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House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

House bill creates VA ombudsman's office
By Andy Leonatti CongressDaily

WASHINGTON - Citing the confusion veterans face when trying to arrange benefits, the House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee passed a bill Thursday creating an ombudsman office within the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., was adopted by unanimous voice vote, along with the adoption by voice vote of a substitute amendment from Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Michaud, D-Maine.

The bill instructs the VA secretary to create an office of the ombudsman, and designate the head of the office.

The office would act as a one-stop shop for information on benefits administered by the VA, including medical, housing and education. When testifying in support of his bill before the Health Subcommittee on June 14, 2007, Hodes said the VA has separate hotlines for different benefits, and the process can be confusing to veterans returning from overseas.

Michaud's substitute amendment expanded the duties of the new office. Under the amendment, the VA secretary will designate an ombudsman director in each of the department's three administrations, health, benefits and cemeteries. The ombudsman director in each administration will report to the head ombudsman.

The amendment also defines the official duties of the office of the ombudsman as providing patient advocacy and problem resolution, provide assistance in understanding benefits, provide information on claims submissions and field complaints from veterans.

The VA secretary will also designate six regional ombudsmen throughout the United States for both the health and benefits administrations.

However, the VA does not support the bill. VA Undersecretary for Health Michael Kussman testified at the Health Subcommittee hearing on the bill that it would create an unnecessary level of bureaucracy within the VA. Kussman added the VA already has officers such as patient advocates and benefit counselors, and many state level veterans departments also have counselors.

Re: House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

From what I have seen VA counselors are to few and jammed to the ceiling. We have new vets coming to our Vet Center just to ask questions and get as much information as possible. When someone asks if you have made an appointment yes but its a sometimes 6 week wait. The ones that have seen a counselor say it amounts to a smile and getting handed a VA benefits handbook and being told to look it up.

As far as a patient advocate their job is to take care of medical stuff, like if your getting the run around getting a needed an appointment or if you have a problem with a doctor or a hospital. Ask them the wrong question and they tell you that's not my Dept. you have to ask a counselor!

Now, Congress has to throw a bill in here Forcing the VA to take care of business. The stupid thing about it is with a little tweaking of the system the problem could be solved.

First, tell the DOD to give these new Vets proper guidance and proper paperwork to guide them threw the Mound of Confusion that they are about to enter into before discharge. Give them addresses, phone numbers (That work) and a set of VA Benefit instructions that they can read for crap sakes!

Then instruct the VA to increase the counselor staff so a Vet doesnt have to wait half his lifetime to get in and that don't mean closing down 12 Vet Centers and transferring those counselors to the hospitals like this idiot Michael Kussman has already suggested.

This bill no matter how well intentioned is unnecessary. All they need here is for the DOD and the VA to get on the same page.

They will probably pass the bill and start another Dept. and it will probably work and end up spending about 50 times more than it would cost to increase the Counselor staff, that they will have to INCREASE ANYWAY.

And Michael Kussman is nothing but an Idiot! He was knee deep in Walter Reed and his punishment for his total neglect was being promoted to number two man at the VA. Both Him and VA Sec. Peake are doing their best to stall everything because Bush don't want to hear it and wants to let the next President inherit this nest of problems!

No matter how you cut it, the troops deserve better!

Re: House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

Delegación Cuauhtémoc México D.F.
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Delegación Cuauhtémoc México D.F.
Teléfono:5229 5600
Delegación Cuauhtémoc México D.F.
Teléfono:5229 5600

Re: House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

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Re: House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

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Re: House bill creates VA ombudsman's office

jinks who are these responders, any friends of yours?