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

Newsletter
By Al Linden
Executive Director


As of September 30, 2014 our membership was 59,005,.
The goal for life membership for this year is 1469 more.




Commander Andy Marshall Message

Have you noticed attendance and involvement at some chapter and department meetings may have declined?
It’s difficult to increase attendance and participation on the fraternal side of DAV.
Some suggestions include arranging guest speakers such as local VA Health Care Employees, Department Officers, local community groups, etc;
Do what you can to ensure your chapter is involved in the community.

Don’t be one who follows the below steps in your chapter.

WAYS TO KILL A CHAPTER/DEPARTMENT


• Don’t attend meetings. If you do, ensure you arrive late.

• Ensure you leave the meeting early by giving any excuse possible

• Do not give any opinion during the meeting, instead, wait until you get outside.

• During the meeting, vote for anything and then ensure you are not around to help.

• After the meeting, call all your friends who did not attend the meeting and complain about the officers.

• Take no part in any chapter activity.

• Ensure you sit in the back of the room so you can talk to other members during the meeting.

• Threaten to quit any project if you don’t get yourway.

• Never accept an office. After all, then you could not always find fault with others who do.

• When appointed to a committee, ensure the chairperson does all the work but ensure you are present when the committee is recognized for their efforts.

• When asked to volunteer, make any excuse not to.

• Never read your newsletter and then complain because no one told you about a benefit you may be entitled to receive.

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 September 30, 2014
TOTAL ASSETS $1,404,316
TOTAL LIABILITIES $1,350.862


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TOTAL LIABILITIES and FUND BALANCES $1,350.862
FUND BALANCES
Bay Pines VAVS 10$0
Gainesville VAVS 0
Tampa VAVS $0
Lake City VAVS $333
WPB VAVS $0
MiamiVAVS $200
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@gmail.com, or 352-250-4743. I ALSO HAVE ABOUT 600 OF HIS BIOGRAPHY, SAME DEAL.

MEMBERSHIP


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.

VA today released the latest update of facility-level patient access data; available at http://www.va.gov/health/access-audit.asp Of note in this, the Department’s eighth updated data set:
• The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has reached out to 302,000 Veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics as of September 12, 2014.

• VHA has also made over 1,115,000 referrals for Veterans to receive care in the private sector.
o This is 256,671 more referrals to receive care in the private sector than in the same period in 2013 (between May 16 and September 14, 2014).
o Each referral represents an average of 7 appointments.

• Additionally, VA has decreased the number of Veterans on the Electronic Wait List by more than 33,900 (59%) since May 15, 2014.

• VA has directed every medical center and VISN Director to make regular monthly, in-person inspections of their clinics to assess scheduling practices and identify obstacles to timely care. So far VHA has conductedover 3,150 of these visits.

VISN 8 OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION
Mary Kay Hollingsworth, Communication Manager
Susan J. Wentzell, Deputy Communication Manager
VA Sunshine Healthcare Network – VISN 8
Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Subject: Washington Times: Finally, our disabled veterans get the memorial they deserve


All - We thought you might be interested in this op-ed, authored by Dennis Joyner and published in the Washington Times on Friday.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/26/joyner-finally-ourdisabled-veterans-get-memorial-/

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Florida Membership
August 31, 2014


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Florida Legislation

FOR

September 30, 2014


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Greetings,
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.

Respectfully,
Joleen Clark, MBA, FACHE

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Dr. Linda Schwartz Confirmed as VA Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning
Veteran, Connecticut Veterans Commissioner, Nominated by President Obama in August 2013


WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today welcomed the confirmation of Connecticut Veterans Commissioner Linda S. Schwartzas Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning.

In this post, Dr. Schwartz will help develop and review VA departmental policy, analyze Veteran trendsand statistics, and evaluate VA transformation initiatives. She will play a critical role in guiding VA’s strategic planning and work to implement Secretary McDonald’svision to transform VA into a nimble, high-performing and responsive organization.

"I welcome Dr. Schwartz to our leadership team," said Secretary McDonald. "Based on her decades of devotion and hard work on behalf of Veterans and Veterans' causes, I know she will have an immediate impact in the Agency's continued mission of serving the great menand women who have proudly worn this Nation's uniform."

Dr. Schwartz, a disabled veteran, is currently the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, a position she has held since 2003. She concurrently serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing at the Yale School of Nursing, where she has been on Faculty since 1999, and was appointed Associate Research Scientist and Scholar. From 1980 to 1993,she taught at several University and College Schools of Nursing and held leadership roles in nursing organizations in Connecticut. From 1979 to 1980, she was a caseworker in the Office of the Field Director of the American Red Cross at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany. Dr. Schwartz also served in the United States Air Force (USAF) Nurse Corps from 1968 to 1986, both on Active Duty and as a Reservist. She retired as a Flight Nurse Instructor, with the rank of Major after sustaining injuries in a USAF Air Craft accident. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in nursing from the University of Maryland School Of Nursing; a Master’s of Science degree from Yale University School of Nursing; and a Dr. PH from the Yale University School of Medicine.

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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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St. Lucie County Chosen as Site of Seventh State Veterans’ Nursing Home

TALLAHASSEE (Sept. 23) -- St. Lucie County will host the site of the next state veterans’ nursing home, following a unanimous vote in today’s Cabinet Meeting at the Capitol.

The decision was made following a presentation on the site selection process by Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director Mike Prendergast.

The site in St. Lucie County was one of nine locations in six counties visited in June 2014 by a site selection committee composed of representatives from Florida’s veteran community, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Florida Department of Management Services, which will oversee construction of the new 120-bed skilled nursing facility. The visits were publicly noticed and attended by local officials and members of the community.

Following public deliberation, the committee selected St. Lucie County as its top recommendation during a July 1 vote and forwarded the recommendation to the FDVA executive director for consideration.

Today’s recommendation followed a months-long deliberative process, following Prendergast’s Feb. 7, 2014 Cabinet Meeting presentation, which discussed the need for and formal process necessary to build additional veterans’ nursing homes in Florida.

His presentation was based on an independent study authorized by the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and signed into law by the governor, which identified ten counties having the greatest need of a state veterans’ nursing home. Six of thecounties submitted formal proposals in May 2014 to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairsfor consideration.

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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 willbe established.

But after 365 days, any data in an incomplete claimbecomes 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 bythe 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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Standard Claims and Appeals Forms Update
VA wants to make it as fast and easy as possible for Veterans and their survivors to file for and receive an accurate decision on their claim. VA is updating its regulations to require the use of standard claim and appeal forms, which brings VA processes in line with othergovernment agency processes, such as those of the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, which also require submissions on standard forms before they can pay benefits or issue refunds. This update is necessary because the lack of standardization process contributes toclaim processing delays, inaccuracy and frustration among claimants.
This update will go into effect 180 days after publication of the final regulations in the Federal Register.
The update has three major components:
• It standardizes the traditional informal claims process by employing a new standard form, VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or pension, survivors pension, or other benefits, which an individual or his or her representative can submit in order to establish a potential effective date for benefits while they take up to a year to gather the evidence necessary to support the claim.
• The intent to file form may be submitted in one of three ways: 1) electronically via eBenefits or the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal, 2) on the paper form mailed to VA, or 3) over the phone with a VA call center or other public contact representative.
• The updated regulations allow VA to award increased benefits retroactive to the date of medical treatment as long as the intent to file form is filed within 1 year of the treatment and the required claim form is filed within the year after that.
 • It mandates use of specified forms designed to capture information necessary to identify and support compensation, pension, and other benefit claims.
 • Compensation claims may be filed online through eBenefits, or submit VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, on paper.
 • Pension claims must be filed on VA Form 21-527EZ, Application for Pension.
 • Survivors claims for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), survivors pension, and accrued benefits must be filed on VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.
 • It mandates use of a standardized notice of disagreement form in most cases when a claimant wishes to initiate an appeal of a VA decision.
 • Veterans initiate appeal of a decision with which they disagree by explaining their disagreement on VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement. Veterans, survivors, and their representatives currently use the form on an optional basis.
How does this impact Veterans?
• The most important impact for Veterans is that thisimprovement and standardization of the filing process will lead to faster claims decisions. By establishing standard forms for Veterans to use, the filing process will become much more efficient, allowing the Veteran tomore clearly notify VA of what he or she is seeking.
 • VA is required to have certain information prior toprocessing a claim. This form simplifies for the Veteran the way they provide that necessary information to VA.
 • VA encourages Veterans to file their compensation claims online through the eBenefits web portal.
eBenefits guides claimants through the application process with a series of questions that elicit the information captured on the paper standard claim form. Veterans who cannot file online, or choose not to file online, may download the forms from www.va.gov/vaforms/ or call 800-827-1000 to have the correct form sent to their home. Completed forms may be mailed or faxed back to VA.
How does this help VA process claims more quickly?
 • By requiring claims on standard forms – as other public agencies do – VA will be able to quickly identify what the individual is claiming and initiate the process to gather evidence for that specific issue. This step is often delayed as, under current regulations, non-standard claims and appeals can be difficult to identify.
 • By helping VA identify claims and appeals, VA can expeditiously begin developing the evidence necessary to process the claim or appeal.
 • Standardized forms are a key component of VA’s transformation, which will help achieve the Department’s

ibid: While there is more - the text ends here - a link is given here so you may read the A Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department on 09/25/2014
So you know - Effective Date: This final rule is effective March 24, 2015.

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VA Updates Disability Claims Application
Process for Veterans, Survivors
New Process Will Reduce Processing Times and Improve Quality


WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve Veterans, families and survivors. Standardizing the process by which Veterans file claims and initiate appeals will make it easier for Veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking from VA and provide information that is necessary to process their claims and appeals. The new forms eliminate applicant guesswork, which often leads to delays in decisions and ultimately delays in receiving benefits. The new regulations go into effect inlate March 2015.

"We must do everything that we can to make it as fast and easy as possible for Veterans and their survivors to file for and receive an accurate decision on their claim,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “Our Veterans and survivors will know, atthe outset of the claims process, what is needed, which removes subjective interpretation from the process. We want to eliminate any barriers that make it difficult for our Veterans or survivors to receive benefits to which they are entitled."

In the past, a Veteran or survivor did not have to use a certain form to seek compensation or other benefits from VA. Claims or appeals (Notice of Disagreement) could be submitted on any piece of paper which caused delays due to missing information.

By using standard forms for all disability claims, VA can more quickly and accurately identify what the Veteran is claiming or appealing. This will allow VA to immediately move on to next steps in the evidence-gathering and decision-making process, which saves administrative processing time and speeds the delivery of earned benefits. The existing process is also inconsistent with most, if not all, other government and non-government application processes, such as applying for social security, applying for a driver's license, applying for a job or filing for an incometax refund.

"These days, government agencies and private businesses rely on standard forms to deliver faster and more accurate customer service,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “VA’s ability to deliver better customer service requires the use ofstandard forms as well. That is why we worked extensively with our partners in the Veterans community to streamline the way we process claims while preserving the effective date rules concerning informal claims through the creation of a new intent to file a claimprocess."

The updated process also includes standardizing thetraditional informal claims process by employing a new “Intent to File a Claim” process which affords the Veteran or survivor one year to compile the necessary documentation or evidence to support the claim while preserving an effective date of claim.

More information about VA Forms 21-526EZ, 21-527EZ, 21-534EZor VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement, may be found at www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.va.gov/vaforms/.

VA Announces Awardees of Grants that Support Disabled Veterans in Adaptive Sports

Approximately 10,000 Veterans and Servicemembers Expected to Benefit


WASHINGTON - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today announced the award of approximately $8 million in grants to provide adaptive sports opportunities for disabled Veterans and disabled Servicemembers of the Armed Forces. Adaptive sports are those sports that have been created or modified for persons with disabilities.

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THE VETERANS ACCESS, CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2014


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 outpatientclinics.

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.

Cost:
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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Subject: Interview regarding the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial from Face the Nation Good Afternoon,

In case you did not have the opportunity to see Gary Sinise’s interview regarding the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial on “Face the Nation” this past Sunday, I provided the link below.

This memorial will be a wonderful tribute to all DAV members and the many sacrifices you and your families have made.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/actor-gary-sinise-champions-disabled-veterans-memorial/

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End of News Letter