December 16, 2014

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft,
I filed a formal complaint against the Department of labor and requested an investigation into my evidence of Fraud for illegal termination of employment during my active duty call up. In order to preserve the Public Trust an open and honest investigation into my evidence is required. No one should have this kind of unchecked power. I am requesting an investigation into my complaint.

I find it disheartening that the U S Department of labor is not using its authority to protect veterans like myself. This is a heck of a way to say thank you for your service.

Dean W
Via the internet

Dear Dean,
Hopefully by highlighting your terrible treatment by the Department of Labor, the powers that be at DOL will investigate and rectify your situation.

Shaft Notes
Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Interim Under Secretary for Health, who was recently ranked by Modern Healthcare Magazine as number 19 in its annual “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” poll. Dr. Clancy has appeared on the publication’s notable list for 11 straight years.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of Dr. Clancy’s expertise, knowledge, judgment and informed approach to developing and implementing new initiatives here at VA,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald.  “As anyone who knows and works with Dr. Clancy can attest, she is a person of enormous integrity, tireless work ethic and a deep love and respect for Veterans. As VA undergoes a transformation focused on delivering the best outcomes for patients, Dr. Clancy brings a dedication to quality and safety that is exemplary.”

As Interim Under Secretary for Health at VA, Dr. Clancy oversees the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Nation’s largest integrated healthcare system. VHA provides care for millions of Veterans at 1,700 hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and Readjustment Counseling Centers.

Dr. Clancy most recently joined VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald in launching VA’s Blueprint for Excellence. The Blueprint outlines the steps VA will be taking to improve performance, promote a positive culture of service, advance healthcare innovation for Veterans and the country and increase access to care and accountability.

Prior to assuming the duties of the Interim Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Clancy joined VA in August of 2013 as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health, for Quality, Safety and Value, where she served as the Chief Quality Management Officer for VHA. A general internist and health services researcher, Dr. Clancy is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Clancy holds an academic appointment at George Washington University School of Medicine (Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine) and serves as Senior Associate Editor, Health Services Research and is a member of numerous health-related editorial boards. A link to Dr. Clancy’s complete biography and career highlights can be found here.

As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ongoing effort to improve Veterans’ access to healthcare, VA is announcing the launch of a national Hypoglycemic Safety Initiative (HSI) to encourage diabetic Veterans receiving VA care to seek support to lower the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The new initiative will enable Veterans living with diabetes to work more closely with their VA clinicians to personalize health care goals and improve self-management of the disease.

“The Hypoglycemic Safety Initiative is designed to enable Veterans and their families, partners and caregivers to create a personal plan for blood sugar management based upon the Veteran’s unique health goals,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Interim Under Secretary for Health. “Our objective is to change how diabetes is managed in VA and the United States, and to help patients improve their personal well-being, not just manage their numbers.”

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases among older Americans, with one in four Veterans suffering from the disease. Recent clinical studies indicate that when diet, exercise and stress reduction are not successful, the benefits of achieving intensive blood sugar control with medication are less effective.  This is especially true for hypoglycemic agents (pills or insulin) used for those patients who have had diabetes for many years and those who have additional serious health conditions.

HSI’s key elements emphasize shared decision-making and universal health literacy to ensure Veterans understand the health information provided by their VA health care team. This includes the “teach back method” where Veterans and their caregivers are asked questions to be certain they understand and can act on key elements of self-management, including diet, exercise, glucose monitoring, managing medications, and insulin injections. The focus of the HSI is to help raise awareness among patients who may be at risk.

“Hypoglycemia has only recently been prioritized as a national public health issue, but Federal agencies are taking a leadership role in addressing the problem. We are proud to note the collaboration of VA with Department of Health and Human Services in aggressively addressing this problem,” Dr. Clancy added.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (Clay Hunt SAV) Act recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was introduced by Chairman Jeff Miller and Reps. Tim Walz (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and named in honor of the late Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and veterans advocate Clay Hunt. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Rep. Walz, the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress, said. “The fight, however, does not end after this bill becomes law. There is still more that must be done to improve mental health care for our veterans. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress, veterans, and veterans’ advocates to ensure that improving care for our warriors remains a top priority.”

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