VA Takes Next Step to Modernize Scheduling System

Announces Request for Proposal for New Scheduling System

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System; the next step in a series of actions VA has taken to replace its antiquated legacy scheduling system. The new system will improve access to care for Veterans by providing medical schedulers with cutting-edge, management-based scheduling software. The RFP will be made public by the end of September 2014; eligible vendors will have 30 days to respond from the day of issuance.

“We want this process to be open to all eligible vendors to make sure the Nation’s Veterans have the full benefits the innovative marketplace has to offer,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “When we can put a solid scheduling system in place, this will free up more human resources to focus on direct Veterans’ care. As VA recommits to its mission of caring for Veterans and evaluating our actions through the lens of what serves them best, we know a better scheduling system is necessary to provide them the timely, quality health care that they have earned and deserve.”

VA will issue a draft RFP prior to releasing the full RFP to maximize industry and stakeholder input. The solicitation will require a two-part demonstration of capabilities: a written proposal and a technical demonstration to scheduling staff. VA hopes to award the contract by the end of the calendar year.

“VA chose a full- and open-competitive strategy to acquire a ‘commercial, off-the-shelf’ scheduling system,” said Stephen Warren, VA’s Chief Information Officer. “We want a system that is user-friendly and tailored specifically for our Veterans.”

Even as VA issues an RFP to replace the existing system, efforts are underway to make the current system easier to use for schedulers and Veterans. Among those enhancements:

· VA recently awarded a contract to improve the existing scheduling interface, providing schedulers a calendar view of resources instead of the current text-based, multiple-screen view.  This update is scheduled to begin roll out beginning in January 2015.

· VA is also developing mobile applications to allow Veterans to directly request certain types of primary care and mental health appointments (scheduled to begin deployment December 2014).  Another application under development will give VA schedulers an easier-to-use interface to schedule medical appointments (scheduled to begin deployment December 2014). 

· VA is also rolling out new clinical video telehealth capabilities in October 2014 to further enhance access to care.

As part of the current RFP preparation process, VA is working with Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) to incorporate the groups’ feedback on requirements important to Veterans. VA’s VSO partners are currently reviewing user experience and business process documentation, and VA will continue to consult with VSOs as it works toward publishing its acquisition solicitation.

VA’s acquisition process will comply with recently established legislative requirements related to the Department’s scheduling software.

Commander’s Message:

Summer is almost over and our Post is gearing up for an active fall. July and August have gone by so fast I hope everyone had time to enjoy these lazy days of summer! Again, I would like to thank the Legion for letting our members to attend this year’s Department Convention in Albany, NY on July 16-19. Oneida County was represented well from many Posts in our area. Many resolutions were passed in dealing with our veterans and their needs. I will try to update these resolutions and try to put them on the our web site.

Again, congratulations to Anthony Palladino for being elected as County Commander. I know all the Posts in the county will work hard to support him on the up-coming year.

“Thanks” go out to our Legion Baseball team for another fine year. Our team was young but played very well against some veteran teams within the county. We were 19-12 and played in the District #5 playoffs. I’m proud of these young men who represented our Post with pride and honor. Again, thanks to Rich & Chris Hurlbut who have done so much to make this program so successful at Roberts Post and this community should be proud of giving these boys a place to play baseball, in making their school and parents proud.

Once again September & October will be here soon, so check the calendar in the newsletter for the up-coming events. Remember school will be in secession soon so watch out for our children and youth, they are a big part of our programs throughout the year!

Dues for our Legion members will now be $35.00 beginning with the 2015 cards. You may pay online or bring it in to the Legion addressed to membership chairmen Gary Wedgewood.

Fish Fries will be starting in October and as usual help is needed to make this a successful year. Anyone wanting to help, please come in and signup, or call 865-9921.

Also in October is The 3rd Annual Sitrin’s Stars & Stripes Run-Walk at SUNY IT Campus, Marcy, NY. What a way to support our Nation’s Heroes with the Sitrin’s Military Rehabilitation Program which has helped many of our veterans. This year Roberts Post is going to be a part of “Team Blaise” with Upton Post 8259, Floyd F.D. and many businesses to support the Oleski family in this walk & run!

Dates to remember for our veterans who served: September 2nd, 1945 – V-J Day; September19th POW/MIA Recognition Day; September 28th “Gold Star Family Remembrance Sunday; October 7th 2001- Operation Enduring Freedom begins in Afghanistan; October 13th 1775—US Navy established.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone at Roberts Post for all the hard work we’ve done and must continue to do more for our Legion, Community, and, most of all, our Veterans.

Veterans Serving Veterans,

Richard Roberts, Commander

Legion Membership:

Membership for 2015 is coming along very well and I appreciate all your support. If you have not yet paid your dues, you can send them to the Post or pay online at www.MyLegion.org. Either way I will send your card out promptly. Dues received by October 15th will receive an “Early Bird” stamp.

For God and Country,

Gary Wedgewood, Membership

Ladies Auxiliary:

Hope your summer was awesome but it’s that time of year – vacation is over. It’s get back to Auxiliary business again. I will tell you this coming year will be busy with many items that are on the agenda for us to talk about and carry out.

To catch you up – our own Roberta “Bobbie” Owen was elected 5th District president and we are very proud of her. She is going to need our help and support this coming year so let’s be there for her.

It is with deep sadness in my heart that I have to report we lost one very sweet lady, friend, and Auxiliary member “Gert” Buczkowski. Our love and condolences go out to Mike and the family.

This summer has seen some of our teammates on the DL [disabled list] due to injury, surgery, or illness. If you would like to send a “Thinking of you” card to Debbie Williams, Barbara Doucette, Ursula Walker, Coleen Leahy Firshing, or Karen McMahon – please get in touch with me for their addresses if you don’t have them.

One of our Legion members who is a WWII veteran had his 90th birthday this summer. His name is Jack Boak and if you would like to send him belated birthday wishes I am sure it would make him very happy. I have his address if you need it.

The one BIG project on the agenda is the Sitrin’s “Stars & Stripes” Walk/Run on Sat. Oct. 11, 2014, at SUNYIT in Marcy. This event funds the Sitrin’s Military Rehabilitation Program for veterans. It is a marvelous program and has helped many and it will continue to help many, many more in the future. TEAM BLAISE has been formed for this walk with the support and tremendous amount of help and work from the Oleski family. It is our hope to get the entire community involved in the project. Right now we have team members from Roberts Legion Post 161, Upton VFW Post 8259, Floyd F.D., area businesses, and family and friends of Blaise. If you want to help but can’t for whatever reason, a donation could always be given. There is still time to join this team – all are welcome! Any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me.

On Sat. Sept. 6, 2014, at Upton VFW there will be a “Stars & Stripes” Across the Land ceremony. It is part of the fundraising efforts for the Sitrin veterans program. Words are not going to be able to describe how much this will mean to all of us – you will have to be there to experience it. For further information, call Ruth Fallon Duheme.

Our first Auxiliary meeting will be Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, at 7:00 pm at the Legion. At this meeting we will vote on the standing rules that we worked on this summer and they will help govern us. I hope many of you will attend. The finance committee will be working on a budget before the first meeting, but it probably won’t be ready to vote on until at least October. The purpose of the things we are doing is to help us run more efficiently and, hopefully, to shorten our regular meetings a little.

Don’t forget: fish fries will start the first week of October, be ready for the call asking for a donation to the salad bar or to help work one. We always need help and yours will be greatly appreciated. Before the next newsletter comes out we will be having our Halloween Party for the children. I am not sure when it will be because Halloween falls on a Friday night this year and that is also the night of a fish fry. We will decide at the October meeting which night to have the party. Help is always needed for this and it is so much fun to see all the little trick or treaters in costume and having such a good time at our party.

Remember, school starts Sept. 4. So please watch out for the children and school buses. We want everyone to be safe when school opens.

Membership: Alice has the 2015 cards and you can renew any time now. Don’t forget – dues are: Sr. Aux. $23.00 ; Jr. Aux. $7.00. Thank you.

Yours in service,

Debbie Roberts

Sons of the American Legion:

Hope everyone enjoyed their summer. Our Officers for this year are: John Bieksza, Commander; Peter Fenton, 1st Vice; Jim Owen, 2nd Vice; Bob Stanger, 3rd Vice, Treasurer, Membership; Rod Koenig, Adjutant; Peter Chambrone, Chaplain; Ted Heburn, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Art Stark Historian.

Please join us for our 1st meeting of the year Sept 8th at 7pm. Your ideas are always welcome. The SAL is sponsoring Team Blaise for the Stars & Stripes Walk in October. For more information or to sign up please see me. Fish fries are starting again in October. Help is always appreciated.

For God and Country

Commander John Bieksza

S.A.L. Membership:

If you have changed your address let me know. We currently have 87 members with 14 paid. Dues are $15 and $10. If you want to know where your money goes, $8 goes to state and $1.75 goes to county. If you pay late your current number of years will not be on your card.

For God and Country,

Bob Stanger, Membership

Recently posted  blog article on MaritimeInjuryGuide.org aimed at making Veterans aware of the dangers involved in maritime jobs.




Commander’s Message:

I hope everyone is getting over the long hard winter we had and spring is finally here. With people coming back from down south, Roberts Post will be looking for a busy April, May and June.

On March 15th Roberts Post celebrated its 95th birthday. Our guest speaker David Frymen, a 20 year active duty Army Veteran and doing 5 tours in Iraq & Afghanistan, spoke what it means to serve his country and the freedom we have every day. Again, thanks to Cheryl Jassak, special events/planning Associate for the Sitrin Foundation, on having David speak.

Also speaking were the representatives from our Post who attended Boys and Girls State. They talked about their experiences and thanked us for sending them. It was a good job done by our local high school students. Thanks again, to Alby Lacombe for chairing Boys State.

Our evening was highlighted by a 60 year award to David Hughes, WWII Veteran, for continuous membership in Roberts Post.

Our fish fries have been going on since March 7th and will be ending on April 18th. Again, I would like to thank all the people for their help on getting these started and working hard to the last one. Without our Auxiliary and SAL this would not be possible, every year. Great job everyone!

In March Bob Leahy and Bev Seifried chaired the committee to up-date and correct names on the Honor Roll in the village park. The completion of this will be done by the end of April.

Please check the attached calendars for up-coming events and don’t hesitate to volunteer to help. Note that the Installation of Officers for 2014-15 will be Saturday, May 10th with social time at 2pm. The Installation and dinner will be starting at 3pm. Come and welcome our commander and his new slate of officers.

The new slate of officers are: Dick Roberts, Commander; Gary Wedgewood, 1st Vice; Harold Clawson, 2nd Vice; Steve Ballard, 3rd Vice; Ray Doucette, Adjutant; Tom Heburn, Finance Officer; John Damon, Chaplin, Historian is open; Art Farr, Sgt. At Arms; and Service Officer – appointed.

Our Executive Committee is: Dave Williams; Mike Buczkowski; Barry Gates; Bob Leahy; and Alby Lacombe.

As May and June will be busy months for us, don’t forget our Memorial Day Service & Parade on May 26th, Monday at 11:00am. The parade begins at 10:30am sharp! Let’s everyone come and support our Veterans, Legion, and take time to honor our American heroes!

On June 5th, Thursday, at 7pm, is awards night at HP auditorium. Come and support these students for all the hard work they have achieved. This year Roberts Post is awarding 4 scholarship awards to help further their education.

In closing, my first year as commander is drawing closer and there are so many people I would like to thank. Thanks to this community for all the support that you’ve given us so we can do our job in giving back to the Veterans who made this country what it is. Remember our servicemen around the world who defend our freedom and pray for their safe return to us and their families!

Veterans Serving Veterans,
Commander Richard Roberts


Ladies Auxiliary:

Hello ladies! Spring is finally here! Our fish fries are over and I want to thank every one of you who worked so hard to help make them the success they were.

Elections were held at the first meeting in April. The officers for the coming year are: Deb Roberts, President; Alice Shaler, 1st Vice; Beverly Seifried, 2nd Vice; Heather Wilson, 3rd Vice; Sue Wedgewood, Treasurer; and Bobbie Owen, Secretary.

Our Easter party was a huge success. “Thank you” to all the ladies who worked so hard on it, the Easter Bunny for doing such a fine job with the children, and the two young ladies who did the face painting. As usual, Earl Lindsey was a big hit with his DJ abilities and we thank him for helping. THE H. P. Fire Department brought in the Easter Bunny and helpers on their fire truck, a big “thanks” to them.

May is going to be a busy month. The installation of officers will be May 10 at 3:00pm at the Legion. Cocktail hour will be from 2:00 – 3:00pm, installation, and then dinner after. I f you would like to attend please call the Legion @ 865-9901 or me @ 865-5756. May 17 is the County Auxiliary meeting at our Post at 12:00pm. May 26 is our Memorial Day observance. I don’t have too much information on this right now.

Sad news to report about our member Cheryl Gates’ daughter! She was killed in an automobile accident in California. Our condolences go out to Sheryl and her family. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the family please get in touch with me. Thank you!

I am very happy to report that Alice, membership chair, reached 100% in our membership quota. Great job, Alice! We are

getting new members on board and we are very happy to have new ladies with us. Unfortunately we have had to raise our dues for

the 2015 year. It is complicated to explain, but let me tell you it is not by our choice, because we really do not want to do this and we do not make money off your dues. The dues for 2015 will be $23.00 for senior members and $7.00 for juniors. We hope we will not have to consider another increase for at least four years.

To make sure we have enough money in our treasury we have been doing fundraising. Over the last two months we have don an Easter dinner basket raffle with tickets sold at the fish fries. We have also done a craft fair for the first time at the Legion and we will do that again in the future. We also have the Lions Club dinners as a source of income, but we need to do more. Any suggestions you might have to help with the fundraising plans, please get in touch with me. There are a lot of programs and people out there who need our help and support. Let’s make sure we are there for them. Our main duty is to our veterans and our active military, but we are also there for our community.

Our last meeting is the first Monday in June. It will be informal (yea!) but yet informative and I hope a lot of you will come.

Don’t forget we are still selling quilt tickets for the fundraiser for Sue and Gary Wedgewood’s son, Scott, who was hurt last year in Florida. The winner of this quilt will be drawn on May 26, 2014, at the Legion. “Thank you” to all who have worked so tirelessly on this fundraiser. And a really big “thank you “ to all who have worked so tirelessly on this fundraiser, and, a really big “thank you” to all who have supported it so generously.

This has been an interesting and informative year for me. I hope I have done a job that made you proud. I have many ladies to thank for all their help in mentoring me this year. You all know who you are and I am grateful to have you in my life.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer.
Yours in service, Debbie Roberts


Sons of the American Legion

Last meeting we had five members present. We had at least three at our Fish Dinners but were short 2 – 3 people. The same ones show every week.

Membership: We currently have 82 members. There are 16 non-paid members and they are listed on the board at the Post. Some members pay very late each year. Our cards will be out in July. The dues are $15 for seniors and 10 for junior members.

Our current officers are: Bob Stanger, Commander; Pete Fenton, 1st Vice; Jim Owen, 2nd Vice; John Bieksza, 3rd Vice; Larry Meus, Treasurer; Tim Santamour, Adjutant; Pete Chambrone, Chaplain; Ted Heburn, Sgt. At Arms; and Artie Stark, Historian.

Yours in Service,
Bob Stanger, SAL Commander

Commander’s Message:

As winter is still hanging around, spring is just around corner. Roberts Post is gearing up for a busy March and April.

I hope all will take advantage of activities coming soon and enjoy our up-coming events. Lenten Fish Fry Dinners will be starting March 7th and end April 18th. Help is always needed on Friday for prep work and to set up, so a helping hand for a couple hours is always welcome. Our youth organizations will be working some of the fish fry dinners, so let’s support them as well as the Legion.

Again many thanks go out to all the people who helped and donated their time in making the Benefit for Scott D. Winkler a great success. Gary & Sue Wedgewood can’t thank you enough for the money that was raised and to all the Legion Posts in our county. This wouldn’t have been a success without the effect of our Unit Auxiliary. Thank you ladies!

As you know the Nominating Committee will be submitting a slate of officers for the coming year, anyone interested contact me or Bob Leahy at the Post.

On March 15th, Saturday, the Post will be having its upcoming Legion Birthday Observance. A signup sheet will be in the bar area for those attending. Bring a dish to pass around, as we celebrate our 95th birthday. A guest speaker will be attending as well as speakers for Boy’s & Girl’s State. So, come and enjoy good food and support our children and youth programs.

Just a reminder, check out our boxes in the bar area donations and supplies for the V. A. Clinic, Andy’s Platoon and Easter Raffle.

Remember to report deceased members of your Post or those who are ill at home or in the hospital to our chaplain, let’s not forget what they did for us as Legionnaires and their country.

As always, keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers that they return home safely to a grateful nation.

Veterans Serving Veterans,

Richard Roberts, Commander

Ladies Auxiliary:

Ladies of Unit 161,

Hope your Jan. and Feb. went well. It has been quite a winter and is eagerly looking forward to spring. I hope your Christmas and New Years were wonderful. At Christmas, we were able to help a veteran’s family with a dinner and some presents. We also gave Jack Boak, a 50 year member, a very nice Christmas gift. We made food baskets and bought poinsettias to help brighten the holidays for some of our members and community members. Bev Seifried delivered handmade hats and mittens to our two elementary schools in the H.P. school district. A special thank you to Rosellen R. Nieman for all the hard work and time spent on making a lot of these items.

I wanted to go to Mid-Winter conference, because I really need to learn more so I can be a better president for all of you. But circumstances beyond my control happened and I had to stay home. Maybe next time, because I am determined to do a good job for all of you!

On Feb. 1, we hosted the Oneida Co. Junior Auxiliary Valentine card making day. The cards were made for Veterans in Oneida Co. nursing homes. We had a wonderful turnout and want to thank everyone who came, especially the Girl Scouts. You all are amazing. Because of the enthusiasm of these young people involved in this project, we had about two hundred more cards than we needed. So we were able to include some of our active military personnel as recipients of some of these cards.

March and April will be busy for us. Fish Fries start March 7 and end April 18. As always, you might get asked to donate something for the salad bar or asked to work. If you can help in that way, it would be greatly appreciated.

On March 1, we will be setting up a water station in front of Stewart’s for the Heart Run and Walk runners who start in Barneveld.

The legion birthday will be March 15, with cocktail hour 6:00 to 7:00 and a covered dish dinner after. There will be a speaker and what he has to say should be very interesting. Hope many of you will be able to come.

The Auxiliary is having an Easter basket raffle as a fundraiser during the fish fries. If you could donate a non-perishable food item for the basket, that would help us out a great deal. We will also be holding the quilt raffle until Memorial Day for our Sue Wedgewood’s son Scott. If you are interested in helping sell the raffle tickets at the fish fries, please get in touch with me.

On April 5, we will be having a vendor and craft show at the legion as another fundraiser. It will be our first one and we hope it goes well. There will also be light lunch foods for sale. There are so many programs out there for our active military, our veterans, and women and children. That is why we are working so hard on fundraising. People need us!

Good wishes to Mary Briggs that the surgery she had on her hand will correct the problems she was having. Good wishes to our former president Brenda Carnright on a speedy recovery from her surgery. Bev Seifried gave us a little scare, but she is doing very well now. Bev Stark is doing well and making lap robes for our veterans at the Sitrin Rehab Center. If anyone would like to send Jean Cady or Jane Drury a card, let me know and I will get their addresses to you.

I am happy to report that our Bobbie Owen is going for 5th District President. Way to go Bobbie, we are behind you 100%.

Have a safe and happy spring.

Yours in service,

Debbie Roberts, President

Sons of the American Legion

I hope everyone doesn’t like this cold spell. We had three members at our last meeting. We bought the Legion a 60” TV for the dining room. Seafood dinners start March 7th. All help is welcome; mornings 8:30AM and nights 3:30-4:00 till closing. We currently have 34 paid members.

Yours in Service,

Bob Stanger, SAL Commander

Debbie Roberts, President


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