July 28, 2015

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
My name is John C .I am a patient in the Veterans health. My clinic is in Evansville, Indiana our hospital which oversees our clinic is in Marion, I’ll. For over a year we have contact the administration concerning our clinics will not answer their phones. I have multiple physical disabilities and at times I need to contact my primary care clinic. I am not the only vet that is experiencing this. I have exhausted all means of help from the hospital admin to my representatives even the Veterans affair subcommittee. No one wants to listen, when they do listen it is all for show just to get us to shut up.  I am so tired of trying to contact them. We send them messages to call us, they never do. I felt it was a privilege and my duty to serve my country. After giving them multiple chances to correct this problem, now it is time to contact news agencies. Commander Smith with Amvets said I should talk to you. I am better at talking than writing. You are my last hope.

John C
Via the internet

Dear John
Each VA Medical center facility has an advocacy program. I suggest you contact that office at your VA facility.


Shaft Notes
Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, voted in passage of H.R. 1994, the VA Accountability Act. This bill would reduce red tape at the VA, making it easier for the Secretary of the Veterans Administration (VA) to fire employees who fail in their duty to care for “those who have borne the battle,” while simultaneously making it easier to hire dedicated, and hardworking employees.

“Those brave men and women who return from serving our country should be able to receive timely access to quality care. I believe that most employees at the VA are dedicated to their duty and our nation’s heroes. However, wait times persist, and a culture of mediocrity has permeated the VA – too many employees perform terribly and yet, are not fired. Sometimes, these people even continue to collect bonuses while they are suspended,” Bilirakis said. “The only way to change the culture at the VA is to systematically remove the individuals who are failing our Veterans. Anything less is an affront to our nation’s heroes, and a slap in the face to those who have served.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that “it can take six months to a year (and sometimes significantly longer) to dismiss an employee.” The bill passed the House Committee on Veterans affairs by a vote of 14 – 10.

The bill has support from the following Veteran Service Organizations:

  • The American Legion
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
  • Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
  • Student Veterans of America (SVA)
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH)
  • Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
  • The Reserve Officers Association (ROA)
  • Concerned Veterans of America (CVA)

Congratulations to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) on the recent recognition of their Scholarship Fund which earned recognition as a GuideStar Exchange gold participant for maintaining accurate and up-to-date information about the fund’s oversight, assets and impact.

GuideStar is a nonprofit database that gathers and disseminates information, including mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance and more, about every IRS-registered nonprofit organization.

“I am very proud of this recognition, and we are committed to demonstrating the highest standards of public accountability and stewardship of donor’s gifts,” said MOAA President retired Navy Vice Adm. Norb Ryan. “MOAA’s goal is to continue to provide this first-class educational assistance program for thousands of military children in 2016 and beyond.”

The MOAA Scholarship Fund, a public charity, has provided grants and interest-free loans of more than $130 million to more than 13,500 students since its inception in 1948. It is based on MOAA’s founding principle that “education is the cornerstone of a strong democracy” and is supported by donations and bequests from MOAA members and chapters and corporations.

The American Patriot Scholarship, established as a result of the terrorists’ attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, provides grants to students (under age 24) whose military parent – officer or enlisted – died while in active service (active duty, National Guard or reserve) to our nation or who is receiving Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (TSGLI).  Approximately 190 individuals have received the American Patriot grants.

Donors may contribute to the MOAA Scholarship Fund at any time, through annual giving or estate-planning efforts (bequests, wills, trusts, IRAs). MOAA also offers a very competitive Charitable Gift Annuity program. Contributions are tax deductible under the provisions of §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. By selecting the most appropriate gift option, donors may maximize tax deductions while helping students achieve their dream of a college education.

For more information on the MOAA Scholarship Fund or to make a contribution, please visit MOAA’s website at www.moaa.org/scholarshipfund or email moaasf@moaa.org.


Representative Gus Bilirakis, Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today lauded passage of H.R. 2256, the Veterans Information Modernization Act. This legislation included a provision based on legislation introduced by Congressman Bilirakis, titled the Creating Options for Veterans’ Expedited Recovery (COVER) Act. Bilirakis’ bipartisan provision will establish a commission to examine VA’s current therapy model and the potential benefits in incorporating complementary, alternative therapies. This bill passed by a vote of 408 – 0.

“While it is vital that Veterans receive the care they need, it is equally important to recognize that one size does not fit all when discussing treatments for Veterans. The invisible wounds they sustain serving our country are just as serious as the physical ones

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