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 threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.
The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.
A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”
The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.
The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.
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CalendarPull apart stuff you use every day and take a look inside at 2 p.m. at Gayton Library, 10600 Gayton Rd. For middle and high school students. For details, call… Full text