19 June 2020 MDVA News and Announcement

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  June 19, 2020


Updates for MDVA Service & Benefits Offices




The MDVA Service and Benefits program has continued to provide services to Maryland veterans, dependents and survivors without interruption by email and phone.  MDVA offices will be reopening for in-person meetings at a pace designed to protect the public and the staff.  


Please check the updates for the Service & Benefits offices: HERE

If you have questions regarding your benefits or need assistance filing a claim, please email us at: mdveteransinfo@maryland.gov or call 1-800-446-4926.

A new blog entry, Women in Military Service has been posted on the MDVA website.


MDVA Website

Bruce Webster photo

MDVA Secretary George Owings presented Mr. Bruce Webster, Superintendent of Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery with his 15 year pin for service to the state of Maryland.  Also shown on the right is Russell Ware, Director of the MDVA Cemetery and Memorials Program.  Thank you to Bruce for his continued service to Maryland Veterans and their families.

Mr. Hughes photo

COL Orville Hughes, USA (Ret) who served in World War II (Purple Heart), Korea (Silver Star) and Vietnam was honored recently on his 99th birthday.  MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn presented a Proclamation from Governor Hogan honoring COL Hughes. A more detailed biography of COL Hughes may be found in the West Point Pointer View    CBS Baltimore News Story

Vietnam Lapel Pin Photo

Sometimes We Cross the Line

While most of the work we do at MDVA is within Maryland's borders,  MDVA Deputy Secretary Robert Finn visited an engine repair shop in Littlestown, PA.  While there, he struck up a conversation and found two brothers who both served in the Navy and who had not received the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.  On the left is, Larry LeRoy Brown, US Navy 1961-1966, DD-824, USS Basilone and on the right is Robert Edward Brown, US Navy, 1966-1970, USS Garrett County, LST-786.  There is a Maryland connection though - the USS Garrett County, built during World War II was named after Garrett County, Maryland,

Milford T. Kampes

Looking for photos/information of KIA World War II Soldier

You may be aware that individuals and families in Europe "adopted" graves of World War II service members Killed in Action.  Knowing that American families might never be able to visit the grave site of their loved one so far away, a tradition developed in Europe to care for the graves of American service members and provide flowers and flags on some occasions.  That tradition continues today, and MDVA has heard from the individual who cares for the grave of Corporal Milford T. Kampes at the American Cemetery in Margraten Limburg, the Netherlands.  She is requesting assistance finding photos and information regarding Cpl. Kampes who resided in Baltimore County and enlisted at Ft. George G.Meade.  If you have any photos to share, please contact: dana.burl@maryland.gov

State Partner News

Maryland's State Parks and National Parks are now open

Maryland Flag Waiving

Feeling cooped up? Experience Maryland’s 75 terrific State Parks, and 28 unforgettable National Parks. From the ramparts at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, to the beaches at Assateague National Seashore; from hiking or biking the largest and most visited National Park in Maryland - the C&O Canal National Historical Park, to exploring Fort Frederick State Park, or the Washington Monument State Park, if you’re ready, it’s time to get out and enjoy.



A Message from Secretary Rona Kramer
Maryland Department of Aging
We are reaching out to you as someone who is a caregiver for a senior in Maryland. Recently, we announced a new program introduced by the State of Maryland’s Department of Aging called Caregiver Services Corps (CSC). This program has been established to provide volunteer caregivers for older adults who need urgent assistance with everyday tasks because their family caregiver is unavailable due to their own illness, exposure to COVID19, or other temporary constraint.  
We understand there are times when you cannot care for your loved ones on a temporary basis and we would like to support you.  This service is designed to address pressing, short term needs such as: an older adult determines they won’t have essential food to make it through the end of the week, or a family member who cares for their elderly loved one can’t check in on them the next day.  
The Caregiver Services Corps volunteers can perform tasks such as, but are not limited to:
  • Assist with the individual’s self-administration of medications
  • Help with ambulation or transferring
  • Assist with bathing and completing personal hygiene routines
  • Deliver essential groceries
  • Aid with telehealth appointments
You or the older adult you care for can access the service by dialing 211. The 211 operators will transfer the caller to the CSC call center.  The CSC call center is staffed with trained specialists who are available 7 days a week and can quickly evaluate care needs for older adults and identify volunteer caregivers and other the resources to deploy to their homes. You can also access the program by dialing 800-337-8958. 
Please note, the program is not a respite service and is not meant to replace long term arrangements for ongoing needs, those that are for more than a few days. Seniors should always work with their insurance company or primary care provider for those services.
We encourage you to utilize this program as needed and spread the word about this program with others. We want to make sure our aging residents of Maryland have the support and care they need during the pandemic. 
Thank you,
Rona Kramer
Maryland Department of Aging


Federal Partner News

Postponed: 2020 National Summit of Women Veterans Issues

VA Logo1

My Dear Sister Veterans,

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this time of uncertainty and change. I want to personally send this note to let you know how appreciated you are as well as to let everyone know that we here at VA continue to work on your behalf to ensure that your needs are met. We here at the Center for Women Veterans (CWV) always strive to put the safety of our employees, Veterans and our partners first. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to postpone the CWV 2020 Women Veterans Summit originally scheduled for October 2020 until 2021. We will be sure to follow up with you to ensure that you have a new 2021 Save the Date once it is locked in.

If you need care or support or know of any woman Veteran in need of support, please contact your local VA Medical Center first because they are the nearest to you, but you can also call or text the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636) or chat online. You can also contact us here at the CWV during normal business hours at 00w@VA.Gov or on our Facebook @VAWomenVets should you just want to reach out.

Please make sure that you and yours remain safe and remember…we are with you!


Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd, Executive Director
Center For Women Veterans
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington D.C.

Federal News

VIDEO: Recruiter answers top questions about applying to VA

Team RWB Invites You to Accept the 1776 Challenge

Live Whole Health Self-care Episode #28 - Moments of pause

Live Whole Health Self-care Episode #29 - Acupressure for stress relief

Live Whole Health Self-care Episode #30 - Upper Body Chair Exercise

Live Whole Health Self-care Episode # 31 - Music and Movement

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) has provided an extensive update.  The update is reproduced in it's entirety in this e-newsletter, but due to the length of this update, please scroll to the bottom of the e-newsletter to read.

The VAMHCS staff also asks for donations of masks for veterans, as they move towards more in-person health care visits.  More Information on Masks for Heroes Here


Salute to Dr. Adam Robinson, VAMHCS Medical Center Director

We bid a fond farewell to Admiral Adam Robinson, USN, (Ret), who previously served as the 36th Surgeon General of the United States Navy before joining the VA. He leaves Baltimore to direct the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System.  Read More Here

Sir, we wish you Fair Winds and Following Seas as you continue your mission in Hawaii.

Community Partner News

For Your Information

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse the organizations sponsoring these events, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.  The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of MDVA.  The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only, and serves solely as a MDVA community outreach effort.

Community News

Travis Manion Foundation - Registration now open for 9/11 Heroes Run


Bob Feller Act of Valor Scholarship Program

Donations for the Maryland Center for Veteran Education & Training (MCVET)

The Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, Inc. (MCVET) will once again begin accepting your much needed donations on 22 June 2020. 

Donations can be dropped off at our 300 N. Exeter St. location; where some of our veterans will accept and help unload all items. 

Tax Donations forms will also be issued at that time. 

COVID-19 Screening protocols will be followed prior to entering our facility. 

Please note that we ARE NOT going to off-site locations for donation pickup; but anticipate this service will be available in the very near future. 

Contact Ms. Cereta Spencer (cspencer@mcvet.org) or Mr. Laurie Fragier (lfragier@mcvet.org) – (410) 576-9626 for further information. 

We appreciate your continued support.

MDVA has received questions from Veterans Service Organizations and the public regarding opening of individual Posts. Guidance provided by Governor Hogan in Order No. 20-06-10-01:


"ii. Subject to applicable Local Orders and Secretary’s Directives, the
following establishments in Maryland (“Indoor Recreation
Establishments”) may open to the general public, effective as of 5:00 p.m.
on June 19, 2020:

5. social and fraternal clubs (including without limitation, American
Legion posts, VFW posts, and Elks Clubs) (“Social Clubs”);"

Please contact your local Post for more information if you are planning to visit.

Update from Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic

at Easterseals

We invite you to join us at our upcoming virtual workshops for veterans, military families and caregivers!
Date: Every Wednesdays
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm
Registration Required: CHESSHAKES.COM/CW-COHEN
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm
Registration Required: https://bit.ly/DCMVACLaunch
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Time: 5:00pm-6:00pm
Registration Required: https://bit.ly/JuneVirtualYoga
*These classes are open to everyone and poses can be modified for people of all abilities.
Dates: Saturday, June 27, 2020
Time: 11:00am-12:00pm
Registration Required: https://bit.ly/CohenVisionBoard

Melwood Veterans Services

Melwood Veterans Services (MVS) helps veterans begin their healing journey. One of our most successful programs, Operation Tohidu®, is a series of intensive five-day retreat programs, led by veterans for veterans, offered free of cost, with specialized options for male and female veterans and couples.
But what happens when a pandemic hits and social distancing makes retreat programs impossible? MVS quickly adapted by providing an innovative virtual Operation Tohidu® retreat and a series of videos teaching stress management techniques. It has already helped our veterans so we hope to scale this program up. We need your input and help.
Join us in our first virtual Catalyst for Inclusion event to learn how Operation Tohidu® virtual programs are helping veterans already suffering from PTS cope with the anxiety and isolation in these troubled times. If you are a veteran, know a veteran or employ veterans, this session may help you access resources you need during these troubled times.
EVENT: Supporting for our Veterans during COVID-19 (FREE online event)
DATE: Thursday, June 25, 2020
TIME: 1:00 to 2:00 PM
LOCATION: RSVP to our Office Administrator, Kirsten Dillon at kdillon@melwood.org by Monday, June 22 to receive the weblink. This event will be hosted on GoTo Webinar. Please note: this event has a maximum capacity of 25 participants to allow for a dialogue so please RSVP early.
Looking forward to hearing from you! In the meantime, here is more info on Melwood.

Community Calendar

June 21, 2020

Veterans N Transition Virtual Father's Day Celebration

June 23, 2020

Women's Entrepreneur Conference


Additional Memorial Day Observance Photo

Jewish War Veterans Photo

Complying with the Governor’s COVID-19 guidance to follow social distancing and wear masks, officers and members of Jewish War Veterans Post 692 held a brief wreath - laying ceremony at its American Jewish Veterans Memorial at the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville  on Memorial Day.

Photo credit: Bender JCC CEO Michael Feinstein

VA Maryland Health Care System Update

We are happy to introduce our Moving Forward Plan to safely expand the availability of health care services in a phased approach, while maintaining a safe environment for all Veteran patients and employees. As we move forward, the safety of our patients and employees will remain our top priority.

Effective June 22, we will begin Phase 1 of the Moving Forward Plan by offering the following limited face-to-face services: 

  • Baltimore VA Medical Center: Dermatology, Imaging, Medical Specialty Care, Mental Health (Telehealth Focused), Pharmacy (Mail Only), Phlebotomy, Primary Care, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Care and Women’s Health
  • Cambridge VA Outpatient Clinic: Mental Health (Telehealth & Face-to-Face), Primary Care and Women’s Health
  • Perry Point VA Medical Center: Imaging, Mental Health (Telehealth Focused) and Pharmacy (Mail Only)

When scheduling clinic appointments, patients will be instructed if it will be a virtual or face-to-face visit.

For the safety of our Veteran patients, we encourage them to continue using our virtual care options (telehealth and video appointments) for specialty care, primary care and mental health services. As a reminder, Veterans needing medical advice can contact the Telephone Care Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-865-2441, and Veterans in crisis can speak with a specially trained responder 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-273-8255, press 1. Additionally, the Emergency Department at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Urgent Care Clinic at the Perry Point VA Medical Center are open and are safe options for receiving urgent health care during the pandemic.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 as we move forward, the following safety measures have been implemented at all of our facilities until further notice: 

  • Screenings: Screenings are occurring using COVID-19-related questions at all sites. You can use your smartphone to answer the screening questions before visiting the VA by texting the word ‘Screen’ to 53079 or visiting va.gov/covid19screen. When you arrive, show your phone to the screener.
  • Universal Masking: Patients are required to wear a mask at all times when visiting a VA facility. Patients with a scheduled, onsite clinic appointment will be issued a mask if they do not have one when they arrive.
  • Centralized Check-in: The centralized check-in and waiting area for outpatient specialty care clinics at the Baltimore VA Medical Center is now located in the Canteen dining area on the 2nd floor.
  • Restricted Access: Only patients with a scheduled, onsite clinic appointment will be granted access to VA facilities, except for the Emergency Care Department at Baltimore and the Urgent Care Clinic at Perry Point.
  • Visitor Guidelines: Visitors are not authorized, except for the following:
    • Two visitors for end-of-life care and decision making;
    • One escort for patients being discharged from inpatient care;
    • One escort for medically compromised outpatients with an onsite, scheduled appointment;
    • One visitor who has been asked by the inpatient care team to be part of the treatment and discharge planning process.


Outpatient Clinics Closed: Other than the clinics and service that will be part of Phase 1 of the Moving Forward Plan, all other VA Maryland Health Care System outpatient clinics remain closed until further notice to protect against the spread of COVID-19. All routine outpatient clinic visits are being conducted via a telephone or video visit or rescheduled as appropriate, except for oncology, radiation oncology and other specialty care clinic visits that are medically necessary. Additionally, the Emergency Department at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Urgent Care Clinic at the Perry Point VA Medical Center remain open.

Mail-Order Prescriptions: To limit the exposure of COVID-19, Pharmacy is continuing with the successful use of mailing new and renewal prescriptions, including express and overnight delivery. The Outpatient Pharmacies at the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers will only honor emergent prescription needs for in-person pick up. All other medications and supplies will be mailed. Veterans have the following options to refill their prescriptions:

  • Call the Prescription Refill Line at 410-605-7395. After hearing the greeting, enter your full nine-digit Social Security number followed by the “#” sign. Next, press option “2” for Pharmacy Information, and then press option “1” to order prescription refills.
  • Complete and sign the refill request slip you received with your prescription and use the mailing label that was included to send it in to one of our two pharmacies.
  • Submit a refill request through My HealtheVet at www.myhealth.va.gov.
  • If you have no remaining refills, call the Prescription Refill Line at 410-605-7395. After hearing the greeting, enter your full nine-digit Social Security number followed by the “#” sign. Next, press option “2” for Pharmacy Information, and then press option “8” to talk to a pharmacy representative.

Perry Point Campus Closed to the Public: For the protection of our veteran patients and employees against the spread of COVID-19, the campus of the Perry Point VA Medical Center is closed to the public until further notice. This closure applies to the entire campus, including non-patient areas like the shoreline and walking trails. Only VA employees, outpatients with scheduled clinic appointments, residential care patients, residents of the HELP Veterans Village, and authorized deliveries will be granted access to the campus. The Urgent Care Clinic at the Perry Point VA Medical Center remains open.

Remember, help is a phone call away:

Medical Emergencies: If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, dial 911 immediately.

Telephone Care Line: If you need medical advice, call the Telephone Care Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-865-2441 and press 1.

Veterans Crisis Line: If you are a Veteran in crisis, there are specially trained responders ready to help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 800-273-8255, press 1.

Primary Care: If you would like to speak with a primary care team member, please call 410-605-7777 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Flu-Like Symptom: If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call the Telephone Care Line at 800-865-2441, and press 1.

Please be safe, continue to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene, and contact our Telephone Care Line if you need medical advice.