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Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012
 

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12B Wednesday, Aug: 15, 2012 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter ,3Tzline i00enefit access ck000000'sn't impJx)vements Every day you can find an article or a news clip address- ing the Veterans Administra- tion claims backlog and cus- tomer service issues. If you've ever tried the call cen- ter number, (800) 827-1000, you can also appreciate the frustration due to the volume of calls and inability of re- sources to handle customer needs. In a final attempt to increase accessibility for the cyber savvy, the VA set up E- Benefits online to allow clients computer access. Thars a frustrating and con- fusing process, too, with lim- ited results. The glaring mistakes in the Veterans Administration , were brought to the forefront not too long ago when an in- spection and report from the agency's Inspector General VET TRAX MIKE McLEOD Division Director, Vetetarls Services (http://californiawatch.org/d ailyreport/oakland-va-office- mishandled-claims-inspeclof general-finds-16163) found the VA's Regional Office in Oak land to be mishandling claims and taking long peri- ods (year's in some cases) to process tile paperwork. In response to this report, the Oakland office was virtually shut down for the month of June 2012 while empk)yees were sent to Sacramento for retra in ing and reorganization. Of course this added to the horrendous backlog. The current backlog is about 558,000 claims nation- wide (those over 125 days old, with the wait time in Oak- land at 425 days!). The pend- ing cases number is just be- low 900,000. Veterans Admin- istration Secretary Eric Shin- seki promised two years ago to eliminate the backlog by 2015 and to raise the accuracy rate to 98 percent, up from 84 percent. In an effort to ease the load arid revamp, the Veterans Administration has identi- fied some key elements to eliminate the backlog. One is to adopt a new electronic claims processing system (pa- perless). That also involves better training lbr claims handlers and a new operating model for how claims are cat- egorized to move faster through the system. 'Phe new operating model will be in 16 regional offices by Sept. 30 this year and in all remain- ing offices by December 2013. According to information disseminated by the VA, the administration is taking every step possible to trans- form its clairn processes and to retrain and reorganize staff to address the backk)g. The backlog is projected to tall to 60 percent by the end o! September and to 40 percent by Sept. 30, 2013. For the pasl two years, 37 percent of the most expert enced claims processors were handlhtg retroactive Agent Orange cases affected by a court ruling. Thars n(:)w complete, with 131,000 Vietnam veterans having re- ceived $3.65 billion in retroactive payments. The staff' is back to handling cur- rent claims. The Veterans Benefits Marmgement System (VBMS) is a new paperless technolo- gy. It involves scanning claim files into digital format so documents can be searched easily by reviewers and raters to speed their' deci- sious. The prel flninary re- sults at four pilot locations show claims being'decided in ahoul 1 t9 clays. You may remember an arti- cle l wrote showing how, in spite of the mantra "A single Vcqerans Administration," there are actually three ad- ministrations in place: the VI IA (health care), VBA (benefits) and National Ceme- teries. The rules differ just a bit for each one, which can add to some of the problems encountered. Right now, elec- tronic information from some of the facilities is not being loaded fast enough and thus is not avail- able to the benefits claims processors on this new paperless system. It's now a wait and see limbo, pending examination, evalua- tion and review. The VA has set out its timeline and parameters. In an 1865 inaugural address, President Lincoln said, "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his oqahan." He affwmed the government's obligation to those who served, let's hope they'll quickly work out the kinks and meet the needs of our service personnel WAT E RS H E D, ,or, page 11 B downstream water users or the fishery. So, enough is enough, stop the staff bashing and give Plumas Corporation staff the same respect that any other profes- sional staffofan agency or private organization would get and deserves. Lastly, I would like to poinl out that the funding t'lumas Corporation has successl'ully acquired over tim year's for watershed restoration work has not only employed a staff" of five local commu n i- ty members, but has provided jobs for local natural re- With thought to every detail, this 3 bed 2 bath includes a finished studio/bonus room; large bedrooms and living room area, 2 car attached garage plus a detached oversized garage with shop and propane heater; WOW! Immaculate Lake Almanor West home in a stunning setting. RV pad with electrical hook-ups; lots of extra parking space; an outdoor fish cleaning station; new roof, back deck cover, and studio added in 2005; new septic system in 2004; house is wired for generator; riding lawn mower/snow blower both included in sale; and much more! MLS #201200466. Listed at $545,000 C00_rY2] Kyle McNeill LAKE ALMANOR REAL ESTATE Dre #O1362762 289 Main ,SL, .Suite #1 -. Chester Realtor/Associate 530-249-1392 kyleemcn@gmail.com source and construction contractors. Since 2004 a total of $4.3 million dollars has gone to local contractors and businesses, with $2.5 million supporting Plumas Corpora- tion staff out of a total of $7.2 million invested in the watershed over an eight- year period (2004- 2011). With that investment, the CRM has restored a total of 47 miles of stream channel and 4,100 acres of meadow l]oodplain and riparian habitat in the Feather River watershed. In addition this funding has supported nunlerous watershed e(lu('a tion projects includirrg the sixth-grade Plumas Io the Pacific. Bottom line: Every- one benefits from these rot'ill ly invested public fund ing sources. If local community mere. bers and partner" agencies l>el the work of the CRM is rio longer warranted and do not want state arrd federal grant monies coming t() the watershed then so be it. But let's acknowledge what 20 plus years of ('ollat)orat ion the CRM program has accomplish(;(l for tile br'lrel H of tile watershed and local conmtunities. * The goal s and objectives of thr; Feat her River Coordinat- ed Resource Management (CRM) Plan are to "maintain, t)rotect, and improve, where possible, water quality and (luantily in the Feather Riv- er." As stated in the CRM Plan for the Feather River signed in 1996, "Ii will be the goal Of this CRM Plan to opti- mize the benel]cial uses of the waters of the Feather River. These beneficial uses itk'r): (]Oiliest it!, InU II icil)al, agricultural, and industrial supply; power generation; recreation; aesthetic enjoy- ment; navigation; and preser- vation and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and other aquatic resources. The CRM will emphasize education to prevent future water quality degradation of the Feather River. The CRM Group will cooperatively design and as- sist with funding for water quality improvement pro- jects to abate water quality degradation in the Feather River." Presentation looKs at Indian ' alley schools There has been a lot said this year about how Indian Valley's schools should change in the future, but what were they like in the past? Those interested are invited to revisit the past Saturday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Greenville Cy 1tall Memor- ial Museum. In the 1850s, as prospectors decided to settle down and raise families in the valley, any schooling had to be done by the family or neighbors. More people came and schools were built, opened, then closed when lralrsi)(irla tion became easier. Realizing that there are many interesting and amus ing stories that took l)lace in the schools, museum direch)rs will present "Indian Valley Schools: The Way We Were," in coordination with the Greenville lligh Sch,ml Ire union. Retired teachers and others will reminisce about their ex- periences working in the schools, their years here as students arrd, in at least one case, stories of their parents' experiences irl tile early 1900s. All l'ormer arrd current teachers and other school em- ployees are invited to join the fun ar](t tile public is welcome to come enjoy this rare oppor- lunily. Admission will be free. Museum directors offer these special presentations as gifts to the community in recogni- tion of generous support from donors and volunteers in and out of Indian Valley. The museum is located on the corner of Main and Mill streets in Greenville. For more information, call Greenville Cy Hall Memorial Museum board of directors president Kest Porter at 616- 0226. I Advertising works! MR. B's AUTO TECHTRONICS 213 Danny Court, Quincy 283-1935 John Bremel Mr. B's Auto Techtronics has been taking care of our customers' auto and truck repair and service needs for 21 years now. Our ASE Certified technicians can do just about anything from an oil change to a complete engine replacement to help keep our customers' vehicles in tip top shape. We want to send out a hearty thank you for the trust you place with us. We have found that using the local paper and the local phone book (Plumas-Lassen Connection) have really been the most effective way to get the word out and use our advertising dollars. John Bremel and the crew at Mr. B's appreciate Feather Publishing for helping us get our message out there, and especially want to thank Mike, Kevin, Cobey, Eva, Sherri and the whole gang. Newspaper advertising works! Northeastern Rural Health Clinics 1850 Spring Ridge Dr. Susanville 530-251-5000 Urgent Care Mon-Fri 8:00 am-6:30 pm Hours: Sat 8 am-Noon & 2 pm-4 pm 287 Lawrence Street, Quire'y, CA 283-08() 135 Main Street, Chester, ('A 2583115 Greenville, CA * 258-3115 IIN) (;rand Ae., Suamille, ('A 27 F?,21 t" Westwood PinePress Lll01TOLI I][ll01Tl P.O. Box 790, Weslwood, CA 253115 9 E. Sierra rltwy 70h Porlola, UA 832-4646 i Westw00d Family Practice Serving the medical needs to Westwood, Clear Creek, Hamilton Branch and the surrounding areas of the Almanor Basin. Come visit our providers. Walk Ins Welcome! Meet uur Westw0od Providers Richard Carlton MD Dean Brown PA-C Naomi Rae, FMP, CNM John Dozier MD Eileen Searcy, PA-C ; Paul Davainis MD Business Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 8 am - 5 pm Sliding Scale Medi-Cal Medicare a Commercial Insurances Family Pact CMSP e will sign you up for insurances if you qualify, service of Northeastern Rural Health Clinics u " '"hlity Healthca=e, Your Choice... Our Commitment Patriotic arttsts wanted Plumas County election officials are currently look- ing for a patriotic art piece to put on the cover of the November 2012 presidential election voter information guide booklet. Requirements: The artist must be between 12 and 17 years of age and a resident of Plumas County. The art- work must be patriotic in nature and creativity is en- couraged. The artwork sub- mitted must be no larger than an 8-1/2-by-ll piece of paper. The artist must in- clude his or her name, ad- dress, telephone number, age and school on the back side of the artwork. Submit artwork to: Plumas County Elections Sample Ballot Art Contest, 520 Main St., Room 102, Quincy, CA 95971 no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24. The chosen artwork will be printed on the cover of the local voter information guide, which will be distrib- uted to all registered voters in Plumas County for the November 2012 general election. For more information call Plumas County Elec- tions at 283-6129. Tour is canceled Due to the Chips Fire, the Sierra Institute has canceled its "Girls Night Out in Humbug Valley" tour. It had been set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17 and 18. Contact Lauri Rawlins-Betta with any questions at 284-1022. t