“VA PACIFIC ISLANDS HEALTH CARE EXPLAINS”
On behalf of VA Pacific Islands Health Care system, we wanted to first and foremost, share how pleased we are to know that Congressman Faleomavaegna Eni is receiving appropriate medical care and is among family.
We also would like to share and clarify a few items, regarding the events involving the Congressman’s care and transport.
One of our VA doctors was critical in communicating with the Congressman’s attending physician, offering to assist in providing the medical information necessary to appropriately transport the Congressman in the most expeditious manner. Following identified protocol utilizing Hawaii Air National Guard military aircraft, was the appropriate mode of transport.
All agencies, organizations and personnel involved worked tirelessly and collaboratively to find the most efficient and appropriate way to transport the Congressman.
Unfortunately, there were some inaccuracies in statements relayed in a local paper or on the radio recently. (See Samoa News edition of Oct. 25th, and the story was based on a statement from the Congressman’s Office).
For example, we would like to share that the Congressman’s care and transportation was not “delayed” by the VA. His status as a Congressman offers additional options when it comes to these types of cases (i.e. transportation).
Although the Congressman was not registered with VA, nor receiving care from VA, he was assisted with enrollment in the event the more expeditious option [DoD aircraft] was not feasible or available. The registration was an added administrative procedure when and if the VA was in a supportive or authorizing role. Meanwhile, the Hawaii Air National Guard transport option was still in motion. Additionally, if a Veteran is registered and enrolled in VA, thus receiving health care from the VA, and a medevac is determined as the appropriate course of action, VA proceeds with those plans, which are usually on a contracted civilian aircraft from American Samoa.
In this case, a medevac request for VA to consider was never made, rather his congressional status and DoD support ensured the transport. With several organizations and personnel directly involved and behind the scenes using varying federal government terminology, the information can get misconstrued. If passed on without clarification, it can be even more confusing to the community. Rest assured our agencies and personnel were communicating and working together to find the best course of action. Again, we offer our prayers and wishes for his speedy recovery.
Patricia J. Teran-Matthews
Public Affairs Officer
VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (VISN-21)
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