A Great Day in Washington for Veterans

Veteran’s groups including  IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) were at the White House Today when President Obama , Defense Secretary Gates, and  VA Secretary Shinseki anounced their support for two important initiatives that will have an incredible impact on the lives of Veterans.   The following is from an email I received from   Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of IAVA and I encourage you to keep the pressure on to make sure these promises are followed through on to make them a reality. 


From Paul….

I visited the White House today, and I have some great news that I wanted to share with you right away.

This morning I joined President Obama, VA Secretary Shinseki, and Defense Secretary Gates as they announced their support for two major initiatives that will have an enormous impact on the lives of our nation’s veterans. Both of the programs are top legislative priorities for IAVA this year.

Please take a minute to watch a quick interview I did on CNN right after the announcement, and to voice your support for these developments.

The first is a new program called the “Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record Initiative.” It’s a complicated name for a critical change that is long over-due, and it will help bring the VA and DOD healthcare systems into the 21st century.

Right now, there is no easy process for transferring servicemembers’ medical records from the DOD to the VA when they leave active duty. As a result, some of our most seriously wounded troops are suffering through redundant tests, misdiagnoses, and delayed treatment. This initiative will make medical and military records electronic and transferable, meaning a more streamlined, less bureaucratic process for our injured troops.

But this isn’t just a matter of eliminating red tape. This change impacts the health, and lives, of the men and women who have served our country.

The second major initiative is advance funding for VA healthcare, which was the main focus of our annual “Storm the Hill” trip last February. For nineteen of the last twenty-two years, the VA budget has been passed late, forcing the nation’s largest healthcare provider to ration care. Imagine trying to plan for next month’s bills without knowing the size of your next paycheck.That’s what veterans hospitals do almost every year. Today’s announcement is a major step towards ending that cycle.

Click here to watch a brief video of me on CNN after the news broke, and thank the administration for focusing on these two issues.

Today has been a great day for our men and women in uniform. We’re proud to have been a part of this landmark announcement, and we’re looking forward to making sure today’s promises become tomorrow’s reality.

Thank you for standing with us.



Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq Veteran
Executive Director & Founder
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)


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