As seen in original PDF
(from email link)

the link/s may not always work - Department of Florida take them down - we DO NOT.

Disabled American Veterans

Department of Florida

By Al Linden
Executive Director

As of October 31, 2014 our membership was 59,210
The goal for life membership for this year is 1320 more.

Commander Andy Marshall Message

Another great month has passed in service to our veterans. As you all know November is a month dedicated to our veterans and so a lot of my activities this month were centered around the Veterans Day activities.
I attended the dedication of the Americans Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington D.C. on October 5, 2014. It was a beautiful day and the memorial is beautiful. Over 40 Florida DAV members and their families attended.
A video and pictures can be seen by going to Also Dennis Joyner PNC and Finance Chairman gave a very inspiring speech representing all veterans.

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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As of October 30, 2014
TOTAL ASSETS $1,350,862


Bay Pines VAVS $100
Gainesville VAVS 0
Tampa VAVS $0
Lake City VAVS $333
MiamiVAVS $200
Orlando VAVS $0
Eglin CBOC $0

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NEW MEMBERSHIP IDEA THAT WORKS IF YOU USE IT. Send a letter or make phone contact with your local ford dealership. Introduce yourself as the local membership chairperson. Let them know that you can sign up a member, with a phone call Mon thru Friday normal business hours. Example, dealer has a prospect that he can't close. Salesman asked the prospect if he is a member of the DAV. Prospect says no. Salesman asked prospect if he has a service connected disability from his military service. Prospect answer is yes. Salesman tells prospect that he would be eligible for the DAV X Plan price if he became a member. Salesman has the prospect call you, you fill out the application, give prospect the cost of life membership and put it on his credit card. You call National Membership at 877-426-2838 ext 4. Tell the rep you are calling in a new member, give her the info and ask her for the membership number. Call the dealer or prospect back with the membership nr (number) and now the prospect will receive the x plan rate. It's a win for DAV and The Dealership. GOOD LUCK.

New Van for Tallahaasee

Counties throughout North Florida and veteran groups helped purchase a shuttle van that will transport local veterans to hospitals in Lake City and Gainesville when specialty medical care is a challenge in Tallahassee.

Dr. Teresa Skojac, chief medical officer at the Tallahassee VA Outpatient Clinic off Mahan Drive, said the local VA clinic provides basic primary medical services. However staffing and medical space are limited. Specialty care for veterans, such as urology, cardiology, sleep studies, physical therapy and general surgery, requires numerous veterans to seek care outside of Florida's Capital City.

"For many of them, it's very difficult for them to travel," Skojac said, following a recognition ceremony Tuesday morning. "This van makes it possible for them to go to those areas for limited cost to them."

The van operates Monday through Thursday, hauls up to 10 patients at a time and transports up to 160 veterans per month in the three-city shuttle loop between Tallahassee, Lake City and Gainesville. The shuttle is free for veterans. Skojac said co-pays for treatment may be a cost for veterans.

"When you think about the population we have, these are individuals who are at high risk for heart disease, for diabetes, for cancers and all of those services, we can't offer here," Skojac said.

The van costs $28,000 and was provided through the Florida Department of Disabled American Veterans, local governments, including Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Holmes and Washington counties, the Tallahassee Moose Lodge No. 1075 and the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 758.

Al Linden, executive director for the state Disabled American Veterans, said more than 3,000 shuttle vans nationally have been devoted to transporting veterans in the last 15 years.

"It's a good program," he said. "Our major function in life is to help veterans, and that's what we do. We've done it since 1921, and we'll continue to do it."

Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge said the collaboration was a chance to help fill a gap. He said normally veterans affairs is a federal program but he said local governments saw this as an opportunity to help

(ibid: While the article in the "Newsletter" ends here - we give you the 'rest of the story' from Maryn Waters, of the Tallahassee Democrat ‐ dated September 2, 2014)

normally veterans affairs is a federal program but he said local governments saw this as an opportunity to help veterans in the North Florida region.

"This was kind of one of those little niche areas that had fallen between the cracks so we needed to step in and local government stepped in helped out," Desloge said.

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Florida Membership
August 31, 2014

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Florida Legislation


October 30, 2014

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I wanted to give you an update from our meeting earlier this month on the Veterans Choice Program.
The hope is that we can implement the program in a phased approach so that we can meet expectations of Veterans seeking care and information about the program; we are still on target to begin implementation of the program on November 5, 2014.

Veteran’s focus groups are being conducted to solicit feedback from Veterans on what information they would find helpful to understand the program better. This information will be assembled in Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which will bemailed out with the Veterans Choice card and be available at VA facilities as well as posted electronically. Once this material is developed, my office will share with both VSO and Congressional offices to ensure you are able to provide the same level of information and detail.

A few key points I want to reiterate from our last meeting that have not changed (or at least as of the date of this message):

o Veterans living more than 40 miles from a VA facility will be automatically eligible for the choice program if they were enrolled prior to August 1, 2014 or served in combat in the past five years and meet eligibility requirements. These Veterans will be required to use the VA provider network.

o Veterans who cannot receive care within 30 days of requested date will be eligible to receive care through the choice program. They are not required to seek care through a preferred provider but the care they receive must be a Medicare provider, through Indian Health Services, Department of Defense or a Federal Health Care Center.

o Veterans who have third party insurance that are currently subject to a VA co-pay will be required to pay the insurance co-pay plus any applicable deductible. This fee will be collected at the time of service. (Note: This may change to be consistent with the way VA currently manages co-pay through NVCC).

o Veterans who do not have third party insurance but are currently subject to a VA co-pay will be required to pay the VA co-pay to the provider when receiving care. (Note: This may change to be consistent with the way VA currently manages co-pay through NVCC).

In addition, the VA is soliciting Requests for Proposals from third party vendors to administer the Veterans Choice Program. Currently we are assessing internal resources to manage the program (if necessary for the short term) much as we do the Non-VA Care Coordination program with internal VA staff until a third party administrator is identified and able to manage the new workload. I am attaching a document that although a bit confusing, shows the anticipated flow of decision points for the VA Choice Program, assuming the program will be administered by a third party. Again, this is subject to, and more than likely will change somewhat as decisions and policy are finalized.

Again, we will continue to provide updates as we receive new information. My goal is to keep you as informed as I am on the program. Lastly, I wanted to inform all of you that I will be retiring January 3, 2015. I have worked for the VA for just short of 36 years and have had a very fulfilling career. I am very appreciative of the opportunities that I have been given over the years to work with Veterans, employees of the VA and our stakeholders. Although this wasn’t an easy decision for me, it issomething I have been planning for some time now and want to assure you it is not related to the recent challenges. I think we are in a much better place than we were six months ago as a VISN and Organization. I have worked closely with leadership at our facilities throughout fiscal year 2014 to manage our access challenges and work towards a long term solution for greater capacity. I have confidence in the facility leaders to provide the highest level of access and quality to Veterans seeking care in VISN 8. We have much to be proud of. I am appreciative of your support and candor during our conversations and meetings and will encourage the open communication to continue to better support our Veterans.

Joleen Clark, MBA, FACHE

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From the Baltimore Sun: VA is critical to medicine and vets
By Robert A. McDonald
October 23, 2014
During preparation for my confirmation as secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), I was repeatedly asked, "Why doesn't VA just hand out vouchers allowing veterans to get care wherever they want?" For a department recovering from serious issues involving health care access and scheduling of appointments, that was a legitimate question.

After nine weeks at VA, travel to 31 VA facilities in 15 cities, discussions with hundreds of veterans and VA clinicians, meetings with 75 Members of Congress, two hearings before the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs committees and dozens of meetings with Veterans Service Organizations and other stakeholders, I can answer that question. Veterans need VA, and many more Americans benefit from VA. Almost 9 million veterans are enrolled to receive health care from VA — a unique, fully-integrated health care system, the largest in the nation. The VA stands atop a critical triad of support — three pillars that enable holistic health care for our patients: research, leading to advances in medical care; training that's essential to build and maintain proficiency of care; and delivery of clinical care to help those in need.

VA's accomplishments on all three pillars and contributions to the practice of medicine are as broad, historically significant and profound as they are generally unrecognized.

VA is affiliated with over 1,800 educational institutions providing powerful teaching and research opportunities. And our research initiatives, outcomes and honors are tremendous. Few understand that VA medical professionals:

• Pioneered and developed modern electronic medical records;
• Developed the implantable cardiac pacemaker;
• Conducted the first successful liver transplants;
• Created the nicotine patch to help smokers quit;
• Crafted artificial limbs that move naturally when stimulated by electrical brain impulses;
• Demonstrated that patients with total paralysis could control robotic arms using only their thoughts — a revolutionary system called "Braingate";
• Identified genetic risk factors for schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Werner's syndrome, among others;
• Applied bar-code software for administering medications to patients — the initiative of a VA nurse;
• Proved that one aspirin a day reduced by half the rate of death and nonfatal heart attacks in patients with unstable angina;
• Received three Nobel Prizes in medicine or physiology; seven prestigious Lasker Awards, presented to people who make major contributions to medical science or public service on behalf of medicine; and two of the eight 2014 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medals.

No single institution trains more doctors or nurses than VA. More than 70 percent of all U.S. doctors have received training at VA. Each year, VA trains, educates and provides practical experience for 62,000 medical students and residents, 23,000 nurses and 33,000 trainees in other health fields — people who go on to provide health care not just to veterans but to most Americans.

The 278,000 employees of the Veterans Health Administration work in a system spanning all 50 states and beyond, providing — from Maine to Manila — a high volume of quality, clinical care. Our 150 flagship VA Medical Centers are connected to 819 Community-Based Outpatient Clinics, 300 Vet Centers providing readjustment counseling, 135 Community Living Centers, 104 Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Centers, and to mobile medical clinics, mobile Vet Centers and telehealth programs providing care to the most remote veterans.

That network of facilities allows VA to deliver care to veterans from the greatest generation of World War II to the latest generation from Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2013, VA provided over 90 million episodes of care; that's an average of over 240,000 each day. And since 2004, the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey has consistently shown that veterans receiving inpatient and outpatient care from VA hospitals and clinics give a higher customer satisfaction score, on average, than patients at private sector hospitals.

Finally, VA is uniquely positioned to contribute to the care of veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), prosthetics, PTSD and other mental health conditions, and the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis. The work we do in these areas, as well as many others, produces results and life changing improvements in care for veterans — and for all Americans and people around the world who suffer from these conditions.

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Choice Card Information

Before your Veterans Choice Card can be used, you must first meet the following test of eligibility for Choice Card benefits. If, after following Step 1 of the test you are not eligible for benefits, just hold on to your Card - you do not need to call us.



Before you call us, ask yourself these four simple questions:
1) Have you been told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days from your preferred date or the date medically determined by your physician? OR
2) Is your current residence more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility? OR
3) Do you need to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to your home? OR
4) Does a geographic challenge, such as extensive distances around water or other geologic formations, such as mountains, present a significant travel hardship?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be eligible to use your Choice Card.
VERIFY YOUR ELIGIBILITY by calling 866-606-8198.
When you call us, please be prepared to provide us with any other health insurance coverage you have, such as employer or union-provided health plans, so we can assess coverage responsibilities.

IMPORTANT: If you do not receive approval, you may be responsible for some or all of the costs of the non-VA treatment you receive.

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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.

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WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel signed a directive Wednesday to make it easier for veterans with PTSD claims to get their unfavorable discharges upgraded.

Many Vietnam veterans claiming to have service-related PTSD have been petitioning the applicable “board for correction” for an upgrade to their discharge status. During the Vietnam War era, the U.S. military did not recognize PTSD as a legitimate medical diagnosis.

A less than honorable discharge can have many negative effects on a former servicemember, including a loss of benefits.

“Liberal consideration” will now be given in cases where there is any evidence to indicate that PTSD might have contributed to misconduct that led to a less-than-honorable discharge, Hagel said in the memorandum.

Hagel noted that records for troops who served before PTSD was recognized often lack important information, which makes it “extremely difficult” to document PTSD or establish a connection between PTSD and misconduct.

The new policy guidance will make it easier for veterans to make their case that undiagnosed PTSD negatively influenced their behavior while they were in the service. It also clarifies how boards should judge applications.

Hagel said that PTSD and related conditions will be considered potentially mitigating factors if they can simply be “reasonably determined” to have existed when the person was discharged for misconduct. However, the existence of PTSD or PTSD-related symptoms at the time of discharge will not necessarily result in an upgrade.

The Pentagon chief directed the boards to “exercise caution” when it comes to cases where a discharge stemmed from “serious” or “premeditated” misconduct. “Potentially mitigating evidence of the existence of undiagnosed combat-related PTSD will be carefully weighed against the severity of the misconduct,” Hagel said. Moreover, the new guidance does not apply to people who had pre-existing PTSD that was not aggravated by military service.

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“Partnering with national, regional, and community-based non-profit organizations allows VA to provide rehabilitative adaptive sports opportunities to our disabled Veterans and Service members all across the country,” said Secretary McDonald. “Disabled Veterans who participate in adaptive sports improve their health and quality of life, make new friendships and discover that physical rehabilitation healing comes in many forms and can also be great fun.”

The new program provides grants to eligible entities to plan, develop, manage and implement programs to provide adaptive sports activities for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. Funding may be used for such things as training, program development, recreation therapists, coaches, sports equipment, supplies, program evaluation and other activities related to program implementation and operation.

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For access to care, the bill would:
 Require VA to provide authorization to any veteran to receive private health care who is enrolled in VA as of August 1, 2014; or who is a newly discharged combat veteran; is unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days (or any future published waiting time limit VA establishes); or resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility—with certain exceptions.

 Require VA to provide a “Veterans Choice Card” to all enrolled veterans to facilitate care provided by private providers if and when they are authorized to receive private care. The bill gives VA 90 days from enactment to implement this policy.

 Provide $10 billion in emergency funding for deposit into a “Veterans Choice Fund” to cover the cost of private health care. These funds may not be spent for any other purpose. For further review of VA, to extend programs, and for other purposes, the bill would:
 Require an assessment of VA by an outside group, and establish a Congressional Commission on Care to evaluate access and other related matters. All reports are to be made public.

 Extend the Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) pilot program for two years, for private rural care.

 Extend for three years a pilot program to provide private assisted-living services to veterans with traumatic brain injuries.

 Expand eligibility for survivors of military sexual trauma by adding the “inactive duty for training” category.

 Expand certain services for Native Hawaiian and Native American veterans.

For improving VA’s internal capacity, the bill would:
 Provide $5 billion to VA to increase capacity by hiring physicians and other medical staff and by repairing some of VA’s physical infrastructure.

 Authorize 27 new leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico, primarily for new VA community-based outpatient clinics. For VA Senior Executive Service (SES) managers, the bill would:
 Authorize VA to fire or demote SES employees and Title 38 SES equivalent employees for poor performance or misconduct.

 Provide expedited and limited appeal process for employees disciplined under this authority. Appeals would go to a Merit Systems Protection Board administrative judge, who would have 21 days to decide on the appeal. If a decision is not reached within that 21-day period, then VA’s decision is final.

 Prohibit SES employees from receiving pay, bonuses and benefits during the appeal process.

 Reduce funding for all bonuses available to VA employees by $40 million each year through FY 2024.

For education benefits, the bill would:
 Require public colleges to provide in-state tuition to veterans and eligible dependents in order for the school to remain eligible to receive G.I. Bill education payments.

 Expand the Sgt. Frye Scholarship Program to provide full Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 11, 2001.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would cost nearly $17 billion over a 10-year period including offsets of $5 billion.

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End of News Letter