Meeting Minutes for June 2013

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Call to order - 09:30, Invocation - Pledge of Allegiance -

Greetings: Recognition of visitors and guests

Announcements: Ralph Donais, Chairman - Jerry Kyser, Vice Chairman

  • Ralph been unavailable the last few days working with North star Boys Choir who are going to Europe

Federal Agencies

VA Regional Office - Director Antione Waller - Assistant Directors Kay Anderson and Donna Meyer-Hickel

  • VA continues to focus effort on claims. Prioritizing work so oldest claims come first (1 - 2 years old)
  • Deadline of June 19th to have 2 year old claims completed
  • Given authority to issue provisional rating to those who have waited the longest
  • Continue to process priority 1 claims - terminally ill, former POW, homeless claims, or hardships claims.
  • Focusing on getting fully developed claims into operation
  • Been traveling back and forth to DC - we have tremendous leadership here due to relationships and need to nurture those relationships
  • Any VA office that has the capacity to do more than their area will be asked to do more. Since we have the capacity to process claims for other states, we are happy to do so.
  • Have implemented paperless system
  • Benefits being lessened after a determination has been made is very unlikely on processing of old claim benefits

VISN 23 - Janet Murphy - Director VISN 23

  • 651-405-5654 New office number - Janet’s direct line
  • Region is doing well on 1 year old claims. We are ready to help any part of the country
  • Been instructed to support regional offices in our networks. We are sending VHA examiners to other regional offices to assist
  • Yesterday VA central office granted permission to increase number of hours fee providers can work. Ceiling of $149,000 per year and cap has been lifted. Allows more flexibility in staffing.
  • Mental Health hiring objective was met and slightly exceeded. We have hired 94 staff.
  • 2014 budget - June 17th is final pass. The House made some changes but it’s still valuable to the VA
  • New Director on June 16. Patrick Kelly who is current Director in Souix Falls is being transferred to Mpls - Navy veteran
  • June 27 PTS Awareness Day. In handout there is website to go to learn more about PTS
  • New app for iphone for those who want to quit smoking
  • VA has authorized chiropractic care
    • VHA is moving toward a combination of Eastern and Western medicine which includes chiropractic and acupressure and various modalities. A number of VISN23 sites are hiring chiropractors on staff
    • There are concerns with chiropractic being done incorrectly and damage being done and also questions about how long the treatment should last.
  • Antoine has found space for C & P unit to be moved to the regional office then pain clinic will go in the location C & P is currently

Mpls VA HCS - Director Patrick Kelly - Mike Rosecrans -  Leg. Liaison

  • Mud wrestling this afternoon where the parking garage is going in.
  • Jan covered everything on agenda
  • Space between handicap parking spaces is a code requirement

St Cloud VA HCS - Barry Bahl - Cheryl Thieschafer

  • Last position to fill for mental health is psychologist - should be this month
  • Expansions
    • Surgery and Specialty care we are bringing in oral surgeon and orthopedic surgeon so patients will not have to travel to Mpls for those services
    • Windmill - nothing new to report. Expecting gear box this week, again
  • Take receipt of magnet for new MRI and in calibrated and tested. By the end of the month we should have MRI services
  • Secured funding for rehab building
  • POW program Friday June 7 at 10am in Bldg 8 Auditorium
  • Transportation program will be expanded and now doing door to door transportation for Brainerd area
  • Thank DAV for vehicle donation
  • Next meeting scheduled for St Cloud in auditorium due to construction - watch for signs. Meeting on July 10.

Ft Snelling Cemetery - Artis Parker Director - Brad Butler

  • Memorial Weekend ceremony on Monday and estimated over 3000 people there. No actual counts from MNDOT.
  • Memorial wall completion estimated at the end of June
  • Road repairs started this morning and should be done today
  • Another paving construction scheduled for 2-3 years down the road
    • Repairing columns along 34th Ave
  • Replacement for Shelter 4, no date for start or completion
  • Total interments last month 472 (high for May)
    • Total 204,256
    • 13 female veterans
    • Rifle Squad did 214 honor services
      • 63,104 in 32 years

Vets training and Employment Center

  • DEED career fair July 16th at Earl Brown Center in Brooklyn Park around 9am - region’s largest veteran career fair.
    • Information is on website and Facebook page
  • Federal Congressional Representatives and Senators

Senator Amy Klobuchar - General (RET) Tim Cossalter

  • Visited 12 counties to educate veterans on our processes
  • Re-introduced bills
    • Veterans Access Secure Act S1061 improves access to veterans for certain facilities
      • Requires Dept of Health and Human Services and Veterans affairs to establish a process for veterans facility to qualify for health professionals support act. Allows those in medical field to work at a VA facility.
    • Veterans to Paramedics Transition Act. To help veterans who are previously qualified such as Army Medics, allowing colleges and Universities to adjust curriculum to make those individuals ready for transition. S1060
    • S1078 - Tricare Prime working to fix eligibility
    • Veterans Legal Support Act introduced from NH - objective is to reduce VA back log for disability claims. Works with legal clinics in universities so law students can work on cases
  • Reserve Base 934th good until 2014 and will continue monitoring to see how we can keep a mission there.
  • Letter is going through the Senate for FAA charging for air shows
  • Veteran owned businesses process; still gathering information on that

Senator Al Franken - Nicole Ly

  • Introduce Catherine
  • Senator Franken had grandchild - little boy 6lbs, 7oz. Little Joe
  • Heard back from service academies on which nominees received appointments
    • Hosting reception for those appointees
    • Website is updated for those interested in applying for nomination
  • Is introducing veterans’ health bill before the next meeting we will have information to you
  • Introduced with Congressman Walz - Quicker Benefits Delivery Act authorizes VA to:
    • Award interim benefits based on initial diagnosis once clear
    • Use medical evidence from private doctors
    • Pay housing benefits under GI bill in a more timely manner

7th District Representative - Collin Peterson - No one

1st District - Tim Walz - Shawn Schoesser

  • Handouts going around
  • Skeet shooting with congressman at Caribou Gun Club recently
  • Working with United Health Group with military and veterans Tricare
    • Trying to expand Tricare prime in our area
    • Unsure if providers just have not signed on yet
    • Increased call center an extra 160 people and now in compliance with referral claims in accordance with the contract
  • Partnered with Senator Franken
    • If bill goes into House and Senate at same time there is no need for committee
    • By allowing recommendations from providers outside the VA it saves the VA money; especially on PTS testing
    • Want to reduce threshold from 50% to 30% on claims completion
  • We are always having conversations with Mayo to join United Healthcare System

2nd District Representative - John Kline - Chaz Johnson

  • Brought handout to share a few things congressman is working on
  • Tricare prime act brought up in senate was introduced
  • Service member medical evaluation review act is regarding medial evaluation boards delay; 158 current members that are back logged over 1 year
  • Yesterday President signed in Stolen Valor Act that protects the dignity of troops so profit cannot be made by using military awards not received
  • HR1980 - Kline is co-sponsor
  • HR1864 Whistleblower protection for victims of sexual assault in the military extends to victims of military sexual violence
  • HR32 Military surviving spouses equity act - repeals provision that requires offset to compensate paid from survivor benefit plans
  • Memorial weekend - Mrs. Kline is a 20 year Army nurse and is from Houston County. Gave keynote address in Houston County for dedication of Memorial Park.

3rd District Representative - Eric Paulson - John Paul Yates

  • Paulson cosponsor of Kline’s bill related to Tricare
  • HR1864 Whistleblower protection for victims of sexual assault in the military passed through subcommittee and expected to be taken up by committee this month
  • Academy reception next week for those selected for academies
  • Congress adjourns first week of Aug through Labor Day

4th District Representative - Betty McCollum - Connie Haddeland

  • This morning congressional delegation had opportunity to go to 133rd airlift wing of National Guard and had a briefing about domestic readiness capability.
  • House started reviewing fiscal 2014 spending bills
    • On house a procreations committee, house interior committee, and house defense a procreations
    • Starting HACD bill - closed session today
      • 512.5 billion for base pentagon budget and 85.8 billion for war spending
        • Expect to mark up bill in full committee next week and take bill up to house floor at end of June
      • Report language will be on the website on Friday
  • Served military malecon VA which is on the house floor this week - well funded and exempt from budget caps
  • Have 8 people entering service academies this year from district (2 women and 6 men)
  • Handed out sheet of legislation congresswoman is on
    • HRS213 hoping as sponsorships grow hoping to have venue to speak about sexual assault and abuse in armed services
    • Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act
    • Homeless benefits on HR897
    • HR958 for women veterans and other healthcare improvement act

5th District Representative - Keith Ellison - No one

6th District Representation - Michele Bachmann - Nicole Pelzer

  • Handouts going around
  • Congresswoman held a symposium last month
    • Thank you to Mikes and Barb for being on the panel
    • Hoping to do more
  • Announced she will not be re-seeking re-election. She will serve out the whole term and we will continue to work hard for veterans
  • In addition to legislation she has signed on to Kline’s bills with Tricare Prime and Service member evaluation act
  • HR2091 requires POW and MIA flags to be flown every day and not just federal holidays at federal facilities
  • At memorial day events in St Cloud and Sartell
  • Academy nominations have noticed not as many young people entering this year and class sizes are coming down. Had 12  last year and 6 this year

8th District Representative Rick Nolan - No one

  • State Agencies and MN Veteran Assistance Organizations

MN Dept of Veteran Affairs - Deputy Commissioner Mike Gallucci

  • Thank you - due to efforts of those in the room the legislature came around and we have received funding for phase III - met with dept. of administration last week and this week to develop working plan going into phase II which is fully funded now
  • This month and by mid-July anticipate the beginning of tele-medicine and will export that out to other homes
  • Focusing on re-vamp and are in process of hiring chemical dependency team
  • Please go out and spread the word about adult day center - only $20 for the veteran
    • Working with DAV to do transportation
  • Laverne Veterans Home has new administration starting today. Lou Shriver - I will be out there tomorrow to introduce him to the team
  • Hastings chemical dependency there are 63%-65% - Struggle to give them better support on weekends and evenings

MN Veterans 2010 Legisliative Info - Mike McElhiney

  • Funding for Minneapolis Home:
  • Edits to session review still coming
  • Session will reconvene February 25, 2014 and end May 21, 2014
    • It’s a bonding year
  • Small bonding bill passed this year and next year there is a big bonding bill ready
  • MN GI bill expanded - all generations can go back to school with a $10k cap for education
  • Up to age 62 veterans can audit courses for recreation but if auditing for credit veteran will have to pay textbooks
  • Received additional funding for CVSO’s able to take old sunset grant process and combine it with operational grant to increase funding for 87 counties with a flat rate of $7500 plus additional rate to conduct outreach
  • Received large sum of funding for information technology upgrades
  • Additional funding to make the agency function more efficiently
  • Received $425,000 for operational costs of Fillmore County veterans cemetery to be open in 2015
  • Honor Guard funding fixed. $400000 or $200000 a year to organizations who perform honor guard ceremonies.
  • Gold Star transition took place from military affairs to veterans affairs. Program will be the same; annual retreat
  • Additional legislation - MACV, veterans service organizations got annual funding.
  • Presumptive Rehabilitation through Military Service - been worked on a couple of years. If you had minor discrimination prior to military service but went forth and got honorable discharge you can now go into employment that you may have not been able to in the past.
  • Local changes - municipalities can give preference to contracts for veteran owned businesses
  • Peace Officer licensing exam - law which gives military members or veterans with MP experience a proxy exam; adjustments have been made to that. Before a 214 was needed to take the test. Now there is a smoother transition they can take the test while serving
  • U of M must now recognize military service beyond just physical fitness training so you can have military credit but if it doesn’t apply to a career field some credits are not recognized toward degree.
  • Graduate schools and undergraduate MNSCU facilities must develop a policy to generate a mechanism where military service is an extra bonus when applying to school - part of the requirement is they have to provide annual report to legislature to see how it is progressing
  • Upper Midwest Policing Community Institute works with first responders to teach how to respond to veterans who may have PTS
  • Funding for veterans memorial parks and matched funds
  • Veterans Voices Award will help identify veterans on the rise under 40. $100000 funding provided for this program
  • Disabled veterans transit omnibus bill provision to give $78000 reimbursement to those providing rides to veterans
  • House file 677 did pass- provision which says if you do not make a threshold of money in a certain amount of time an audit is not necessary
  • American Indian Plaque bill passed
  • Hunting provisions - disabled veterans can get permanent license and not prove it each year
  • Gambling provisions
  • Bills have an expected date but not always accurate
  • Send updates weekly so we can include them in the federal update - send to myself or Linda

MN Military Affairs - Don Kerr, Anna Long

  • Tomorrow new website is being launched. Go to the site after the meeting and look it over and then see it tomorrow after transformation
    • Project was based on feedback from veterans
    • Website is also accessible through
  • Two policy bills passed
    • Clarified statutory language for military members to declare when they are taking leave. Now clear military member gets to pick which days they use for leave instead of employer
    • MN Code of Military justice - parallel to uniform code. Soldiers serving in national guard are under state authority rather than federal so it needed update since last update was in 1921
      • Allows Governor delegation
      • Goes into effect August 1, 2013
    • Did not get $5 million in bonding bill.

Yellow Ribbon - Annette Kyper

  • In order to qualify for Yellow Ribbon companies are required to change policy
    • Offer differential pay for military members
    • Engage with community in support for veterans service members or families
  • Briefings for Beyond Yellow Ribbon
    • Next week Prudential Financial Insurance in Plymouth newest Yellow Ribbon company
  • Next Yellow Ribbon Proclamation on June 19 at Camp Ripley at 3pm. Service is open to the public. Bring ID to get on base
    • Recognizing Morrison County
    • Crow Wing County
    • City of Monticello
    • City of Buffalo
    • Adding Dept. of Natural Resources and Highway Federal Credit Union
  • City of Maple Grove honored on July 10th at 7pm open to public
  • Last Saturday completed the last of 7 Yellow Ribbon Summits
  • All police departments have to commit to annual awareness training for the needs of veterans. The Midwest Policing Institute helps Yellow Ribbon Networks.

Military Appreciation Day at the State Fair August 27 (Tuesday). Lt. Melanie Nelson

  • 3rd time with the state fair. Last year 3000 veterans from Guard coming home for the summer
  • This year is for Vietnam war veterans
    • A formation of hundreds of veterans will march through the fairgrounds gathering in carousel park
    • Until July 31, Vietnam veterans can register online. The State Fair will mail them 4 tickets to the fair and details of where to be and when
    • Education Alley on North end of the fair many veteran service organizations invited to set up a booth – June 20th is deadline to register for booth

MN Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) - Jerry Kyser

  • Got additional funding from legislature. We had a base amount and base was cut 6 or 7 years ago. I kept going back each year and this year gave us funding and put it in the base so I don’t have to continue going back with bills.
  • Flyers coming out for next Stand Down at Base Camp on August 6 and 7.
  • Next legal clinic June 11 at Mpls VAHCS
  • Attended National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Conference in DC which talks about agencies related to homeless veterans.
  • Suggest going to representatives not just with the problem but also a suggestion for solution
  • Pit count - point in time count done across the nation on January 23 where they count sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals. The count is used in formulas for funding. This January it was -70 in MN so our numbers look low.
  • “Let the minutes show we are mad about this pit count thing in Minnesota!”
  • Not happy we did not get tax deductions for companies hiring veterans
  • Meeting with MN Sports Authority on Monday with Mortinson Construction Company
    • Cannot guarantee 10% but we are asking for 90 million in contracts
    • About 100 companies that will qualify and we need about 300 companies because women and minorities have about 300 companies bidding.
    • If you need information on what companies need to do to qualify come see me individually.

MAG - Jerry Kyser

  • Not happy we did not get tax deductions for companies hiring veterans
  • Meeting with MN Sports Authority on Monday with Mortinson Construction Company
    • Cannot guarantee 10% but we are asking for 90 million in contracts
    • About 100 companies that will qualify and we need about 300 companies because women and minorities have about 300 companies bidding.
    • If you need information on what companies need to do to qualify come see me individually.

Vet Center - Carl Sporer

  • New Brighton veterans center
  • Been absent for almost a year due to triple bypass
  • Staff is 100% veterans now
  • Have room to take in veterans and its free for life
  • We are a gateway; If we do not do what you need we will get you there
  • Address 550 County Road D, New Brighton
  • Can easily take in another 200 veterans
  • See combat veterans and families and spouses of those who are deployed

New State Commander for AMVETS - Tammy Schroeder

  • VWRAP applications still being accepted and opened up to any VA approved school or university
  • Save the Date for Annual Fall Luncheon for Women’s veterans will be October 12, 2013 at tentatively Fort Snelling.


  • Will be adding events calendar to website
  • June 21 through 23 special car coming to Back to the 50’s Car Show at State Fair Grounds
  • If something is not on the website that you want added let us know

Meeting in Recess for 10 minutes

                        Business Meeting:
                        Treasurers report:

  • Balance as of May 1st 5346.29
    • Expense for parking 29.75
    • Ending balance 5316.54

Recognize Jerry Alpinski’s wife passed away

Old business:

  • Voted to have Ralph and Jerry update IT experience
    • Looked at a few things and still unsure if that’s the best way to spend money.
    • Still looking at other options
    • Looked into having a virtual office for the UVLC so everything would be electronically accessible
      • Problem is the data is hackable

New Business:

  • Need input on what you want seen on the website
  • If you have a website let us know so we can link it through our website
  • Next UVLC meeting is in St Cloud at the Auditorium - to the right of flagpole and around the buildings
  • New York State has a veterans hall of fame and may be something we should look at in Minnesota.
    • Veterans 25 who served is a similar program

Adjournment/ Next Meeting 9:30 AM - July 10, 2013 in St. Cloud