WHEREAS, on July 30, 2009, the United States signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  The CRPD is the first treaty to address disability rights globally.  While the Convention does not establish new human rights, it describes the obligations of countries to promote, protect and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities, AND
WHEREAS, on June 2013, the Convention has 113 ratifications and 153 signatures.   Key US allies such as Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom and Germany already have ratified the treaty, AND
WHEREAS, on May 17 2012, the Obama Administration transmitted its CRPD treaty package for Senate consideration following an extensive three year inter-agency review of the treaty and U.S. legislation.  The review determined that the majority of provisions of the treaty are consistent with current US ADA legislation.  For the limited cases where existing US law may not be consistent with the CRPD, the treaty package recommends reservations, understanding, and a declaration (RUDS) that ensures that no change in U.S. law and no additional costs are required in order to ratify the CRPD, AND 
WHEREAS, ratification of the CRPD would present the opportunity for a reaffirmation of the values in our ADA legislation, and provide the forum to advance these values worldwide, AND
WHEREAS, the U.S. Senate led by a bipartisan group of seven U.S. Senators received the CRPD treaty package for their advice and consent, and now 21 major veterans and military service organizations and over 165 disability organizations announce their support for U.S. ratification of the CRPD in the Senate, THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, urges the U.S. Senate to ratify the CRPD treaty.


WHEREAS, Blind Rehabilitation Service was created within VA Central Office with authority and responsibility regarding all aspects of VA vision rehabilitation services, AND 
WHEREAS, the relationship with BVA and BRS was mutually productive since the establishment of the collaboration, AND 
WHEREAS, VIST, BROS, VICTORS, VISOR, and CATS are among programs and services spawned by the relationship between BRS and BVA, AND
WHEREAS, the BVA and BRS collaborated on the establishments of the continuum of care for visually impaired veterans and of the Vision Center of Excellence, AND
WHEREAS, within the last 8 years authority over blind rehabilitation services was decentralized relative to BRS, AND
WHEREAS, authority over VIST, VISOR, and BROS programs and blind rehabilitation centers was transferred to the individual medical centers housing each program, AND 
WHEREAS, staff tasked with service delivery and supervision of vision rehabilitation programs at the medical centers have little or no education or other experience with blindness, AND
WHEREAS, clinical services for vision rehabilitation services are not or cannot be adequately provided by many stations, AND
WHEREAS, often the quality of vision rehabilitation services deteriorates commensurately with the lack of professional competencies  and subject matter expertise of vision rehabilitation clinic service providers at many stations, AND
WHEREAS, visually impaired veterans are therefore losing access to benefits, services, and eligibility fostered by the relationship with centralized BRS authority and responsibility, AND
WHEREAS, Congressional action is required to centralize BRS in VA Central Office so that both authority and responsibility for vision rehabilitation services rest in the hands of that historically supportive service, THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, BVA work through its Legislative Director and supportive members of Congress to empower the Department of Veteran affairs to restore centralization of vision rehabilitation services to Blind Rehabilitation Service in VA Central Office.  


WHEREAS, Section 110, Title 38, United States Code, now provides for the protection of all disability compensation evaluations that have been continuously in effect for 20 or more years, AND
WHEREAS, permanency should be conceded for disability compensation ratings which have been in effect for 10 years without change in evaluation with no further examination scheduled, THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, supports amendment of Section 110, Title 38, United States Code to provide that disability evaluations continuously in effect at the same evaluation rate be protected after a period of 10 years.


WHEREAS, members of BVA served their country during time of war in order to preserve the rights and privileges of life in this land of the free, AND
WHEREAS, one of the most precious of those rights is the right to vote, AND
WHEREAS, the United States Congress and the President’s Administration have failed to fulfill their obligation to our Nation’s blind veterans, providing inadequate funding for veterans’ benefits and health care, AND
WHEREAS, the United States Congress and the President’s Administration have targeted veterans’ programs for unwarranted spending cuts and reductions under the mistaken and misguided theory that veterans do not base their vote on veterans’ issues, AND
WHEREAS, the failure of blind veterans to register and vote will result in the perpetuation of this theory, AND
WHEREAS, because of their disabilities, blind veterans have more difficulty than their non-blind peers in complying with some of the more strict requirements in voter registration laws, AND
WHEREAS, there exists an urgent need for veterans, their families and all Americans concerned about veterans’ issues to make their voice heard by becoming registered voters and exercising their vote in local, state, and federal elections, THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, encourages 100 percent of our members to become registered to vote and thereby strengthen our organization’s ability to preserve and improve our system of veterans’ benefits and services, AND BE IT FURTHER 
RESOLVED, that all BVA Regional Groups initiate and operate voter registration drives targeted at increasing voter registration among veterans and their families, AND FINALLY BE IT 
RESOLVED, that all BVA Regional Groups, and members are encouraged to ensure that all veterans and their family members are able to get to polling locations to vote or vote by mail in absentee ballots.


WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, by a 5-4 decision, has ruled that public desecration of the American Flag, as a form of free speech and expression, is legal and permissible, AND 
WHEREAS, the American Flag—“Old Glory”—is our National Ensign, the proud and beautiful symbol of our country’s precious, free heritage, AND
WHEREAS, this symbol, in the form of our irreplaceable “Stars and Stripes,” has been carried and defended in battle, revered and cherished by its citizens, and viewed as a beacon of hope and fulfillment by all the world since it was first unfurled at the birth of our Nation, AND
WHEREAS, the Constitutional First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech was not intended by our Founding Fathers to enable individuals—who do enjoy unfettered freedom to express their views, no matter how abhorrent, in both oral and written form—to publicly and contemptuously desecrate our beloved flag, NOW THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, goes on record as condemning any individual or group who shall at any time publicly and willfully desecrate the flag of the United States.


WHEREAS, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) currently employs diagnostic codes outlined in the International Classification of Diseases 9 Clinical Modifications (ICD-9 CM) as its primary method of determining Veterans’ eligibility for many programs, healthcare services, benefits, and statistical research purposes, AND  
WHEREAS, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 postponed the adoption of the International Classification of Diseases 1CD-9 and ICD-10 until at least October 1, 2015, AND
WHEREAS, many community medical providers have already started training and implementing ICD-10 within their practices and electronic medical records (EMR), AND
WHEREAS, many Visual Impairment Services Team coordinators (VIST) are either or supervised by Social Workers and other non-blind Rehabilitation Specialists Allied Health Professions who rely on ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes to determine VIST eligibility, AND
WHEREAS, a VIST supervisor stated that she only acknowledges those Veterans with an ICD-9 codes of 369.4 as those Veterans who comprises of the VIST lifelong case management protocols, AND
WHEREAS, the VIST handbook dated 2009 to 2014 does not explicitly identify a baseline series of ICD-9 and ICD-10 VIST eligibility codes or descriptions of functional sight impairments not covered by diagnostic codes, AND
WHEREAS, Blind Rehabilitation Services has not drafted and published a formal policy memorandum that identifies a baseline set of ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes and functional sight impairments not described within diagnostic codes to be considered for BRS programs, THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, direct BRS to establish a policy memorandum and update the VIST handbook to include a baseline set ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes as well as verbiage for functional sight loss not outlined in any ICD code for BRS services eligibility, AND FURTHER BE IT 
RESOLVED, that BRS offers training to VIST coordinators, VIST supervisors, other employees of BRS programs, other Allied Health professions, and individuals interested in BRS programs on ICD-9 CM and ICD-10 codes related to visual impairments.


Narrative Statement: We, the membership of the Blinded Veterans Association, implore the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to review and modify procedures whereby blinded veterans are assessed, trained, and issued devices and programs classified as assistive technology. Currently, the system is fragmented due to a lack of uniformity between professional credentialing or licensing requirements; varying stances by VAMC prosthetics interpretations of regulations; and training protocols throughout all BRC’s, VISOR, and VICTOR programs. We request that in order for us to regain our positions within society, VHA evaluates and establish protocols, policies, and methods Blind Rehabilitation Services and Prosthetics conducts assistive technology programs for Veterans. We therefore submit the following resolution: Transformation of Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Blind Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and Prosthetics Management, Training, and Issuance of Assistive Technology.
WHEREAS, VHA BRS developed and executed blind rehabilitation programs focusing on core competencies of daily living skills, manual skills, computing skills, and orientation and mobility, AND
WHEREAS, the BVA provides input in the annual Veterans Service Organizations Independent Budget (VSOIB) related to BRS which funds assistive technology related programs, AND
WHEREAS, the BVA serves on the BRS Oversight Committee providing input on quality of services Veterans express, AND
WHEREAS, VHA Prosthetics operates closely with BRS entities to issue requested equipment, software, devices, and services for blind and visually impaired Veterans who successfully demonstrated competencies with said items, AND 
WHEREAS, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) or other Allied Health licensure or credentialing boards omit assistive technology training from initial and renewal training requirements, AND
WHEREAS, staff and supervisors within Blind Rehabilitation Services admit to being unprepared and unable to remain abreast of evolutionary advances within technology, AND
WHEREAS, no entity within BRS possesses a primary duty or responsibility to research information and strategies to integrate new technologies within traditional blind rehabilitation protocols, AND
WHEREAS, blind and visually impaired Veterans often lack the right of self-determination when requesting assistive technology training, violating Prosthetics Clinical Management Program (PCMP) guidelines which safeguards against the inappropriate standardization or limitation of potential types of prosthetics devices, AND
WHEREAS, many VAMC Prosthetics established local policies that create barriers for the issuance of off-contract devices and services like smart phones or third-party assistive technology training programs, AND
WHEREAS, the BRC’s, Vision Impairment Center To Optimize Remaining Sight (VICTORS), Vision Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR), and Vision Impairment Services Programs (VISP) has failed to adopt a uniform set of rehabilitation protocols for the training of blind and visually impaired Veterans, AND
WHEREAS, Vision Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinators and Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists (BROS) lack assessment tools and technical expertise to adequately inform and refer blind and visually impaired Veterans for training or replacement of assistive technologies, AND 
WHEREAS, the plethora of electronic devices and mediums continuously receive updates or new products are introduced, AND 
WHEREAS, blind and visually impaired veterans need to seamlessly utilize technology to accomplish tasks that dramatically enhance quality of life, THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Blinded Veterans Association, in convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, request the VA Blind Rehabilitation Services establish baseline professional training requirements on assistive technologies for blindness within BRS roles like Blind Rehabilitation Specialists, BROS, and VIST coordinators, BE IT FURTHER 
RESOLVED, that BRS develops a Uniform series of blind rehabilitation protocols and policies for BRC, VICTORS, VISOR, and VISP programs to utilize as a template that integrates assistive technology within all blind rehabilitation training protocols, AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, BRS establish assessment tools related to assistive technology referrals to BRC’s for training for VIST coordinators and BROS, AND FURTHER BE IT 
RESOLVED, that the Director of BRS urge ACVREP to update educational goals and credentialing standards to include efficacious assistive technology practices throughout all blind rehabilitation core competencies, AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, that VHA modifies the Prosthetics Clinical Management Program (PCMP to ensure that clinicians, like Blind Rehabilitation Specialists or Low Vision Therapists, are allowed to prescribe prosthetic devices and sensory aids on the basis of patient needs and medical condition, including emerging technologies, AND FINALLY BE IT
RESOLVED, that VHA modifies the PCMP to permit clinicians, like Blind Rehabilitation Specialists or Low Vision Therapists, to prescribe devices, third party training services, and software that are “off-contract” without arduous waiver procedures that serve as barriers, or because of fear of repercussion.


WHEREAS, even though veterans’ health care is funded through an advance appropriation, it is still at the discretion of Congress to provide the level of funding necessary for the veterans’ health care system, AND
WHEREAS, the President and many members of Congress insist that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system is adequately funded, AND
WHEREAS, VA is recognized as the best health care system in the United States, and for providing high quality health care services, AND
WHEREAS, by using the VA health care system, the President, Vice President, and members of Congress would be in a better position to understand the resource needs of VA to enable it to provide timely quality health care to our nation’s veterans, AND
WHEREAS, similar to the members of the military, the President, Vice President, and most Members of Congress are required to spend a significant amount of time away from their homes, families, and friends while Congress is in session, AND
WHEREAS, because of the patriotism, devotion, and sacrifices of our President, Vice President, and Members of Congress, ours is the most free nation on earth, where our citizens enjoy unequalled rights, privileges, and prosperity, AND
WHEREAS, the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress should therefore be granted the privilege of using the VA health care system for their medical needs, AND 
WHEREAS, if the President, Vice President, or member of Congress is a veteran, he or she would be classified into the proper priority group for purpose of receipt of VA medical care, AND
WHEREAS, if the President, Vice President, or member of Congress is not a veteran, he or she would be classified as a non service-connected veteran in either Priority Group 7 or 8, depending on their income, NOW THEREFORE BE IT 
RESOLVED, that Blinded Veterans Association in National Convention assembled in Louisville, Kentucky on this 21st day of August, 2015, supports legislation to require the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress to enroll for VA medical care services and receive health care exclusively from the VA health care system.

Resolutions 1-10