|November 11, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FIRST STEP IN ESTABLISHING A VA MEDICAL CLINIC IN AMERICAN SAMOA IS UNDERWAY|
| Congressman Faleomavaega announced
today that a technical team will be in American Samoa from November 13th-17th
to set up and test telecom connections for the veterans’ enrollment plan
scheduled for early December.
“This is an important moment for our veterans,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “And it is an important moment for American Samoa. Establishing an accurate method for enrolling our veterans is the first step in establishing a VA medical clinic in American Samoa. The purpose of the technical team’s visit is to ensure that all systems are go when the VA team arrives to enroll our veterans in early December.”
Congressman Faleomavaega also explained that the team’s visit is part of a collective effort between his office, ASG, and the VA offices in Honolulu and American Samoa.
“I want to thank Governor Tauese for his commitment to our veterans. I also want to thank the Governor’s Special Assistants on Veterans’ Affairs, High Chief Tuiteleleapaga Fue Ioane, President of the Veterans’ Advisory Council, and High Talking Chief Paogofie Fiaigoa, Veterans’ Affairs Officer,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “We are working together to ensure that our veterans receive top-notch health care and benefits. We are working together to ensure that every veteran in American Samoa counts and that no one is left behind. We will not be satisfied with the process until every veteran in Samoa is accounted for and enrolled in the system.”
“I have also been working with Senator Akaka, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Congressman Lane Evans, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “Both gentlemen are fully supportive of our efforts to establish a VA medical clinic with a full-time physician in the Territory. The technical team’s planned visit for the week of November 13th is the first step in our collective effort to establish the process that may lead to the construction of our own facility.”
Congressman Faleomavaega also noted that Federal law requires an accurate accounting and enrollment of veterans before any consideration can be made to establish a VA medical clinic. “It is incumbent upon every veteran living on island to take part in the enrollment process. If we want a clinic with a full-time physician, every veteran must participate,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “I strongly urge all veterans on island to participate and enroll when the time comes.”
For now, the technical team, headed by Dr. Norman Okamura, will visit Fagatua, Tafuna, Leone and Samoana High Schools to confirm facility arrangements for enrollment activity. According to Congressman Faleomavaega, the team will also confirm the VA’s clinical patient record system server configuration and network requirements.
The technical team plans to meet with LBJ and Health Department officials to consider the registration process and to discuss the IHS data system. During this time the team will also be working closely with Johnny Mapu, PTSD Coordinator for the office of Veterans’ Affairs. Provided all systems are go, the VA enrollment team will arrive in American Samoa during the week of December 4th to begin the enrollment process.
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