Update on Air Force C-123's and Agent Orange

Hello Mike,
What a long time since we last wrote one another. Sure, I’d appreciate the article getting broader coverage as we certainly have many of our vets in Arizona. Plus there is such attention given the boneyard and its role in destruction of the old airplanes.
I think the last coverage on our airplanes was by Dennis Wagner in 2014 when there was some attention given my presentation at the Society of Toxicology at which I challenged VA ethics. In 2012 VA made a poster presentation at that organization’s conference in which they redefined the word “exposure” in a very precise manner which excluded our agent orange exposure claims. The report I’m holding laid waste to that peculiar MVA unique redefinition of a fundamental term of science.
Be well,
   Wes

 

 

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Wes Carter <c123kcancer@gmail.com>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Sent: Sat, Oct 22, 2016 4:35 pm
Subject: Patches & the IOM C-123 Agent Orange Report – Oct 14 2016

note: our association’s work continues on the issue of retroactive disability awards and compensation, with legal representation from the firm of Fregre-Baker Daniels

“Patches & the IOM C-123 Agent Orange Report”

Visiting the USAF Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB and home of “Patches,” our Agent Orange-contaminated C-123. 14 Oct 2016

To all post-Vietnam C-123 Veterans
: if you haven’t already, contact VA and arrange your Agent Orange Registry physical. This is a free comprehensive exam looking for any possible Agent Orange exposure medical issues and it is vital whether you have any such illnesses or not. The first friend I talk into having the physical was found to have a life-threatening heart problem, and the physical perhaps saved his life. Call VA now!I’m holding the report from the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences that convinced the VA our aircraft had been contaminated, we were exposed to Agent Orange, and we were harmed greatly by that exposure. Behind me is Patches, now decontaminated, of course.

The report summary can be downloaded free at https://www.google.com/url…
The archives at the museum revealed the evidence of testing back in 1979 and 1994 and 1996, and the evidence that USAF bioenvironmental scientists concluded the airplane was “heavily contaminated with dioxin on all test surfaces, STILL after its last spray missions in 1968 during the Vietnam War.
We started flying Patches in 1972 and were exposed to the Agent Orange residue for the next decade. Although the CDC informed VA and USAF that the aircrews and maintainers had been exposed, officials at VA continued to insist otherwise and stated VA had “an overwhelming preponderance of evidence” against any harm being done.

In 2014 it became clear, based on the IOM study and the report I’m holding, that VA’s position was based solely on its policy decision to block additional Agent Orange claims like ours. Policy, not science. Policy, not law.

The US Senate agreed. Under leadership from Senator Burr of North Carolina and Senator Merkley of Oregon the Senate blocked all VA confirmations until the C-123 issue was resolved. The national commander of the VFW testified to Congress that that full benefits for C-123 vets must be authorized,  All six major veterans organizations insisted VA act, with the Vietnam Veterans of America leading their joint efforts.

The media was behind us all the way. The first press coverage was in early 2011 in the Air Force Times where reporter Patricia Kime detailed our USAF Inspector General complaint wherein the service was asked, but refused, to notify our veterans of their potential exposures. Subsequent articles appeared in the Washington Post, Springfield RepublicanAmerican Legion Magazine, the OregonianAssociated Press, CBS News, Pittsburgh GazetteNPR All Things Considered, Boston Globe, Air Force Magazine, plus Military.Com and other Internet outlets. Air Force Times and the Springfield Republican both ran editorials insisting VA act in our behalf.

In 2009 Dr. Alvin Young, VA’s principal consultant on Agent Orange, had strongly recommended to the USAF the immediate destruction of all C-123s stored in a hazardous material quarantine section of Davis-Mothan Air Force Base because, among other reasons, our already exposed air crews and maintenance veterans might approach the VA seeking care for Agent Orange illnesses. Destruction of the aircraft would help prevent such claims, especially, as it was pointed out, if the aircraft disappeared without public attention. Preventing claims seems to of been awfully important to the VA and so many others. It seemed so important to Dr. Young because in 2011 he denigrated us as “trash haulers, freeloaders looking for a tax-free dollar from a sympathetic congressman.” The VA certainly found the right voice to help it oppose our claims – VA had found a man who holds us in contempt to help VA avoid treating our illnesses.

In 2013 Dr. Young was in the middle of his unique VA two year $600,000 no-bid sole source Agent Orange consulting contract. He urged Mr. James Sampsel at the VA Agent Orange desk to “hold the line” (his words) against our claims. For his part, Mr. Sampsel informed his VA colleagues and supervisors that all proof confirming our exposure submitted to VA by independent scientific authorities and other federal agencies (CDC, DOD, USPHS, NIH)  was merely the real “problem” for VA – proof Mr. Sampsel and others in VBA would ignore despite VA regulation VAM21-1MR and despite the Veterans Claims Assistance Act.

Dr. Terry Walters at the VHA Post-Deployment Health Section, told the Associated Press that a line had to be drawn against our claims. Hold the line, indeed!

For too many years the VA “held their line” and denied every single claim submitted by our veterans of the post-Vietnam C-123 spray aircraft. While being paid by VA Dr. Young testified before the Institute of Medicine C-123 committee against our exposure claims. He even attacked the IOM report after its publication in January 2015 using arguments similar to ones used earlier when Dow and Monsanto sponsored him. But the committee saw through that. The committee also criticized VA and USAF for routinely dismissing, ignoring or minimizing  proof of veterans’ exposures

In June 2015, the Institute of Medicine report I’m holding in the photo was acted upon by Secretary McDonald. He brought truth, science, law, and compassion into the process at last. The 2100 of us who volunteered to serve our country by flying and maintaining our aircraft willingly accepted the hazards of aviation service and now are acknowledged to have also endured hazardous toxin exposures for which the VA will now care.

As VA Secretary McDonald said to me at the White House, “We won.” He meant “We” the veteransand “We” the VA, No longer adversaries.

Let’s not let this happen again to other veterans facing toxic exposures.

 

 

 

    Wes Carter, Chair

    (971) 241-9322

CEO Talks About Victor Valley Global Medical Center

Suzanne Richards, the CEO of Victor Valley Global Medical Center,
located in Victorville is excited to report on progress made by VVGMC since it was purchased in October 2012.

VVGMC is a 101 bed hospital that provides high quality, cost effective healthcare services to residents of the High Desert communities.
Before the purchase, the hospital contended with several challenges including a conditional accreditation, and citations that suspended lab and ICU services.

Within the first six months of new ownership, the lab was reopened and VVGMC is now fully accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and The Joint Commission, and is on a solid foundation with the California Department of Public Health, Title 22.

Several things set VVGMC apart from other local hospitals, including:
Cardiology – The hospital is making room for an expanded cardio wing for acute cardio, something that is lacking in the High Desert. The cath lab now has all brand new equipment, including a cath system that does radial artery access (through the wrist) and has less potential for infection and problems. It offers easier performance of diagnostic tests and procedures for treating coronary artery disease, including use of the PTCA balloon (an angioplasty procedure).

Expanded Surgery Center – VVGMC does a tremendous amount of surgeries. To make room for an expanded post-anesthesia care unit, a separate lab and radiology department will be located in a separate building. The two-year plan involves completing a structure that is already located behind the hospital.

Family Culture – Employees at the hospital live in the High Desert whenever possible, and if not, they are encouraged move here and become a part of the community. Current staff can move up the ladder within, and continuing education is recognized and rewarded. Workers have the freedom to speak up about issues that they feel are important. Community spirit is promoted through team participation at events, like the March of Dimes walkathon, mud runs, corporate challenges, and Mavericks games.
Urgent Care vs. Emergency – VVGMC believes in adding services where most needed, and has opened an urgent care near Adelanto, in a great area with great people. Also being considered are facilities in Phelan and Barstow, areas that have been chronically underserved. This will enable the surrounding community residents faster access to urgent care types of ailments without the unpredictable wait in emergency rooms.

Patient Feedback – VVGMC uses a required accredited CMS methodology survey company track patient care and satisfaction. The hospital takes results seriously, and strives to correct any perceived problems immediately. Only about 12 percent of patients respond to surveys. Entering the hospital is not anyone’s first choice – either they’ve had an injury, accident, or are having surgery. Most who respond have had incredibly wonderful experiences but there are a few that have had a visit where VVGMC has fallen short of the patient’s expectation. Usually they don’t answer the survey if they are in the “middle” somewhere. The surveys are long, so patients don’t always want to take the time to fill out. FaceBook and Yelp have been incredibly useful in real time responses on patient experience and expectations. VVGMC enjoys the great good reviews they receive on FaceBook and share these regularly. If a staff member is mentioned in a review, they are recognized ASAP. If the experience falls short of expectations, then staffing is notified and work together to change the patient experience. One-hundred percent (100%) of letters received receive a response.

Community Outreach – Other medical facilities offer nutrition, exercise, and seniors programs and programs by local medical groups are doing a great job at promoting preventive care so that less people end up in urgent care or the hospital. VVGMC’s unique philosophy is to help the community develop healthy habits, so they plan again this year to have a weekly presence at the local farmer’s market, to encourage healthy eating, avoid diabetes, and other chronic illness. They cater to all ages from “0 to 100,” according to Suzanne. The Family Health and Wellness Expo has become the Family Care fair, offering school and sports physicals, and seasonal immunizations, wound care awareness and evaluations, and a multitude of preventative testing free every year. In addition, the annual Delivery Land 5K run was kicked off in 2015 and the event received over fifty runners in its inaugural year. With 26-33% of children in the High Desert living at the poverty level, the hospital strives to help keep kids healthy, and attending school.

Accountable Care Organizations – VVGMC wants to see more coverage benefits for more people, and also to have them taken care of early, with preventative outpatient procedures before they have to enter a hospital. Getting the mammograms, Pap smear, and other tests done, so they can catch health issues early on and enable patients and their families to get back to focusing on what matters most. In that way, accountable care is a good thing, that helps get hospitals back to providing acute care. All hospitals are experiencing the problem of full emergency rooms, when many things can be handled at an urgent care. A child has a fever or an earache should be treated at the urgent care.

Patient Centered Medical Homes – This is another way to reduce hospital admissions and emergency care. It’s in-home care, like a house with seniors or a group home for people with psychiatric disorders. A “house” can be a medical office, where a doctor comes to visit and take care of the person at home, bringing the equipment to them. Is the patient too weak to travel to the doctor? They can send a home health agency out to check on them. It is less expensive than visiting a hospital, with highly-skilled nurses and physicians, and need to keep extensive records. This type of care is happening more and more, even before Obama-Care. They offer care that is a little more defined. Also, in a hospital it’s hard to sleep, with lots of noise, it doesn’t feel like home.

Delivery Land – VVGMC has reinvented the obstetrics and delivery experience for High Desert residents. “People don’t want a sterile environment. They want a fun experience,” states Suzanne. “It’s cute to watch the touring moms and dads.” Many very nice comments have been received from new parents, and grandparents, who remember not being allowed in the delivery room in the past. Now they can be present during a birth. Patients and doctors all agree it’s nice for everyone.

About Suzanne Richards – When asked what she does for fun, Suzanne said she is an avid Star Wars fan. She has been married for 22 years and has two sons. Her husband invented the Kiss Wound guide that is being used in over 250 hospitals is the U.S. and Canada. One of her son plays basketball at Chino High, the #1 ranked basketball team in the nation, and wants to be a robotics engineer. The other is a published author who attends L.A. Film School.

For more information, visit Victor Valley Global Medical Center’s website at http://www.vvgmc.com

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We cover county-wide news with more of a “positive” spin than other newspapers. Topics generally include economics, business, real estate, infrastructure, education, entertainment, social concerns and opinions.

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There are many positive, uplifting events going on in our world and our local communities.

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I plan to stay here a good long while, and to keep bringing you this kind of news as long as I can. I’ve been publishing the Senior News for 17 years, and it’s always been free to seniors since we like to light up your faces with a smile when you see photos from an event you attended, or even your own photo!

Since 2011 we’ve published the Desert News Post, and distributed it free. Since 2014 we’ve given you free news and free access to our website, http://www.DesertNewPost.com, and this is where we need your help.

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