Forward Observer: Bethany UM Adds to Its Military Veteran Family Support Services

November 25, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005As we reported in a 19 September blog, Bethany United Methodist Church located in the Macungie/Wescoville area, intended to conduct two workshops to promote a better understanding of PTSD with the ultimate intention of starting a peer-to-peer support group afterwards.

As a result of those meetings, we have learned that the church has started two of these types of support groups instead:  one for male veterans and another for women, whether veterans or spouses or ‘significant others’ — which makes this group unique to the valley when looked at from a veteran’s context. Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer: Something for Other Veterans Organizations to Consider for Their Own Well-Being?

November 19, 2019

Momentum for PA VFW’s No Smoking Indoors Campaign Continues to March On

LVMAC Poster Art 2005There has been loads of talk these days about improving the well-being of military veterans and their families.   But without the well-being of chartered veterans organizations such as the VFW, The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America and others also being maintained, that prospect instantly becomes harder.  The veterans benefits we have today were largely hard-earned through these organizations. Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer: Bethany Church Launches Effort to Address PTSD and Trauma

September 19, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005It is in the formative stage, but the Bethany Church located in the Macungie area, will be hosting two workshops to promote a better understanding PTSD — with the intention of starting a peer-to-peer support group afterwards, if successful.  Led by Scotty Coyle, Pastor of Discipleship and also a current war, combat veteran, the approach is non-clinical, for he is not a clinical psychologist.  However, he is an experienced counselor who has studied PTSD treatments.

It is unfortunate that some veterans Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer: Vet Center Counseling Now Available During Training or Drill Weekends for the Guard– BUT NOT SO MUCH IN THE LEHIGH VALLEY?

September 3, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005On 27 August the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it had formalized a partnership with the Department of Defense formalized a partnership on 28 June between VA’s Vet Centers and the National Guard Bureau, to provide Vet Center counseling, outreach staff and other services to members during training or drill weekends to decrease their suicide rate — a reputed problem in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer: Law Suit Filed Over Delay in Blue Water Navy Claims Processing

August 2, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005On 22 July, the Military-Veterans Advocacy, a nonprofit legal organization which had a major role in overturning the VA’s decision not to process Blue Water Navy veterans’ Agent Orange claims through a remarkable legal action (Procopio vs. Wilkie), is now asking a federal judge to rescind a stay on Blue Water Navy claims processing imposed by Secretary Wilkie, aided and abetted by the U.S. Congress for good or ill. Read the rest of this entry »


Forward Observer: VA Ordered into Delayed Action on ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans

July 20, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005As a result of  Public Law 116-23, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 signed into law on 25 June, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — having finally acknowledged its responsibility to attend to Blue Water Navy as a result of a recent court decision — has been given a short reprieve on “Blue Water Navy” claims decisions.

The U.S. Congress, which previously lacked the courage to act on this longstanding issue until after that court decision, now gives the VA until 1 January 2020 to begin deciding Blue Water Navy related claims for those who served in the territorial waters of the Republic of Vietnam (defined in the Act) between 9 January 1962 and 7 May 1975.  The VA has stated that veterans over age 85 or with life-threatening illnesses are to have priority in claims processing.

From another point of view, this action gives the VA the necessary time to ensure it has the proper resources to process an anticipated onslaught of veteran and survivor claims.  During previous testimony, it was estimated that between 52,000 and 90,000 veterans were affected.  For some reason, it is now estimated that between 420,000 and 560,000 Vietnam-era veterans may be considered Blue Water Navy veterans.

However, these affected veterans are encouraged to submit their disability compensation claims for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure now.  And, those veterans who previously were denied for an Agent Orange related presumptive conditions should file a new claim based upon this change in law.  Eligible survivors of Blue Water Navy veterans may also benefit from the new law and should consider resubmitting their claims if previously denied.  We still recommend you consult an accredited Veterans Service Officer — and not do this action on your own to ensure a thorough review of your situation.

Understand that under the new law, the veteran must have a disease associated with herbicide exposure, as listed in 38 Code of Federal Regulations section 3.309(e).  The presumptive conditions which currently apply are:

  • AL amyloidosis
  • Chloracne or similar acneform disease
  • Chronic B-cell leukemias
  • Diabetes mellitus Type 2
  • Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early-onset
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea)
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma).

For more information, visit www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/vietnam-waters/.

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RJH
As of 5 July 2019

 


Forward Observer: How Good is the VA Healthcare System?

April 15, 2019

LVMAC Poster Art 2005These days many people are attacking the VA for its quality of care, especially those seeking to privatize the system entirely, as opposed to those wanting to improve staffing and access to care (which involves contracting out also).  Most healthcare systems in our vicinity would be found as wanting if held to the same level of scrutiny.  In many instances the problems are furthered by the competition for resources in short supply (e.g. medical professionals) versus the sharing of them — which is typical of other businesses.  Yet, not infrequently the quality of care provided by the VA (socialized medicine, incidentally) is superior; and the reportage on that quality (transparency) is currently unrivaled, frankly. Read the rest of this entry »


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