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Maryland Council of Chapters - MOAA
Maryland Council of Chapters - MOAA
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Maryland Veterans Commission

The Maryland Veterans Commission advises the Secretary of Veterans and Military Families on all issues relating to veterans and is authorized 30 commissioners.  Twenty nine positions are filled with one remaining as a member at large.  Commissioners are appointed to five-year terms by the Governor and the Governor names the Chair. Maj Jim Shiffrin, USAF (Ret), currently represents the Maryland Council of Chapters on this Commission (through 2027). For more details, click HERE.

The 16 July 2024 Commission meeting was the first since the Department changed its name to the Department of Veterans and Military Families. Here are highlights from the meeting:

Comments from Secretary Anthony Woods:

  • Along with the new name, he has appointed Dana Burl as the Deputy Secretary for Military Family Policy and Programs. She had been the Directory of Communications, Advocacy, and Outreach for the past ten years.
  • The Department processed 5,076 claims in the Fiscal Year (FY) ending 30 June 2024 – the most since 2016. 95% of the claims forwarded to the VA were approved, resulting in $45 Million in benefits.
  • There were 218,000 social media views in the last FY.
  • There is a new administrator for the Maryland Veterans Trust Fund. They will be able to provide Organizational grants as well as grants to individuals. The process for this is being developed, but money can be given to organizations if the grants to individuals are behind an expected value. There is no value in having the money sit in the Fund. There is currently a 300person backlog, and they expect to open to new applicants in September.
  • Charlotte Hall update:
  • A new operator, Pruitt Health, took over the facility on 6 June.
  • The previous operator used mostly temporary staff, who were not there long enough to become familiar with the home and its policies and procedures. Pruitt is replacing all of them with permanent employees.
  • In 2023 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMMS) rated the home at 1 star (out of 5). This year they were rated at 3 stars.
  • The home is accepting new residents and has a current population of 253.
  • The design work for the Second Home at Sykesville is nearly complete.
  • There will be a series of Unaccompanied Veteran Burials at the State Cemeteries on 25 October. Details to be supplied.

There was a briefing from the Veterans Education, Training, and Workforce Solutions (VETWorkS). This is a program based in Baltimore City designed to provide quality training to Veterans and Veteran Families. They offer programs in Culinary Arts, Information Technology, Electric Vehicle Technology, Community Health Work and Driver’s License training. They had 82 students last year, all of whom received certification in their field. For more information, please visit www.vetworks.org.

Deputy Secretary Dana Burl spoke about her work to help make Maryland the best for military families, including National Guard and Reserves. She also spoke about a program she has been heading jointly with the Department of Health called Ask the Question. The focus of that program is not to ask people if they are a Veteran, but to ask if they or any family member has served in the military. (Federal law requires 24 months of active duty, unless disabled. Some Guardsmen and Reservists are never called up for Active Duty and do not meet this definition. However, they are still eligible for DVMF services.)

The next meeting of the Maryland Veterans’ Commission will be on 15 Oct 2024.

Here are recent minutes from the Commission:

Maryland Council of Chapters - MOAA
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Previous Minutes:
 
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Maryland Council of Chapters - MOAA
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