Sunday, June 25, 2023

VA Hospitals Outperform Private Sector In Patient Experience - Veterans News & Resources for June 21, 2023

Michigan Veterans News

Craigslist founder donates $100 million to veteran organizations

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark (Getty Images)

Why would a self-described tech nerd with no personal connection to the armed forces give away $100 million to organizations focused on veterans and military families?

"Because I owe them," said Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist turned philanthropist and veterans advocate. "I've realized that some people are going to risk themselves, maybe taking a bullet overseas to protect me … There are a lot of issues in the military community that I barely understand. But on a gut level, I know we owe vets and their families a lot."

Newmark, who stepped down as CEO of his namesake website more than 20 years ago, has spent most of the last eight years focused on charity work, launching the Craig Newmark Philanthropies to distribute some of his personal wealth.

The latest $100 million pledge is actually a continuation of recent efforts focused on military groups. About $42 million of the money has already been given away, including $10 million each to Blue Star Families and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The rest of the money will be awarded over the next three years.

 Read more in Military Times.

Michigan Treasury Dept. becomes Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer

VFE Gold-level

The Michigan Department of Treasury has achieved Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) certification from the MVAA for its commitment to hiring and retaining veterans.

Treasury becomes one of only 25 employers and the seventh state department to achieve the prestigious Gold-level certification.

"I'm thrilled to see the Department of Treasury join the ranks as a Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer along with six other state departments," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "Veterans represent the best of us and bring with them unique knowledge and skillsets that are invaluable to the workforce."

To be selected as a Gold-level VFE, Treasury is required to follow guidelines outlined by the MVAA. Employers must retain at least 75% of veteran hires over the most recent 12 months, implement internal veteran support networks and create either a hiring rotation or leadership development program within their organization, among other requirements.

Learn more about working for Treasury, the State of Michigan's Veterans Preference Program and the state's Military Service Credit Program.

Employers can learn more about the Veteran-Friendly Employer Program at

Entrepreneurship for vets can look many ways. Here's what to consider

Veteran business owner

Starting and running your own business can be expensive and more work than punching a clock for some other person. Not to say that anyone can't do it – this is America, after all – just make sure you know what's about to happen, Blake Stillwell writes in Military Times.

Maybe you want to make it easy on yourself and open that Subway sandwich shop you always thought about. That is called a franchise, young entrepreneur. You know, where all the branding and marketing are done for you. You just have to open the business, lease the building, buy the food and everything else that comes with it. That's one way to start your own business, and it's not a bad one. It can take a lot of the guesswork out of getting started; it just costs a whole lot more up front.

Read the rest of Stillwell's column in Military Times.

Learn more about veteran entrepreneurship in Michigan at

VA hospitals outperform private sector in patient experience

Dingell Medical Center

The John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit

Recent results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) show that VA's investments in its customer experience program continues to yield significant improvements in the VA patient experience. 

In HCAHPS's recent release, 72% of VA medical centers received four or five HCAHPS Summary Stars for the patient survey rating, compared with 41% of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hospitals reporting HCAHPS Summary Stars during the same period. 

Five years ago, only 26% of VA hospitals received four or five HCAHPS Stars for Patient Survey Rating — rising to 72% in the latest results. The recent HCAHPS data indicates that VA facilities outperformed community hospitals on all 10 core patient satisfaction metrics, including overall hospital rating, communication with doctors, communication about medication, care transition and more. 

Read more at VA News.

Learn more about Michigan's five VA medical centers, VA clinics and other VA treatment facilities in the state.

VA programs to support veterans struggling with loneliness

Lonely veteran

Everyone experiences loneliness. For many, especially our most vulnerable, this loneliness can become chronic. Your age, gender, race and socioeconomic background does not matter. Even those with strong social support networks can still experience loneliness.

VA has recognized the issue of loneliness and offers an array of programs to support veterans who may be struggling with it. Programs include pet therapy, music therapy and group therapy. In some areas, veterans with caregivers can request weekly visitation by a trained volunteer. This has the added benefit of providing regular respite for the caregiver.

Since the pandemic, a new virtual social prescribing program through the VA has resonated with veterans and volunteers alike. It's called Compassionate Contact Corps. This program highlights the power of genuine human connection in combating loneliness and improving mental health outcomes.

If you would like to help VA support some of our most vulnerable veterans by volunteering for Compassionate Contact Corps or any of our other amazing volunteer opportunities, visit VA's volunteer webpage to learn more.

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



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This email was sent to using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs · 3411 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. · Lansing, MI 48906

Monday, June 12, 2023

District 4 Commander Note - Mike Dzikowicz

 I would like to congratulate all the newly elected officers of the posts and district.

I just want to take a moment to remind all comrades that there is going to be a VTS training this weekend at Camp Trotter. If you can't make this VTS that's alright, there is going to be a joint VTS with the 4,5 &6 district on 8th July 2023.

I know 🙄  it feels like the same speech they give every year, but that's not to say there isn't something that we might have misinterpreted in the past, and now it might make sense. So I ask of myself and you that we keep an open mind and see if we have been misinterpreting something.

Also, it's a great way to meet other comrades from other posts/districts and share ideas that could help each other out. Just because it didn't work for them doesn't mean it couldn't work for your post and vice versa.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope to see you at one of these VTS's

Matthew Dzikowicz
District 4 Commander

Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Sent to on behalf of US Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Benefits Administration · 810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420 · 1-800-827-1000

VFW District 4 Riders Support Services:

On Wednesday, June  7, a new support opportunity for veterans, first responders, and their immediate families was launched at Post 9885, “BOVA.”  There were multiple veterans representing different eras, law enforcement officers, and EMS in attendance.  All that participated considered it a huge success. 

The military branches have a history of friendly rivalry. First responders have the same.  We mock and make fun of each other, but when the time comes to stand up, we are “one”!  Both military and first responders have dealt with, or are currently dealing with, scenarios that would shake most of the general population to their core.  Our families also often feel and deal with our struggles in various ways.

We are natural protectors.  This is one reason why we all answered the call to “SERVE.”  Our protective nature sometimes makes it hard for us to share with others as we do not wish to cause them harm.  Chaplain Rodney Gasaway offers a great example; when a firefighter came to a Bible study, one of the first things we did was to ask each other for prayers or lift up blessings based on what we had experienced that day. The firefighter had a very tough day involving a child abuse case.  He shared a small part of his experience that day with the study group.  After that night, he never returned, and some of the group required secondary trauma therapy over the next three weeks. The firefighter could tell what he shared with the group caused them trauma.  Where is he supposed to go to lighten his burdens?  Right here is a good start.  All VFW members are welcome.

Wind Down Wednesdays:
VFW Post 9885 “BOVA”, 6440 N. Hix Road, Westland, MI. 48185

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 21, 2013, at 6:30 pm in the outdoor pavilion. Child Care is provided by Post 9885 Auxiliary. This time offers you the opportunity to listen, share, pray, and offer support to one another.  It does not matter the reason you need to talk with someone.  Chances are others here will have dealt with something similar to whatever is on your mind.  What is said in this group stays in this group!  We are not directly affiliated and do not report to any insurance, military, law enforcement, fire, or emergency response agencies. We are not a therapy group.  This is just a group of volunteer veterans, first responders, and immediate family members coming together to support one another. We hope to see you there.

Rev. Rodney Gasaway
District 4 VFW Riders
Chelsea Area Fire Authority

Monday, June 5, 2023