VA working to improve quality of care for veterans diagnosed with ALS

11

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through a recent partnership, is working to increase the number of clinics certified by the ALS Association as a Treatment Center of Excellence.

The alliance aims to improve care for veterans diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — and increase awareness of resources and treatment options available.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. While there are no known cures, treatment options can reduce damage caused by the disease, relieve symptoms and improve one’s quality of life. Research shows those who served in the military are more likely to develop ALS than those who have not.

“ALS Association’s continuing education resources give VA health care providers and patients access to educational opportunities,” said VA National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships Nurse Executive Tracy L. Weistreich, Ph.D. “By promoting local participation in nationwide chapters, we ensure veterans have greater access to ALS programs and services at VA and in their communities.”

Veterans can also enroll in the National ALS Registry which helps health experts enhance the standards of ALS care and seek a cure.

The VA has 11 Treatment Centers of Excellence that exceed nationally accepted standards of care. To be certified, clinics must meet high level of treatment standards, participate in ALS-related research and successfully complete a comprehensive review.

Grant allows Vets4Vets to help local veterans 

Vets4Vets of Archuleta County has received a grant from the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This financial grant is to support veterans in our community through the following assistance: housing, utilities, mental health counseling, dental services, travel assistance, automobile repairs, gas and food cards, and emergency veteran assistance. 

Contact Vets4Vets at https://vets4vetspsco.org/ or dharps@gmail.com.

Contact information

Veterans: Thank you for your service. Welcome home.

For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office (VSO), located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The office: (970) 264-4013, fax number: (970) 264-4014, and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO. Always leave a message and phone number to contact you.

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Tennyson Building Event Center, 197 Navajo Trail Drive, on all but the first Tuesday. Breakfast meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. Contact (970) 799-8387 for more details.

• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, Lewis Street. Contact Gary Hanneman at (970) 946-2540.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: first and third Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Carter’s office; contact Charlotte at (970) 903-9690.

Important information

• Vets4Vets: (970) 880-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: (970) 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.

• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M.: (800) 465-8262.

• VA Health Care Emergency Notification: (844) 724-7842.

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.