VA employees trained to help Middle East vets
How are Department of Veterans Affairs employees being trained to handle the return of combat troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?
Answer: The VA has developed training materials and other tools for front-line staff to assist them in identifying combat veterans so they can take the steps necessary to ensure the veterans receive timely access to appropriate VA services and benefits.
The VA also has developed tools to assist VA clinicians in caring for veterans of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. In collaboration with the Department of Defense, the VA developed clinical practice guidelines on two combat veteran health issues: postdeployment health and unexplained pain and fatigue.
For additional information, visit http://www.seamlesstransition.va.gov.
In addition, the Environmental Agents Service recently announced a new page on its http://www.va.gov/environagents Web site devoted to the health concerns of Iraqi and Afghan veterans.
Q: I heard that Sen. Daniel Akaka and members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs are holding hearings in Hawaii in January. Are they open to veterans and the public?
A: The hearings are open to the public. Veterans are encouraged to attend.
Witnesses providing testimony include high-ranking VA officials, medical specialists and representatives from veteran service organizations.
Due to time constraints, the public will not be able to make oral statements. However, written comments will be collected.
The hearings will be held:
» Jan. 9 at Kauai Veterans Center in Lihue.
» Jan. 10 at J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium in Wailuku.
» Jan. 11 at the DAV Hall at Keehi Lagoon.
» Jan. 13 at the Department of Labor conference room in Hilo.
All the hearings begin at 10 a.m. For more information, contact the VA at 433-0049.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.
Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin, can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at email@example.com