Acting Speaker Nelson seeking answers for veterans

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Acting Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Guam Veterans Affairs Office (GVAO) seeking more information on the office’s plans to address the longstanding needs of Guam veterans.

“We need to focus on the quality of care our veterans are receiving,” said Acting Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson in a news release. “Too many of our veterans have sought help from the Guam Veterans Affairs Office, only to end up waiting as long as five to 10 years or more for progress with their cases, which often includes seeking special healthcare services off-island to treat injuries or disabilities sustained during their time of service.”

In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget bill, now Public Law 35-36, the GVAO was appropriated $601,781 for its operations. Acting Speaker Nelson successfully appropriated the GVAO an additional $115,000 specifically for the hiring and training of caseworkers to address Guam veterans’ needs.

Among the growing concerns veterans have expressed is the delay and lack of local services available, and the need to expand local veterans’ services and upgrade Guam’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

“When we gave the Guam Veterans Affairs Office the additional $115,000, we did so with good faith that more caseworkers would be hired and trained to serve our veterans, who have dedicated their lives to dutifully serving our island and nation,” Nelson said.

“For too long, our veterans’ basic healthcare needs have been neglected. Our inquiry with the GVAO will provide answers to our veterans, and we will continue working to provide the healthcare they gave their lives for in service to our island and nation,” she added.

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