Viewpoint: A letter from the VA Medical Center director
On Veterans Day we celebrate the service, sacrifice, and enduring achievements of almost 22 million living Americans who served our Nation in uniform—at home and abroad—during times of both war and peace. On the 11th day of the 11th month, as we have in so many years past, Americans will reflect on our way of life and pay tribute to the men and women who made it all possible.
On this day, in countless ceremonies repeated across the country, Americans will pause to honor those who earned the title of ‘Veteran’—men and women who gave of themselves what no one day of tribute can ever truly honor, and what no words of appreciation can fully acknowledge.
The men and women at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Medical Center and our VA outpatient clinic in Rhinelander are privileged to serve our nation’s Veterans. There is no higher honor. Every day is Veterans Day for us as we proudly serve and care for over 20,000 of America’s heroes each year.
We strive every day to fulfill our medical center’s vision of being Focused on Excellence-Putting Veterans First. In light of recent national issues concerning the VA, it is important that we do everything in our power to rebuild trust with our Nation’s Veterans and set the course for longer-term excellence and reform within the department that answers President Lincoln’s call to care for all those who “shall have borne the battle,” their families, and survivors.
In the short term the VA is quickly implementing the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act passed by Congress in August. This includes issuing a Veterans Choice Card to every VHA-enrolled Veteran who is potentially eligible to receive care outside of VA when they qualify based on the distance of their residence from a VA care facility, or when wait times for VA health care exceed the standards established in law.
On behalf of the men and women of the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center and Rhinelander VA Clinic, I thank Veterans for their service and sacrifice!
James W. Rice, Medical Center Director