Jan Dils Veterans Disability Benefits Newsletter
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More than 45,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the VA, approximately 40,000 of which were invasive. It is estimated that the VA cares for 175,000 Veteran cancer patients annually, with more than 3% of all U.S. cancer diagnoses made in the VA each year. As the nation continues to be inundated by the nonstop news of COVID-19, our hospitals are still delivering babies, treating car accidents, opioid overdoses and cancer. So, here’s some good news and progress on treating patients with cancer – particularly in rural areas. Let’s face it, not everyone can go to centers like Duke. Now you can rest a little easier knowing you are getting precision cancer care. 
Lastly, Memorial Day was less than a month ago – the day we historically pause to remember our fallen heroes. But so much overshadowed the true meaning of the national holiday. COVID deaths had reached 100,000, graduations and proms didn’t happen with their normal pomp and circumstance. The mental health impact of the pandemic was only beginning to show itself.  Then George Floyd was taken from his family, prompting protests across America. As a nation, our hearts have been heavy. On top of all of this, disabled Veterans are facing financial challenges. Please, we urge our Veterans and their families to stay strong. If you need any assistance, get more information at
Life does go on.  We are stronger together, even if only virtually for now. We realize it may seemingly be harder to do so many things right now, but our expert, compassionate team is here for you.  Learn more about our safe consultation practice. Contact us at 877.526.3455 or 
On a final note, since your Memorial Day may not have been filled with parades and picnics, we thought it was fitting to reissue the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie’s Memorial Day remarks. We salute you!


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The VA and Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation Team Up to Deliver Cancer Care to Veterans Via Teleoncology in Rural Areas

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is collaborating with the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (Foundation) to build new programs to enable VA oncology specialists to provide Veterans access to precision cancer care regardless of where they live.
The Foundation has committed to providing the VA $4.5 million in grant funds over three years to help establish a national teleoncology center to more effectively reach Veterans living in rural communities.
The VA Center for Strategic Partnerships facilitated the grant, which will utilize the VA's telehealth infrastructure allowing Veterans access to teleoncology platforms under the Foundation’s Global Cancer Disparities Initiative. This will offer genetic counseling to Veterans who undergo sequencing, and afford Veteran oncology patients a range of potentially life-saving clinical trials ­– even if they live a distance away from a VA medical center. Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare are two-and-a-half times more likely to live in rural areas where access to specialty care is limited.
“Delivering innovative solutions through virtual care technologies is vital,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The VA-Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation partnership will build on the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) recent telehealth expansion to establish a leading-edge hub for teleoncology, which will serve as a model for oncology specialists in every healthcare system.”
The program will support the delivery of best-in-class care, education and practice in collaboration with the VHA’s existing precision oncology initiative, which has had dramatic impacts for some Veterans and will now be available to all Veterans with advanced cancer.

“The Foundation will work with VA to accelerate the growth of teleoncology,” said Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation President John L. Damonti. “By developing, implementing and standardizing workflow processes, this project will expedite the expansion of a model for delivering specialized oncology care in a virtual setting – and help cancer care teams provide the utmost patient experience in a virtual care environment.” 
The Foundation’s grant will also be used to create a human-centered design training program.
Leaders from Bristol Myers Squibb, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and the VHA will launch the program at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. During the ASCO20 virtual education program, August 8-10, they will share individual capabilities and discuss how collaboration is improving cancer care for the nation’s military Veteran patient population.
“As an oncologist and a Veteran of the Army, I welcome the support provided by this grant,” said ASCO President Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO. “VA’s leadership in telehealth will be shared with the broader oncology community.

The teleoncology program paves the way for VA and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to enhance the capabilities of VA Video Connect, a platform that allows Veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA healthcare teams on any computer, tablet or mobile device with an internet connection. VA Video Connect is one of the largest and most successful digital health platforms in the nation and is currently responsible for conducting more than 20,000 virtual appointments each day.
Veterans interested in participating in VA’s teleoncology services should consult with their VA healthcare team. For more information about VA telehealth, visit connected care.

Our country has been blessed with men and women whose sacrifices allowed us to flourish as individuals, as a society and as a nation. On Memorial Day, we pause to remember, honor and express our gratitude to all those Americans who lost their lives in uniform.
The names of many of them are forever memorialized in our Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), State Veterans and American Battle Monuments cemeteries across our country and around the world.
It is true that this Memorial Day is somewhat different. As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not gather as we normally would to honor our nation’s heroes. But we can still remember and honor them by spending a quiet moment paying homage to their courage and sacrifice.

I also encourage all Americans to pay tribute to deceased Veterans by visiting the Veterans Legacy Memorial. This site contains a memorial page for each Veteran interred in a VA national cemetery. Since May 14, online visitors have been able to leave a written “tribute” in memory and appreciation for a Veteran’s service.
At the end of his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln asked that we remember the obligations our nation has, to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Civil War.
His iconic speech, etched in granite at the Lincoln Memorial, still guides those of us privileged to work at VA today:
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan …”
Those words are the basis of our VA mission to care for our living Veterans and their families. That’s why, later this year, we will memorialize in bronze Lincoln’s charge to the nation at all our VA cemeteries.

From generation to generation, Americans have answered the call to duty from Bunker Hill to Baghdad. In small skirmishes and epic battles, Americans of every generation have stepped forward to fight for freedom when called upon. And, they are doing so today as they stand guard across our nation and around the world.
May God bless those we honor today, those currently serving America in uniform and all our nation’s Veterans.
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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, handles Personal Injury Claims, Social Security and Veterans Disability for clients throughout West Virginia with offices located in Parkersburg-Beckley-Charleston-Huntington-Logan as well as one additional office located in Charlotte, North Carolina. But regardless of where you are located we are able to serve you or a family member Nationwide.

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