Category: Veterans

Virginia Beach City Council to hear veterans care center presentation

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — City council members will hear more about a proposed veterans care center Tuesday.

The 141,000-square-foot building is one of two new facilities that the Virginia Department of Veterans Services plans to build in the commonwealth. The other facility will be in Northern Virginia. Similar care centers already are open in Richmond and Fauquier County.

The Hampton Roads Veterans Care Center will feature 120 beds in private rooms and will sit on 26 acres located in the Princess Anne Commons Biomedical Corridor. The property is across West Neck Road from the municipal center.

The care center will have to ability to provide residents with a “home-like” atmosphere, skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation.

It will be divided into twelve 10-bed “homes” and employ approximately 150 people.

Frank Drew, who is a Vietnam veteran, told 13News Now it doesn’t bother him that the facility will be built right by his house. He’s just happy veterans are getting more help.

“Don’t care about the traffic. Don’t care about the noise. I don’t care that it’s on my property line. Let them build it. They can build it all the way down and all the way across. I’d love to see it,” he said.

He also hopes it will help alleviate long wait times at the Hampton VA Medical Center.

“To get a doctor’s appointment, it sometimes took 3 to 6 months. I just heard some nightmares– sitting over there waiting for care for people that are in far, far worse shape than I was ever in,” he said.

In a statement the Hampton VA said the following about the care center:

“For several years Hampton Roads has experienced one of fastest growing veteran populations in the nation. It is exciting to see the expansion of Veteran services in the Hampton Roads area. The approval of the State Veteran Care Center is a major step in assuring that long-term care and special needs of our Veterans are met in years to come.”

City council will vote on March 7 whether to transfer the 26 acres of land from Virginia Beach to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A public information session will be held on March 13 at Kellam High School from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m.

If things stay on track, a groundbreaking is planned for October with an opening to come in late 2019 after an extension to Nimmo Parkway is complete.

Governor McAuliffe Announces First Veteran Hire Facilitated by Virginia’s Military Medics & Corpsmen Program

The first state program of its kind in the nation assists transitioning veterans and transitioning medics and corpsmen to find employment in healthcare fields

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced the first veteran hire facilitated by Virginia’s Military Medics and Corpsmen Program (MMAC). The Governor proposed the legislation for the program using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program, as a model. MMAC, is a two-year pilot program which allows recently discharged veterans and transitioning medics and corpsmen to perform certain medical procedures under the supervision of a physician or podiatrist at major healthcare systems across the Commonwealth. 

“With the fastest growing veteran population in the Nation, Virginia is full of talent and tremendous skill sets that must be utilized to grow the workforce and economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Healthcare is projected to be the largest employment sector of the U.S. economy, and Virginia wants to ensure that we attract and retain as many of the over 11,000 medics and corpsmen that transition out of the military every year as we can. This innovative program creates an immediate pathway to jobs for veterans and provides a talent pool for our healthcare providers as they work to find the best and brightest in a growing industry.”

The program is authorized by legislation (HB825-Stolle) and passed the Virginia General Assembly with tremendous support. It focuses on a solution that addresses healthcare staffing shortages and boosts veteran hiring. Army medics, Navy and Coast Guard corpsmen, and Air Force medical technicians receive extensive and valuable healthcare training while on active duty. When they transition to civilian life, their military healthcare training often does not translate into comparable certifications or licenses required for civilian healthcare jobs. Many medically trained veterans often struggle to find unemployment and cannot apply their skills in the civilian healthcare sector. 

“MMAC facilitates veteran hiring and helps this pool of uniquely qualified veterans keep their clinical skills current while obtaining their civilian credentials and continuing their medical education,” said John C. Harvey, Jr., Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. “MMAC meets the urgent health care needs being faced throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services recruits and screens candidates worldwide and assists with job placement. The hiring decisions, general scope of practice, and potential credentialing and educational opportunities are determined by the MMAC partner healthcare systems. Memoranda of Agreement have already been signed with two partners: Bon Secours Virginia Health System and Chesapeake Regional Healthcare.  Agreements are pending with Carilion Clinic, Inova Health System, Mountain States Health Alliance, and Sentara.

“Chesapeake Regional Healthcare (CRH) was the first MMAC Partner healthcare system to begin accepting MMAC Program candidates and is proud to be the first to benefit from the program. Our first hire, Jeffrey Filler, served as a Navy Corpsman and will capitalize on the exceptional skill set he earned in the United States Navy by serving as an Anesthesia Technician at CRH while seeking his civilian credentials in this field,” noted Dr. Alton Stocks, Former Interim Chief Executive Officer of CRH and previous U.S. Navy Medical Corps Officer.

To find out more, visit www.dvs.virginia.gov, or click here to learn more details about the MMAC Program.

 

Are you a Military Medic seeking to transition to civilian health care? Apply Now.

Military Medics & Corpsmen (MMAC) Program (HB825-Stolle)

When an Army Medic, a Navy Corpsman, an Air Force Medical Technician or Coast Guard Health Services Technician leaves military service and enters civilian health care, their ID tags may change from dog tags to a hospital ID badge, but their mission stays the same:

  • Having a rewarding career to support themselves or their family. . .
  • Keeping their clinical skills scalpel-sharp . . .
  • Continuing their medical education . . .
  • Giving their very best to those in their care . . .

But without civilian credentials: the care can stop there.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) Program is changing the way healthcare hires veterans. MMAC is a pathway to employment for recently discharged veterans and transitioning service members. It’s an opportunity to apply hard-earned and at times battle-tested patient care skills under physician supervision while obtaining civilian medical credentials.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation and began accepting applications from U.S. military medics, corpsmen and technicians worldwide on December 1, 2016.

The MMAC staff will recruit and screen candidates and assist with job placement. The hiring decisions, scope of practice and potential educational opportunities are determined by our partner healthcare systems. MMAC does not grant licensure and certification or financial assistance. What MMAC does is open doors to potential employment and educational opportunities at our partner healthcare systems statewide.

MMAC addresses critical healthcare staffing shortages and boosts veteran hiring. Providing quality patient care while serving those who served our country: that’s multi-tasking at its best!

Virginia’s Military Medics and Corpsmen Program: a path to a career, credentials and continued caring.

 

New Veterans Care Center planned for Virginia Beach will be the first of its kind in Hampton Roads

The Virginian Pilot – Mary Beth Gahan

In 2014, Del. Chris Stolle presented a plan to council members to bring a long-term nursing care center for veterans to Virginia Beach. All they had to do, he said, was support it by providing land.

The council voted a few months later to set aside up to 25 acres for the project.

It was an important step in the process of bringing the facility to Hampton Roads, Stolle said Friday. It certainly wasn’t the last one.

Two years to the day after he pitched the idea to the council, Stolle stood by as Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the city’s selection as a site for a Veterans Care Center, which will be built near the Municipal Center and Kellam High School.

“Our veterans have taken care of us,” Stolle said. “It’s time for us to take care of them.” The facility, which is expected to open in late 2019, will be the first of its kind in Hampton Roads, where 213,000 veterans live. Hampton had also been in the running, but in the end, state leaders chose Virginia Beach. In June, McAuliffe announced a 120-bed care center in northern Virginia’s Fauquier County.

In 2014, Del. Chris Stolle presented a plan to council members to bring a long-term nursing care center for veterans to Virginia Beach. All they had to do, he said, was support it by providing land.

The council voted a few months later to set aside up to 25 acres for the project.

It was an important step in the process of bringing the facility to Hampton Roads, Stolle said Friday. It certainly wasn’t the last one.

Two years to the day after he pitched the idea to the council, Stolle stood by as Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the city’s selection as a site for a Veterans Care Center, which will be built near the Municipal Center and Kellam High School.

“Our veterans have taken care of us,” Stolle said. “It’s time for us to take care of them.” The facility, which is expected to open in late 2019, will be the first of its kind in Hampton Roads, where 213,000 veterans live. Hampton had also been in the running, but in the end, state leaders chose Virginia Beach. In June, McAuliffe announced a 120-bed care center in northern Virginia’s Fauquier County.

In 2014, Del. Chris Stolle presented a plan to council members to bring a long-term nursing care center for veterans to Virginia Beach. All they had to do, he said, was support it by providing land.

The council voted a few months later to set aside up to 25 acres for the project.

It was an important step in the process of bringing the facility to Hampton Roads, Stolle said Friday. It certainly wasn’t the last one.

Two years to the day after he pitched the idea to the council, Stolle stood by as Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the city’s selection as a site for a Veterans Care Center, which will be built near the Municipal Center and Kellam High School.

“Our veterans have taken care of us,” Stolle said. “It’s time for us to take care of them.” The facility, which is expected to open in late 2019, will be the first of its kind in Hampton Roads, where 213,000 veterans live. Hampton had also been in the running, but in the end, state leaders chose Virginia Beach. In June, McAuliffe announced a 120-bed care center in northern Virginia’s Fauquier County.

The one in Virginia Beach at Nimmo Parkway and West Neck Road will be similar and will specialize in the care of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other chronic illnesses. The center will also have long-term nursing care and short-term rehabilitation services.

The details of how the facility would be built have changed over the years. One reason it took so long to come to fruition, Stolle said, was the need for federal dollars.

The Hampton Roads project has been on a grant-funding list through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 10 years. Each year, the facility failed to move up the list of priorities.

“We waited and we waited and we waited,” McAuliffe said.

By 2015, Stolle and other General Assembly members, including Del. Ron Villanueva, sponsored legislation that would pay for the Hampton Roads and northern Virginia facilities using only state money.

“We said, ‘This is imperative for our veterans.’ ” Stolle said. “We cannot wait any longer.”

During this year’s session, the General Assembly funded both projects for a total of $96 million. It was time for Virginia Beach to hand over the land it promised.

The city-owned land was initially earmarked for a replacement elementary school, Economic Development Director Warren Harris said. But “great cooperation between the city and school administration” allowed the parcel to be offered as the spot for the care center.

“It’s an ideal location for the facility,” Harris said.

The city will find another location for the school, Harris said.

The site plays into the city’s biomedical initiative, which includes a 155-acre business park in Princess Anne Commons to lure health care and pharmaceutical companies.

The care center will be built on a 25-acre portion of the 40-acre site. The rest will remain wetlands. Construction is expected to begin in late 2017.

Once finished, it will feature 120 private rooms grouped in clusters around a central community center, said Steven Combs, deputy commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It isn’t the long hallway we’re used to,” Combs said. “It’s residential-centered.”

Gov. McAuliffe announces new Veterans Care Center in Virginia Beach

WTKR

Gov. McAuliffe announces new Veterans Care Center in Hampton R…

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announces that Virginia Beach will soon be home to the first Veterans Care Center in Hampton Roads.Details: http://via.wtkr.com/kVcpS

Posted by WTKR News 3 on Friday, August 26, 2016

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joined Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and other area leaders on Friday to announce that Virginia Beach will soon be home to the first Veterans Care Center in Hampton Roads.

The new veterans care center will be a state-of-the-art facility providing skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as short-term rehabilitative care. The center will serve the Hampton Roads region, home to more than 200,000 veterans.

The new 120-bed facility will provide affordable, long-term nursing care for honorably discharged veterans; Virginia residents at the time of admission or entry to Armed Forces; and people who meet the medical requirements for level of care if the facility provides the level of care that is needed.

“This is terrific news for our veterans, the heroes who have given everything to serve the United States and to guarantee our freedoms,” said Delegate Chris Stolle, a U.S. Navy veteran who helped make the center a reality. “We are now set to build a place in Virginia Beach where veterans can receive the help they need – the help they deserve.”

The center will be located on 24-acres along the bio-medical corridor in the Princess Anne area. The location will also allow veterans to have convenient access to labs, physical therapy and other healthcare facilities in the corridor.

“I am pleased to announce that the center will be built on land donated by the City of Virginia Beach, at no cost to the state,” McAuliffe said. “The new Veterans Care Center will be a state-of-the-art facility providing skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/dementia care and short-term rehabilitative care. The Hampton Roads region is home to more than 200,000 veterans, the largest concentration in the commonwealth, and we owe it to them and their families to build this new facility.”

The new Hampton Roads Veterans Care Center and another being built in Northern Virginia will result in about 600 new jobs in those areas.

McAuliffe signs legislation establishing military medics, corpsmen pilot program

Augusta Free Press – June 28, 2016

Governor McAuliffe ceremonially signed the Military Medics and Corpsmen bill, establishing the Virginia Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) Pilot Program in the Commonwealth. Modeled after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Intermediate Care Technician Program, SB 437 established Virginia’s MMAC Program, which is the first of its kind in the nation, creating pathways to employment to Virginia’s health care fields for highly skilled medical veterans.

“Expanding benefits and employment opportunities for our veterans in Virginia has been a top priority of my administration since day one, and the Virginia Military Medics and Corpsmen pilot program underscores Virginia’s unwavering commitment to our service members,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This program ensures the advanced medical training our men and women received in uniform is harnessed in successful post-service career tracks in Virginia’s health care industry. Whether we are functionally ending veteran homelessness, expanding post-service medical treatment, or creating new career pathways, Virginia will continue to be on the forefront of veteran services for those who bravely served our country.”

The MMAC Program in Virginia is modeled after the highly successful Veterans Health Administration Intermediate Care Technician Pilot Program, which operated in 15 Federal Veterans Affairs Medical Centers across the United States. With the MMAC Program, Virginia is the first state in the nation to offer this kind of innovative pathway to employment for these highly skilled veterans.

“As a former Army doctor, I worked alongside military medics while treating soldiers injured during Desert Storm,” said Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. “Our medics and corpsmen have extensive training and valuable experience, and this important piece of legislation recognizes their service, helps them transition into our civilian health systems, and has the potential for hundreds of veterans to gain employment in healthcare jobs throughout Virginia.”

House bill patron, Delegate Christopher Stolle added, “As a retired Naval Officer and physician, I can personally attest to the relevant, real-world experience military medics and corpsmen hold from their extensive military education and training while on active duty.  Military medics and corpsmen are outstanding candidates to help fill many gaps in Virginia’s healthcare workforce.”

“The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) has been developing this initiative with input from the following five health systems: Sentara, Inova Health System, Carilion, Mountain States Health Alliance, and Bon Secours. We extend our thanks to these vital partners who will help develop this program,” said John L. Newby, Commissioner of VDVS.

“Veterans trained as military medics and corpsmen should be recognized for the extensive skills they bring to the table,”noted Senate bill patron Senator George Barker.

Sentara Heart Hospital hosted the bill signing. Howard P. Kern, President and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, added, “Recognizing how important this is for veterans, and the Commonwealth’s need for more health care professionals, Sentara has supported establishing this pilot program. We also have provided input to the Department of Veterans Services as it has been developing the details.”

The MMAC Program will be accepting applications from qualified service men and women by the fall of 2016. To learn more visit www.dvs.virginia.gov or call the MMAC Program Manager at 804-786-0571.

Christopher Stolle – Doing more for Virginia’s Veterans

The Virginian Pilot – Editorial, Delegate Chris Stolle

ON MONDAY, we took time to reflect and honor our heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. We honor not only those who lost their lives while defending our country, but the loved ones they left behind.

While Memorial Day is a special day to honor the memory of those we have lost, let’s also remember those who have fought and may still be fighting battles here at home.

As a member of the General Assembly and the Virginia Board of Veterans Services, I believe that we have an obligation to support our returning and retiring soldiers, sailors, airmen and their families. To me, supporting our troops means providing veterans the help they need when they most need it.

 Washington continues to deal with gridlock. This was evidenced last week when 15 U.S. senators signed a letter urging the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to take action on 18 stalled veterans research and outpatient clinics.

In contrast, on the state level, we have made great strides in the past few years to address key areas geared toward improving veterans’ quality of life. As we remember those who served and died, I would like to honor those who returned by highlighting some of the commonwealth’s services available to support Virginia’s veterans and their families.

Many of our veterans and their family members are seeking workforce development skills or a college degree. Spouses of active-duty military members now receive in-state tuition while living here and Virginia colleges and universities now waive the one-year residency requirement for transitioning veterans who want to make Virginia their permanent home.

Whether you are a younger service member choosing not to re-enlist or retiring after a successful career, we know you’ve developed great skills during your time in the military and we want you to use those skills here in Hampton Roads.

In 2012, we developed the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program, whose mission is to educate and train employers on the value of hiring Virginia’s veterans, and to help employers connect with veterans.

More than 16,000 veterans have been hired through the V3 program, and we have just launched a new V3 Employment Grant program to incentivize employers to hire more. Additionally, this year I was proud to carry first-in-the-nation legislation that establishes a program to allow military medical personnel, who have transitioned to the civilian world, to keep using the skills they acquired in the military.

The Virginia Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) program will create a much-needed bridge to health care careers for our veterans. Virginia will also be the first state to partner with the DoD for transition assistance for separating service members to help them get the required civilian health care certifications.

The single greatest show of gratitude to our veterans is to support their mental and physical well-being. Virginia has housed more than 1,900 veterans since October 2014, becoming the first state to functionally end veterans’ homelessness.

But, we can do more to support the health care needs of our disabled or aging veterans. Oklahoma has half as many veterans as Virginia and three times as many veterans’ care centers.

State leaders have worked on a two-year effort to bring a veterans’ care center to Hampton Roads. We have waited for years for the federal government to fund its portion, 65 percent of construction, but the federal money never came.

We decided that Virginia’s veterans could wait no longer. The state fully funded two new care centers, one in Hampton Roads and one in Northern Virginia. I thank the city of Virginia Beach for its donation of the land and its commitment to have a facility located on the Southside that can be easily accessed by veterans and family in Hampton Roads.

Most importantly, our veterans should never feel abandoned. If you or someone you know is a veteran who needs help of any kind, DVS has partnered with Virginia 211 to provide a 24/7 hotline service. Dial 211 from a land or mobile phone for immediate assistance. On the go or overseas? The DVS mobile app is now available for both Apple and Android phones.

Virginia’s General Assembly remains committed to working with the governor, localities and employers to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.

 

House passes legislation lowering healthcare costs AND promoting hiring of veterans

 

 

The Bull Elephant – Steve Albertson

A bill patroned by Del. Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) would allow military trained medics and corpsmen to practice medicine under the supervision of licensed physicians.

Although it might seem like a unique moment when Republicans all agree on something, it’s actually not as rare as it seems. In Virginia, although there are wide differences of opinion on things like Medicaid Expansion By Another Name, and increases in the 2013 gas tax, Republicans still have a lot more that keeps us together than drives us apart.

One great example of this is legislation promoted by Del. Chris Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) and just passed by the House of Delegates that would allow former military medics and corpsmen (the enlisted folks who patch people up on the battlefield, and who run military hospitals and medical clinics) immediate opportunities in the private sector.

The bill, HB 825, establishes a pilot program in which former Army medics, Air Force medical technicians, and Navy Corpsmen may perform certain functions that constitute the practice of medicine under Virginia law, so long as they are under the supervision of a licensed physician. Previously, these veterans would have had to undergo the same training and certification programs as civilians who don’t have the benefit of rigorous military medical training. In a statement released by House Republicans, Del. Stolle had this to say about the program:

“Military medics and corpsmen receive extensive health care training while on active duty. Once they transition to civilian life, their military health care experiences do not easily translate into comparable certifications and licenses required for health care jobs. As a result, many veteran medics are unable to gain employment. Virginia has already made progress on efforts to translate veterans’ military experience into academic credit, however significant hurdles still exist with health care licenses.

This legislation will create a pilot program to help military medics smoothly transition to a medical career in the private sector without having to go through additional training they have already received in the military. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and support our veterans.”

The benefits to military veterans here are clear. They get to take advantage of the training already paid for by Uncle Sam, and get good paying jobs immediately upon discharge from military service. The other benefit of such a program that hasn’t yet been heralded is the potential for lower health care costs.

Just as the country is facing increasing demand for the services of physicians, a shortage of doctors is developing. We all know that when something in demand gets more scarce, the price of that thing goes up. Although Stolle’s bill just starts a pilot program, should it prove successful the medical community could have immediate access to a pool of talented, motivated, and highly-trained medical professionals whose expertise could help alleviate cost pressures facing hospitals and primary care practices around the country. Even in the absence of a doctor shortage, if many functions of primary care physicians could be attended to in a more cost-effective manner, this could have positive ripple effects across the healthcare system.

So, good job, House Republicans! This is a great idea. Here’s hoping it passes into law, and makes enough of a positive impact in the pilot stage to get rolled out on a larger scale.

Virginia – The Most Veteran Friendly State in the Nation

Hampton Roads Chamber News – April 14, 2015

Military families and professionals from the business community attended the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s Military Recognition Reception on April 10.

183 hardworking, military personnel representing all branches of the military from local commands were honored for their outstanding service at a reception held by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce on April 10 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

Military families and professionals from the business community attended to show their support and appreciation for members of the armed forces communityDelegate Chris Stolle, a champion of Veteran issues in the VA General Assembly, was the keynote speaker. Stolle has successfully passed legislation to improve Veterans and their spouses’ education, employment and health.

“Virginia is committed to being the most Veteran friendly state in the nation,” said Stolle. “I know that by continuing work with local governments with business leaders like the members of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, on key issues that impact Veterans that we will continue to be the best state for Veterans.”

Stolle discussed the Virginia employment Veterans skills database and how it enables Veterans, as they transition from the military, to go online and enter their skills and translate them into corresponding Civilian skills that they can use on resumes. Virginia Values Veterans (V3 program) mission is to educate the employers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia on the value the Veterans bring to their company and how to connect with those Veterans. Stolle stated, “In the three years since its inception, the V3 program has enrolled 365 member companies throughout Virginia who have hired almost 8,000 veterans.” He added, “If you’re company is not currently V3 certified, please make a deeper commitment to our military. It is well worth the effort.”

Michael Camden, Chair of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s Armed Forces Committee and Enrollment Coordinator with Troy University Hampton Roads Global Campus served as the master of ceremonies.

Camden mentioned, “I had the pleasure of meeting one of our honorees after the Military Recognition Reception. As the chair of the Armed Forces Committee, I was curious, so I asked the sailor if she enjoyed the program and asked if she found value in the event. As tears welled up, she told me how honored she was and how grateful she felt towards the entire Hampton Roads community. Her reply solidified that what we do as a Chamber to bring the military and business community together is well worth the effort.”