LVMAC Tidbits

Hearings and Closures Affecting  the Veterans Community

Veterans Sanctuary Zoning Hearing Part 2:  There will be a second zoning hearing on 19 November (Thursday) at 7 PM at Alletntown’s City Council Chambers (4th and Hamilton St.) about allowing the conversion of an old church building on South Sixth St. into a veterans treatment center.

“Veterans Sanctuary” is an important and innovative residential therapy project that can positively and dramatically improve how mental health, mild TBI, and drug and alcohol addiction services are provided to our veterans in our own community.

We ask for your attendance to fill every seat in the chamber, knowing that you have been called upon before. However, there is opposition to the project by at least one person motivated by downtown business interests.

As Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki said at a recent national mental health, “This is about doing what is best for those who served our country and using every federal, state and community asset to do it…so everyone who fought for this country gets a fighting chance for a sound mind and independent life.”

Treatment Trends Inc, a member organization, is trying to put those words into action. We must support them and not allow anyone opposed to Veterans Sanctuary to imply the community is not behind it. Our packing the chamber once again would help defeat such reasoning.

Your past support, presence and testimony have pressed an entire city government into action for the sake of our veterans.

Now is the time to impress upon the Zoning Hearing Board that a special exception to the city ordinance is indeed wise and proper … and specious arguments for more selfish interests should not prevail in a situation of such importance.

Allentown VA Pharmacy Has Closed:  The Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center closed the Allentown Outpatient Clinic’s pharmacy operation on 2 November. This was done to enhance services. About 80% of the Allentown patients receive some or all of their prescription medications by mail delivered to their home. According to Wilkes-Barre, no diminution of service is therefore expected.

As Director Janice Boss has written, “If your provider feels that you need a medication immediately, they will have the option to write you a precription for a limited supply of medications which can be filled at a local pharmacy at VA expense until yuor medication is sent form the VA pharmacy service.

“For your convenience, the VA has contracted with many pharmacies in the local and surrounding areas to provide medications that are needed immediately. A list of participating providers will be provided to you when you receive a prescription. This service will ensure that you continue to receive excellent care, as always, for your immediate needs. As stated, this service will be used as the discretion of the provider.

“If your provider is renewing a medication that you are already on, a pharmacist will still be on-site to process your prescription. However, these prescriptions, and all your refills, will now be filled through our mail order system…”

It will take 7-10 days to process a prescription using the mail-order system. For the record, there are three options for processing refills (by computer MyHealtheVet, by phone 1800-228-0549, by mail-in to the clinic ATTN: Pharmacy).   Contact the clinic if you have questions.

Governor’s Veterans Outreach and Assistance Centers ClosingA little noted casualty of the budget wars are the five Governor’s Veterans Outreach and Assistance Centers. Their continuance has been a subject of controversy in the past few years. All will close officially on 31 December 2009. These centers, which did outreach where county directors and veterans organizations often had not, were federally funded through the Commonwealth’s Department of Labor and Industry.

Scotland School for Veterans Children ClosedA victim of the state budget wars, a long-lived  institution and a responsibility of the Adjutant General and her Department of Veterans and Military Affairs closed unceremoniously on 30 June via the actions of the Governor with the concurrence of the General Assembly. Despite a fight lead by the Foundation supporting the school,  it is now a certainty it will never reopen. This message was posted on the foundation’s website recently:

“In view of the fact that the school is closing, we, The Foundation for Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, by statute must dissolve in coordination with the school’s closing. To that end the foundation has employed the law firm of Rhoads & Sinon LLP of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to guide us through the process. This process may take from six months up to one year, depending on the actions of the court.”

The Foundation, its most effective supporter, has ceased lobbying for its reopening.

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