BREAKING NEWS AND PERTINENT INFORMATION DIRECTLY FROM THE
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS NATIONAL OUTREACH OFFICE
These important briefings are provided through AFSAs Veterans Service Organization's Communicators Partnership with the National Veterans Outreach Office, Department of Veterans Affairs.
January 5, 2021 VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATION COMMUNICATIONS MEETING OVERVIEW & MATERIALS
VA WHOLE HEALTH PROGRAMS
Whole Health is an approach to health care that empowers and equips people to take charge of their health and well-being, and live their life to the fullest. Mission: Transform health care to a Whole Health System of care to support the health and well-being of Veterans, VA employees and the nation.
Circle of Health- comprised of the Components of PROACTIVE Health and Well-Being
The Personal Health Inventory (PHI) provides a tool for self-reflection to prioritize health goals. The Circle, or Components of Proactive Health and Well-Being, graphic is a picture to help you think about your whole health. All of the areas in the circle are important and connected. Improving one area can benefit other areas in your life and influence your overall physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being. The human body and mind have tremendous capacity to heal, and these innate healing abilities are strengthened or weakened by many factors that we can influence. We may not always have total control over all things in our life, but at any given time, what are the things that we might have some influence over? This is an invitation to consider that.
Download complete Whole Health brochure here now.
AIRBORNE HAZARDS AND BURN PIT EXPOSURE FACTS
HEALTH CARE OPTIONS FOR AIRBORNE HAZARDS AND BURN PIT EXPOSURES
SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH
This Suicide Prevention Month — and every month — Be There for Veterans and let them know that your organization cares. Simple gestures of support can provide hope during challenging times. As a leading Suicide Prevention Month advocate, VA will amplify the message to Veterans and their networks that support is available, suicide is preventable, and resources exist to help Veterans get back on track. #BeThereForVeterans
No matter how casually or jokingly stated, comments about emotional distress, crisis, or suicide should always be taken seriously. Someone who talks about suicide, or who shares concerning images on social media, provides others with an opportunity to intervene before suicidal behaviors occur.
According to University of Utah research portrayed in BWF Stand SMART for Heroes, Veterans who died by suicide were more likely to:
• Post about stressful events and then immediately talk about emotional distress and negative thoughts.
• Talk about alcohol consumption or post pictures involving alcoholic beverages.
• Post content that rapidly switched back and forth between positive emotional content and negative emotional content.
• Post pictures of personal firearms but not of friends and pets.
How to Recognize and Respond to Emotional Distress on Social Media The following example language includes signs of emotional distress:
• Hopelessness: “Nothing I do makes a bit of a difference. It’s beyond my control.”
• Direct statements about suicide: “I’m having thoughts of suicide.” “I’m thinking about hurting myself.”
• Feeling trapped: “I can’t see any way out of this mess. Life will never get better.”
• Feeling like a burden: “They’d be better off without me.” “I’d be better off dead.”
• Lack of belonging: “No one cares. I just don’t fit in anywhere.”
• Guilt: “It’s all my fault. I’m to blame.”
• Saying goodbye or desire to escape: “I just wanted to tell everyone thank you for all you’ve done, but I just can’t take this anymore.”
• Feeling alone: “I’m on my own. No one cares about me.”
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Anyone can help prevent Veteran suicide. Your actions can make a lifesaving difference when you reach out to a family member or friend you are concerned about and provide resources that can help. As you scroll on social media, look out for warning signs of suicide risk that are outlined in this toolkit, and follow the steps to provide support for the Veterans in your life and your community. #BeThere
VA LATEST PRESS RELEASES
News Release - January 22, 2021
VA to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to caregivers of Veterans in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities will begin offering COVID-19 testing a - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities will begin offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to designated family caregivers of Veterans participating in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). (1/22/21)
News Releases - JANUARY 19, 2021 MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY WILKIE - Today Americans celebrate the life and memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King. His call for equality and service has never been more timely. He clearly believed that our Nation must work together to solve the issues confronting all of us. He preached that hate is only cured with love and he lived a life that followed that ethos. Take time to read his words and more importantly to serve your community for the betterment of the lives of our fellow Americans. (1/18/21)
VA, Israel Ministry of Defense renew partnership to share best practices in Veteran health care - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it is renewing its partnership with the Israel Ministry of Defense to continue sharing expertise on caring for Veterans. (1/15/21)
VA begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to Department of Homeland Security mission-essential personnel - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees Jan. 6, through an interagency agreement to support DHS’s COVID-19 vaccination program. (1/12/21)
VA celebrates 75 years of the Veterans Health Administration - WASHINGTON — This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) commemorates 75 years of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). (1/12/21)
VA, Fitbit help support Veteran health and wellness during COVID-19 pandemic - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today a new initiative with Fitbit that will provide eligible Veterans, caregivers and VA staff with access to Fitbit programs and services to help manage stress, improve sleep and increase physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. (1/11/21)
VA expands access to telehealth services during COVID-19 pandemic for older, rural and homeless Veterans - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today its Digital Divide Consult has helped more than 12,000 Veterans obtain internet access or a video-capable device for their health care needs. (1/6/21)
VA administers over 146,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to date - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it has administered initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 14,000 Veterans at high risk of getting COVID-19 infection, and more than 132,000 health care employees as of Jan. 4. (1/5/21)
VA publishes final regulation to improve delivery of prosthetic and sensory aids services - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently published a final rule to establish and clarify eligibility for prosthetic and rehabilitative items and services available to Veterans. (1/5/21)
News Releases January 4, 2021 --
VA resumes overpayment notifications while continuing relief options for Veterans - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today its nationwide plan to resume mailing notification letters to Veterans, for benefit overpayments placed in suspension from April 3 through Jan. 1, 2021. (12/30/20)
VA administers over 55,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in two weeks - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it has administered initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 5,000 Veterans residing in its Community Living Centers and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Centers and more than 50,000 health care employees in its first two weeks (Dec. 14-Dec. 27) of providing COVID-19 vaccines. (12/30/20)
Statement from Secretary Robert Wilkie on the passing of Lt. Col. Bobby Harris - I am sad to report the passing of an American soldier. Lt. Col. Bobby Harris, USA (ret.) will be laid to rest in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. His life is a testament to the thousands of young Americans who without question fought and sacrificed all in Southeast Asia. His legacy is one all Americans can be proud of—faith, family and devotion to the ideal of America. (12/28/20)
VA publishes federal government's first Employee Experience journey map - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the creation of a new, first-of-its-kind tool that supports VA's public servants in providing the highest level of service to Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors they serve. (12/22/20)
VA updates welcome kit for Veterans and families - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today the addition of 10 ‘quick start guides’ and caregiver resources to the VA Welcome Kit — a guide for service members, Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors to access care, benefits and services. (12/22/20)
VA to begin COVID-19 vaccinations at 128 additional sites - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin COVID-19 vaccinations this week at 128 additional sites using the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. (12/21/20)
Suicide prevention efforts usher promise of help for all Americans - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the completion of all 2020 priorities established under the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) to end suicide through seamless access to care, a connected research ecosystem and robust community engagement aimed at changing the culture around mental health care and ultimately preventing suicide among Veterans and all Americans. (12/21/20)
VA, American Lung Association partner to help Veterans diagnosed with lung disease - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced its partnering with the American Lung Association to help Veterans, diagnosed with lung disease, live healthier lives. (12/18/20)
VA employees volunteer in droves to answer nation’s call to support communities hard-hit by COVID-19 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that more than 1,000 VA staff have volunteered for more than 3,700 deployments — the most for a single emergency — in response to COVID-19. (12/18/20)
VA launches single access point to all VA contact centers - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today, the formal launch of 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411), a single access point to all VA contact centers. (12/16/20)
VA releases COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, vaccinations began this week - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today publication of its dynamic VA COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan, being executed at 37 sites across the country. (12/15/20)
VA begins COVID-19 vaccinations - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today, the New Orleans and Bedford, Massachusetts VA Medical Centers are the first two department facilities to begin administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline health care employees and Veterans residing in long-term care Community Living and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder centers. (12/14/20)
VA technology leaders named for innovation and modernization in health care - More than 30 leaders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were recently acknowledged at the 7th Annual 2021 FedHealthIT 100 Awards for their contributions to federal health information technology. (12/14/20)
AT&T added to VA Video Connect telehealth program - Veterans using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) VA Video Connect app on their mobile phones through AT&T’s cellular network will no longer incur data charges when using this video telehealth technology to connect and meet with their VA health care providers and teams. (12/14/20)
News Releases 9/19/2020
Statement by Secretary Robert L. Wilkie on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Today we mourn the passing of a trailblazer and lifelong advocate for women’s rights, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (9/19/20)
VA recognizes HeRO award winners for safety initiatives, COVID-19 efforts - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it honored Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National HeRO Award recipients for their contributions to VHA’s journey to becoming a high reliability organization (HRO). (9/18/20)
VA offers debt relief to Veterans impacted by natural disasters - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today its commitment to extend debt relief to Veterans adversely impacted by natural disasters. (9/16/20)
VA expands Veteran access to telehealth with iPad services - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today a new collaboration with Apple to increase Veterans’ access to virtual care benefits. (9/15/20)
VA awards $1.3 million to support Veterans at elevated risk of suicide from experiencing or being at risk of homelessness - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it recently awarded $1.3 million in grants to 11 regional homelessness nonprofit organizations to bolster suicide prevention services for Veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. (9/14/20)
VA notifies Veterans of compromised personal information - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Management today announced a data breach involving the personal information of approximately 46,000 Veterans and actions taken by the department to prevent and mitigate any potential harm to those individuals. (9/14/20)
The country makes a milestone commitment to prioritize suicide prevention for Veterans and all Americans - The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today 42 states and one U.S. territory signed the PREVENTS state proclamation pledging their prioritization of suicide prevention for Veterans and all citizens in their jurisdictions. (9/10/20)
Secretary Wilkie Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators Urging House Action on Veterans Suicide Prevention Legislation - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie today released the following statement after a bipartisan group of more than 30 senators called on House leaders to pass S. 785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which would expand mental health resources for Veterans both inside and outside VA (9/9/20)
VA is committed to bringing Veterans health care when and where they need it using advanced #telehealth technologies. If you are a #Veteran or #caregiver find out what #VAConnectedCare can offer you: https://www.telehealth.va.gov/
Video or Telephone Appointments: https://mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect
My HealtheVet: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home
Rx Refill: https://mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill
Annie App: https://mobile.va.gov/annie
Home Telehealth http://vaww.telehealth.va.gov/pgm/ht/index.asp
MESSAGE FROM THE VHA EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE - APRIL 21, 2020 - WATCH VIDEO NOW
Today’s video is one of thanks to our Veteran Services Organizations (VSOs). I want to take a moment to thank and recognize the VSOs for your tremendous and unwavering support during this COVID-19 crisis. We could not do what we do without your support, year after year, partnering with you to care for and support our Veterans.
This is an unprecedented time in our history, and I am so proud of what this VHA team has accomplished under such difficult circumstances. I have been participating in the weekly VSO meetings that Secretary Wilkie has hosted and have appreciated the dialogue and feedback that we have received from the national VSO leadership as we work together to help our nation get through this crisis.
In addition, I have heard firsthand the great things your organizations are doing to support us. From holding blood drives, providing well-being checks, connecting your members to our national mental health resources and much more, your organizations are on the frontlines with us and we depend on you to provide the critical updates and resources our Veterans need to know regarding health care and staying safe.
VHA will continue to send a weekly VSO newsletter that will provide your organizations with key COVID-19 updates regarding health operations, policy changes, videos/training on key topics, VHA/VSO success stories, and frequently asked questions.
We value our partnership and thank each of your organizations for your support. Please continue to let us know how we can serve you and your members well and stay safe..
Richard A. Stone, MD
Executive in Charge
Follow EIC @USHVHA
Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to know
Our call centers and some VA health facilities are currently experiencing very high numbers of calls. To help us address the most urgent needs first, we ask that you use our online tools and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for routine or non-urgent questions. We’ll continue to update this page as the situation changes. Learn more here now.
The doctor can see you now ... on your computer or mobile device. With VA Video Connect, use your phone, computer or tablet to communicate with your VA provider over a secure video connection.
Coronavirus can spread not only illness, but stress and anxiety, too. If you’re feeling uncertain or fearful, see these practical steps you can take to improve your well-being.
A big “thanks” to our #VA volunteers on the ground who are helping as VA joins other U.S. government agencies in a coordinated response to coronavirus. For the latest updates, visit www.va.gov/coronavirus/.