Just a Phone Call

VA Demonstrates New Telehealth Scheduling System to Veteran Service Organizations

Phone the VA

New software system intended to improve Veterans Access to Care

WASHINGTON – Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) met today with Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) at the Washington VA Medical Center for a hands-on demonstration and discussion about VA’s telehealth programs and services.

The hands-on demonstration included a presentation of VA’s new Clinical Video Telehealth scheduling software which launched last month and is intended to improve how VA employees schedule telehealth appointments.

“As we launch new programs and services, it is important to include our VSO partners,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “Today’s demonstration is an important part of our collaborative process. We welcome our VSO’s feedback.  Like us, their goal is to ensure Veterans have the access to the quality care and services they have earned.”

Telehealth rapidly is becoming a popular option, particularly for Veterans who do not have a VA health care facility close to home. In fiscal year 2014, VA’s national telehealth programs served over 690,000 Veterans and accounted for more than 2 million virtual visits.

For more information about VA’s telehealth program, visit www.telehealth.va.gov/.

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Dr. Mae Jemison

“I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination.”

Dr. Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison hardly has time to think about it, but her contributions to people and the world are remarkable. The youngest of three children born to Charlie and Dorothy Jemison, she graduated from high school at 16 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University.
Then it was on to Cornell University to earn her Doctor of Medicine degree. While studying there, she took time off to travel and provide primary medical care to people in Kenya, Thailand, and Cuba.
Following graduation and medical degree under her arm, off she went with the Peace Corps, where she served as a medical officer in West Africa, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
She was hardly through with her contributions. She came home and provided medical service as a general practitioner on the West Coast.
She believed she could do more.
She did.
She took graduate classes in engineering and applied to NASA; she wanted to be an astronaut. She was not selected on her first application, but on her second, she was named science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab. It would be a co-venture with Japan.
Competition for the assignment was fierce: There were more than 2,000 applicants.
Dr. Jemison set off on an eight-day mission, a total of 190 hours in space. After returning from space and getting her feet settled on terra firma, Dr. Jemison wasted no time. She resigned from NASA and founded Jemison Group, Inc. The business plan called for researching, developing, and implementing advanced technologies. Not advanced technologies that would land her on the business pages of the Washington Post, but technologies to advance the plights of individual and developing countries. She wanted to develop and implement technologies that would make a difference for the individual. She wanted her work to better political, cultural, economic skills and experience for individuals.
To list all that Dr. Jemison has done would require a small book, but here are a few of the associations, honors and awards bestowed upon her: subject of a PBS documentary; guest spot in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Board of Directors, Houston UNICEF; Trustee, Spelman College; National Research Council Space Station Review Committee; Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth; National Medical Association Hall of Fame; United Nations presentation on the international use of space; CORE Outstanding Achievement Award; National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Dr. Jemison has been honored by many other organizations, has worked tirelessly and brilliantly for all citizens of the world, and partially explains it all when she says, “I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination.”
Let us lift a glass to Dr. Jemison and give thanks for her and her work.Dr._Mae_C._Jemison,_First_African-American_Woman_in_Space_-_GPN-2004-00020

Happy Holidays, You Well-Dressed Palooka, You!

Tis The Season“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” so put your shopping list together: Neiman Marcus can make it one-stop shopping for the man in your life

By Harry Besharet

No holiday, save Bastille Day, presents us with a greater opportunity to express our love for friends and family. Love is expressed in so many ways: double sawbucks, underwear and socks, toys and video games, slippers and shoes, Chicago cutlery, a box of Cubans.
Or some very nice clothes from Loro Piana, whose work is available at Neiman-Marcus.
Here are a few items and prices for the Twelve Days of Christmas (lyrics not included):
1. Cashmere pullover, $2395.
2. Baby cashmere, half-zip sweater, $1395.
3. Baby cashmere scarf, $995.
4. Leather gloves with cashmere lining, $595.
5. Quilted storm system jacket, $3995.
6. Cashmere storm system baseball cap, $385.
7. Andre denim button down shirt, $485.
8. Five pocket denim jeans, $615.
9. Diamond straight leg pants, $535.
10. Pebbled leather driving shoes (white), $425.
11. Cashmere and silk plaid sport coat, $3695.
12. Two-button check jacket, $3695.

VA Expands Fry Scholarship to Surviving Spouses of Servicemembers Who Died on Active Duty

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Expansion of Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits is part of Veterans Choice Act Legislation

Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will begin accepting applications by mail on Monday, November 3, 2014, for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria to include surviving spouses. The expanded criteria for the Fry Scholarship is the latest in a series of VA actions to implement provisions of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”).

Specifically, Section 701 of the Choice Act expands the Fry Scholarship to include the surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001. Prior to this expansion, only children of those who died in the line of duty were eligible for this benefit.

“We can never fully repay the debt we owe to these families who have lost a loved one,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “It is a privilege to provide educational benefits that will make a positive difference in their lives.”

The Fry Scholarship was created to honor Sergeant John David Fry, 28, of Lorena, Texas. Sergeant Fry had one week left in his tour in Iraq in 2006, when he volunteered to continue working for seven more hours disarming explosive devices, despite having already sustained an injury to his hand. He made the ultimate sacrifice on March 8, 2006, in Anbar province, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated. He left behind a widow and three young children.

The Fry Scholarship will entitle eligible spouses to up to 36 months of the full, 100-percent level of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes a tuition-and-fee payment, a monthly housing allowance and stipend for books and supplies. Some spouses currently eligible for or already receiving benefits under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program may now be eligible for the Fry Scholarship. All surviving spouses eligible for DEA and the Fry Scholarship must make an irrevocable election for terms beginning on or after January 1, 2015.

VA will identify surviving spouses eligible for both programs and send them a letter with comparative information on the benefits available and instructions on how make an election. Information about these two programs is available on VA’s website and the GI Bill website (www.benefits.va.gov/gibill). The VA call center (888-GIBILL-1) also will be able to help individuals understand the differences between the two programs.

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