Monday, April 06, 2015

Re: BLS Data - March 2015 and 1st Quarter 2015

Vet Employment Data

On Apr 3, 2015 2:40 PM, "VA Office of Economic Opportunity" <> wrote:

Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,


As with the first Friday of every month, the BLS employment statistics were released today.  Attached is our 'cheat sheet' for your use and information.  We have also included the 1st quarter 2015 statistic report. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5% and the Veteran unemployment rate decreased from 5.3% to 4.9%.  The quarterly Veteran unemployment rate decreased from 6.0% in the first quarter of 2014 to 5.2% in the first quarter of 2015.    


Thanks to all of you who are working directly or indirectly, to ensure our Veterans have meaningful employment.





Curtis L. Coy

Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


VA Core Values:  Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence ("I CARE")


Please Remember:




  • If you are seeking employment in the federal government, particularly the VA, our VA for Vets high-tech tools and resources can help. Visit online at or call 1-855-824-8387.


If you would like to contact us about your VA education benefits:


You can send us a secure email that will usually be answered within 48 hours. You can also search for answers to frequently asked questions and register to be notified of any updates to the information. This contact method is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can also be utilized worldwide. Click here to enter the "Ask A Question" site or here to review our frequently asked questions.


You can call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). This line only accepts calls from 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM central time Monday – Friday.



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dan Caldwell Fixing VHA



Last Friday, President Barack Obama visited the Phoenix VA hospital with Secretary Bob McDonald to meet with veterans service organizations for a round-table discussion, where he proposed a "veterans committee" to improve service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Sadly, anyone who has been following the problems at the VA knows that the last thing it needs is another committee that spends its time telling the VA what it's doing wrong. Now is the time for action.For reform. While it was a positive gesture for the President to visit the Phoenix VA, this administration, along with VA Secretary McDonald, has shown little resolve for tangible and substantive reform. 

Luckily, we have a solution: the Veterans Independence Act, which lays out concrete plans to bring accountability, choice and timely care to veterans.  

A key aspect of these reforms is a restructuring of the Veterans Health Administration, separating its payor and provider entities into two different institutions. 

Restructure the VHA

But what does that mean, exactly? 

The VHA's payor institution would function as a health insurance program,while the provider institution would run the brick and mortar hospitals and medical facilities that currently serve veterans. 

Why does separating these entities matter when the VA is already providing these services? 

By separating these functions and creating two separate organizations, VA hospitals would be freed from the bureaucratic red tape and political considerations that currently prevent effective management of their facilities and resources. 

These changes would also allow these hospitals to compete with facilities in the private sector -- improving the quality of care for the veterans they serve. 

These are undeniably huge steps we're asking the VA to take, but if the agency's goal is truly to serve America's veterans as well as they deserve, it would put the needs of the veterans before its own -- and the Veterans Independence Act provides the tools they need to do it.

To read all of our recommendations in the Veterans Independence Act, view the full Fixing Veterans Health Care Report.

In pursuit of meaningful reform, 
Dan Caldwell Signature
Dan Caldwell 
Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan 
Legislative and Political Director, Concerned Veterans for America 



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

The VA and its latest emailer but will this changes be for the good or just further slow a bogged down system ?

Its now faster, easier and more efficient to file claims
See the changes to VA benefits

Online Tools, Standardized Forms, and More

Effective March 24th, 2015, VA is implementing improvements to make it easier for you to apply for benefits.

Online application tools, standardized forms, and a new intent to file process will create faster and more accurate decisions on your claims and appeals.

See how the changes affect you:

See the changes to VA benefits

What does it all mean?

As part of the VA's full-scale transformation in 2015, these new changes will:

  • Streamline the benefits process, making it faster and easier
  • Use standardized forms to file disability claims and compensation appeals
  • Establish a new intent to file a claim process

Learn more about these important changes:

See the changes to VA benefits



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Friday, March 13, 2015

VFW Action Corp Weekly March 13


                                                       March 13, 2015
In This Issue:
1. VFW to Meet with President in Phoenix
2. Choice Card Survey
3. VFW meets with VA Research and Development Leadership
4. DoD Authorizes GWOT-EM for Freedom's Sentinel
5. Seven Korean War Soldiers Identified
1. VFW to Meet with President in Phoenix: President Obama is visiting the Phoenix VA Medical Center today and VFW National Inspector General Ray Thomas is expected to join him in a roundtable discussion on veterans' health care issues. In a newspaper interview, Thomas said most of the veterans he's talked with seem pleased that patient wait times have improved substantially, but that there is still an issue with specialists, especially cancer specialists. Last year, the VFW championed the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act to help counter the nationwide crisis in care and confidence that Phoenix ignited—but now in hindsight could have been started at a different facility anywhere. The VA still has an uphill climb to fix what's broken, to hold employees accountable, and to restore the faith of veterans in their VA. 
2. Choice Card Survey: The VFW has commissioned a second survey to poll members on their experiences accessing the Veterans Choice Program. Thank you to those who have taken the second survey. Your participation has allowed the VFW to continue to keep its finger on the pulse of this important program and evaluate progress as the Veterans Choice Program enters its fifth month. If you took our first survey, but have not taken the second survey, which went live on February 6, 2015, please help us track any changes in your experiences. If you are taking this survey for the first time, your input is critical to holding VA accountable for delivering timely non-VA care options to veterans. 
Take the survey here: To learn more about the Veterans Choice Program or to share your stories with us, please visit:

3. VFW meets with VA Research and Development Leadership: On Wednesday, the VFW hosted the VA's Research and Development team for a discussion on the status of their research programs. VA has many promising research projects, including: women's health, which will increase VA's knowledge on best ways to deliver care for women; health disparities and access needs in minority populations; and the on-going Million Veteran Program (MVP), a genetic data collection and research program that lead to a better understanding of the relationship between genetics and diseases and military-related illnesses. To learn more about VA Research and Development or how to participate in the MVP program click here:
4. DoD Authorizes GWOT-EM for Freedom's Sentinel: Operation Freedom's Sentinel is now a qualifying operation for award of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. The Defense Department said the award is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. Service members deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Freedom's Sentinel continue to be awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Troops deployed abroad in support of Freedom's Sentinel, but stationed outside of the campaign medal's area of eligibility, are now eligible for award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal. Also now authorized are service stars on medals or ribbons to reflect multiple deployments. The GWOT-EM, as well as the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, are VFW membership qualifiers. Read more about the Pentagon's policy change at:
5. Seven Korean War Soldiers Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains belonging to seven Army soldiers who had been lost and unaccounted-for since the Korean War. Returned home for burial with full military honors are:
  • Sgt. 1st Class Donald R. Strum, Company C, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, who was lost in North Korea on Nov. 4, 1950.
  • Cpl. Robert Higgins, 21, of Bucks County, Penn. He was assigned to Battery C, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost in battle in South Korea on Feb. 13, 1951.
  • Sgt. Floyd J.R. Jackson, 20, of Warrensburg, Mo., died while a POW in North Korea on Feb. 13, 1951. He was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which made up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team.
  • Pfc. John R. Bowers, of Greenville, S.C. He was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when lost in South Korea on Feb. 14, 1951.
  • Sgt. Arnold V. Andring, 25, of Gary, Minn., died while a POW in North Korea after being captured on Feb 14, 1951. He was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 8th Army.
  • Pfc. Lotchie J.R. Jones, 18, of Jasper, Tenn., died while a POW in North Korea on Feb. 28, 1951. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. 
  • Cpl. Lindsey C. Lockett, 25, of Henrico, Va., died while a POW in North Korea on May 31, 1951. He was assigned to Medical Detachment, Headquarters Battery, 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.
To sign up new veterans' advocates, click here:
As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories, either fill out our online form by clicking here:, or simply email photos and stories directly to



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

MyVA Advisory Committee Formed


VA Establishes MyVA Advisory Committee

Highly Respected Group of Outside Leaders to Advise VA Secretary

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the establishment of the MyVA Advisory Committee (MVAC). The Committee brings together skilled experts from the private, non-profit and government sectors to assist in reorienting the Department to better meet the needs of Veterans. This Committee is charged with advising the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with a focus on improving customer service, Veteran outcomes and setting the course for long-term reform and excellence.

The Advisory Committee will meet multiple times per year and will engage in periodic reviews to ensure the Department achieves the goals of MyVA.  The Committee will provide advice on competing short-term and long-range plans, priorities and strategies to improve the operational functions, services, processes and outputs of the Department, and will also advise on appropriate levels of support and funding necessary to achieve objectives. Further, the Committee will review implementation of recommended improvements and suggest any necessary course corrections.

Members of the Committee have extensive experience in customer service, large- scale organizational change and advocacy for Veterans. 

"The success of MyVA will be Veterans who are better served by VA, so the work of this committee is incredibly important," said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  "The collective wisdom of our committee members is invaluable and each of them understands that VA must improve customer service and focus the Department on the needs of our Veterans. They are dedicated to that mission and I am grateful for their principled service to our Veterans."

The biographies of Committee members are below. The group will hold their first meeting in April.

MG Josue "Joe" Robles Jr., US Army (Ret.)

Mr. Robles retired from the U.S. Army as a Major General after 28 years in service and joined the United States Automobile Association (USAA), where he assumed the position of President and CEO in December 2007. In 2009, The Christian Science Monitor named Mr. Robles the "No. 1 Veteran in Business," and American Banker named him "Innovator of the Year."  Mr. Robles retired from USAA in February 2015. He will serve as Chairman of the MyVA Advisory Committee.

Michael Haynie, PhD, Vice Chancellor, Syracuse University

Dr. Haynie provides strategic leadership within the University's campus-wide portfolio of Veteran and military-connected programs, partnerships and research – and works to develop new initiatives across the institution.  He is an Air Force Veteran and serves as the Chairman of the Secretary of Labor's Advisory Committee on Veteran Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach.  Dr. Haynie serves as Executive Director of the University's Institute for Veterans & Military Families, and he is the founder of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program.  He will service as Vice Chairman of the MyVA Advisory Committee

Herman Bulls, International Director, and Chairman Public Institutions, Jones Lang LaSalle

Bulls has vast experience in executive oversight of teams in real estate development, investment management, asset management, facilities operations and business development/retention. He serves on corporate boards including USAA, Tyco International, Comfort Systems and Exelis. Additionally he serves as a director of the West Point Association of Graduates and the Military Bowl, an NCAA sanctioned post season football game.  An Army Veteran, Bulls is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard Business School.

Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Amazon Web Services

Ms. Carlson brings more than 20 years of experience as a business executive driving innovation and change, and producing successful business results.  She is a leader in the information technology field.  Prior to joining Amazon, Ms. Carlson served as Vice President of federal government business at Microsoft.  She has 15 years of experience in the health care field and was recently named to Washingtonian Magazine's "100 Most Powerful Women," among other awards.

Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H, FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Carmona is a combat decorated and disabled U.S. Army Special Forces Vietnam Veteran.  He is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona, holds numerous public and private leadership positions and has extensive experience in public health, clinical sciences, health care management, national preparedness and a commitment to prevention as an effective means to improve public health and reduce health care costs while improving the quality and quantity of life.

Delos "Toby" M. Cosgrove, M.D., CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Cosgrove has emphasized patient care and patient experience in his leadership of the Cleveland Clinic, including the reorganization of clinical services. Dr. Cosgrove has launched major wellness initiatives for patients, employees and communities. He was ranked in Modern Healthcare's "100 most powerful people in healthcare" and "most powerful physician executives."  He is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Laura Herrera, MD, Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Dr, Herrera has served as Chief Medical Officer for Maryland and assisted the Secretary of Health on implementation of innovative health delivery reform structures in the state system.  She served as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, National Director of Women's Health and the Acting Deputy Chief Officer of Patient Care Services in the VA's Veterans Health Administration.

Chris Howard, DPhil, President, Hampden-Sydney College

Mr. Howard currently serves as president of Hampden-Sydney College. In addition, he was nominated and confirmed as a member of the National Security Education Program Board.  Mr. Howard is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education and has served as Vice President for Leadership & Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.

Nancy Killefer

Ms. Killefer served as a Senior Director in the DC office of McKinsey & Company. During her career, Ms. Killefer has focused on strategy, marketing and organizational effectiveness and efficiency issues with an emphasis on consumer-based and retail industries. Ms. Killefer also founded and led McKinsey's global public sector practice. She is a former Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Assistant Secretary for Management at the United States Department of the Treasury, and has previously chaired the IRS Oversight Board. Ms. Killefer now serves on a number of corporate Boards and is the Vice Chair of the Defense Business Board. 

Fred Lee 

Mr. Lee is a nationally recognized expert and consultant in the patient and family experience.  He is the author of the best-selling health care leadership book, "If Disney Ran Your Hospital, 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently."  His career in hospital management and expertise in quality improvement has changed the language of patient satisfaction in hospitals, and introduced experience based improvement to change management and staff engagement. 

Eleanor "Connie" Mariano, M.D., Founder, Center for Executive Medicine

Dr. Mariano was the first female director of the White House Medical Unit and the first military woman to become a White House Physician to the President.  Dr. Mariano joined Mayo Clinic's Executive Health Program upon departure from the White House, and has since founded the Center for Executive Medicine. Dr. Mariano is a retired Navy Rear Admiral.

Jean Reaves

Ms. Reaves is a Vietnam Era Veteran who has been a Veteran Advocate for the last 20 years.   She is a member of AMVETS and several other Veteran Service Organizations.  She is currently President of North Carolina AMVETS Service Foundation.  Ms. Reaves also served as Veteran Liaison for United States Senator Kay Hagan. She also is the wife and mother of Veterans.

Maria "Lourdes" Tiglao, Director of Outreach and Resource Development, The District Communications Group

Ms. Tigalo is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was a co-founder of the first USAF Critical Care Medical Attendant Team in the Pacific.  Ms. Tigalo currently serves as Regional Communications Manager for Team Rubicon, a Veteran disaster response service organization.

Robert E. Wallace, Assistant Adjutant General and Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Mr. Wallace is a Vietnam Veteran and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of VFW activities in Washington, DC.  Mr. Wallace's VFW service follows a successful career in banking, and positions in New Jersey state government in Veterans Affairs and Employment and Training commission.

More information about the MyVA Advisory Committee may be found at:






Keep updated & let us know how we're doing.



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Thursday, February 05, 2015

House to Examine Wasteful VA Land Use

HVAC To Examine Wasteful VA Land-Use Agreements


WASHINGTON, D.C.— On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. in room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations will hold an oversight hearing examining waste and abuse associated with VA's management of land-use agreements.


According to the Government Accountability Office, "VA manages one of the nation's largest federal property portfolios. To manage these properties, VA uses land-use authorities that allow VA to enter into various types of agreements for the use of its property in exchange for revenues or in-kind considerations."


This hearing will look at problems with VA's billing and collecting practices for land-use agreements at various VA Medical Centers. A 2014 Government Accountability Office report requested by O&I Chairman Rep. Mike Coffman found these deficiencies have resulted inhundreds of thousands in lost revenue. The report also noted that VA incorrectly billed its sharing partners 40 percent of the time at surveyed medical centers and raised questions about the reliability and accuracy of VA's land-use data.


The primary focus of the hearing will be issues at the West Los Angeles VA Medical center, including land-use agreements, problems faced by area homeless veterans and other concerns affecting quality of care.


The following event is open to the press.


WHO:       Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations

WHAT:    "An Examination of Waste and Abuse Associated with VA's Management of Land-Use Agreements"

WHEN:    4:00 PM, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

WHERE:  334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming at


The witness list will be released at a later date



 Sean Eagan

 Life Member VFW NY Post 53
 American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Phone:  716 720-4000 
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile