WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs has very limited capacity to provide Outpatient Blind Rehabilitation Services AND
WHEREAS, the Visual Impairment Advisory Board (VIAB) has recommended to the Under Secretary for Health (USH) that VA provide a full continuum of Vision Rehabilitation Care, AND
WHEREAS, the USH and the National Leadership Board (NLB) have approved the provision of a full Continuum of Vision Rehab Care, AND
WHEREAS, the General Accountability Office (GAO) has also recommended the establishment of a full continuum of vision rehab care for America’s visually impaired and blinded veterans, AND
WHEREAS, one of the most integral components of a full continuum of Vision Rehab Service is the Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS) position, AND
Whereas, legislation has been introduced in Congress that would authorize VA to establish BROS positions at all VA Medical Facilities that have over 150 blinded veterans on the roles of their Visual Impairment Service Teams (VIST), THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, the Blinded Veterans Association, in convention assembled in Miami Beach Florida, on this 20th day of August, 2005, support passage of S.1190 (The blind Veterans Continuum Of Care Act of 2005 and it companion in the U.S. House of Representative H.R.3579, FURTHER BE IT
RESOLVED, BVA work to ensure sufficient funding is earmarked to support these new positions.
WHEREAS, U.S. Military Operations in Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) have resulted in numerous casualties, AND
WHEREAS, approximately thirty-five service members have been blinded in these operations, AND
WHEREAS, the Department of Defense & the Department of Veterans Affairs are committed to assuring a Seamless Transition from the DOD to VA, AND
WHEREAS, service members blinded in OEF & OIF are not being identified to VA by DOD in a timely manner, AND
WHEREAS, these severely injured and blinded service members are not receiving the information and support from the VA designed to facilitate acceptance of and adjustment to loss of vision, AND
WHEREAS, the blinded Veterans Association (BVA) the only Federally Chartered Veterans Service Organization (VSO) exclusively dedicated to assisting blinded veterans and their families, is not being effectively utilized by DOD & VA to facilitate the Seamless Transition, THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in Convention Assembled in Miami Beach, Florida on this 20th day of August, 2005, urge the DOD and VA to develop a more effective method of identifying severely visually impaired and blinded service members returning from OEF and OIF insuring these severely disabled service members receive the most appropriate information and support available, AND FURTHER BE IT
RESOLVED, The Blinded Veterans Association be notified and directly involved in the “Seamless Transition” process.
WHEREAS, the Congress of the United States adopted legislation providing a “Free Mailing Privilege” for the Blind and Physically handicapped, AND
WHEREAS, the U.S. Postal Service has rendered decisions prohibiting the Blinded Veterans Association’s use of the Free Matter For the Blind mailing privilege to mail National Convention pre-registration packages, AND
WHEREAS, this prohibition has resulted in unreasonable increased costs AND
WHEREAS, the BVA believes the Postal Service has to narrowly interpreted the intent of Congress regarding the use of the “Free Matter” mailing privilege, THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in Convention Assembled in Miami Beach Florida on this 20th day of August, 2005, join with other organizations of and for the blind to petition Congress to clarify Congressional intent with respect to the Free Matter Mailing Privilege, AND FURTHER BE IT
RESOLVED, if necessary, seek an amendment to the U. S. Postal Service Regulations relaxing the Postal Services interpretation of the “Free Matter” privilege particularly with respect to “Advertising”.
WHEREAS, the Blinded Veterans Association supports expansion of Medicare to include Vision Rehabilitation Services as covered services under Medicare, AND
WHEREAS, BVA strongly supports Vision Rehabilitation Specialists (Orientation & Mobility O&M Specialists, Rehabilitation Teachers RT’s and Low Vision Therapist LVT, being authorized for reimbursement under Medicare, AND
WHEREAS, legislation has been approved to establish a pilot Project to test the feasibility of including Vision Rehabilitation Services and Specialists as covered services and professionals under Medicare, AND
WHEREAS, the Legislation requires that Vision Rehabilitation Specialists would have to be Certified by the Academy for Certification of Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), AND
WHEREAS, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) does not currently require Certification of its Blind Rehabilitation Specialists, AND
WHEREAS, Legislation adopted in the 108th Congress approved Blind Rehabilitation Specialists to be employed under Hybrid Title 38, AND
WHEREAS, the new designation as Hybrid Title 38 will enable VA BRS to develop new hiring qualifications for Blind Rehabilitation Specialists, AND
WHEREAS, VA employees a large number of Vision Rehabilitation Specialists, AND
WHEREAS, BVA strongly supports employing the most highly qualified professionals to provide comprehensive vision Rehab services to America’s visually impaired and blinded veterans,THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in Convention Assembled in Miami Beach, Florida on this 20th day of August, 2005, urge VA to require Certification through the Academy (ADVREP) as a condition of employment, AND FURTHER BE IT
RESOLVED that the VA provides a suitable time period for new uncertified employees to obtain Certification.
RESOLUTION: ACCURATE AND ADEQUATE COMPUTER TRAINING REPORTS
WHEREAS, admitting a veteran to a VA blind rehabilitation center for computer training costs approximately $28,000, AND
WHEREAS, the BVA feels this training should reflect an accurate accounting of the number of hours of actual training a veteran receives by an and in the presence of a qualified instructor, AND
WHEREAS, the BVA is concerned that veterans attending a BRC CAT program are not receiving adequate and sufficient face to face instruction, AND
WHEREAS, reports of purported training times include independent study by veterans when no instructor is present, AND
WHEREAS, BVA finds the reporting of time a veteran spends in individual practice without supervision as training with a qualified instructor inaccurate, inadequate and unacceptable; THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association, in convention assembled in Miami Beach, Florida on this 20th day of August, 2005, urges the Secretary of Veterans Affairs be requested to require VA Blind Rehabilitation Service implement policies and procedures to ensure accurate training hours are reported and that such training hours clearly reflect the time a veteran has received actual face to face training from a qualified CAT instructor and does not include the time a veteran has spent independently practicing and doing homework assignments without supervision.
RESOLUTION: BLIND VETERANS WANT VIST COORDINATORS TO BE AUTHORIZED TO TEACH THEM SCRIPTALK
WHEREAS, the BVA has found the Scrip Talk to be an easy to use device, AND
WHEREAS, VIST Coordinators provide hands on instruction on a use of a wide variety of aids for the blind, AND
WHEREAS, the VIST Coordinator is the case manager of blinded veterans, AND
WHEREAS, the VIST Coordinator is the local subject matter expert on aids for the blind, AND
WHEREAS, there is no logical reason to prohibit VIST Coordinators from instructing a blind veteran to use the simple Scrip Talk device, AND
WHEREAS, BRS restriction causes unnecessary delays and adds unnecessary complications in the issuance process; THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association, in convention assembled in Miami Beach, Florida on this 20th day of August, 2005, supports that members desire their VIST Coordinator be authorized to provide instruction in the use of the Scrip Talk device, AND FURTHER BE IT
RESOLVED, that this resolution be included in the written and oral testimony of the BVA to Congress.