The Voice for Kitsapâ€™s Veterans and their Families
A traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is returning to Washington state Published monthly by Sound Publishing Co. | Updated regularly online on KitsapVeteransLife.com
Summary of new laws affecting veterans, families Veteran- and militaryrelated bills approved by the state Legislature and signed into law in 2014. HB 2130: Veterans innovations program — The Defender’s Fund and the Competitive Grant Program are combined and referred to as the VIP. Sponsor: MacEwen. Effective date: June 12, 2014. SHB 2171: Veterans, military personnel — Amends the Washington Service Members’ Civil Relief Act (WSCRA) to authorize a private right of action, or an action by the Washington Attorney General, to enforce the provisions of the WSCRA. Provides that the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act applies in proper cases in Washington
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE courts, and a violation of the federal act is a violation of the WSCRA. Sponsor: Orwall. Effective date: June 12, 2014. ESHB 2315: Suicide prevention — Requires certain professions to complete one-time training in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. Requires the model list of training programs in suicide assessment, treatment, and management to be updated periodically and, when practicable, to contain content specific to veterans. Requires the development of a plan to create a pilot program for psychiatric consultation. Requires the development
of the Washington Plan for Suicide Prevention. Sponsor: Orwall. Effective date: June 12, 2014. SHB 2363: Military member dependents — Allows dependents of military service members to retain eligibility for developmental disability services while living out of state due to military assignment. Sponsor: Muri. Effective date: June 12, 2014. EHB 2397: Medal of Honor license plate — Allows registered owners who have been awarded the Medal of Honor to apply for Medal of Honor special license plates for use on up to three
motor vehicles registered to the Medal of Honor recipient. Medal of Honor recipients may elect to use the fee exemptions associated with Medal of Honor license plates for regular-issue license plates instead. Removes “Congressional” in reference to the title of the medal. Defines “Medal of Honor” as the military decoration awarded by the President of the United States, in the name of Congress. Sponsor: Seaquist. Effective date: June 12, 2014. HB 2744: Veteranowned businesses — A qualifying veteran-owned business must be an enterprise incorporated in Washington as a domestic corporation or an enterprise with its principal
place of business located in the state. Sponsor: G. Hunt. Effective date: June 12, 2014. SB 5318: Military/resident tuition — The definition of resident student is revised to include the following: n a student who is on active military duty or a member of the National Guard who entered service as a Washington resident and has maintained Washington as their domicile but is not stationed in the state; n a student who is a spouse or a dependent of a person who is on active military duty or a member of the National Guard entered service as a Washington resident and has maintained Washington as their domi-
cile but is not stationed in the state; n a student who has separated from the military under honorable conditions after at least two years of service, enters an institution of higher education in Washington within one year of the date of separation, and meets one or more criteria regarding a connection or intended connection to Washington; n a student who is the spouse or a dependent of an individual who has separated from the military under honorable conditions after at least two years of service, and meets certain criteria regarding a connection or intended connections
dependents. Bring several copies of your DD214/ discharge papers, or VA, military, retired military, Reserve or National Guard ID for faster service. Unaccompanied dependents must bring DD214 and proof of relationship.
See UPDATE, Page 3
CALENDAR OF EVENTS JULY 31-AUG. 3 n The Traveling Wall, Veterans Memorial Museum, 100 SW Veterans Way, Chehalis. Info: 360-740-8875, email@example.com.
AUG. 13 Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board n
meeting, 5:30 p.m., Silverdale Community Center Evergreen Room.
AUG. 16 Celebrating Military Service Day Parade, downtown Tacoma. Info: www.thedaffodilfestival. org/celebrating-militaryservice n
AUG. 27 n Boots2Work Military Career Fair, 9 a.m., Cheney Stadium, Tacoma. For transitioning service members, veterans, retired military personnel and family.
SEPT. 5 n
Heroes 2014 Career Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.
n Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board meeting, 5:30 p.m., Silverdale Community Center Evergreen Room.
n Stand Down, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sheridan Park Community Center, 680 Lebo Blvd., Bremerton. Many free services available for veterans and their
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VETERANS LIFE |
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elcome to the latest edition of Veterans Life, the Voice for Kitsap’s Veterans and their Families. You’ll notice some changes. Our Opinion section debuts; this is where the newspaper, readers and guest columnists will share views on topics of importance to veterans and their families. Please write to us; we welcome your letters to the editor. You’ll find Veterans Life easier to navigate, with columns and stories organized so topics are easy to identify — like Benefits, Health & Wellness, and Issues. An introduction: I’m editor of the North Kitsap Herald, and the new editor of Veterans Life. I served as a quartermaster aboard the USS Manitowoc (LST 1180) from 1980-84. The Home of the Great Spirit (the meaning of the Mighty Manny’s Anishinaabe name) participated in the Beirut Multinational Peacekeeping Force in 1982-83; and Operation Urgent Fury, the 1983 invasion of Grenada. (Was that really 31 years ago?) My goal is to make Veterans Life an engaging publication, a catalyst for discussion, an informative and enjoyable read. Contact me anytime and share your ideas on how we can accomplish that mission: 360-779-4464, email@example.com. — Richard Walker
ON THE COVER: There’s a small window of time to see it but it’s worth the trip: The American Veterans Traveling Tribute visits Chehalis through Aug. 3. See story, page 6. Photo: Richard Walker / Veterans Life
The American Veterans Traveling Tribute brings a scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, aka the Wall, to Chehalis through Aug. 3.
HEALTH & WELLNESS If you have PTSD, you’re not alone, retired Navy commander MaryAnn Harris says. “Acknowledging it and dealing with it will lead to the best possible outcome.”
Continued from page 2
12, 2014. SB 6208: Veterans’ benefits/services — Prohibits a person from certain acts and practices related to assistance in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of a veterans’ benefits claim. Requires advertisements for events regarding veterans’ benefits to include a disclaimer. Makes certain prohibited acts and practices a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Sponsor: Hill. Effective date: June 12, 2014. — Source: Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs. www.dva.wa.gov/ PDF%20files/2014%20 Legislative%20Session%20 End%20Report.pdf
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forces. Sponsor: Benton. Effective date: Aug. 30, 2017. SSB 5969: Academic credit/military — Requires each public institution of higher education to adopt a policy to award academic credit for military training courses or programs before Dec. 31, 2015, and submit the policy to the Prior Learning Assessment workgroup for evaluation. Requires each public institution of higher education to provide a copy of their policy to award academic credit for military training to enrolled students who have listed prior or present military service in their application. Sponsor: O’Ban. Effective date: June
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died while serving in the armed forces may be admitted as residents to a state veterans’ home. The requirement that state veterans’ homes provide both domiciliary and nursing care is removed. Sponsor: Hewitt. Effective date: June 12, 2014. SB 5775: Veterans/ drivers’ licenses — A person may apply to DOL to obtain a veteran designation on a driver’s license or identification card. The person must provide the Department of Defense discharge document, DD Form 214, that shows a discharge status of honorable or general under honorable conditions, and establishes the person’s service in the armed
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to Washington. Sponsor: Bailey. Effective date: June 12, 2014. SSB 5691: Veterans’ homes — The Walla Walla Veterans’ home is established and maintained as a branch of the state soldiers’ home, and any veterans, veterans’ spouses, or parents of children who died while serving in the armed forces may apply for admission. The requirement that a veteran or a veteran’s spouse or domestic partner be indigent to apply for admission to a state veterans’ home is removed. Parents of any child who
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The Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Fund is meeting the emergency needs of an increasing number of veterans and their families. Here’s how you, and Veterans Life, can help.
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WRITE TO US: Veterans Life welcomes letters from its readers. To make room for as many letters as possible, keep your letter to 350 words maximum. Include your name and daytime phone number for verification. Send to P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo, WA. 98370; fax to 360-779-8276; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPINION IN OUR OPINION
Help our veterans, and be in the know S
ubscribe now to Veterans Life and $5 from your subscription fee will go to the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Fund. Subscriptions are $24 a year. Send a check to Sound Publishing, Inc., Attn: Circulation, P.O. Box 657, Kirkland, WA 98083. Or visit us at 19351 8th Ave., Poulsbo. The fund is part of the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program, a division of the Kitsap County Human Services Department. State law requires that each county operate a veterans assistance fund, to be maintained in an account in the custody of the county auditor. The assistance fund is funded by a small portion of property taxes and helps veterans and their families who are unable to pay reasonable costs for shelter, food, utilities, and/or transportation. Assistance is temporary — it’s not a handout, it’s a hand. According to the county’s Veterans Assistance Program office, the fund is being strained by an increasing number of veterans applying for temporary help. These veterans might be receiving disability payments, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, nutrition assistance, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income. Giving to the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Fund will help the county meet the needs of veterans who might need help getting through a rough patch. In many cases, the course of their lives was affected by their service. It seems only proper that we stand ready to help these veterans and neighbors, as our lives were affected by their service as well. In addition to temporary emergency assistance, the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program co-produces spring and fall stand downs; co-hosts “The Unforgotten, Run to Tahoma,” in which the remains of deceased veterans are escorted to Tahoma National Cemetery; and provides emailed information of importance to local veterans. To learn more about programs available for veterans — and to provide input on those services and local veterans needs — attend a meeting of the Kitsap County Veterans Advisory Board. The board meets on the second week of each month, at 5:30 p.m., in the Silverdale Community Center’s Evergreen Room. And read Veterans Life to stay informed about issues and events of interest to local veterans and their families.
The Voice for Kitsap’s Veterans and their Families 19351 8th Ave. NE, Suite 106, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo WA. 98370 360-779-4464 | 360-779-8276 (fax) Email: (First initial, last name)@soundpublishing.com
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VETERANS LIFE |
Recognizing the value of each animal of extreme animal cruelty. Ignorance breeds barbarity. One does not love what one does ave you seen the famous not know. One does not respect or video of Christian, the value what one does not apprecimagnificent adult lion ate. Ignorance makes it easier to living free in the wild who sudcross the line to exploitation and denly sees his long-ago nurturers abuse. So it is the failure of that approaching in distant brush? girl’s upbringing, her Christian picks up their schooling, her parenting scent, becomes visibly that omitted teaching excited and rapidly runs respect for life, blunted toward the two men, her empathy, allowed their joyful reunion still such awful destruction of enjoyed by millions a magnitude that clearly online. obviates compassion, Christian obviously promotes brutality and remembers them, clamors to greet, then pasLinda E. Troup defies humanity. Although her sensasionately hugs, embraces tional kills were legal, the two men who raised history has shown that what has him as a cub, all three together been legal has not always been after their long separation. moral or ethical. Conservation Viewers marveled to see that was one of the many lame, absurd a fearsome wild animal could excuses for these thrill kills, her display such an emotional, playoxymoron that does not, will not, ful greeting. Clearly, this was not exonerate these awful acts of vioanthropomorphism but a display lence. of real interspecious love. What can one say about the That tender relationship capaccharacter of anyone who derives ity between humans and animals pleasure from hunting down, termakes the Texas cheerleader’s rorizing and killing innocent anirecent savage, serial murders of mals? To regard animals as units beautiful African animals a most egregious act of ignorance. It indi- or masses, some surplus to be cates a detached, violent mentality limited by an arrogant, arbitrary number as their natural habitat so offensive that photos of her is reduced, blatantly ignores that carnage were globally protested, each animal has a unique personthen removed from popular social ality, a family and a strong desire media due to their blatant display
By LINDA E. TROUP
Commander, USN, retired
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to live and has value. These atrocities conveyed an attitude that values animal life only for one’s own twisted entertainment, for sick trophy value. The very concept of thrill kills indicates mental depravity. Killing the “big five” — lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo, throw in a zebra — was extremely insensitive and demonstrated the antithesis of living a nonviolent life, to which all great spiritual leaders ascribe for a good, meaningful and fulfilling life. Until we recognize the precious uniqueness and value of each animal, we will someday look back at our disrespectful speciesist behavior with great regret and terrible shame. If any good comes from this tragic loss of life, perhaps parents everywhere will learn from the worldwide outrage it generated from people who love animals and they may more earnestly teach their children respect, kindness and compassion for all life. — Linda E. Troup of Poulsbo retired from the U.S. Navy as department head of the Ambulatory Procedure Unit and senior nurse officer for maxillofacial surgery at Naval Medical Center — San Diego. She is a long-time animal welfare proponent and has written for San Diego Animal Advocates magazine.
Filing a successful claim with the VA, part 2 By THOM STODDERT
Veterans Life correspondent
n June, I wrote about how a claim for benefits is made, what paperwork is needed, and what to do with the forms (“Vets can power through the VA claims process,” page 12, June Veterans Life). Now, let’s look at what the major benefit programs are and the differences between them. Lastly, let’s look at the various levels of benefit payments for these programs. This last part may be helpful; there are a lot of patriotic-sounding organizations that are really businesses, confusing the programs and exploiting vets. Understand, the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) and the Veterans Hospital Administration (VHA) are two different agencies within the VA. The Army drives tanks and the Navy drives ships. A buck sergeant rarely communicates with a petty officer. Thus it is with the various staff of each agency — different missions. So this article is focused on the VBA. Disability Compensation is the first and most familiar benefits program.
BENEFITS If a chronic medical condition was incurred or made worse while in the service, it can now be compensated for with free medical treatment and financial payment. To draw a picture, a service member fell under some equipment when the ship rolled. As a result, she tore some ligaments in her right knee. The injury was documented along with the treatment and after a few days she was returned to full duty. Getting out of the service, the vet makes a claim with the VA. She is assessed and found that the knee problem is not really a problem, yet. So it is “service connected” at zero percent. Yes, there is no money, but it does have the legal qualification of being “service connected.” Years later, the vet needs a knee replacement. She will be rated at a higher percentage afterward by another claim to the VBA and paid accordingly. The final assessment for the rating percentage will be determined with medical evidence and the VA’s Rating Schedule.
FOR ASSISTANCE ... n The American Legion Post 245 Veterans Service Office can help you apply for benefits and claims. The Veterans Service Office is located at 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, downtown Poulsbo. 360779-5456. Hours: Every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To sum this up, a chronic medical condition must be shown by evidence to have a link to military service and be chronic. Disability Compensation often extends to other benefit programs for the vet and/or family members with education, medical care, and financial support. There are too many vets who miss this point and blow off any claims they could and should make. Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a program for surviving spouses that can be awarded and, in some cases, can be extended to other family members. It comes with educational benefits
and higher levels of payments when the need is shown. There are several categories of eligibility that will qualify a beneficiary; briefly explained, they are: n The veteran dies on active duty. n The veteran dies for any reason within five years after active duty, while rated as being totally and permanently disabled because of a service-connected issue(s). n The veteran dies for any reason and while rated as being totally and permanently disabled because of service-connected issue(s) for 10 years or more at any time. n The veteran dies of any service-connected condition at any time in his or her life. There is also consideration for military retirees who have elected to pay into the military’s Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP). The two different programs can offset each other. Do contact the closest Military Retirement Office. Pension is another benefits program that may be awarded to either the veteran or family member. The purpose is to help financially strapped vets/
family reach the federally set poverty line. The eligibility requirements, basically explained, are: n The veteran must have a discharge other than dishonorable, 90 days of service with at least one day of it during a period of conflict as set by Congress. The beneficiary must be disabled usually due to non-service connected medical conditions or older than 65. The veteran must be able to show financial need, generally having a financial worth of less than $80,000. Caution here: There are innumerable businesses posing as advocates that will try to make a potential beneficiary eligible by lowering the claimant’s financial worth with the purchases of poor quality financial products. The vet or family member then appears impoverished for VA purposes, yet may be breaking federal law. Working with these pension poachers — as they are now called — will lead to major headaches and the probable loss of benefits from the VA and/ or Medicaid. Stay with a “nationally chartered veteran service organization.”
The state Legislature recently enacted laws to curtail false advocacy of pension poachers. On the other side of the same coin, lawyers will assist in filing VA claims but you’ll be charged for legal fees. Filing a claim with the VA is by law a free service, still these business people use loopholes around the law. Aid and Attendance (A&A) is an often heard about benefit, but it is not a benefit program as indicated by businesspersons. In reality, it is a much higher level of payment for any of the benefit programs. It requires medical evidence for a need of a higher level of skilled medical care. Usually, it must be shown that the recipient of one of the benefit programs is in need of help/protection with the activities of daily living (ADLs), essentially higher skilled medical care. Housebound is an intermediate level of payment between a basic program and A&A. This is granted when the medical evidence shows that the recipient is unable to leave their place of habitation See BENEFITS, Page 6
Numbers you can count on: Veterans’ resources in Kitsap County Here is a listing of resources for veterans in Kitsap County. n American Legion Post 109, Silverdale Address: 10710 Silverdale Way, Silverdale. Contact: Email email@example.com, or visit on Facebook. Meets on the third Monday of the month, 7 p.m., at All Star Lanes & Casino. n American Legion Post 149, Bremerton Address: 4922 Kitsap Way,
FYI Bremerton. 360-373-8983. Online: www.legion149wa.org n American Legion Post 172, Bainbridge Island Address: 7880 NE Bucklin Hill Road, Bainbridge Island. 206-842-5000. Online: www.bainbridgeislandpost172.org. Meets first and third Friday of the month, 7:30 p.m. n American Legion Post
200, Belfair Contact: Tom Welch, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Meets on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. n American Legion Post 245 Veterans Service Office, Poulsbo Address: 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, downtown Poulsbo. 360-779-5456. Open every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. n Disabled American Veterans Address: 2315 Burwell St.,
Bremerton. 360-373-2397. n Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program Address: Kitsap County Department of Human Services, 614 Division St., MS-23, Port Orchard. Contact: Tom Vialpando, program coordinator, 360337-4811. Online: www.kitsapgov. com/hs/veterans/VA.htm. n Marine Corps League Olympic Peninsula Detachment 531 Address: 2315 Burwell St., Presenting
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Bremerton. 360-265-7492. Meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. n VFW Post 239, Bremerton Address: 190 Dora Ave., Bremer-ton. 360-377-6739. Meets second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. n VFW Post No. 1694, Shelton Address: Memorial Hall, Second and Franklin streets, Shelton. 360-426-4546. Meets on the second and fourth Thursdays of each
month, 7 p.m. Beverages and snacks are served at 6 p.m. by the Ladies Auxiliary. n WorkSource Kitsap County Address: 1300 Sylvan Way, second floor, Bremerton. 360-337-4767. Contact: Michael Robinson, disabled veterans outreach, 360-337-4727, email@example.com. Or firstname.lastname@example.org. — To be included in this list of Veterans Resources, email rwalker@soundpublishing. com
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VETERANS LIFE | 5
Replica of Vietnam memorial wall visits region Tributes, services scheduled from July 31 to Aug. 3 in Chehalis
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is an 80-percent scale replica of the memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
HEHALIS — Most people know at least one man or woman who served in the military during the Vietnam War. Most of those veterans know some who never made it home. From July 31 to Aug. 3, the public can honor those men and women who gave their lives in service to their country when the American Veterans
COVER STORY outside the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis. The 370-foot long wall
is an 80-percent scale replica of the memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In con-
junction with the visit, Vietnam War veterans — and others who lost loved ones there — will share their recollections during See WALL, Page 7
SUMMER TUITION INCENTIVE
Richard Walker / Veterans Life
Traveling Tribute erects its scale replica of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
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have a question, do call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 or the state Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800562-2308 to see if there is a benefit to meet your need. — Thom Stoddert is a combat veteran and former
Continued from page 5 without the aid of another person. These are the most basic programs available. If you
VA rating specialist with four years’ experience making decisions on veterans claims. He helps veterans file claims under the auspices of several groups. Contact him at stoddertwork@ gmail.com.
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VETERANS LIFE |
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4/22/14 3:35 PM
Continued from page 6
TRAVELING TRIBUTE ■ When: July 31 to Aug. 3.
A visitor to the American Veterans Traveling Tribute’s replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall looks for a name during the wall’s visit to the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, near La Conner, in August 2011.
their story in her latest book, “Second Watch.” On Aug. 3 at 9:30 a.m., retired Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Stan Baker will conduct a nondenominational general Protestant service reminiscent of those held in the field during the Vietnam War. Closing ceremonies will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 3, with retired Army Col. Ron H. Averill as speaker. Averill served as a Southeast Asia specialist at the Pacific Command when American troops evacuated Vietnam, and advised commanders during tense moments along the Korean demilitarized zone. He served as commander of the Intelligence Center of the Pacific in Honolulu before retiring in 1989. Also on display will be a restored Huey helicopter from the Olympia Museum of Flight.
scheduled events through ■ Where: Veterans Aug. 3. Memorial Museum, More than 10,000 people 100 SW Veterans Way, visited the last time the Chehalis. black traveling wall bearing Richard Walker / Veterans Life the names of more than ■ Cost: Free. 58,000 men and women ■ Info: 360-740-8875, lost during the Vietnam Commando Association’s www.veteransmuseum. War stopped in Chehalis Hall of Fame and the U.S. org in 2007. Army Special Forces Hall Volunteers with comof Fame. Plaster, who served puters will help visitors As part of the POW/ three tours in Vietnam, identify which panel bears MIA program, New York is credited with 22 misthe name of a lost friend Times-bestselling mystery sions deep behind enemy or family member, and author J.A. Jance may lines along the Ho Chi uniformed escorts will speak that evening about Minh Trail in Laos and help them find the panel. the losses experienced Cambodia, including a Chaplains will be on duty by family and friends of night ambush of a North during the event to comveterans who never came Vietnamese truck convoy fort, console, and counsel home. One of her Bisbee, and capture of an importhose who need it. Ariz., classmates, Leonard tant enemy prisoner. He The traveling wall will Douglas Davis, was killed was wounded once and be escorted into town in Vietnam 48 years ago, decorated four times July 30 by motorcyclists on Aug. 2, 1966. Her friendfor heroism. The Green from the Patriot Guard of ship with Davis and later Beret soldier hasINCREDIBLE been Washington, Lewis County his fiancée, Bonnie Abney, HURRY IN FOR INCREDIBLE INTRODUCTORY OFFERS! HURRY IN FOR INCREDIBLE INTRODUCTORY OFFERS! HURRY IN FOR INTRODUCTORY OFFERS! 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VETERANS LIFE | 7
PTSD: It’s real, it’s treatable, and you’re not alone By RICHARD WALKER Veterans Life
OULSBO — It’s been 40 years, but the memories are
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angelic face, the one who doctors and nurses worried might spend a lifetime on dialysis. Shortly after the visit with Bob Hope, the young Marine’s kidneys started to work again. Oh, that wasn’t the hard part. Those doctors and nurses and corpsmen learned to put their emotions away, learned to lock them up somewhere deep and never react to what they saw, not even when a limb was missing or they could see internal organs or the Marine asked if he was going to die. Each case presented another race to save and stabilize. Adrenaline was running high. You kept a straight face and did what you could. And the battle-injured kept coming. Those injured Marines and those doctors and nurses and corpsmen did what they did “because we believed in our country,” Harris said. And if they survived, even if not injured, they returned home changed. It
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|A UA GU UGSUTS T2,0 1240 1 4 J U L Y , @
Navy Lt. MaryAnn Franzino, kneeling, visits with a young patient aboard the USS Sanctuary, in 1971 or 1972. MaryAnn Harris Collection
was called “shell shock” in earlier wars, and America never quite knew how to
deal with it. In 1980, “shell shock” was recognized See PTSD, Page 10
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| VETERANS LIFE
What you should know about changes at NHB By DOUGLAS H. STUTZ
Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
BREMERTON — The Emergency Room sign might be changing to read “Urgent Care Clinic” at Naval Hospital Bremerton, but the same high-level of patient-centered care will still be in place for all beneficiaries. “We are not closing our hospital nor are we discontinuing services,” said Capt. Christopher Quarles, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Bremerton.
The conversion of the Emergency Room to an Urgent Care Center by September will be the most noticeable transitional change at NHB. Other planned modifications include the closing of the NHB Intensive Care Unit and the phasing out of the Puget Sound Family Medicine Graduate Medical Education pro-
to cope with the symptoms.”
Continued from page 8 as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, a disorder with specific symptoms that could be reliably diagnosed. PTSD was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” that year. Those with PTSD included medical personnel. “We weren’t on the front line, but we saw the effects of the front line,” said Harris, who helps other veterans with PTSD. “PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. When you recognize what it is, you can treat it. There is no cure; you learn
‘The real healing point’ Harris is a native of New Jersey. The Navy paid for her final two years at Syracuse University, and upon graduation in 1967 she was commissioned and stationed at Oakland Naval Hospital where she treated war-injured Marines. She served a year in Oakland, a year in Guam, a year on the Sanctuary, then returned to Oakland for four more years. She served eight years on active duty, transferred to the Reserves and went to graduate school to become a nurse practitio-
gram by 2016. NHB’s Emergency Room has traditionally treated a low volume of patients (less than 3 percent) with actual life, limb or sight-threatening medical emergencies. An Urgent Care Center provides the ability to deal with a wide spectrum of medical ailments, from a mild case of poison ivy to setting broken bones, stitching up cuts, and caring for minor burns or bruises. The NHB Urgent Care Center will be available to beneficiaries 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, with acute care needs handled on a case-by-case basis. In emergency cases, patients will be transferred via ambulance to the local emergency room at a community hospital, such as Harrison Medical Center. There are also several user-friendly options available for all eligible beneficiaries for any questions concerning healthcare. Patients can communicate directly with their Medical Home Port Team
at NHB with the Naval Hospital Bremerton Online Medical Home Port service (powered by RelayHealth). They can ask questions and request advice about non-urgent health concerns at their convenience, with no more “phone tags” or unnecessary office visits. A beneficiary can renew prescriptions for medications, schedule appointments, request labs, X-ray, and other test results, submit for referrals and access medically-reviewed information.
Those already registered can access the site at https://app.relayhealth. com/security/login/ default.aspx?BID=nhbrem. Those not yet registered can do so at https://app.relayhealth. com/RegistrationV2. aspx?bid=nhbrem. Beneficiaries will also have the option to contact the new nationwide Nurse Advice Line for professional medical advice to help decide whether self-care is
ner. She helped establish the first drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Navy, and in Bremerton became the first woman commanding officer of a Reserve medical unit. She served a total of 22 years, retiring as a commander. Post-Navy, she owned the Port Gamble General Store and stores in Bremerton and Port Ludlow. In March 2001, she produced a local version of the awardwinning play, “A Piece of My Heart,” at the Navy Undersea Museum in Keyport. The play tells the true stories of six women sent to Vietnam and their struggle to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them. After the play, Harris’ husband —
also a Vietnam War-era Navy officer — said he understood her better. After her husband died, Harris returned to VA to counsel veterans with PTSD. PTSD can be treated with therapy and/or medication. People also learn to identify and avoid situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms. Harris said she left a Halloween party where a lot of people were dressed as zombies. She was having trouble breathing; she realized a lot of the makeup and costumes reminded her of battlefield injuries she saw. During the Fourth of July, she avoids fireworks because of obvious reasons. Another therapy: Working through your feelings. “Going to the Wall was a real healing point for me,” Harris said. “I had thought, how could I dare go to the Wall? These were the guys I couldn’t help, nor could I remember the names of the guys I couldn’t help. I found that other women felt the same way I did. Knowing other people felt that way normalized the experience and helped me cope.” Harris is proud of her Navy service; that year on the Sanctuary stands out. “We were on the forefront
of medicine,” she said. The ship had 20 wards and four operating rooms, three X-ray units, a frozen-blood bank, a hyperbaric chamber, an artificial kidney machine, and ultrasonic diagnostic equipment. The staff included an openheart surgeon and a neurosurgeon. The lives they saved included Vietnamese civilians, including children. She remembers her Marines — if not their names, their faces. And their injuries. And for years she wondered what their lives were like. What was their quality of life? Could they be happy after experiencing the ravages of the Vietnam battlefield? She got her answer when the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. The memorial depicts three nurses, one on her knees holding a wounded veteran on her lap. Harris and other military nurses paraded down Constitution Avenue, grouped according to their branches of service. On both sides of the street along the parade route, veterans stood 10 to 12 deep. “They saluted us, they applauded us, they hugged us,” Harris said. “They told us they were happy we helped them survive. They were happy. They
had families.” One veteran wrote her a note: “Thank you for my life.”
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See HEALTH CARE, Page 11
The healing power of love
On Veterans Day 2013, Harris was in uniform, attending a salute to veterans in Bellingham. “I feel very strongly about Veterans Day and what happens in war,” she said. “The effects of war are devastating, and it’s worst now because soldiers and Marines are serving multiple tours.” During the Vietnam War, a soldier or Marine did a year-long tour and returned home. “Today, these guys go home and come back, go home and come back,” she said. “Incidents of PTSD are higher because of repeated deployments.” Today, Harris is a Red Cross volunteer, serving with a group that visits military bases to work with returning veterans and their families. She’s also on a Red Cross disaster relief team. Her message: If you have PTSD, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re active duty, see an activeduty doctor. If you’re a veteran, go to VA. A good place to start: The Veterans Service Office, 19068 Jensen Way, Suite 3A, Poulsbo. The office is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is supported by American Legion Post 245 in Poulsbo. “Get screened,” Harris said. “Medical people know what PTSD is. You’re not penalized for having it. You’re not crazy. And you can’t avoid it. Acknowledging it and dealing with it will lead to the best possible outcome.”
DoD, VA HEALTH CARE IN REGION MEDICAL CENTERS AND HOSPITALS n Madigan Army Medical Center, 9040 Jackson Ave, Tacoma, 253-968-1110, www. mamc.amedd.army.mil n Naval Hospital Bremerton, 1 Boone Road, Bremerton, 360-
Continued from page 10 the best option, or if they should see a healthcare provider immediately. The Nurse Advice Line, or NAL, is staffed by a team of registered nurses who answer healthcare questions and provides beneficiaries with live advice 24/7. The nurses will recommend if it’s OK to wait for care, or if beneficiaries should seek urgent or emergency care. There is always a live person on the line to answer health questions. Beneficiaries can call 1-800-TRICARE (8742273) and select option 1 to connect to the NAL. When beneficiaries call the NAL, a representative checks their eligibility in the Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and then transfers them to a nurse who asks specific questions about the illness/injury to determine the best course of action. The NAL has nurses that specialize in different specialties and can provide medical advice on a wide range of issues, including pediatric care. The NAL can also help beneficiaries find nearby medical care and may call back to check on the issue a few hours later. Beneficiaries may still contact their Medical Home Port Team or clinic for medical advice and appointments, but the NAL is an easy and quick option. NHB has also become the first military treatment facility in the Department
475-4232, www.med. navy.mil/sites/nhbrem/ Pages/default.aspx n VA Puget Sound Seattle, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, 800-329-8387, www. pugetsound.va.gov n VA Puget Sound American Lake, 9600
Veterans Drive, Tacoma, 800-329-8387, www. pugetsound.va.gov CLINICS n Bellevue CBOC (Valor Healthcare), 13033 Bel-Red Road, Suite 210, Bellevue, 425-214-1055 or 425214-1055, www.puget-
of Defense to use the electronic prescription initiative, or e-prescribing. This capability allows civilian prescribers to electronically forward their prescription request on behalf of their patient to NHB’s Pharmacy to fill instead of utilizing a handwritten paper script. “This capability allows civilian providers to securely send their prescription and associated instructions electronically to Naval Hospital Bremerton for any of our NHB beneficiaries,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Parsons, NHB Pharmacy Department head. “We’re the first site to roll out the function but eventually all Department of Defense military treatment facilities will have access to this capability.” The electronic prescribing address for NHB’s e-pharmacy is DoD Bremerton ePhcy, 1 Boone RD Code 08RAZD, Bremerton WA, 98312. The phone number is 360-4754425; fax, 360-475-4786. Along with internal reconfigurations and updates, NHB has also expanded into the community by signing a sharing agreement with Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. The agreement links both organizations in providing specific types of medical care to current Veterans Affairs eligible beneficiaries enrolled to the Bremerton CommunityBased Outpatient Clinic. As the mission and operational tempo permits, NHB will provide urgent/emergent and inpatient medical services to those 3,829 current eligible beneficiaries
in the VA Puget Sound Health Care System CBOC. Appointments are made on a space-available basis subject to capability and capacity and began in June. NHB’s Urgent Care Center Services for authorized VA beneficiaries will include diagnostic tests and professional services. Emergency medicine services at Naval Hospital Bremerton are scheduled to transition to Urgent Care Services by September. When that transition occurs, NHB will no longer be able to provide emergency medicine services to any beneficiaries. However, urgent care services will be available. Inpatient services provided by NHB will include but are not limited to: n Cardiology n Endoscopy n ENT n Gastroenterology n General surgery n Gynecology n Neurology n Ophthalmology n Orthopedics n Pulmonology n Urology Laborator y and Pathology services will include anatomical pathology, chemistry, hematology and microbiology to sup-
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sound.va.gov/locations/ bellevue.asp n Bremerton CBOC, 925 Adele Ave., Bremerton, 360-7820129, www.pugetsound.va.gov/locations/ bremerton.asp n Federal Way CBOC, 34617 11th Place South, Suite 301, Federal Way, 253-336-4142, www. pugetsound.va.gov/
locations/FederalWay. asp n North Olympic Peninsula CBOC, 1114 Georgiana St., Port Angeles, 360-565-7420, www.pugetsound. va.gov/locations/ PortAngeles.asp n North Seattle CBOC (Valor Healthcare), 12360 Lake City Way NE, Suite
port urgent/emergent and inpatient medical services. Radiology services will include Nuclear Medicine CT, MRI, US, X-ray and angiography to support urgent/emergent and inpatient medical services. Blood Product services for inpatients and outpatients will be calculated using direct materials, direct labor and direct production costs. NHB will also provide in-patient pharmacy support. Upon discharge from NHB, the beneficiary will be provided an initial discharge prescription of up to a 10-day supply of medication. If the patient requires refills, the patient will follow-up with his/her Bremerton CBOC primary care manager. Additionally, veterans who are treated in the NHB Urgent Care Center after hours or on the weekends may receive a written outpatient prescription but it will not be filled by NHB. Any outpatient prescription(s) services for VA Puget Sound Health Care System beneficiaries will be provided at the Bremerton CBOC or closest VA pharmacy to their home with his or her VA primary care provider.
CHATTER Vets memorial proposal deadline Aug. 29 OLYMPIA — The Governor’s Veterans Af fairs Advisor y Committee is accepting grant proposals for veterans memorials. Applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 29 to be considered. Funding for accepted proposals comes from the Veterans Remembrance Emblem Fund. The fund, established in 1990, is administered by the state Department of Veterans Affairs in partnership with the Department of Licensing. The Emblem Fund permits eligible veterans to purchase and display approved decals on their vehicle license plates through the Department of Licensing, with net fees deposited in a special account held by the state treasurer. RCW 46.16.332 allows disbursement of these funds by the advisory
committee for direct costs of contracting and contract and project administration related to: n Projects that pay tribute to living and deceased veterans. n Upkeep and operations of existing memorials. n Land acquisition and construction of new memorials. The advisory committee is composed of 17 members and advises the governor and the director of the Department of Veterans Affairs on issues and programs concerning veterans. To review proposal requirements, go to www. dva.wa.gov/emblemfund.html or contact Liza Narciso at 360-725-2157 or email Lisan@dva. wa.gov. Go to www.dol.wa.gov/ vehicleregistration/ spveteranemb.html to learn more about how to purchase license plate emblems from the Department of Licensing.
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