A new director has been appointed over VA benefits for the offices in Portland and Anchorage. William F. Streitberger, a Navy vet himself, has worked in VA regional offices in Hartford Connecticut. The new position will put him in charge of over 400,000 former service members and dependents living in Oregon and Alaska, distributing over $20 million in monthly benefits.
Even though administrative functions are based in the Portland office, vets in Alaska receiving pensions, compensation, and vocational training won’t see any sudden changes.
Kylene Yumul, Public Affairs officer with VA Portland, says “Our divisions there on site will still have face-to-face with our Alaskan veterans.”
Portland was established as the regional benefits hub for Alaska’s VA after a national reorganization in 2015. The regional office has been overseen by an acting director since last summer. Streitberger takes office on July 5th.
Alaskan Veterans were also recently informed that as of July 10th, the scheduling for Choice Act medical appointments in Alaska will revert back to being handled by local VA integrated care personnel, instead of its current practice of outsourcing scheduling requests to contractor-operated call centers in the Lower 48.
Alaska’s congressional delegation has been demanding this change after hearing from numerous Alaska veterans who have been ill-served by the new VA system established after the Choice Act was passed in 2014.
These changes seem to indicate that Alaskan service members have been heard and that issues with their lack of answers, service and access to timely adequate healthcare are being addressed.
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