Presidential Task Force Visits Menlo Home

By Roman M. Martyniuk, Public Affairs Officer, NJDMAVA

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., Co-Chair of a special Presidential Task Force to improve health care services to veterans was joined by Commission members Robert E. Wallace, Deputy Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and Josh Weston, chairman of ADP, and the Task Force’s acting Executive Director Katherine S. Swartsel on an official visit to the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park.

The task force was established May 2001 to identify ways to improve the delivery of health care services to the nation’s veterans. The visit to the home was arranged at the request of Mr. Weston, a New Jersey native, who was interested in obtaining detailed information on the quality and level of care available through state-operated veteran healthcare facilities.

The task force toured the home with Menlo Chief Executive Officer Melvin J. Friedman, Ph.D. The Washington- based group also met with New Jersey’s Adjutant General, Brig.Gen. Glenn K. Rieth; Col. Emil Philibosian, Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs; Col. (ret.) Michael Smith, Joint Chief of Staff, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; and Jack McGreevey, a Marine Corps veteran, representing his son, Governor James E. McGreevey.

The task force investigated a wide range of topics from pharmaceuticals to nursing shortages to “seamless” transition of care from active military service to veterans status as well as an extensive discussion on ways to better utilize the resources and services available through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (formerly known as the Veterans Administration) and the United States Department of Defense medical facilities (available through the network of military bases and installations across the country.) The participants exchanged ideas and observations which would be included in the Task Force’s final official report due to be presented to the President in March of 2003.