Bills seek health care jobs for veterans
Legislation headed toward approval in the General Assembly would allow veterans to count their military health-care training and experience toward certification as nurses and other medical professionals in Virginia.
House Bill 2279, proposed by Delegate Mark Keam, D-Vienna, would let clinical education and practical experience in the armed services fulfill some of the qualification requirements for emergency medical services personnel in Virginia.
HB 1535, proposed by Delegate Donald Merricks, R-Chatham, would do the same for veterans seeking licensure or certification as occupational therapists, radiologist assistants, nurses and certain other health-care professionals.
Under the bills, state licensing authorities would determine whether “relevant practical experience and didactic and clinical components of education and training completed by an applicant during his service as a member of any branch of the armed forces of the United States” can substitute for other certification requirements.
Both measures have won unanimous approval in the House of Delegates and been assigned to the health licensing subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Education and Health.
Keam said the legislation will help veterans land health-care jobs.
“I’ve met many veterans over the past year or so who’ve come back from Iraq, and even older folks, who are having a really hard time getting jobs in Virginia and elsewhere,” he said.
“I want people in the civilian world, those that don’t have military background and those that don’t think about our veterans in the military, to start thinking about them. … What can we do to make a veteran’s life better? What can we do in society to make them welcomed when they come back?”
The legislation’s supporters include the American Legion and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.
“We believe that the veteran’s military training is a plus to any employer that is looking for help,” said Dale D. Chapman of the American Legion, the nation’s largest service organization for veterans.
He said military men and women are highly trained in their respective fields.
“These veterans come back to their homes and are experienced in nursing and other related health-care fields,” Chapman said. “There should be provisions for them to be able to receive credit for their work experiences while serving.”
Some health-care employers actively recruit veterans. For example, Inova Health System in Northern Virginia offers a program called “Military to Medicine” for training and hiring veterans, military spouses and recovering wounded service members.
But Keam said such programs have run into problems when the military training and experience veterans receive aren’t applied toward state certification in health-care professions.
HB 2799, Keam’s bill specifically targeting EMS personnel, is co-sponsored by Merricks and four other delegates: Republican Richard Bell of Staunton and Democrats David Englin of Alexandria, Kaye Kory of Falls Church and Vivian Watts of Annandale.
Keam is co-sponsoring Merricks’ broader measure, HB 1535. The other co-sponsors include a bipartisan mix of 15 delegates and seven senators.
Keam says that he hopes such bills will inspire creative ways to help veterans.
“You might have a great idea as well. And if you have good ideas, come talk to me because I want to put it in law,” he said.
To track or comment House Bills 1535 and 2799, visit http://RichmondSunlight.com To le.arn more about the Inova Health System program “Military for Medicine,” visit http://www.militarytomedicine.org
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
To help celebrate twenty years of service to advocating for abused and neglected children in Henrico County, Henrico Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (CASA) will host an evening with bestselling author K.L. Randis on Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Belmont Recreation Center in Lakeside.
Randis is best known for her bestselling novel, Spilled Milk, which tells her painful – but ultimately triumphant – personal story of abuse and of child abuse prevention. The book is her first novel.
The Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. attended the Ninth Annual Filipino Festival at Our Lady of Lourdes Church earlier this month. Cuisia (pictured above with festival performers) was welcomed by County Manager John Vithoulkas and Brookland District Supervisor Dick Glover (below) at the church, which is located in Lakeside.
While enjoying some of the cultural performances at the festival, the ambassador and his wife had a private lunch with Vithoulkas, Glover, Eldon Burton (an outreach representative from U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner’s Office) and Father James Begley, the pastor of OLL. > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.
The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
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