VA Names Members of Benefits Advisory Committee

Thursday, September 18, 2008 General News
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Panel to Help Guide Improvement to Disability Regulations

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A newly formed advisory committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will help improve VA's compensation system, especially recommending ways to update and improve the medical evaluations used for disability compensation.

The committee consists of knowledgeable and experienced veterans, advocates and experts in areas such as disability claims adjudication, vocational rehabilitation, disability programs management, workers compensation, rehabilitative medicine and mental health research who will provide advice and counsel to the Secretary.

"Clear and consistent evaluation criteria that keep pace with modern medicine are fundamental to a fair compensation system," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "We honor the sacrifice of veterans who were injured and ill from military service by providing them with compensation and rehabilitative services that help them readjust to civilian life."

Retired Army Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott will chair the Advisory Committee on VA Disability Compensation and Related Benefits. A partner at Watson & Associates of Coleman, Texas, he served as chairman of the independent Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission, one of several recent commissions to examine the needs of today's combat veterans.

The new 11-member VA panel will advise Secretary Peake through periodic reviews of VA's disability evaluation regulations, as well as make recommendations on legislative changes to VA benefits that address the impact of veterans' disabilities on quality of life, the need for transition assistance and the potential for successful rehabilitation.

The committee is expected to hold a series of public meetings and invite testimony. It will also submit periodic progress reports, the first of which is expected within six months of its first meeting. Meetings will be announced in the Federal Register.

A list of the members follows.


VA Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans

-- Lt. Gen. James Terry Scott (ret.) of Coleman, Texas. Partner at Watson & Associates, a financial services firm. He also teaches political science at Howard Hidden List Payne Hidden List University in Brownwood, Texas. He is a member of the Board of Directors of CALIBRE Corp., a technical services company based in Alexandria, Va. -- Charles Battaglia of Alexandria, Va. Member of the board of directors for the Wounded Warrior Project. A retired naval officer, he previously served as executive director of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and also as a senior staff member of the U.S. Senate, serving in several positions. -- Robert J. Epley of Waxhaw, N.C. Independent consultant working in the areas of strategic planning, training, performance management and the operations of federal entitlement programs. Mr. Epley served with VA for 31 years, most recently as director of the Compensation and Pension Program. -- Lt. Gen. Thomas Carney (ret.) of Alexandria, Va. Member of board of directors of CALIBRE Corp. He has been an independent consultant to numerous companies, include CALIBRE, since his retirement in June 1994. Previously, Carney was chief executive officer for the Library of Congress. He spent 31 years on active duty in the Army. -- Maj. Daniel Gade of Athens, Ga. Former associate director for domestic policy for the White House's Domestic Policy Council, where he was responsible for disability and health care issues, as well as matters

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