March 18 2014


A meeting of the Texas Hill Country Veterans Council was held on March 18, 2014 at the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce. Attending the meeting were:

Vicki Marsh, President
Bill Bacon, First Vice President
David Rittenhouse, Second Vice President
Members Bill Cantrell, Gary Noller, Emilio Rendon
Paul Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer Kerrville VA
Guests Tony DeBona and John Kershaw Representing Serenity Gardens

The meeting was called to order at 0905 by President Marsh.

The first issue was in Mental Health. Paul Gregory said that we had a new Psychiatrist due to come on board on 1 July.

The next issue was manning the eye clinic. Gregory said that they were in the selection process and it will take from 2 to 3 months to have the person on board.

Col. Marsh suggested using a new recruiter to find an employee for Occupational Therapy. Mr. Gregory said they had a new Speech Pathologist contracted from the local area (fee basis) and Polytrauma at Audie Murphy VAMC (AM) in San Antonio was sending in a Speech Pathologist two days per week to assist. Also, Mr. Gregory informed us that he knows how to go about getting funding to advertise for hard-to-fill positions in local newspapers.

In Kinesiology Col. Marsh pointed out that we had 3 Physical Therapists and lost two, one to retirement and one to AMVAMC leaving us with one PT and one assistant. Although restorative efforts are taking some of their work load, Mr. Gregory said they are not over loaded.

Mr. Gregory said he is pushing to have the Audie Murphy management in the clinics visit at least once per month. Further he stated that the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) was the only system in Texas to be recognized for their excellence in the core values. Nenette Madla has been named the PR Director at AM. He further stated that they were conducting a pilot program to conduct EKGs by TeleHealth. Currently Audiology fittings are being conducted by TeleHealth.

When asked about enrollment at KVA, Mr Gregory gave the following statistics on veterans who have chosen Kerrville VAMC as their preferred site for receiving VA Health Care.
FY 2012 9,330
FY 2013 9,905
YTD 2014 9.579
10% of enrollees qualify for 100% SC
Dental service is provided to those whom VA has rated 100% Service Connected Disability (SC) or 50-60% SC or unemployable
In the Homeless Health Care Program, participants get one course of dental treatment meaning they get an examination and all issues are corrected during their one course of treatment. This helps build homeless veterans’ self confidence.

A short discussion was held concerning a Veterans Benefits Fair May 17, 2014, Armed Forces Day. Mr. Gregory needs to check his scheduling before committing.

Mr. Gregory also commented that the Del Rio is scheduled to open on April 1, 2014.

New ultrasound equipment is due to be received at KVA in April, 2014. CT Contrast: the issue is being discussed and resolved. The current policy requires a radiologist to be on the site during a contrast CT scan. The change in policy which allows trained primary care managers instead of radiologists to be on site must be approved by a committee at AMVAMC to insure permanency.

Cataract surgery is being conducted at SAMMC. Preop is being done at AMVAMC’s Data Point St. Clinic in San Antonio..
Audiology is waiting for their last required piece of equipment and should be operational by the end of March 2014. Cystoscopies will soon be performed in KVAMC’s Urology clinic by Dr. Rockwood from Fredericksburg.
Mr. Gregory will schedule a briefing of the Patient Centered Community Care Program after the next Management Assistance Council (MAC) meeting scheduled for 28 May at 1100.
A TeleHealth update will be presented at the next MAC meeting.

Mr. DeBona and Mr. Kershaw spoke about Serenity Gardens and the homeless veterans living there. Their purpose in attending the HCVC meeting was to determine exactly what the HCVC does and what assistance they may expect from the HVCV. They said that there are anywhere from 10 to 22 homeless veterans at Serenity Gardens at any one time. Col. Marsh explained the purpose and objectives of the HCVC. It was mutually agreed that the HCVC was not prepared to provide homeless veteran assistance unless it regards healthcare from KVAMC.

There will be no meeting in April.

The meeting adjourned at 1020.

Taken by Bill Bacon

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