Data Security Compliant. As such, you are urged to strictly adhere to the above instructions. Should you have any questions, feel free to call me toll free, 888-236-8313.



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Florida Membersip
July 31, 2014

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Florida Legislation
July 31, 2014

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SUBJECT: ACCUMULATION OF FUNDS OF CHAPTERS

DATE: July 21, 2014

As you may know, Article 18 of the DAV National Bylaws and National Executive Committee Regulation 7 provide restrictions and limitations on the accumulation of funds by DAV subordinate units. The restriction on the accumulation of funds by DAV subordinate units currently provides that DAV subordinate units may not accumulate funds in excess of three times the expenses of their last accounting year and, further, that any excess accumulated funds must be spent for service purposes within a reasonable time.

To ensure there is uniform compliance with the excess accumulated fund provisions, it is requested that the Department closely review and monitor future financial reports for all chapters within your Department. If you find that a chapter has excess accumulated funds, you should request a written spend down plan be sent to the Department for consideration. This plan should set out a program for service to disabled veterans and their families, which will bring the chapter into compliance with Article 18 over the next five (5) years. The plan should also specify the service programs to be funded, whether at the Chapter, Department or National level, and the specific amount to be expended for each such service program. Please be sure to provide National Headquarters with a copy of the Department’s correspondence requesting the written spend down plan from the chapter. Once the Department receives an acceptable spend down plan from a chapter, a copy of said plan and Department approval letter should be provided to National Headquarters as well.

It is important to note this standard is not solely a creature of the DAV. Both the IRS and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance have equal or even greater yardsticks.

Your assistance in helping to significantly expand our programs of service for veterans and their families and to help bring all DAV units into full compliance with Article 18 and NEC Regulation 7 at the earliest possible time is greatly appreciated.

JOSEPH W. JOHNSTON
National Commander
JWJ:as




If you or someone you know started a claim through eBenefits since early 2013, remember that those claims expire if not completed and submitted within 365 days. As thousands of claims face expiration, DAV wants to remind you that we have nearly 280 National Service Officers (NSOs) nationwide who are ready to help veterans and families obtain earned benefits.

VA’s electronic claim submission process lets veterans start a claim online with limited information, allowing 365 days to collect data, treatment records, and other related information.

During that year, a veteran may add data or upload documents pertinent to the claim. At any point in that year, a veteran may click “submit” and a claim will be established.

But after 365 days, any data in an incomplete claim becomes inaccessible and the initiated claim date is removed from the system.

There are many reasons to seek DAV’s help with a claim.

DAV services are 100% free, and they’re provided by the most highly trained and experienced representatives in their field. All of them are veterans with service-connected disabilities.

DAV NSOs have the expertise to make sure the right information is gathered and properly submitted. DAV needs to know if you or someone you know has had problems filing a claim or obtaining information needed to complete a claim.

We’re here and eager to serve our fellow veterans, but we need to be in communication with the claimant.

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Veterans Benefits Administration Processes One Millionth Claim in FY 2014
Agency Expects to Process 1.3 Million by Year’s End


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has completed its one millionth disability claim in fiscal year 2014, and is on track to complete more than 1.3 million claims this year – ensuring that nearly 200,000 more Veterans will receive decisions on their disability claims than fiscal year 2013. Since 2011, VBA has been implementing the largest transformation in its history, fundamentally redesigning and streamlining the way it provides benefits and services to Veterans, their families and survivors.

“VBA has made significant progress toward eliminating the backlog, but there is more work to be done to reach our goal of processing all disability claims within 125 days at a 98-percent accuracy level in 2015.” said Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits. “VBA’s employees, half of whom are Veterans themselves, believe that Veterans should not have to wait for the benefits they have earned and deserve. While we work to drive down the backlog of disability claims, we must also improve productivity on other categories of non-rating work.”

In the past four fiscal years, VA surpassed one million completed claims by the end of each year. Passing the one-million mark this year in early July represents major progress in providing more Veterans and their family members with timely, accurate decisions. VBA has reduced the claims backlog by more than 55 percent from its peak of 611,000 in March 2013 – and Veterans with pending claims have been waiting, on average, 128 fewer days for a decision on their claim. At the same time, the accuracy of rating decisions continues to improve. VA’s national “claim-level” accuracy rate is currently 91 percent – an eight-percentage-point improvement since 2011.

These rating decisions often determine eligibility for other VA benefits and services, including non-rating claims, which are tracked and managed in other categories on the Monday Morning Workload Report. These categories also have increased as more rating claims are completed, but VBA has not lost focus on non-rating work. VBA has taken the following actions to automate and improve the timeliness and accuracy of non-rating claim decisions:

• Online Dependency Claims – VBA developed a new Rules-Based Processing System (RBPS) to automate dependency claims. Since inception, self-service features in RBPS have enabled over 75,000 Veterans to add or change the status of their dependents online. Over 50 percent of the dependency claims filed through RBPS are now automatically processed and paid in 1-2 days.

• Dependency Claims Contract – VA recently awarded a contract for assistance in entering data from paper-based dependency claims into VA’s electronic rules-based processing system. The contractor is entering the information from the paper-based dependency claims just as a claimant would enter information if filing the claim online. The contract calls for 40,000 dependency claims to be processed per month when operating at full capacity. The contractor is currently ramping up to that capacity.

• Up-front Income Verification for Pension – A new data-sharing initiative with the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service enables VBA to verify the income of pension applicants before awarding benefits and eliminates the annual income reporting requirement for pension beneficiaries.

• Burial Claims – VBA published a new regulation, effective July 7, 2014, that allows automatic payment of the one-time burial allowance to a Veteran’s spouse without requiring the surviving spouse to apply for the benefit. Under this new regulation, as many as 62,000 surviving spouses will now receive timely burial benefits each year.

• Drill Pay Adjustments – Veterans cannot legally receive VA benefits and drill pay concurrently. VBA is working to streamline and automate the drill pay offset process through an upfront agreement from National Guard and Reserve members.

• National Call Center Initiative – Effective July 14, employees at the St. Louis and Phoenix National Call Centers are now also processing dependency claims. The initiative begins on July 14 at the St. Louis and Phoenix Regional Offices and will be expanded to all of our Call Centers shortly thereafter.

• Hiring Temporary Employees – VBA is in the process of hiring 200 temporary employees, who will be provided specialized training in processing the less complex non-rating claims and work actions. VBA posts data on the disability claims backlog, the non-rating workload, and other publicly available data on our performance on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis through our reports web site: www.vba.va.gov/reports.

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• For more detailed information on all installations see VA Releases Data on Quality, Access to Veterans Healthcare (6/9/14)





VA Meets with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) to Discuss Medical
Appointment Scheduling System (MASS)


WASHINGTON - Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) met with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) today to discuss an upcoming acquisition to replace VA’s aging medical scheduling software.

VA leaders, along with agency IT and health care experts, met with leaders from 9 VSOs to discuss requirements for the medical software system replacement. This meeting provided VA leaders a valuable opportunity to hear Veteran opinions and insights about critical aspects of the new system, which will provide VA the ability to seamlessly coordinate care across facilities and enable more accurate scheduling of facilities, clinicians, and administrative support.

The information shared during this meeting provided VA with a better understanding of how to frame and scope a forthcoming solicitation to develop the new scheduling software system. Knowledge gained from meetings like this one will further enable VA to meets its goal of providing the best and most efficient system to health care provider teams and Veterans. The VSO meeting followed an Industry Day on June 18, during which VA met with 98 vendors to discuss requirements and learn about commercial software options. VA leadership thanked the VSOs for being VA’s valuable partners in serving Veterans and for their contribution to improving the Department in its mission to provide access to care and services for Veterans.




Dependent changes in Benefits


The Rules Based Processing System (RBPS automates the processing of disabled Veterans’ requests to add family members or change their statuses. It will reduce processing time for changes to compensation benefits associated with a Veteran’s family member status from months to days.

Veterans who have at least a 30-percent VA disability rating can use eBenefits to request a change in family member status to:
Add a spouse;
Add a dependent biological child or stepchild, and; Add a child (age 18 to 23) who is enrolled in an educational institution approved by VA.




From: "Frebe, Heather C."
Date: Jul 29, 2014 4:36 PM
Subject: Orlando VA Update -Lake Baldwin

We learned this afternoon that Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson approved our request to keep the Lake Baldwin site open. This request was made for a number of reasons, most importantly because of our patient growth. While the exact construct of the services have not been confirmed, we will keep you apprised of our planning initiative. Thank you for the on-going support and dedication to our Nation’s heroes and for ensuring the voice of our Veterans continues to be heard.

Orlando VA Medical Center Director’s Office

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A Fix, Not a Band-Aid for the VA
By Andrew Marshall


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ scheduling scandal isn’t just about the ethical shortcomings of harried staff — at its core, it’s the direct result of years of underfunding and budget gimmicks by multiple Congresses and administrations, leaving the VA with neither the medical staff nor the facilities to handle the influx of patients needing care.

Addressing this harsh fact should be the top priority for House Veterans Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, along with Senator Rubio and Representatives Brown, as they participate in House-Senate Conference Committee deliberations over hastily-crafted legislation responding to the VA crisis. Unfortunately, this legislation being considered by the Conference Committee is little more than a short-term band-aid, albeit a very expensive one. Its main “solution” to delays in care for veterans is to send them to private health care providers – in no way an investment in fixing or strengthening the VA health care system.

Instead, what’s needed is a long-term fix based on a simple, irrefutable premise: providing the VA with the money to match its mission.

Fortunately, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson has offered a road map that would lead Conferees to this solution. He recently testified that after reexamining VA’s resource needs in light of the scandal, $17.6 billion in supplemental funding is required between now and the end of fiscal year 2017.

These additional resources would be invested in hiring 10,000 new clinical staff members, including 1,500 new doctors, nurses and other health care providers; undertaking major repairs and renovations at eight VA facilities; and leasing an additional 77 clinics — all steps Gibson maintains are essential to ensuring that veterans receive care in a timely manner.

Gibson’s statement is backed up by a Congressional Budget Office report stating that at current levels, “... VA’s appropriations for health care are not projected to keep pace with growth in the patient population or growth in per capital spending for health care — meaning that waiting times will tend to increase…”

Gibson’s request is a breakthrough, because the VA rarely asks Congress for what it actually needs. The VA’s own internal budget models make clear the agency needs billions of dollars more to do its job than the amounts proposed by the White House and appropriated by Congress. Making matters worse, Congress usually fails to pass VA appropriations bills on time, forcing the agency to wait months before it knows what it has to spend on construction, IT or claims processing— surely a contributor to the management problems that also plague it. This puts the VA in the untenable position of either rationing care to current patients, or denying or delaying entry to new veterans.

Additionally, VA’s infrastructure suffers from gross underinvestment. In February 2011, the VA’s Strategic Capital Investment Plan identified the need to invest between $53 and $65 billion for facility improvements over the next 10 years. However, the VA has received less than $2 billion annually for construction since then.

Making matters worse are the gimmicks schemed up to try to paper over budgetary inadequacies.

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Continued from previous page

For example, when outlining the VA’s budget needs, administrations factor in projected savings, but as the General Accounting Office has pointed out on numerous occasions, these have rarely, if ever, been achieved, leaving VA facilities further short of funding. Efficiencies, collections, carryovers and contingency funds are other examples of accounting trickery.

It’s time to stop the ploys and fix the problem once and for all. Congress should swiftly pass the $17.6 billion supplemental appropriation requested by Gibson. From this point forward, the Administration should present an honest budget based on the VA’s internal projections, and Congress should pass honest VA appropriations without gimmicks and fake efficiencies. And all funding must be enacted on time. To address the latter issue, Chairman Miller, Senator Rubio and Representatives Brown can free veterans from partisan gridlock by pushing the House-Senate Conference Committee to include bipartisan legislation providing advance appropriations for all VA functions in its final report. By authorizing the agency’s budget 12 months in advance, this will ensure that VA funding is sufficient, timely and predictable, and it will prevent cutoffs in benefits processing and payments to veterans that could occur in any future government shutdown.

The VA exists to fulfill the sacred compact our nation makes to those who risk their lives to defend our freedom — that in exchange for your service and sacrifice, you will receive the care and help to live healthy, productive civilian lives. That requires more than platitudes, gimmicks and short-term band-aids. Senator Rubio and Representatives Brown and Miller have a unique opportunity to restore this sacred compact by leading the charge for new funding and advance appropriations in the Conference Committee. We’ll be watching closely whether his/her actions match his/her words.

Andrew Marshall is the Florida state commander for the DAV (Disabled American Veterans)




VA Proposes Removal of Employees Who Manipulated Data


July 29, 2014
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today proposed a series of disciplinary actions against six employees at Department facilities in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Fort Collins, Colo. These actions are a part of VA’s effort to rebuild the trust of America’s Veterans.

“Employees who have been found to have manipulated data, withheld accurate information from their supervisors, and affected the timeliness of care Veterans receive do not reflect VA’s values, and their actions will not be tolerated,” said Acting Secretary Sloan D. Gibson. “VA must earn back the trust of Veterans. Part of earning back that trust is holding people accountable when there is documented evidence of willful misconduct and management negligence. We depend on the dedicated service of VA employees and leaders who live by our core values. Those who have not delivered results honestly have and will be held accountable.” Based on a review by the Inspector General and other Department investigations, VA today proposed disciplinary actions against six employees at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center and Fort Collins Community-Based Outpatient Clinic.

As a result of these findings, VA proposed disciplinary actions against the Director of the Rocky Mountain Network (VISN 19), and the Director and Chief of Staff of the Cheyenne VA Medical Center. Certain supervisors in these facilities were found to have personally manipulated data, instructed their subordinates to manipulate data, and withheld accurate information from their superiors. VA today proposed two of the supervisors be removed from Federal service.

Additional proposed penalties for other supervisors include two proposed suspensions, a demotion, and admonishments.

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July 24, 2014

Dear Community Partners,
VISN 8 holds a bi-monthly Executive Leadership Council (ELC) meeting with alternating clinical and administrative leadership. At the recent ELC held the week of July 21st with Directors and Associate/Assistant Director, presentations were given by each facility that looked at workload/demand in the current timeframe and for future projections as we prepare to move into FY 2015 budget year. The presentations focused on identifying access issues and analyzing workload with a focus on productivity and utilization. The leadership looked at what resources would be needed to meet the current and projected demand/workload and assessed Non-VA Community Care vs. VA care where demand could not be met within current resources.

There were many recommendations and plans for next steps. The primary points brought up were:
An overwhelming need for additional and renovated space;
Need for further system redesign/performance improvement for high volume areas, those with high no show rates and inefficiencies;
Increasing workload in areas that were less efficient;
Shifting staff and resources where the demand is greater; and
Increasing support staff in key areas such as non-VA care, high volume clinics and for data analysis (use of data for business decisions).

VISN 8 continues the focus on reducing wait times for new patients. We continue to schedule additional patients for non-VA care where appropriate. At the same time the facilities continue to shift more resources for case management of these additional patients being seen in the community.

One of our continuing struggles is the inability to procure and expand leased space. We continue to work with VA Central Office and Congress towards resolution. This has been a limiting factor hampering the ability to provide timely care.
I will continue to keep you informed regarding efforts to improve access to care for our Veterans. Sincerely, Joleen Clark, MBA, FACHE Network Director, VISN 8

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