Mission: To unite civic leaders, veteran community-based and governmental organizations, and private industry to educate and encourage our underserved veterans to seek those benefits earned through their sacrifice of service.
Rationale: Critical to encouraging veterans to seek those benefits earned through sacrifice and service is the fostering of a veteran-friendly culture. To that end, the Alliance advocates: that public and private entities display commemorative flags on Memorial Day and Veterans Day; enhancing already outstanding Veterans Day recognition events as opportunities for connecting veterans eligible for VA care to the VA health system and the California Department of Veterans Affairs; supporting the development of Veterans Day recognition events among those municipal agents not currently participating; and the deployment of health fairs on Memorial and Veteran’s Days to serve those whose sacrifices have left them in need of assistance to meet life’s basic needs.
CONNECTING COUNTY VETS
Sacramento County health facilities have faced devastating cuts since 2008 losing 5 out of six health facilities and currently only operating one full time. After the Veterans Alliance was notified that potentially veteran-eligible members were receiving care in County facilities, we received support from Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli to initiate a team consisting of representatives from the County Medically Indigent Services Program and the Sacramento Veterans Medical Center at Mather. This has led to expedited transfer of care of members seen in County facilities once deemed eligible for VA care, thus relieving an overburdened indigent program to cope with those without alternative venues for health care.
Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli has also charged the County Veterans Service Office to work with the Veterans Alliance as part of a County task force to track the turnaround for resolution of veterans claims processing.
CONNECTING HEALTH PLAN VETS
There are an estimated 1.9 million veterans residing in California. Only an estimated 60,000 number of veterans or 3% are accounted for by the California Department of Veterans Affairs database as of October 2014.
Because up to 50% of veterans receive some component of their health care in nonveteran health plan settings, reaching out to private health plans may provide a pathway to discover some of our veterans and connect them to earned benefits. This becomes critical when veterans need health information from their nonveteran providers in order to qualify for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration and the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Former Senator now Congressman Jeff Denham, while Chairman of the California Senate Veterans Affairs Committee championed the efforts of the Veterans Alliance to ensure our health plan veterans are connected to those entities. On September 22, 2010 the first California chapter of the Kaiser Permanente Veterans Association (KPVA) was founded in Sacramento. As the only health plan in California with an employee-based veterans advocacy association, KPVA has led resource fairs on Kaiser Permanente campuses to connect member veterans with service-connected benefits and served as a key partner to the Veterans Alliance in community health fairs providing free medical care to homeless veterans.
CONNECTING RETURNING VETS
Many of our veterans return home with the enduring physical and mental conditions brought on by their service in the field of battle. Each war or conflict has brought unique challenges to the veterans of that era from the post traumatic stress disorders that have accompanied our veterans of every era to the unique injuries linked to improvised explosive devices used by insurgents in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Veterans Alliance is leading an initiative to develop a Wellness and Resilence Center located at the Mather VA Hospital to assist returning veterans connect to health services based on their unique needs.
Vietnam service-connected illnesses tied to Agent Orange exposure (partial list):
- AL amyloidosis
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- B cell Leukemias
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
- Hodgkins Disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
- Parkinsons Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Porphyria Cutanea tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung, Larynx, Trachea, Bronchus Cancer
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas
CONNECTING HOMELESS VETS
Veterans make up almost a quarter of the homeless population in the United States. Government estimates indicate the number nationally to be 154,000, the majority of whom have Vietnam service connection. California’s estimated homeless veteran population is 49,000. It is a national tragedy that despite serving in harm’s way in defense of our freedoms, they are eligible for but not connected to service connected benefits. With rising unemployment and overseas operations winding down, identifying and connecting those eligible for benefits becomes more critical. The Veterans Alliance partnership with the Willow Clinic, a UC Davis student-run clinic for the homeless, and Vision Services Plan assures those identified with military service history will be connected to any earned benefits. Since 2010, this partnership has staged 9 health fairs providing food, clothing, medical and vision services to over 400 homeless community members of whom 40-60% have previously served among our armed forces.
|Dr Darryl Hunter, Col, USAFR and Associate Clinical Professor, UC Davis School of Medicine, serves as director of the Veterans Alliance. Dr Hunter continues to serve in the Air Force Reserves at the rank of Colonel.|
Congressman Ami Bera and Congressman Jeff Denham serve as co-chairs of the honorary board.
|Congressman Bera serves on the House committee on Science Space and Technology as well as the House committee on Foreign Affairs.|
|Congressman Denham serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Agriculture Committee, and the Natural Resources Committee. He is also a Gulf War veteran.|
Others serving on the SCVA Honorary Board include Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Sacramento Supervisor Don Nottoli, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Rancho Cordova City Council member Linda Budge, Rancho Cordova City Council member Robert McGarvey, and Folsom City Council member Ernie Sheldon
Allan Chen, MD, PhD, Rachel Chou, MD, Tara Ricks, Chief of Public Affairs, VANCHCS Jaesu Han, MD, Medical Director, Willow Clinic; Ernie Head, Past Commander, Davis Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cal De Knikker, Past Commander, American Legion Yolo Post 77, the Honorable Judge Jim Stevens, Ernie Head, Kaiser Permanente Veterans Association, Yolo County Veterans, SAF Red Cross
Dr. Darryl Hunter, Col, USAFR: firstname.lastname@example.org