Verna Jones, newly appointed executive director of The American Legion’s office in Washington, D.C., appear as a guest on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program.
Jones, whose appointment became official Nov. 1, was featured on the program from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
Topics of discussion will include the progress being made by the Department of Veterans Affairs in complying with mandates of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 7.
On Nov. 4, Jones met with Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, who briefed her and other attendees on what VA has done to comply with reform measures, and what still remains.
The VA reform law set a 90-day deadline for several of its provisions, including the distribution of the Veterans Choice Card. Veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility, or have waited more than 30 days for a medical appointment, can use the card to access medical care in the private sector.
VA began to issue the Choice Card to veterans on Nov. 5, the 90th day after the reform bill became law. The cards will be sent first to veterans who meet the distance requirement, then to those who meet the wait-time requirement, and finally to other veterans enrolled in VA health care. All cards should be sent by January.
Jones, who replaced Peter Gaytan as executive director, is responsible for directing the Legion’s policies on veterans affairs, national security, legislative advocacy and economic/education issues affecting veterans. She also manages the Legion’s relationships with VA, Congress, the White House, and other federal agencies.
Before her appointment as executive director, Jones served as director of the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation (VA&R) Division for The American Legion in Washington. From June to October, she led the Legion’s nationwide effort to help veterans with delayed medical care or benefits claims decisions. She supervised a series of Veterans Crisis Command Centers and Veterans Benefits Center that assisted more than 3,000 veterans and family members, and provided about $1 million in retroactive benefits to them.
Jones’ previous positions with The American Legion include deputy director of the VA&R Division, manager of Legion operations at the Appeals and Special Claims Unit (located at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington) and department service officer for the Legion’s Department of North Carolina.