Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Commends VA Secretary Nicholsons Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes

Spring 2007

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA commends the Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes, chaired by VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, for its recently released report aimed at improving the delivery of Federal services and benefits to Global War on Terror (GWOT) servicemembers and veterans. Our GWOT servicemembers have given so much of themselves in this war against the forces of terrorism. They have not always received from their country the benefits that they have earned for their service. The medical care facilities in which they have been treated have often been substandard; the disability benefits they deserve have often been denied to them after being lost in a sea of red tape between VA and DOD; they have often been set adrift in an unfeeling bureaucracy. The Task Force has been charged with recommending ways to rectify these deplorable situations as quickly as possible. Among the 25 recommendations made by the Task Force in its report to the President, the JWV especially commends recommendations P-1 and P-2, which will coordinate care between the VA and the Department of Defense and help our wounded warriors to get the quality of care they so richly deserve. By using VA standards, the whole body approach is used in determining disability. The DOD merely considered one aspect of an injury and determined disability on the one aspect, discarding all others in a bean-counting approach. Recommendation P-1, "Develop a Joint Process for Disability Determinations," will allow the VA and DoD to develop a joint process for disability determinations. In this way, the DoD evaluation system will come up to the standards of the VA system and will ensure that wounded servicemembers will receive better service to new claimants by expediting their claims in a more timely manner and providing more fair and accurate disability evaluations. The JWV is especially pleased that the target date for implementation of this recommendation is May 3, 2007 since it eliminates the months spent in two separate examinations and evaluations. Recommendation P-2, "Develop a System of Co-Management and Case Management," will go a long way to alleviate situations in which patients, often even those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, are left on their own to navigate through a bureaucratic maze to get the care that they have earned and that they deserve. The JWV applauds the target date of May 30, 2007, for the implementation of this recommendation. Secretary Nicholson deserves high praise for his stewardship of this task force, which faced a deadline of only 45 days to produce a wide-ranging and long overdue series of recommendations. The JWV salutes his efforts and those of his fellow task force members and looks forward to the quick implementation of the long overdue overhaul of the current inefficient and insufficient system for treating our wounded heroes.

 

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