Today, the Washington State Veterans Employee Resource Group honored 67 Vietnam Veterans in a Re...read more
Today, the Washington State Veterans Employee Resource Group honored 67 Vietnam Veterans in a Reception at the Washington Department of Revenue. Chris Liu, Director Department of Enterprise Services and Vietnam Veteran gave a poignant speech which touched everyone in the room. Afterward honorees received a VERG Welcome Home Challenge Coin.
Thank you to the VERG Committee for all the work you do to help integrate the experience, values, and knowledge of both veterans and service members in state employment.
This is a high-quality, research-based approach to business planning for food- and farm-based ent...read more
This is a high-quality, research-based approach to business planning for food- and farm-based entrepreneurs in the South Puget Sound. Whether you are just starting your business or have been in business for a while, this Program will help you learn how to reach your financial goals for the future by using sound business planning concepts and tools tailored specifically to small farm and food-based entrepreneurs.
You will learn vital skills for running a successful small farm or food-processing business with:
A comprehensive business planning process
Excellent instructors and quality materials
Technical assistance, and peer support
Access to credit for your small enterprise
Guest speakers will include local buyers (restaurants and stores), Washington State Department of Agriculture, and successful business owners.
OLYMPIA –The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded the Abraham Lincoln...read more
OLYMPIA –The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs has been awarded the Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is WDVA’s sixth Pillars of Excellence Award since 2014.
The award recognizes outstanding state programs that support veterans within their states. This year’s award is for WDVA’s innovations in the development of the nation’s first Vet Corps program. WDVA launched the Vet Corps in 2009 in response to an influx of returning veterans enrolling in Washington State colleges and universities after significant changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Vet Corps is funded through an AmeriCorps grant, co-managed by Serve Washington, which provides 50 Vet Corps members with a stipend and education award at the end of their service.
“Here in Washington State we wanted to be sure that military personnel transitioning from active duty to our higher education campuses had the level of support and sense of belonging that they needed," said WDVA director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos. "The Vet Corps provides peer support and guidance to help veterans navigate their veteran benefits and the sometimes complex landscape of higher education systems.”
The Vet Corps promotes systemic change through Veteran Navigators strategically located in higher education settings who develop opportunities for volunteerism and educating faculty and administration in veteran cultural competencies.
The Vet Corps helps veterans be successful in their post-secondary education by providing a peer-to-peer mentorship program on college campuses, tapping into the knowledge, skills and abilities of veterans by engaging them in AmeriCorps national service positions, and enabling veterans to make a positive difference in their communities.
A recent independent evaluation shows that the Vet Corps Program is making a difference as veterans in schools served by the program took more credits, had higher fall to spring retention rates, and higher completion rates than non-Vet Corps Member sites.
WDVA’s Vet Corps program serves to enhance and collaborate with existing college services and currently receives a $630,000 AmeriCorps grant, increasing the availability of veteran services on over 50 different college campuses throughout the state.
Washington State has received a Pillars of Excellence Award each year since 2014, with two awards in 2014.
While the VTSC operates in a preventative nature, it is acknowledged that there will occasionally...read more
While the VTSC operates in a preventative nature, it is acknowledged that there will occasionally be issues in which action on part of the VTSC staff is required. This procedural description serves as a guideline.
VTSC is fully committed to providing quality continuing education in an ethically sound manner. Our goal is to strictly adhere to American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists as well as applicable legal and ethical standards, including non-discriminatory standards. The monitoring and assessment of compliance with these standards will be the responsibility of the Project Director in consultation with the members of the planning committee, Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Director of Behavioral Health, and WDVA Ethics and Compliance Officer.
While the VTSC operates in a preventative nature, it is acknowledged that there will occasionally be issues in which action on part of the VTSC staff is required. This procedural description serves as a guideline for handling such grievances. When a participant, either orally or in written format, reports a grievance, the following actions will be taken.
1. If the grievance concerns a speaker, the content presented by the speaker, or the style of presentation, the individual filing the grievance will be asked to put his/her comments in written format. The VTSC Director will review and discuss these comments, as well as post-workshop evaluation comments (when applicable), with the speaker. In all cases confidentiality of workshop participants will be upheld to the best of the VTSC's ability.
2. If the grievance concerns a workshop offering, the content, level of presentation, or the facilities in which the workshop was offered, the VTSC Director will mediate and will be the final arbitrator. If the participant requests action, the VTSC Director will a. provide a credit for a subsequent workshop, or b. provide a partial or full refund of the workshop fee if applicable. Actions 2a and 2b will require a written note, documenting the grievance, for record keeping purposes; a signature is not required.
3. If the grievance concerns VTSC CE program, in a specific regard, the VTSC Director will attempt to arbitrate. Please contact John Phillips, MA, 2106 2nd Ave., Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98121, John.Phillips@dva.wa.gov, 206-477-8282 to submit a complaint.
4. If the grievance concerns other CE program participants the VTSC Director will mediate and will be the final arbitrator. If the participant requests action, the VTSC Director will a. provide a credit for a subsequent workshop, or b. provide a partial or full refund of the workshop fee if applicable. Actions 2a and 2b will require a written note, documenting the grievance, for record keeping purposes; a signature is not required.
5. Time limits on filing a complaint: Participants must file a complaint within one business quarter after the action that gave rise to the complaint.
If the complaint cannot be solved at this level, the VTSC Director will defer to the WDVA Behavioral Health who will review the complaint with the agency Ethics and Compliance Officer.
The research animal ethics oversight committee at the VA Puget Sound is called the Institutional ...read more
The research animal ethics oversight committee at the VA Puget Sound is called the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or IACUC. We are looking for a new non-scientist member for the committee,
Having an IACUC in place is required by several federal laws (including the Animal Welfare Act). These laws specify that the committee has to include a researcher, a veterinarian, a member of the public who is unaffiliated with the institution, and a non-scientist member. We are looking to find a new non-scientist member. To qualify as a non-scientist, the person must have primary interests and education outside of the biological sciences. So, for example, an accountant or construction worker or English teacher or baker or soldier or tinker or tailor or spy… just not a scientist. The reason the laws specify that such a person be included is so that the research protocols reviewed will be written at a level understandable to someone with a high school education; if the taxpayers’ dollars are being spent to support the research, the average taxpayer should be able to understand why the work is being done.
Our committee meets once each month at the Seattle VA, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, at 2:30 pm. Meetings typically run from 1.5 to 2 hours. We prefer attendance in person, but it is possible to participate in meetings by phone or video link-up, as long as the person can interact with the committee in real-time. Twice each year the committee inspects (physically walks thru) the facilities where animals are housed and used in research work. We provide training for all IACUC members (there is a computer-based training class, and we train in person, as well as a one-day meeting at a conference center in Lynnwood each February). We can reimburse expenses for travel (for example gas money) to the meetings.
Our VA research is intended to improve the health of Veterans. The research animals we work with are primarily mice and rats, and some pigs. We have investigations ranging from better treatments for Diabetes, to ways to prevent alcoholics from relapsing, to treatments for mild traumatic brain injury (like that received from being exposed to an improvised explosive device or IED), to understanding how inflammation affects the brain, to prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, to cancer therapy, to understanding and treatments for seizures…. and more. It’s a very exciting set of research programs, and I’d love to talk with anyone who is interested about what we do, and how we do it. We are committed to treating animals humanely, and in fact we have two veterinarians on staff dedicated to overseeing the program of animal care and use, and training of all research staff who will work with animals.
Cynthia Pekow, DVM, DACLAM, CPIA
Chief, Veterinary Medical Unit
Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System
1660 S. Columbian Way
Seattle, Washington 98018 USA firstname.lastname@example.org
206-764-2448 FAX 206-768-5358
WestCare Washington has been selected as the Coordination Center for the WAServes - Greater Puget Sound network.
WAServes, part of the national AmericaServes network, is a coordinated network of public, private and nonprofit organizations serving veterans, service members and their families in the Washington area. WAServes utilizes a common technology platform to create accountability and formalize communication, coordination and transparency among its partner providers in order to efficiently and effectively guide veterans and their families to the most appropriate services and resources available to achieve their unique goals.
Who is Served?
Active duty, National Guard, Reserve service members as well as veterans, and their families who reside in the Greater Puget Sound area are eligible for support from the network at no cost. WAServes aims to support all individuals who have worn the uniforms of our military – regardless of age, era, branch or discharge status. When discharge status impacts eligibility of some services, Care Coordinators will strive to find an appropriate local resource. The Greater Puget Sound area consists of the following 8 counties: King, Snohomish, Island, Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Lewis.
How Does it Work?
The WAServes network continues to work collectively to improve the coordination and direct service delivery to military and veteran families. By adopting the technology and aggregating community-wide data, we are able to more accurately identify and measure:
Who is requesting services
What services they are requesting
Availability of those services
Time it takes to meet the need
Most importantly, the data will provide insight into individual outcomes as a result of those services delivered.
This collective impact and improvement in delivery of provider services would not be possible without the commitment and servant leadership of WAServes partner providers as well as the generous support of donors. The community has come together to create a new innovative approach of leveraging existing strengths, philanthropic leadership, and local coordination to better serve our military and veteran families. WAServes is funded by a generous donation from the Schultz Family Foundation.
AmericaServes is a coordinated network of services, resources, and care, that provides direct access for veterans, service members, and their families. AmericaServes consists of local and regional networks that are tailored to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve. WAServes – Greater Puget Sound is the local AmericaServes network for the coastal region of Washington state. Each local AmericaServes network consists of vetted service providers, that are connected together through a Coordination Center – a backbone organization that supports the local network by understanding each provider’s services, capacity and eligibility requirements, and facilitating accurate referrals for network users to receive the services they seek. This means that veterans and military families are connected to providers who understand their unique situation, and provide the services they need, and that providers are able to refer veterans and military families they are unable to serve to the care they need without taking on the time burden associated with linking to another provider or following up. The grand vision of AmericaServes is to establish local networks all around the US such that veterans and service members can receive care and services wherever they are, through a single point of entry into a national network of hundreds of quality providers.
WAServes offers transitioning service members, veterans and their families access to a class-leading continuum of providers that runs the gamut from superior legal, housing and emergency service providers to employment, recreation and fitness, financial capabilities and more – all designed to provide those who serve, have served, and their families, with the most comprehensive service delivery experience available anywhere in the nation
If you are a veteran, service member or family member in need of assistance, please click here to fill out the ‘Get Assistance’ form.
Great News! It is with great pleasure that we virtually unveil the newly designed logo for the ...read more
Great News! It is with great pleasure that we virtually unveil the newly designed logo for the Walla Walla Veterans Home!
This design was submitted by Michael Page at Esprit Graphic Communications, a Kennewick area Veteran Owned Business. Esprit, owned by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Skip Novakovich and his wife Shannon, has a long history of giving back to their community. We are grateful for the time that Michael took to help us capture the spirit of Walla Walla in his design that is now the symbol for the Walla Walla Veterans Home.
In all, fourteen logos were submitted as part of the design contest. Members of the WDVA Walla Walla Planning Committee reviewed each design and made a nearly unanimous selection. Our thanks goes to Michael of Esprit and everyone who submitted a logo design!
YOUR newest home is another Eastern Washington investment that continues our focus on the proportionate distribution of our agency resources. Governor Inslee is supporting the funding we need so we can continue growing our services and facilities to benefit our Eastern Washington brothers, sisters and their families. The home brings about 100 new WDVA team members to serve with dignity and respect our veterans who need 24/7 short term and long term care. We would like to invite the general public and especially those who devoted their time and effort to submitting a Walla Walla Veterans Home logo for the contest, to join us at the Grand Opening of this incredible facility! It will be held on Saturday, February 18th at 1pm. For more information or to RSVP, email us at email@example.com or call 1-800-562-0132 option ‘1’.
The WDVA Way is to inspire each other and share information – you can do both by Sharing Your Sto...read more
The WDVA Way is to inspire each other and share information – you can do both by Sharing Your Story!
Date: ____August, 2016__________
Program/Location: _Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot Program_
The Rural Veterans Coordination Home Base Pilot Program (RVCP) is operated through a grant from the WestCare Foundation and serves as one of five demonstration projects, established by Congress, to improve the coordination and access to services for veterans residing in defined highly rural areas.
As with any grant program, there are goals that must be met in order to meet the grant requirements. RVCP Goals and Objectives include “Assist 500 veterans and their families annually who are transitioning from military to civilian life; 250 veterans in Oregon and 250 in WA."
On August 25th, the RVCP accepted its 1,000th intake, doubling its original goal!
“We are really proud of all the hard work everyone has done to get to this milestone. I can tell you it was definitely a team effort to get here,” said the RVCP Outreach Pilot Specialist, Ryan Nabors. “It is amazing being able to work with this group.”
The WestCare Foundation partnered with WDVA and Lines for Life to submit a successful application targeting five qualifying rural counties in Washington and Oregon.
Partner with local veteran providers, Veteran Service Organizations and the VA to coordinate services to individual veterans.
Implement formal strategies which increase outreach as well as access to services and resources for veterans residing in highly rural communities with a priority to health care.
Help veterans overcome barriers when trying to access services and programs in highly rural communities.
Expand awareness within the veteran’s community of resources, such as VA Choice and VA VASH Housing Vouchers Programs, as well as telehealth services.
For more information, please contact:
Brenda Berrios, Program Manager Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot (RVCP) WestCare-Washington/Oregon, Cell- 503-983-0887
Ryan Nabors, Rural Veterans Outreach Pilot Specialist, 360-725-2229 RyanN@DVA.WA.GOV
The WDVA Way is to inspire each other and share information – you can do both by Sharing Your Sto...read more
The WDVA Way is to inspire each other and share information – you can do both by Sharing Your Story!
Date: October 31, 2016
Program/Location: Veterans Services Team VARO and Olympia
On September 30th, WDVA received a call from a veteran who had been recently diagnosed with ALS. He had never connected with the VA in any way and honestly never thought he would. He was a classic veteran who served his 6 or so years in the military and moved on with his life, but his ALS diagnosis changed all that.
He had visited a VSO earlier in the week to file a claim for service connected disability and had filed for Social Security disability on his own the week prior. He had no income and was beginning to use his very small retirement account, even though at his age the penalties for withdrawing out of that account would mean he would soon be out of funding entirely.
Caesar was contacted to find out whether there was anything that could be done to expedite his claim given that his ALS was already progressing and impacting his speech and ability to use his arms and hands. He quickly learned that although paperwork may have been on the way, there was no claim actually filed at the VARO. Since September 30th was a Friday and the last working day of the month, he called down to Olympia to see whether Venus could assemble a team to go to the veteran’s home, gather all of the paperwork that was needed, and get the info to the VARO prior to the end of the day so that his claim could be eligible for funding in the month of September.
At about 2pm on a Friday afternoon, Venus and Darcy made arrangements to visit this veteran in his home. They took his complete claim from start to finish, gathered all of the paperwork that was needed and submitted the information back to the VARO before the end of the day.
Caesar didn’t stop there though. While the Paralyzed Veterans of America were not the VSO the veteran originally went to for help, Caesar reached out to them to find out whether they would be willing to handle this claim. He knew that PVA are the experts on ALS claims, and even before they had the paperwork, PVA was coordinating with the ALS clinic at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Two working days after the veteran originally contacted WDVA, he had a full ALS appointment at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and received his VA ID card.
On October 31 (twenty working days after the claim was filed), the VA mailed the veteran’s rating letter at 100% service connected disabled. The veteran now has income, access to full health care (he was on the last month of his COBRA Medical coverage from the job he no longer had), and his children have access to CHAMPVA Health Care as well as Chapter 35 education benefits when they are older. He also knows that when he needs a higher level of health care, the VA will cover his long-term care entirely. While the veteran still bears the burden of this terrible illness, the work of our WDVA team has at least helped to alleviate some of the financial and health care related concerns.
This is exactly how the WDVA, the Federal VA and our VSO Partners are meant to work together to support veterans and their families.
Thank you to Caesar, Venus, Darcy, Leland and Rafael for going above and beyond to be sure this veteran was taken care of – that is the WDVA Way!
VA’s Proposes Rule to Consider Certain Diseases Associated with Exposure to Contaminants in the W...read more
VA’s Proposes Rule to Consider Certain Diseases Associated with Exposure to Contaminants in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune VA to provide presumptive service connection for related diseases
September 9, 2016 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has published proposed regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases affecting military members exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The presumptive illnesses apply to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served for no less than 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with the following conditions:
aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndrome
“We have a responsibility to take care of those who have served our Nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. “Establishing a presumption for service at Camp Lejeune will make it easier for those Veterans to receive the care and benefits they deserve.”
Environmental health experts on VA’s Technical Workgroup conducted comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence, which included analysis and research done by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academies of Science.
Military members with records of service showing no less than 30 days of service, either concurrent or cumulative, at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period can already be granted Veteran status for medical benefits, following passage of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.
In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene, a dry cleaning agent (PCE), as well as benzene, and vinyl chloride were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. These systems served the housing, administrative, and recreational facilities, as well as the base hospital. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985.
VA acknowledges that current science establishes a link between exposure to certain chemicals found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune and later development of one of the proposed presumptive conditions. However, VA experts agree that there is no scientific underpinning to support a specific minimum exposure level for any of the conditions. Therefore, VA welcomes comments on the 30-day minimum exposure requirement and will consider other practical alternatives when drafting the final rule. VA also notes that the proposed 30-day requirement serves to establish eligibility for service connection on a presumptive basis; nothing in this proposed regulation prohibits consideration of service connection on a non-presumptive basis. The 30-day public comment period on the proposed rule is open until Oct.10, 2016.