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Dellinger, president talk veterans in Oval Office

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In a one-on-one meeting this morning in the Oval Office, American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger shared the Legion’s concerns on a variety of issues with President Barack Obama. The 20-minute meeting was part of a busy morning for Dellinger, who earlier spent an hour with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

During the meeting with Obama, Dellinger said the pair discussed easing licensing and credentialing requirements for veterans, the White House’s Joining Forces initiative and the Legion’s role in reducing the VA claims backlog through promoting the use of fully developed claims.

“The meeting went very well,” Dellinger said. “I thanked him for what he did as an administration in moving a lot of these issues forward. He recognized (fully developed claims), and we talked about the interoperable medical record (between VA and the Department of Defense). I asked him about milestones, and he said, ‘We’re working through that process.’ They’re having regular meetings, and his staff is an integral part of all of this to ensure that it stays on schedule.”

Dellinger didn’t get an opportunity to address the Legion’s concerns with sequestration with Obama. “We wanted to do that, but time didn’t allow it to happen,” Dellinger said. “I’m sorry that it didn’t because I think it’s important we continue that fight. Sequestration’s not good for anyone.”

During his meeting with Shinseki, Dellinger said VA construction projects, the claims backlog and shared medical records with DoD were discussed. But a large portion of the conversation focused on transparency within VA and how the agency is dealing with a rash of preventable deaths of its patients. During an April 9 hearing in which Dellinger provided oral testimony, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. – chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs – said that dozens of VA hospital patients in Phoenix may have died while awaiting medical care, and that committee staff investigators also have evidence that the Phoenix VA Health Care System keeps two sets of records to conceal prolonged waits that patients must endure for doctor appointments and treatment.

“They are taking this very seriously and looking at these issues,” Dellinger said. “A lot of this would never have come to light if it hadn’t been for their efforts to go back through the records and see what they thought were preventable deaths. He identified 78 cases, and 23 have been attributed (to being preventable) at this point. They’re going to do further reviews on those, also. But he says any death is a tragedy, and we agree with him on that. But they also need to be more transparent, and he says he is working on that.”

Dellinger said he was told both by the president and Shinseki, “That if you all see anything … let us know and we will act on it. And as the president stated, we’re the boots on the ground. We’re out there every day and working hard for our veterans. He realizes that, and he thanks us for what The American Legion does for veterans.”

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cowboyup

May 21, 2014 - 4:50pm

That's Odd, American legion President having his photo op with Obama. Yet nothing, I mean NOTHING is being done. Its all a "CHECK THE BOX" for the Veterans. Not one person at American Legion HQ has bothered to return my calls, or respond to my 3 letters about my shabby care at the Tucson, Az VA Hospital . 90% Service Connected OIF. Now I have to go to the outside for a Cancer Screening I could have had done over a year ago at this VA in Tucson. TWO YEARS FOLKS !!!!! I Pray to God this Cancer Screening is Negative. However if it's positive I'm going after American Legion as well. If they bothered to open those letters they'll see why. Over six months of trying to contact Shineski in D.C. Veterans HQ, and Dillinger at American Legion HQ. How Sad Is That?

GarryZak

April 22, 2014 - 2:15pm

Disappointing to read that the issue of VRAP is missing entirely in this article. Personally, I lost 4.5 months of VRAP entitlement because all the VRAP extension bills stalled in committees. So I'm stuck with 1/2 an education, and no more money to survive on (or a means to pursue work). It's back to homelessness in a couple months for me.

Devilrider

April 21, 2014 - 1:27pm

We paid the price, some paid more and are not here to fend for themselves. I sometimes think about my 17 year old body going to Korea and surviving, and many men are still, to this day coping with their personal demons which arose during that war. Then there is Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This cycle will never end as civilized people of the Western World fight for freedom.

AllanFAndy Anderson

April 18, 2014 - 11:02pm

Sirs, please do not cave to President Obama as indicated in this DAILYCALLER blog article. Thank you Sirs for listening.

Vincent Lobello

April 18, 2014 - 7:00pm

oklahoma american legion is in trouble missing money and weapons, see the daily oklahoman news paper.

rebeldawg365

April 18, 2014 - 3:45pm

Now why would our National Commander believe a single word the Buttclown in Chief has to say ?

Tim3939

April 18, 2014 - 3:17pm

VERY suspicious that this article fails to mention the AMNESTY demands made by Obama during the meeting. Is the American Legion asserting that Obama didn't mention immigration, or are they too scared to mention it in the blog?

Borderhawk

April 18, 2014 - 7:18pm

I think the story may have been exaggerated. This meeting has probably been planned for months. If they only have 20 minutes the focus is going to be on more important issues.

Eagle275

April 23, 2014 - 3:13am

So amnesty isn't important to you? You want to give your veterans benefits and dollars to illegals,eh?

Dave

April 18, 2014 - 2:18pm

I read that Obama wants the American Legion to cave and support amnesty. Please, American Legion, do not cave. We need to enforce our current immigration laws, which Obama continues to refuse to do. Please continue to oppose the amendment to the 2015 Defense Bill that would grant amnesty and allow illegal immigrants to serve in the military. The military should not be used like this, especially in a time of cutbacks when so many of our returning veterans and other citizens need jobs! God bless the military and our veterans!

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