VA officials mull regular visits by health professionals to treat CNMI veterans
Saipan—The CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs recently met with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials in Honolulu to discuss collaborations on improving healthcare services for veterans, service members, reservists, and their families on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
According to CNMI VA Executive Officer Stanley T. Iakopo, the meeting with the Honolulu VA officials was a productive one that underscored the unique needs of CNMI veterans.
Iakopo noted that providing veterans and their families the support is long overdue. “They have earned and deserve quality care and benefits through their service to our country,” he said.
Over the last several months, Iakopo added, CNMI officials have been continuously seeking better access and services through partnerships with Honolulu partners. “These meetings are significant because our administration is looking to establish a closer and consistent dialogue with the US Department of Veterans Affairs directly so that our local veterans are heard. It is imperative that we continue to listen and learn directly from our veterans,” Iakopo said.
Iakopo also said they discussed having health care professionals visit the CNMI more regularly to treat our veterans, service members and their families. Future visits by these health care professionals will be provided at a later date. He reiterated the CNMI’s request for assistance to veterans ID cards, especially for veterans on Tinian and Rota.
“We also requested that visiting health care professionals must be aware of the patient’s military history and be able to recognize suicide-risk factors, regardless of age. Health care professionals must be able to address physical safety concerns and emotional health of veterans,” he added.
“Continued and consistent dialogue with our federal partners is important, but even more so for our veterans who have expressed their concerns with our VA office,” said Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres. “The goal is for consistent dialogue, and we took great steps this last year to really make sure our CNMI veterans get the services they deserve.”