RENO MEETINGS TO HOST EXPERTS IN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, VISION RESEARCH, AND REHABILITATION

Leading authorities in the areas of leadership skills development, blind rehabilitation, and vision research affecting the blind and visually impaired, especially those who have served in the United States military, will speak in a forum setting on Wednesday, August 21, at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort.

The forum, which runs from 8:00 a.m. until Noon in Pavilions C, D, and E, is one of several educational components of the Blinded Veterans Association’s 69th National Convention. The August 18-21 gathering features organizational business meetings, social events, and an Exhibit Hall open to the public.

Presenters at the Forum include Captain Donald Crandell and Lee Ruff of Toastmasters, International; Dr. Sally Dang, full-time optometrist with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Long Beach Health Care System in its low vision/blind rehabilitation clinical program at the Major Charles Robert Soltes, Jr. Blind Rehabilitation Center; Gale Watson, VA National Director of Blind Rehabilitation Service; and Dr. Gregory Hageman, Chief of Ophthalmology and Executive Director of the Moran Eye Center for Translational Medicine at the University of Utah.

BVA’s membership of approximately 11,500 includes blinded veterans from the state of Nevada, seven of whom will attend the convention. Four of the attendees are from the Reno-Sparks area. All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government and encourages all blinded veterans to participate in VA blind rehab programs.

BVA was established in March of 1945 when a small but close-knit group of World War II blinded veterans gathered together in Avon, Connecticut. The founders hoped to help newly blinded veterans adjust to life without sight and to regain their confidence and independence. This dedication has continued for 69 years.

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TOP VA OFFICIAL TO ADDRESS BLINDED VETERANS IN RENO

Newly appointed and confirmed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald will address the Blinded Veterans Association’s (BVA) 69th National Convention as the keynote speaker at the organization’s Opening Business Session on August 19 at 8:30 a.m. The speech will occur in Rose Ballroom B at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Brief remarks by Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Sparks Mayor Geno Martini will follow.

Secretary McDonald was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs and was confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2014.

Prior to joining VA, Secretary McDonald was Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Procter & Gamble Company. Under his leadership, Proctor & Gamble added nearly one billion people to its global customer base and grew the organic sales by an average of 3 percent per year. During his tenure, Procter & Gamble was widely recognized for its leader development prowess. In 2012, Chief Executive Magazine named it the best company for developing leader talent. He is personally committed to values-based leadership that leads to improving the lives of others.

An Army veteran, Secretary McDonald served with the 82nd Airborne Division, completing Jungle, Arctic, and Desert Warfare training. He earned the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and Senior Parachutist wing. Upon leaving military service as a Captain, he received the Meritorious Service Medal. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in the top 2 percent of the Class of 1975. He also served there as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets. He earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978.

Secretary McDonald’s address will be one of several highlights of the BVA convention, which runs August 18-21. Approximately 150 blinded veterans and an additional 200 family members, exhibitors, presenters and friends of the Association participate in the annual gathering

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HIGH-TECH VISUAL AIDS EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS CONVENTION OF BLINDED VETERANS

Innovative instruments such as audible currency readers, talking computers, barcode scanners, bioptic telescopes used as eyeglasses, video magnifiers, hand-held libraries of audible information, mobility aids for independent living, audible health monitoring devices such as medical alarms and two-way emergency communicators, and portable Global Positioning Systems will all take center stage at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada August 18-19.

The setting, a high-tech exhibition featuring adaptive devices and information about a wide variety of products that can enhance the quality of life for both the totally blind and visually impaired, is one of the most anticipated features of the 69th National Convention of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), which occurs August 18-21.

Advances in technology continue to offer the blind and visually impaired opportunities to enjoy a higher quality of life, helping them live and work independently in increasingly innovative ways. During the exhibit sessions, BVA members, vision rehabilitation professionals from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the general public will have opportunities to see, feel, and test the new equipment. Representatives from the various industries, which also include several companies offering guide dog services, will field questions and provide detailed demonstrations.

Hours of the exhibit hall will be 10:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. both days. The public is invited and encouraged to attend with no admission charge. Additional information about the Association and its services to blinded veterans is available at www.bva.org.

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BLINDED VETERANS TO GATHER AT RENO CONVENTION

Blinded veterans from across the country will come together August 18-21 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, for the 69th National Convention of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA). The Association is a Congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of America’s blind and visually impaired veterans and their families.

Delegates and other convention attendees, among them 14 U.S. and seven British service members or veterans who have recently experienced vision loss, will set BVA’s course for its upcoming fiscal year, participate in a variety of information sessions, reunite with old friends, and take part in special events, including a grand finale Awards Banquet on August 21.

Convention attendees will also hear from newly appointed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald and Sparks Mayor Geno Martini in the convention’s Opening Business Session on August 19. They will be favored by remarks from Bill Wedekind, the only known blind, bilateral double-amputee potter in the world and a life member of BVA, at the August 20 Father Carroll Memorial Luncheon. Wedekind was wounded in Vietnam in 1968.

BVA’s membership of approximately 11,500 includes blinded veterans from the state of Nevada, seven of whom will attend the convention. Four of the attendees are from the Reno-Sparks area. All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government and encourages all blinded veterans to participate in VA blind rehabilitation programs.

BVA was established in March of 1945 when a small but close-knit group of World War II blinded veterans gathered together in Avon, Connecticut. The founders hoped to help newly blinded veterans adjust to life without sight and to regain their confidence and independence. This dedication has continued for 69 years. Eligibility for assistance does not require that a veteran’s blindness be service connected. There is no charge for any BVA service. For further information, call BVA at 800-669-7079 or visit the organization’s website, www.bva.org.

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October Jethro Tull Concert, Unique Dinner To Support Disabled Veterans and First Responders

Legendary progressive rock musician Ian Anderson, best known for decades for his work as Jethro Tull, will present “Ian Anderson and the Best of Jethro Tull Helping the Heroes” at the National Theater in Richmond, Virginia on October 5.

The 7:30 p.m. performance has been organized by the Global Campaign Against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), also a chief sponsor. The concert will, in part, benefit Operation Peer Support, an initiative of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) that connects veterans who have lost their vision during the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras with the newly blinded who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of IEDS, sniper fire, mortar- or rocket-propelled grenades, or combinations of other firearms.

Highlights of the event include VIP donor receptions both prior and after the show, a special one-hour opening performance by the Virginia Military Institute Commander’s Band, and a meeting of select veterans with Ian Anderson before the show with their attendance as special guests.

Also included will be a veteran art exhibit in the National Theater and Marriott Hotel lobby that showcases art created by veterans as part of therapy to recover from the visible and invisible wounds of war.

The Global Campaign Against IEDs will also sponsor “Dinner in the Dark” the evening before the concert (October 4) at Max’s Positive Vibe Café in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center in Richmond (2825 Hathaway Road). During the meal, participants will be deprived of all vision and immersed in a blacked out world that will provide them with impressions of what it is like to be one of America’s some 143,000 legally blind veterans. Food and wine has been specially selected for its flavor and aroma to enhance the unique sensory awareness experience. The dinner’s main course, for example, features gulf shrimp and grits with barbecued shrimp, pimento cheese grits, and crispy collards.

“The funding goal for the concert and related events is $115,000 with a ‘stretch goal’ to fund key projects supporting veterans and first responders of an additional $60,000,” said Colonel Bob Morris (Ret), a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army and founder of the Global Campaign Against IEDs.

The total funding goal of $175,000 will cover all event costs and provide resources for three key programs: training and equipment to help a member of BVA who was injured by an IED in Iraq achieve his Olympic dream and compete in the 2018 Korean Paralympic Biathlon; training, certifications, and job placement for up to 10 veterans in Virginia; and a campaign to increase the safety of children and their schools through a program to reduce school violence and the threat of IEDs therein.

More than 85 percent of all service member injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted from IEDs. No other single weapon in U.S. military history has been the cause of more injuries and deaths. IEDs are the cause of the four major injuries to veterans and active-duty military. These injuries are vision loss, hearing loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury (now also linked to vision loss and blindness).

Tickets for the concert are on sale to the general public at http://www.thenationalva.com/events/detail/ian-anderson-and-the-best-of-jethro-tull. For additional information about “Dining in the Dark” or to purchase tickets online, visit www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/Tull. Benefit Concert 2014 Flyer

BVA is the only Congressional chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving America’s legally blind veterans. The organization was founded in 1945 by war-blinded veterans returning from World War II.

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Blinded Veterans Extend Best Wishes to Senator Hagan Following Eye Surgery

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) wishes Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) a complete and speedy recovery from the emergency eye surgery she underwent on August 1.

“As a blinded veteran myself, I understand completely the struggles involved in post-operative eye surgery and, in my case, legal blindness,” wrote BVA Director of Government Relations Glenn Minney in a brief letter to Senator Hagan on behalf of the Association’s leadership, its approximately 11,200 members, and the blinded veteran community at large.

According to Hagan spokeswoman Amber Moon, the Senator had been bothered by the condition leading to the surgery for some time but put off treatment in order to keep working. The condition then worsened. The precise problem Senator Hagan had with her eye has not been specified.

Moon said Senator Hagan is recuperating and expects to be back on her regular schedule in a few days.

Since 1945, the Blinded Veterans Association has assisted blinded veterans and their families in adjusting to life without sight and in regaining confidence and independence. Chartered by the U.S. Congress, the organization was originally founded in Avon, Connecticut, by combat blinded veterans of World War II. It is the only Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving the nation’s blinded veterans and .their families, representing them before Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information, visit www.bva.org.

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BEP To Unveil Currency Reader Program at BVA National Convention

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) has learned that The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) will soon distribute currency reader devices at no cost to eligible blind or visually impaired U.S. veterans, the first phase of which will kick off during the first two days of the Association’s 69th National Convention in Sparks, Nevada.

The convention in its entirety is scheduled for August 18-21 at the John Asuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort.

Distribution of the readers to blinded veterans is an important component in BEP’s overall initiative to provide meaningful access to Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency) for the blind and visually impaired. According to Dawn R. Haley, Senior Advisor to the BEP Director, the BVA convention and other similar gatherings present opportunities to demonstrate the features and benefits of the readers.

“The BEP has participated at the summer conventions for a number of years now,” Haley said. “We are excited to introduce our currency reader program plans here at this venue and to provide currency readers to interested conference participants here and at the other conventions as well.”

Following the exhibition of the currency reader devices at the BVA convention, the BEP will follow a two-stage roll-out to make the devices available to the general public. Convention attendees will get an early look at the readers at the BEP booth in the Convention Exhibit Hall, which is open to the public August 18-19.

In 2011, the BEP introduced EyeNote®, an app that scans and identifies note images on mobile devices operating on the Apple iOS Platform. EyeNote® was exhibited at BVA’s convention that year. A similar app for Android phones, the IDEAL Currency Reader ®, was developed through collaboration with the Department of Education.

Individuals interested in applying for a currency reader device or learning more about BEP’s meaningful access program should visit www.bep.gov.

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October Jethro Tull Concert Set To Support Disabled Veterans and First Responders

Legendary progressive rock musician Ian Anderson, best known for decades for his work as Jethro Tull, will present “Ian Anderson and the Best of Jethro Tull for the Heroes” at the National Theater in Richmond, Virginia.

The October 5 performance has been organized by the Global Campaign Against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), also a chief sponsor. The concert will, in part, benefit Operation Peer Support, an initiative of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) that connects veterans who have lost their vision during the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras with the newly blinded who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of IEDS, sniper fire, mortar- or rocket-propelled grenades, or combinations of other firearms.

Highlights of the event include VIP donor receptions both prior and after the show, a special opening performance by the Virginia Military Institute Commander’s Band, and a meeting of select veterans with Ian Anderson before the show with their attendance as special guests.

Also included will be a veteran art exhibit in the National Theater and Marriott Hotel lobbies that showcases art created by veterans as part of therapy to recover from the visible and invisible wounds of war.

“The funding goal for the concert and related events is $115,000 with a ‘stretch goal’ to fund key projects supporting veterans and first responders of an additional $60,000,” said Colonel Bob Morris (Ret), a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army and founder of the Global Campaign Against IEDs.

The total funding goal of $175,000 will cover all event costs and provide resources for three key programs: training and equipment to help a member of BVA who was injured by an IED in Iraq achieve his Olympic dream and compete in the 2018 Korean Paralympic Biathlon; training, certifications, and job placement for up to 10 veterans in Virginia; and a campaign to increase the safety of children and their schools through a program to reduce school violence and the threat of IEDs therein.

More than 85 percent of all service member injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted from IEDs. No other single weapon in U.S. military history has been the cause of more injuries and deaths. IEDs are the cause of the four major injuries to veterans and active-duty military. These injuries are vision loss, hearing loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury (now also linked to vision loss and blindness).

Tickets for the concert will go on sale approximately July 21, but are available now to blinded veterans, their families, and the friends and supporters of BVA in recognition of their assistance and loyalty. They can be purchased at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/Tull.

BVA is the only Congressional chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving America’s legally blind veterans. The organization was founded in 1945 by war-blinded veterans returning from World War II.

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BVA District Director Offers Perspectives on Proposed Legislation

by Dr. Tom Zampieri, BVA Director District 6

Veterans in both small communities and large cities throughout the country may have been listening to recent national cable news stories about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In some cases they may assume that these major stories have no relevance to or impact on their own VA facility, their doctor, or, in the case of a blinded veteran, their Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) Coordinator.

However, recent congressional debate and media reports regarding the quality of VA health care services, waiting times, and the resignations of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel are all significant. Veterans should understand that there is more to these issues than a five-minute evening news story and that the consequences of current events are far-reaching.

A story by reporter Bryant Jordan posted on Military.com on June 3 sums up one of the more important issues currently up for debate in Congress.

Senators Push VA to Offer Private Sector Care

Four Republican senators on June 3 introduced legislation they say will improve veteran health care and restore accountability to a Department of Veterans Affairs rocked by allegations of mismanagement and manipulated patient schedules.

The Veterans Choice Act intends to eliminate lengthy wait times for veterans seeking care by letting them go to the private sector, with the VA picking up the tab. Although VA officials have that authority now, the VA mostly rejects outside care, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Tuesday.

“With … this proposal if a veteran wants to go to a health care provider and he has this Medicare and Tricare [alternative] then that veteran can choose that,” McCain said. “The veteran should have the choice of where he thinks he or she can get the best treatment. That’s what this is all about.”

The bill is the second filed in less than a week in the Senate aimed at making it easier for veterans to get the health care and for the VA secretary to more easily dismiss senior managers for not performing.

The other bill, the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act of 2014, was filed Monday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. But the Sanders bill would also expand veterans’ access to federal and community health centers and medical facilities that receive Defense Department and Indian Health Service funds. It also authorizes the VA to lease 27 new health facilities in 18 states.

This last provision, along with others, was drawn from an omnibus VA bill that Sanders failed to get passed in February. These provisions include extending the period of health care eligibility for combat veterans from five years to 10, giving in-state tuition status for all vets, restoration of a 1 percent cut in retirement cost-of-living adjustments, and expanded services to victims of military sexual assault.

“Altogether, the bill would provide education, retirement security and other benefits for millions of veterans and their families,” Sanders said in a statement on the bill. “Virtually all of the provisions already have been approved by the Senate committee, many of them by unanimous votes during previous legislative markup sessions.”

Sen. Richard Burr, ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and one of the co-sponsors of the bill filed Tuesday, acknowledged that the Veterans Choice Act is limited in scope.

“It’s choice, it’s transparency and it’s change,” he said. “It’s not encompassing everything that Congress would like to pass as it relates to VA legislation but it addresses the urgent things needed right now.”

Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma are also sponsors of the Choice Act. The two Senate bills were spurred by allegations that the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, maintained an unofficial secret list of veterans waiting for an appointment. According to some whistleblowers, up to 40 patients may have died before even getting an appointment.

Recent VA reports, including one by its Inspector General, confirmed the manipulation of appointments and found that similar practices were occurring across the country. Thus far, there has been no evidence that any patients died while waiting to see a doctor, the VA IG testified last month.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned on Friday after some of the allegations were confirmed through an audit and Sloane Gibson, named deputy secretary in February, was appointed to fill the top job until a permanent successor is named.

Only hours before he left, however, Shinseki endorsed the Sanders legislation. It was the first time he had publicly backed any increased authority to sack VA employees. He had testified he did not need increased authority to fire senior managers, and did not back the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act filed by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.

Miller’s bill passed overwhelmingly in the House last month. A sister bill filed in the Senate by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been stalled.

McCain said on Tuesday there are a number of Democrat senators interested in backing the Choice Act. If Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid fast-tracked the bill it would probably pass the chamber in a week, McCain said.

Under the Choice Act, all veterans enrolled for VA care would be given a card enabling them to get care from a non-VA provider if the VA can’t schedule an appointment within the required time frame or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or outpatient clinic.

The bill also requires that the VA use Medicare prices and that any co-pay a veteran might have to pay goes to the VA, not to the outside provider.

McCain also said the law would end via a sunset clause at the end of two years, and that an audit be done every two years after that to ensure that VA has not fallen down on getting care to veterans.

Louis Celli, legislative director for The American Legion, said the organization worked closely with McCain’s office on the bill.

“We wanted to ensure that the VA remains the main and primary source for health care for our veterans,” he said. “In cases of emergency as we have now … with veterans on this secret list that we need to eradicate, we support using all available resources to get veterans the help they need in as short a time as possible.”

He also said the bill includes directive language ensuring that any notes and diagnoses made by private sector doctors and providers are forwarded to the VA, so there are never any lapses in patient history. And the providers will be responsible for getting them to the VA, not the veteran patient.

Celli said they have found instances in the past where veterans had to pay to have their medical notes sent to the VA. This would not happen under the Choice Act, he said.”

Veterans in different areas of the country may be wondering how passage of S. 2450, the “Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014” now being considered by the Senate, may affect them. First, if those on waiting lists were sent to private doctors for health care, money would have to be taken out of general Veterans Health Administration (VHA) funds to pay for that care, thereby reducing the amount for veterans inside the system who may require specialized services or care. This is of concern to members of both BVA and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Secondly, the effort to push veterans into community providers could decrease the possibility that a newly blind veteran receiving contracted ophthalmology services would, in consultation, be sent to a VA Blind Rehabilitation Service program. As an organization, BVA has expressed concerns regarding this in meetings during the past year with senior VA officials, Members of Congress, and current contracted managed care providers. We have indicated to them that if private, eye care doctors deal with visually impaired veterans, they should be made aware of the specialized VA rehabilitation care and services.

We fully expect a vote very soon, perhaps within a week, on the “Veterans Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.” While BVA supports many aspects of this legislation, every officer and member of the organization should be aware that the recent problems can have an impact on the system of care for blinded veterans in the future. We must also let Members of Congress know that our legislation on Beneficiary Travel, S. 633, should be included in this omnibus bill. If this effort is about improving access to care and reducing wait times for all veterans, we can make the argument that including a provision for transportation to blind centers for our low-income, severely disabled veterans is essential.

To express your views about S. 633 to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, go to http://www.veterans.senate.gov. Find the link that says “Contact Us” on the upper right portion of the webpage. A drop down menu will provide the following options: “CONTACT THE CHAIRMAN” and “CONTACT THE RANKING MEMBER.” From that point you will be able to enter comments either one, perhaps requesting that S. 633 (Beneficiary Travel) now be inserted into S. 2450. The other option is to call the Senate Committee phone number, 202-224-9126, expressing the same views and emphasizing that the Beneficiary Travel legislation has a minimal cost of $3 million.

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Blinded Veterans Raise Critical Issues at House Subcommittee Hearing

Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) Director of Government Relations Glenn Minney today urged passage of H.R. 1284, a bill that would expand access to blind rehabilitation services for veterans with vision loss.

Testifying as part of a panel format with two additional BVA members before the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Minney told the Subcommittee that adding beneficiary travel benefits for nonservice-connected blinded veterans and spinal cord injured veterans would be a substantial cost saver in the long run.

“If only 10 percent of the current residents of state veterans homes who are there strictly because of their blindness could benefit from training at a VA Blind Rehabilitation Center in order to live independently, the savings could in turn pay for the entire H.R. 1284 Beneficiary Travel Program,” said Minney.

Terry Kebbel of Las Cruces, New Mexico and BVA’s Rio Grande Regional Group confers with Glenn Minney prior to Subcommittee hearing.

Terry Kebbel of Las Cruces, New Mexico and BVA’s Rio Grande Regional Group confers with Glenn Minney prior to Subcommittee hearing.

The panel also included Travis Fugate, Central California Regional Group, and Terry Kebbel, Rio Grande Regional Group. Fugate related his personal story in addressing BVA’s concern for the slow implementation of the Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) and the availability of electronic medical records that was to be part of a registry of veterans with eye injuries.

“The VCE that this Congress established in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act is very critical to ensuring that all combat eye injured veterans, and those who experience Traumatic Brain Injury accompanied by visual impairments, are entered into a registry where the surgery records and treatments can be tracked from both military and VA eye care providers,” said Fugate.

Kebbel addressed BVA’s concerns that legally blind veterans are unable to access crucial health care and benefits information using VA webpages and other electronic documents due to noncompliance with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Section 508 was enacted in the 20th century to ensure that all people with disabilities could access electronic and information technology,” his testimony stated. “The technology is available to solve these 508 compliance failures and there are many good examples of 508 compliant webpages—how much longer do we have to wait?”

A second panel of VA officials, Dr. Maureen McCarthy, M.D., Deputy Chief of Patient Care Services for the Veterans Health Administration, and Lorraine Landfried, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Product Development in the Office of Information Technology, followed the BVA panel and submitted a written statement for the Congressional Record. They were accompanied by Dr. Mary Lawrence, M.D., Deputy Director of the Vision Center of Excellence, and Pat Sheehan, Director of VA’s 508 Compliance Office.

A full text of the statements submitted is found at http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/assessing-inadequacies-in-va-data-usage-for-and-services-provided-to-visually-impaired. A video of the hearing can also be viewed athttp://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive14#/recorded/48162248. Viewers must scroll the timer to 10:06 at the bottom of the screen

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