It is a System Worth Saving

It is a System Worth Saving

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

We have so many life-enhancing programs, it’s sometimes challenging to keep up with all of them. That’s especially true for ones that are sidelined, even temporarily, through no fault of their own.

Case in point: Our System Worth Saving program, which until last week had been on pause for more than two years due to safety concerns with the pandemic.

Since 2003, The American Legion has conducted hundreds of these on-site visits to assess the care veterans are receiving at their VA medical centers, work with VA staff on solutions to issues that arise and help identify best practices that can be shared across VA. In those nearly two decades, we’ve improved communications between veterans and medical staff, helped improve the quality of care and spearheaded numerous other enhancements.

It should be noted that during the pandemic, our Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission members and staff worked hard to continue these improvements. They just were not able to do so on site.

But that changed on July 11 when a week-long visit was held in Columbia, S.C. The event kicked off with a town hall meeting at American Legion Post 130 in Cayce, just outside Columbia. About 35 veterans, Columbia VA Medical Center staff and others engaged in a cordial conversation, identifying positive aspects of care and issues that need addressing.

Similar site visits are planned later this year, including the next one in Puerto Rico in September, followed by Sacramento, Calif., in October and the Bronx, N.Y., in December.

The success of the Columbia visit is a strong indicator that SWS is back and ready to carry on its rich tradition of improving health care for veterans. Perhaps Ralph Bozella, chairman of The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission, said it best at the town hall.

“We’re going to talk to each other, we’re going to identify the problems and we’re going to work together to fix the problems,” he said. “It has to be us that makes the change, and it’s constant work. That’s who we are as The American Legion. It’s in our DNA. We’re here to help veterans.”

And that is because we are …

Veterans Strengthening America.

Paul E. Dillard

National Commander

The American Legion