Jan 21 2014


A meeting of the Texas Hill Country Veterans Council was held on January 21, 2014 at the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce. Attending the meeting were:

Vicki Marsh, President
Bill Bacon, First Vice President
Members Bill Cantrell, Kirk Kinsley, Gary Noller, Emilio Rendon
Guest Jamaine Washington, Peer Support Group
Paul Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer Kerrville VA
Victor Lennhoff, VA Medical Foster Home Coordinator

The meeting was called to order at 0900 by President Marsh.

Victor Lennhoff led the meeting explaining about the difference between Community Residential Care and Foster Home Care. Community Residential Care is an option for qualified veterans who are in need of assisted living type care. This program gives room and board, medication management and transportation. The Medical Foster Home Care program calls for intensive medical care in a home environment.

The program has been in place in San Antonio for about ten years, and Victor has recently come on board in Kerrville to put it in place in the Texas Hill Country meaning Bandera, Boerne, Fredericksburg and Kerrville and any town between.

The Foster Home program contracts with care givers who can provide a higher level of care to not more than three qualified veterans in their private residences. San Antonioís current rates of payment are $1800 for a single room and $1200 for a semi-private room, but the Coordinator has not yet determined the rates for the Hill Country. Minimum room size is about 160 s.f. for semi- private rooms and 100 s.f. for private rooms. The veterans most likely to use the program include mental health patients, spinal cord injuries and home based primary care. Those qualified pay for their own care, but they may also qualify for Aid and Attendance which could pay the veteran an additional $1700 monthly.

Potential caregivers go through a very rigorous inspection and then training so that they are qualified to handle the assistance necessary. Foster Care Givers must live on the property and may not hire persons to do the care giving essentials. Once passed and being put to use, the care givers are inspected not less than monthly. A fiduciary may become involved based on the VAís evaluation of the patient. However, a VA fiduciary may only manage funds from the VA and not from other sources such as Social Security.

The panel size is not known but the VA expects that older veterans and those with spinal cord injuries, mental health issues and home based primary care. The also expect that some patients currently residing in Community Living Centers such as is available at the Kerrville VA facility may want to go back into the community and transfer out of the KVA.

For more information, Mr. Lennhoff is officed in room 365 of the Kerrville VA Hospital and can be reached at 830-896-2020 ext. 12440

Question and answers were then directed to Paul Gregory.
1: Urology. A Physicians Assistant has been identified and accepted the position but must go through the necessary training before he can begin working in Urology. PA Sheldon Watson is currently working half time in orthopedics in Kerrville. Once he receives his training in urology, he will work full time in Kerrville with half of his time in each specialty. The time factor is based on his ability to learn the urology necessary. Vicki Marsh is very concerned about the six month gap before he comes on board. This means all urology cases will have to go to San Antonio or a local hospital. We will get more precise information ASAP..

2: Eye Clinic: Erica transferred to Data Point clinic. The position has closed and a selection will be made this week. Kerrville VA will have an optician one day per week, probably starting in March or April latest.

3. No up date available in the GI clinic. Dr. Wolf has been hired but is on active duty in Germany. Hopefully he will be on board during the March, April time frame. Dr. Peterson will remain as contract Surgeon conducting colonoscopies every other Friday and on Saturdays.

4. In Ultra Sound, technicians in San Antonio are working to clear up the images being sent by Kerrville techs. To date those ultra sounds taken in Kerrville and transmitted to Audie Murphy are too blurred to competently read.

5. Mental Health: Dr. Johnsonís replacement is due to Kerrville in the March, April time frame. In their search for an Occupational Therapist, the responses have not been satisfactory and they are no closer to finding anyone since we spoke last. In reference to the meeting of December, 2013, Col. Marsh suggested that a brief description of Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country be added to the employment notices as a learning tool about the area. Paul Gregory said that he had taken some writings from Mayor Jack Pratt and added them to the job descriptions.

6. Paul Gregory said the VA has found a provider for the Del Rio Clinic but it is not negotiated yet.

As to internal issues, the primary issue at the Stakeholderís Meetings will be getting quality mental health care back to Kerrville.

Taken by Bill Bacon

Comments to us or the V. A. would be greatly appreciated.