October 2018

Vets Views

Page 3 


Retirement Services Officers (RSOs)

Do you have questions on benefits, SBP, Retiree Appreciation Days or anything else retirement-related? Then contact the RSO for your area or go to the Army Retirement Services website // (Note: That’s the number 1 after the g).

Sister Service Retiree Publications

Air Force Afterburner: //

Coast Guard Evening Colors: //

Marine Corps Semper Fi: //, then click on “Semper Fidelis Online” under “News and Features” Navy Shift Colors: //


October 3, 2018

End of fiscal year hospital Star rating shows large improvement in overall quality of services of VA medical centers across nation WASHINGTON — Today, as part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to remain transparent and hold VA facilities accountable, VA released end of fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) hospital Star ratings, which evaluate and benchmark quality of care delivery at VA medical centers (VAMCs) across the nation. “With closer monitoring and increased medical center leadership and support we have seen solid improvements at most of our facilities,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Even our highest performing facilities are getting better, and that is driving up our quality standards across the country.” The Star rating designation is designed to help VA identify best practices of its top performing hospitals and share them across VA’s health care system to achieve system-wide improvements. Compared with data from the same period a year ago, the release of VA’s Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) report shows 66 percent of VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) have improved in overall quality in the third quarter — with the largest gains seen in areas where there were VA-wide improvement initiatives, such as mortality, length of stay and avoidable adverse events. Six VAMCs experienced a decrease in quality, and improvement activities are underway at each of these facilities. Additionally, of the medical centers placed under the Strategic Action for Transformation program (STAT), an initiative that monitors high-risk medical centers and mobilizes resources to assist them, eight are no longer considered high risk and 80 percent (12 medical centers) show measurable improvements since being placed under STAT in January 2018. “There’s no doubt that there’s still plenty of work


September 27, 2018

VA marks Gold Star Families Remembrance Week WASHINGTON — This week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is commemorating Gold Star Families Remembrance Week, designated to honor families affected by the loss of a service member who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Beginning this week (Sept. 23-29) and over the coming months, commemoration plaques to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and the families they left behind are being placed at VA national cemeteries across the country. “We are duty bound as a nation to the families of loved ones who gave their last full measure of devotion to protect our freedoms,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Recognizing Gold Star Families by placing memorials on the graves of these heroes reminds us of their sacrifice and is a fitting tribute to their sacrifice for our freedom. “VA commends the U.S. Senate on its passage earlier this month of Senate Resolution 522, designating a full week to honor the families of members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty,” he added. Visitors to national cemeteries and other VA facilities may find other tributes to Gold Star Families, such as the recently dedicated Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and one at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pennsylvania. The term Gold Star Family references the service flag, first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the U.S. armed forces. If that loved one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. The U.S. began observing Gold Star Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of September in 1936.