VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, PRO/Editor
Secretary McDonald addresses the 2016 Student Veterans of America Conference
Anyone attending the Student Veterans of America (SVA) conference would not guess that SVA is one of the youngest Veteran service organizations. More than 1600 student Veterans and supporters attended the conference in Orlando, Florida coming from the more than 1,300 SVA chapters across the country.
Majority of these Student Veterans have transitioned from the military within the past few years and through SVA, form a Veteran family with other Veterans at their place of higher education. SVA connects these chapters to provide support and resources on the national level.
“It’s a focus on the entire life cycle of student Veterans,” said Jared Lyon, the newly appointed President and CEO of SVA. “We help Veterans make better informed decisions as they transition out of the military and look to use the education benefits they have earned. We also ensure Veterans are supported while on campus and then transition that Veteran on to a successful career.”
The connections and network opportunities SVA and the conference provides help Veterans find employment opportunities, which even at a time when Veteran unemployment is at near record low levels, can be a challenge. Companies seeking to hire Veterans have expressed that finding Veterans to hire can be difficult.
The interest is finding additional Veteran employees was evident at the conference. Many companies such as Raytheon, Google, General Dynamics, Citi and Accenture all had a presence at the conference hoping to recruit Veterans.
Secretary McDonald provided an update on the agency priority goals during his address to the conference and offered a summary of VA transformations, many times citing private sector business practices as the model for implementation.
But to the room of student Veterans, he had a special message. Prepare yourself to lead, and lead to change,” he advised.
Secretary McDonald shared his own personal experience with higher education. While in the U.S. Army he pursued a MBA not because he wanted to, but because it was the only degree offered on the weekends at his base. In fact, they would fly his professors in on a C-130 every weekend for the troops.
His advice was to prepare for the unexpected and to take advantage of every opportunity, because at the time he had no idea that his MBA would lead him to a career with and running one of the largest companies in the world. He had no idea this journey would place him as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
He received a standing ovation from the crowd still stunned after he gave out his e-mail address and phone number if the Veterans needed any help. “Not many cabinet level secretaries do that,” remarked Jared Lyon to the conference.
So what’s next for SVA in 2016? We actually have some of these organizations in Major Universities.
“It’s continuing on with the success of the public private partnership, moving in to phase two of the million records project to see the results of persistence rates for Veterans in higher education,” Jared Lyon said. “We keep getting bigger, better and stronger.”
Some time ago I related that my spouse, Melba R, was going into surgery for a right knee replacement using the VA Choice Program to cover the cost.
Here is what she did, which might help other Veterans state wide:
First she obtained approval from her primary medical team at Bonham VAMC (this is an important step).
Then she called the 866 number on the VA Choice Card we all got some time ago and spoke to an appointment representative about her surgery, who she received approval from in Bonham VAMC and what Doctor and location she wanted to do the procedure. Now at first the VA Choice representative could not find the Doctor’s name, but after getting the proper spelling found him (they have an approved listing of Hospitals, Clinics, and Doctors).
The VA Choice Program, after coordination with Bonham VAMC and the Doctor she wanted sent an approval documentation on what appointments they would cover and what services went with that approval.
After going to the appointment and obtaining the services (which were approved) she called back to the VA Choice Program Representatives to get approval for the surgery, hospital stay and all medical/hospital services for five days. After getting the approval and the date of surgery she went into the Alliance Health Hospital in Durant, OK (nice hospital).
Upon leaving Alliance Health, of Durant after the five days, she called again the VA Choice Program Representatives to get approval for upcoming Doctor appointment to check on her recovery (now she was approved to go to a rehab clinic in Texas, but wanted to do her rehab and recovery at her mother’s house who, three months before had a knee surgery. Her mother had all the necessary equipment to help Melba stretch her knee). After receiving approval for the Doctor appointment she went and found out she was pushing herself a little too much, therefore another appointment was scheduled.
Again she called the VA Choice Program to get approval on the appointment (the representative stated that many people after the first appointment never called back on any further appointments) and got the approval. Which brings us to yesterday, after seeing the medical team at Alliance Health of Durant she got a future appointment (which knowing her, she will be calling to get further approval).
So does the system and procedure work, it sure looks like it. Yes, she ramrodded the procedure by insuring each step was completed and waited until the approval was granted. And it took time to do, so any emergency would not be covered under it. But from previous articles we know that the VA Choice System is used for routine procedures that allow the paperwork and approvals to be obtained.
By the way, if you want to complain, add your support, or have something you want added to this article contact me at 580-271-0897 or Email me at BobKinsler@aol.com. This is the veterans’ news and if you have something let me know, please.