The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Highlights from Adm. Mullen, House Hearing on Rural Vets, and Honoring Korean War Vets

Last Thursday, American Veteran was on hand for a breakfast hosted by The Hill, where Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen discussed issues facing today's veterans, stresses facing today's military families, and ways that the Pentagon can work with VA and outside communities to assist in a successful transition.

In the afternoon, American Veteran joined Congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to recognize the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

The Congressional leaders took the time to honor two of their colleagues who fought in the war, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Rangel, who was injured in the war, earning the Purple Hearth and Bronze Star with "Valor" device, recounted the significance of his experience in the conflict, telling those assembled that our nation must never forget the 37,000 brave Americans who gave their lives in the conflict.

Though the Korean War is often referred to as America's "Forgotten War," the conflict is technically ongoing. Each year AMVETS leaders visit with American troops stationed along the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula and meet with South Korean allied military leadership.

Late in the morning, American Veteran also joined the House VA Subcommittee on Health, where subcommittee chairman, Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine), brought together telehealth industry experts. To view video from the hearing, Click Here.

Much of the hearing focused on expanded use of available wireless technology to ensure veterans can be easily reached by VA. The subcommittee also asked each of the panelists what steps could be taken by federal agencies to improve access to wireless technology for rural and remote located veterans.

"It starts with ensuring the infrastructure is present," said Dr. Joseph Smith, who represented West Wireless Health Institute in the hearing. Smith went on to say that through VA's work, cost savings and improved outcomes have been quantified, directly resulting in a 19 percent reduction in hospitalizations through VA, which should allow for the federal government to expand available telehealth resources and fund the necessary infrastructure expansions.

Smith also said that mobile technologies also offer veterans proper reminders of medication and appointments.

AMVETS, which made rural and remote veterans' access to health care a top legislative priority in 2010, supports expanded use of telehealth and improving wireless infrastructure for remote-located veterans.

(Photos: Top: Rep. Charlie Rangel discusses his experiences in the Korean War with leaders and dignitaries gathered at the U.S. Capitol, marking the 60th anniversary of the conflict. Bottom: The House VA Subcommittee on Health hears testimony on improving telehealth services for rural and remote-located veterans. Photos by Ryan Gallucci.)

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