United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Midwest Health Care Network

Network Update - March 2009

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Department of Veterans Affairs
VA MIDWEST HEALTH CARE NETWORK
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 23

Network Update
March 2009

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President Proposes 2010 Budget for VA

Department of Veterans Affairs announced the President’s proposed Funding Plan Improves Access, Modernizes Technology.  President Obama's first proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expands eligibility for health care to an additional 500,000 Veterans over the next five years, meets the need for continued growth in programs for the combat Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and provides the resources to deliver quality health care for the Nation’s 5.5 million Veteran patients.  The 2010 budget request is a significant step toward realizing a vision shared by the President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki to transform VA into an organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward-looking.  “Our success must encompass cost-effectiveness,” Shinseki said. “We are stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we will include appropriate metrics to accurately gauge the quality of our care and the effectiveness of our management processes.” If accepted by Congress, the President’s budget proposal would increase VA’s budget from $98 billion this fiscal year to $113 billion for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2009.  This is in addition to the $1.4 billion provided for VA projects in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  To view the Department’s news release about the President’s proposed budget log on at http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1656

Minneapolis VAMC SCI/D Center Opens

Minneapolis VAMC SCI/D Center 

 

The Minneapolis VAMC’s Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders (SCI/D) Center is now open and caring for both outpatients and inpatients.   The outpatient clinics, which have seven exam rooms, opened in January; the first inpatient moved into the SCI on Feb. 23.  The inpatient area, which will have 30 beds, will be opening in stages.

Minneapolis VAMC physical therapists demonstrate how the new therapy pool works in the recently opened Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders Center.  Picture are (left to right) Amanda Simone, Chris Schieffer, and Kate Thul (swimmer).

Returning Service Members

Through the end of January 2009, Minnesota VA medical facilities enrolled a total of 12,020 combat veterans, including 6,355 National Guard members3,417 Reservists, and 2,248 active military.  VISN 23 has enrolled a total of 30,103 combat veterans, including 16,741 National Guard members, 5,436 Reservists, and 7,926 active military.  The majority of those enrolled receive outpatient care with 621 receiving inpatient care.  There are a number who choose to enroll only.  Those who choose to enroll only are encouraged to come to a VA facility for a minimum baseline medical exam. 

VA Launches Improved Website for Returning Service Members

Web Site for Returning Soldiers 

Check this out…http://www.oefoif.va.gov/ .  Launched the week of the presidential inauguration, VA’s Returning Service Members website now offers tailored information on VA services and programs, as well as Internet-savvy video features, stories and even a blog. 

VA Clarifies Clinical Criteria for Hearing Aids and Eyeglasses

VA recently released a directive clarifying clinical criteria regarding eligibility for hearing aids and eyeglasses.   Neural-sensory aids MAY be available to non-service connected veterans if certain clinical criteria are met. Veterans who feel they would benefit from neuro-sensory aid are encouraged to talk with their primary care provider.  A clinical assessment will be needed to determine if the veteran now meets the medical need for the neuro-sensory device and consequently need an exam.  For information log on at:  http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/coveredservices/SpecialBenefits.asp#EyeEar

Watch the Weather and Be Aware of What Lies Ahead

Weather Driving 
Use caution when traveling to and from your appointments.  Follow National Weather Service Advice when traveling during the winter season.  Brisk winds and sudden whiteout conditions are common in the Midwest and are often accompanied by very cold wind chill readings. Dress in several layers of clothing to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.  Advise your family or friends of your travel plans and carry a winter weather survival kit in your vehicle.  To find a site specific weather forecast along your travel route, log on at http://safetravelusa.com/.  Not able to travel - no problem.  We want you safe, call the VA facility where your appointment is scheduled and let us reschedule your appointment. 

Patient Safety Week - March 8-14 - The Power of Partnership

VA recognizes the Veteran as an important partner in the delivery of health care.  Don’t allow anyone to make health care decisions about you, without involving you.   Here are four tips to remember:  (1) Don't be afraid to ask questions, (2) Involve your loved ones in your care, (3) Make sure you and your caregivers are clear about the medications you are to take; and (4) Know what to do after discharge.  For more information on how you can get involved in your care, visit the “For Patients” section on VA’s National Center for Patient Safety website at www.patientsafety.gov

VA - Good Stewards of the Environment

Green Environment 
VA recognizes the Veteran as an important partner in the delivery of health care.  Don’t allow anyone to make health care decisions about you, without involving you.   Here are four tips to remember:  (1) Don't be afraid to ask questions, (2) Involve your loved ones in your care, (3) Make sure you and your caregivers are clear about the medications you are to take; and (4) Know what to do after discharge.  For more information on how you can get involved in your care, visit the “For Patients” section on VA’s National Center for Patient Safety website at www.patientsafety.gov 

Design the 2009 National Veterans Day Poster

Veterans Day Poster 

Interested in designing a national poster to honor veterans?  Then the Veterans Day National Committee would like to hear from you. The committee is seeking submissions for the 2009 national Veterans Day poster.  The committee will convene in May to review submissions and select a finalist. The final poster must be 18”x 24” at 300 dots per inch, but scale down submissions to 9”x 12” and submit electronic versions as JPEG images or PDF files via e-mail to: vetsday@va.gov.  Alternatively, send copies of artwork or a CD with artwork files to: Department of Veterans Affairs (002C), 810 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC,20420.  Do not send originals. The deadline for submissions is May 1. To view Veterans Day posters from previous years, visit www.va.gov/vetsday and click on “Poster Gallery.” Submissions should include sufficient information to demonstrate that the image is the work of the artist and is not copyrighted material (i.e., photos and concepts). The committee may select a particular submission but ask the artist to make modifications to the original design. Additional changes may be required prior to printing


For more information, call the Network office at 612.725.1968,
Log on at www.visn23.va.gov.or email sharyl.schaepe@va.gov