Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Combined Assessment Program Review of the Miami VA Healthcare System Miami, Florida (8/11/2011)

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The purpose of the review was to evaluate selected operations, focusing on patient care administration and quality management (QM). During the review, OIG provided crime awareness briefings to 223 employees. This review focused on nine operational activities. The facility complied with selected standards in the following four activities: (1) coordination of care, (2) enteral nutrition safety, (3) medication management, and (4) physician credentialing and privileging. The facility’s reported accomplishment was a significant reduction in central line infections. OIG made recommendations for improvement in the following five activities: (1) environment of care, (2) reusable medical equipment, (3) QM, (4) registered nurse competencies, and (5) management of workplace violence.

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Illinois Warrior Assistance Program ready to help veterans cope with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries - Confidential online and toll-free access is available 24/7

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SPRINGFIELD – Since the conflicts in the Middle East began nearly 10 years ago, thousands of veterans have returned to Illinois. Many of these men and women—plus others who will be returning in the coming months and years—suffer hidden injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

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In Your Own Words

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Over the years, The American Legion Magazine Division has received thousands of submissions from readers wishing to see their original stories and creative work published in the national magazine. Due to space limitations, the vast majority of those submissions were turned down. Now readers have a national American Legion venue to shine.

"In Your Own Words" gives readers a platform to share their personal, creative and historical work, such as books, poetry, music, personal experiences and documentaries. The forum already contains several initial submissions, including Linda McCaffery's story of an Army doctor taken prisoner by the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula and how his faith and love of a devoted wife never faltered through nearly four years of separation.

Author John O'Brien, a member of John J. Morris American Legion Post 62 in Peoria, Ariz., wrote "The Hardest Job in the U.S. Navy Seabees," which details the time line of his two tours of duty in Vietnam. The forum also includes a heart-warming documentary about Kaziah Hancock, who has painted more than 865 portraits of fallen troops from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and has given them as gifts to their families.

The American Legion welcomes you to visit the forum, where you can view current submissions, make comments and submit work. Also, we welcome you to submit a brief biography and photo so visitors can know who made the submission. All work - text, photos, art, poetry, etc. - must be original. Participants can include links to web sites or blogs.

Opinions stated within the forum do not necessarily reflect the positions, resolutions or policies of The American Legion or its employees. Nor is their publication an endorsement of those opinions. It is simply a forum for members and others to share their materials. The Legion is not responsible for the content of external websites linked from the forum. Submissions are subject to an editorial review process that may include length reduction, cropping or rejection of submitted material if it is unsuitable. The American Legion, by constitution, also cannot endorse any political party or candidate. Submissions that are deemed inappropriate, unnecessarily inflammatory, offensive, vulgar or pornographic in nature will be rejected. Comments about submissions will also be subject to removal if they are deemed unsuitable by our editors.

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VA seeking mental health stories

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The American Legion is asking its members planning on attending the 2011 National Convention in Minneapolis to share their stories of mental health treatment with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division is working with VA on a mental health anti-stigma campaign called "Make the Connection." During the national convention, VA representatives will be in the convention center to interview American Legion members about their mental health treatment to encourage other veterans to reach out for assistance.

Some veterans are living with a mental health issue but do not seek help; others may not even recognize they have a mental health condition. Stories of hope and recovery are at the heart of VA's nationwide "Make the Connection" campaign, which encourages veterans to "make the connection" - with other people, with resources, with symptoms of mental health issues, and with treatment and support.

If you are a veteran who sought treatment for a mental health issue and received support - from any source - and are in a better place today because of it, VA wants to hear from you. Have your story videotaped at the national convention for use on the "Make the Connection" website. To share your story and learn more, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Convention attendees interested in sharing a story can This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , the Legion's deputy director of the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, to schedule a time during the Convention to be interviewed. 

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Ride honors fallen servicemember, aids OCW

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The Fallen Soldier
Don't weep for me
O'Land of the free
When it was my time to fall
"Twas my country's call
"Twas for the land that I loved,
That I gave my all
And for the land that I loved,
I did freely give
And in her freedom
And her courage
I'll continue to live
-Inscribed on Memorial for Cpl. Zachary Nordmeyer, Speedway, Ind.

Even after making the supreme sacrifice, Cpl. Zachary Nordmeyer continues to give. More than $5,500 was raised for The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors Aug. 6 as a result of the third annual Zachary Nordmeyer Memorial Ride.

Organized by Speedway, Ind., Post 500 American Legion Riders, the motorcycle ride included about 75 motorcycle enthusiasts and other people who wanted to pay respects to the first Legionnaire from the post to be killed in action as a result of the global war on terrorism.

The Riders received a police escort to Nordmeyer's grave, where a tribute that included a bugler, the playing of "Taps" and bagpipes was held. Next the Riders circumvented the outer roads of Indianapolis to American Legion Post 300, in Mooresville, Ind.

The first memorial ride in Nordmeyer's honor raised money for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, and last year the Post 500 Riders donated $10,000 to OCW.

"We have had some other fundraisers in Zachary's honor," said Pat Phillips, director of the Post 500 Riders. "Combined with what we raised on this ride, our goal is to present Operation Comfort Warriors with at least $10,001. In other words, beat last year."

Operation Comfort Warriors provides gifts and recreational items to wounded warriors at U.S. military hospitals and warrior transition units around the world. Zachary' father, Michael Nordmeyer, personally distributed electronics, DVDs, backpacks and other gifts to hundreds of wounded warriors during an OCW visit to Camp Pendleton and Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego earlier this year.

"We chose to support Operation Comfort Warriors because it is a nonprofit, in which there are no administration fees taken out of donations," Michael Nordmeyer said. "We wanted 100 percent of the donations to go to supporting the wounded warriors, and being that this is a Legion program, it's a no-brainer."

He added that it's the type of program that Zachary would have supported.
Zachary, 21, and two other U.S. soldiers from his unit lost their lives while being engaged in a firefight with insurgents near Balad, Iraq, on Feb. 23, 2009. They were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Nordmeyer's high school ROTC instructor shared fond memories with The Indianapolis Star shortly after his death. "There's quiet leadership, and he was pretty strong at that early," retired Marine Lt. Col. Dave Thompson said. "But by his senior year, he kind of came out of his shell. He wasn't afraid to encourage younger students to develop as cadets and do their best."

The other soldiers who died with Nordmeyer were Spc. Micheal B. Alleman of Logan, Utah; and Cpl. Michael L. Mayne of Burlington Flats, N.Y.

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Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.