We are grate­ful for your ser­vice to our na­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

To the Ed­i­tor: As the In­terim Di­rec­tor of the Coatesville VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter (VAMC), I am proud to be part of a team of ded­i­cated pro­fes­sion­als and vol­un­teers, work­ing to­gether to pro­vide our Veter­ans with com­pre­hen­sive health care. Our health ser­vices in­clude pri­mary care, men­tal health, geri­atrics and a va­ri­ety of spe­cialty ser­vices. I en­cour­age ev­ery Vet­eran to take ad­van­tage of their ben­e­fits and to en­roll with the VA Health Care Sys­tem. The process is sim­ple and can be ac­com­plished by con­tact­ing our en­roll­ment of­fice at (610) 383-0266 where your el­i­gi­bil­ity for ser­vice can be de­ter­mined.

We would also like to wel­come mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in some of the events we have planned to com­mem­o­rate Veter­ans Day this year. From Novem­ber 2 thru 11, 2016, we will be salut­ing Veter­ans with a host of ac­tiv­i­ties, such as a pa­rade, flag rais­ing cer­e­monies, ban­quets and so­cial events. Sev­eral of our events are open to the com­mu­nity and we wel­come you to join us as we pause to re­flect on the ser­vice and sac­ri­fices made by our Veter­ans. A full list­ing of those events as well as the health care ser­vices we of­fer can be found on our web­site at www.coatesville.va.gov.

As the health care provider for Veter­ans in this re­gion, our goal is to make each Vet­eran’s ex­pe­ri­ence with us an ex­cep­tional one, through ex­cel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice and the pro­vi­sion of high qual­ity, safe, and ef­fec­tive health care. We are priv­i­leged to care for Veter­ans from their dis­charge from mil­i­tary ser­vice un­til the end of their life, and it is a duty we take very se­ri­ously.

Our med­i­cal cen­ter rou­tinely un­der­goes ex­ten­sive re­views by var­i­ous pro­fes­sional in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal or­ga­ni­za­tions to val­i­date the qual­ity of our ser­vices and health care. In Septem­ber, we com­pleted a suc­cess­ful sur­vey by the Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Fa­cil­i­ties (CARF). The CARF sur­vey­ors iden­ti­fied nu­mer­ous strengths in­clud­ing: our ap­proach to cri­sis in­ter­ven­tion, co­or­di­na­tion of care, staff courtesy and the over­all cul­ture of the med­i­cal cen­ter. The Amer­i­can Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion In­dex sur­vey among Veter­ans ranks sat­is­fac­tion with VA health care among the best.

In 2015, the Coatesville VAMC served 19,880 Veter­ans, in­clud­ing 950 women, for a to­tal of 251,526 out­pa­tient vis­its. We con­tin­u­ally work on im­prov­ing ac­cess and pro­vid­ing care to more Veter­ans. To im­prove the con­ve­nience of re­ceiv­ing VA care, en­rolled Veter­ans are now able to sched­ule au­di­ol­ogy and eye care ap­point­ments with­out a re­fer­ral from a pri­mary care provider. Pa­tients who have reg­is­tered for “My HealtheVet” are also able to send se­cure mes­sages from their com­puter di­rectly to their health care team.

On be­half of our em­ploy­ees, I thank the Veter­ans and their fam­i­lies who come to our fa­cil­ity for the priv­i­lege of en­trust­ing us with your health care needs. We are grate­ful for your ser­vice to our na­tion and the sac­ri­fices you have made to pre­serve our free­dom and we are hon­ored to serve you. We wish ev­ery­one a happy and safe Veter­ans Day.

Sin­cerely, al­lowed some leg­is­la­tors to vote on sig­nif­i­cant bills with far-reach­ing im­pacts when they were no longer ac­count­able to vot­ers. Lame duck ses­sions have his­tor­i­cally been breed­ing grounds for con­tro­ver­sial bills and bad leg­is­la­tion.

This sit­u­a­tion is clearly the ex­cep­tion to that rule. The pet pro­tec­tion bill en­joys broad sup­port from both sides of the aisle, and peo­ple from all walks of life have ad­vo­cated strongly for its pas­sage. There is no sig­nif­i­cant op­po­si­tion to this bill from any spe­cial in­ter­est group, gov­ern­ment en­tity and grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion, and pas­sage does not re­quire any rule-bend­ing or cir­cum­ven­tion of the leg­isla­tive process. Crit­i­cism of the bill is al­most non-ex­is­tent. The only peo­ple who would ben­e­fit from the de­feat of this mea­sure are peo­ple who abuse and mis­treat in­no­cent an­i­mals.

Pass­ing this bill would likely be the eas­i­est vote law­mak­ers will make dur­ing the en­tire 2015-16 leg­isla­tive ses­sion. In truth, the bill’s great­est en­emy right now is the ap­a­thy of a few se­lect law­mak­ers.

One of the most per­sis­tent com­plaints we hear about gov­ern­ment is that elected of­fi­cials don’t lis­ten to their con­stituents. We can’t ex­pect to change that per­cep­tion if we fail to take ac­tion on a bill like this one when it is within our power to do so. The sim­ple truth is that there is no good rea­son that this bill should be al­lowed to die on the House cal­en­dar. I urge all Penn­syl­va­ni­ans to con­tact their state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to de­mand ac­tion on House Bill 869 when they re­turn to Har­ris­burg on Novem­ber 14.

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