Decision Maker

Robert A. McDonald

  • Secretary, US Department of Veteran Affairs

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Petitioning Jeffrey T. Gering

Stop denying veterans access to the medicine they need.

Veterans in California are being denied services because one man disagrees with medical marijuana. The director of my local health care system, Jeffrey T. Gering, has chosen to deny veterans the medicine they need based on his personal opinion about the drug. Marijuana for medical use is legal in California, and many veterans use it to help deal with various health issues, including pain. They should not be penalized for using a drug that is legal. Tell Jeffrey T. Gering to stop discriminating against veterans who use medicinal marijuana and follow national VA policy. Opiates are often used as a last resort when other pain relievers, including marijuana, have proven to be too weak. National VA policy states that patients participating in State marijuana programs must not be denied VHA services, yet Gering refuses to change his policy and by doing so puts many veterans at risk. My name is Marcus Boyd. I am the Vice Chairperson of San Diego Americans for Safe Access and a service related disabled veteran. I use marijuana as my prefered pain reliever and I have been working to achieve safe access to medicinal marijuana for others for the past five years. While I make a conscious choice not to use opiates, if my pain gets worse, I want that option. Some vets, however, have no choice.  Often times those who use marijuana also need the more powerful opiate option to deal with their pain. In November of 2014 after pressure from groups like mine, and his own ethics committee Director Gering promised to restore the local VA policy to align with national policy. However, this has yet to happen and every day he stalls, more vets are having to suffer. Veterans have earned high quality health care and should not be discriminated against for using marijuana legally. If VA national policy allows for vets to have access to both opiates and marijuana then Director Gering shouldn’t take it upon himself to decide otherwise. Tell Director Jeffrey T. Gering to stop putting his personal beliefs ahead of the health of veterans. Vets should have access to the medicine they need.

San Diego Americans for Safe Access
21,730 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, Robert A. McDonald, Department of Veterans Affairs

Extend VA Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Please help me to help my brother and other Vets with Traumatic Brain Injuries to continue with their care. They are discontinuing funding for this program starting October 6, 2017. Under the AL-TBI program, Veterans meeting the eligibility criteria are placed in private sector TBI residential care facilities specializing in neurobehavioral rehabilitation. The program offers team-based care and assistance in areas such as speech, memory and mobility. Approximately 202 Veterans participated in the AL-TBI Pilot Program in 47 facilities located in 22 states. By not continuing this program, most of these vets will end up in nursing homes. Some of them need specialized care that is unique only to their own brain injury. It will also place a lot of stress on families to try to find care for them. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not trained or equipped to properly handle individuals that have suffered brain injuries. My brother is just one of the individuals that the VA is now shuffling around. They have a 1 year waiting list for the Veteran Care Centers in Virginia. Even so, these facilities are not trained to deal with brain injuries. These are vets that sustained these injuries while working or fighting for our country. They do not deserve this. UPDATE: At this point my goal is to achieve funding to last long enough for my brother to stay where he is until there is an opening at our Veterans Care Center. ( There is a one year waiting list) His social worker says the only option for him is a nursing home until there is an opening. The nursing homes they are trying to place him in are below average standards and ratings. I have no idea what to do. Please help. UPDATE TO THIS: I received this email from a gentleman who was trying to assist me.    I contacted House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC)staff on your behalf, and they informed me that HVAC Health Subcommittee was briefed on this program a few months ago.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) believes that this pilot program is NOT meeting the needs of the veterans it is intended to serve.  The VA has initiated individual transition plans for the 63 veterans still enrolled in the pilot. I understand the need to discontinue something that is not really cost effective but what about the 63 veterans still in the program? They are obviously the ones that are in need of the program.  At the very least continue the funding until these families are able to find suitable housing and care. The Veterans Centers in Virginia have a year long waiting list and they want to put my brother in a  nursing home until one opens up. There is something drastically wrong with this system. Thank you so much for reading and spreading the word. Time is running out for my brother and many others. Betty

Betty Butler
14,296 supporters
Petitioning Robert A. McDonald

United States Congress: Don't limit counseling services to military, VA and their families

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (, an average of 22 soldiers per day die as a result of suicide. Many more develop disorders such as PTSD and substance abuse. These soldiers need mental health support in order to help protect and improve their lives; however, current legislation limits the availability of qualified counselors and therapists to this population. Currently, TRICARE participation and VA employment for Professional Counselors is limited to those who have graduated from a CACREP (Counsel on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) approved master’s degree program. Accredited programs are limited. While CACREP claims they are attempting to prevent the hiring of counselors that are from so-called “diploma mills,” CACREP does not accredit any program that is based within a psychology department or is a psychology-based program. This would exclude qualified counselors who graduated from such programs, such as those at prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale, including thousands of programs across the country. A new accrediting body now exists to accredit the programs that CACREP does not, the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Counsel. Additionally, as CACREP is relatively new in the accreditation of counseling programs, many people who graduated prior to the accreditation, some of which have been working with veterans and their families for years, are excluded. I strongly disagree that my training (from Johns Hopkins University) or the training of thousands of my colleagues across the country was inferior to those graduating from a CACREP approved counseling/counselor education program. We have obtained the qualifying master’s degree and all coursework required by the Board of Professional Counselors of our respective states, passed national and state practice related exams, and completed thousands of hours of supervised clinical experience to qualify for licensure. We are licensed specifically to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health concerns. Additionally, we are required to participate in continuing education in order to maintain our licensure to practice. I, personally, have 18 years of experience in the field, and have been practicing as an LCPC for 14 of those years. We are qualified to serve our veterans, active military members, and their families as is a new graduate of a CACREP approved program. Please support changes to TRICARE regulations and the VA hiring policies to make eligible all currently licensed professional counselors. Please support changes to allow all future graduates of professional counselor training programs that are accredited by a CHEA (Council on Higher Education Accreditation) approved accreditation organization to participate fully in TRICARE and the VA to ensure that there will be sufficient resources for the people that serve this country to have access to the mental health counseling and support they need. If necessary, please request and support a congressional study of the Institute of Medicine’s CACREP-only policy in TRICARE. Ask for a study that includes testimony from other accreditation bodies, and takes into account the impact of CACREP only policies on accessibility to mental health care by our veterans and military populations. Thank you for your time and concern. Sincerely,   Jennifer N. Soethe, LCPC, State of Maryland

Jennifer Soethe
1,001 supporters
Petitioning Robert A. McDonald

Give Veterans Affairs medical malpractice the attention it deserves

Medical malpractice is a more common than you think and it not only effects just our Veterans Affairs but you've got to start somewhere. By signing this petition we can raise awareness for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of any medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor's diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient's condition can be made much worse, and they may even die. This was the case for my father who went to a VA hospital in regards to a bump that appeared on his pinky left toe. He was told it was just a bunion and no tests were done on the bump. He went back after it got bigger and the doctor got mad at him saying he was wasting his time over a bunion. So he continued living his daily life with it assuming it was a bunion and when he finally went to the doctors again they said this ain't a bunion and we don't know what it is. They sent him to 3 other hospital and they had no idea what it was. One hospital even tried to lance it assuming it was a spider bite. The final hospital he went to finally diagnosed it as Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma which is cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. In the end this all could have been avoided if proper tests were done on someone who took a vow to defend their country with their life. On April 4th, 2016 My father died due to the cancer that was misdiagnosed as a bunion. So now i have to go the rest of my life without a father, he won't ever get to see me graduate, get married, or have kids. And that's my reason for starting this petition to stop this from happening to your friends and family whether it's misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of any medical condition, illness, or injury.

Stevie Swain
89 supporters
Petitioning Ashton Kutcher, CNN, Dr. Phil, Adam LaRoche, Star Tribune, International Justice Mission, , , NHTH , ICENewsRoom , Department of Education, Department of Justice, Department of...


Sadly enough so many under age children but NOT limited to any and all ages who, indeed on a daily basis have become victims by being tricked into thinking there is a better life other than where they came from! Our Story;  The Life Of Whats Known As, "The Big Money Maker" AKA "HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING" To this day I'm in NO WAY comprehending how the State Of NY and or any State can legitimately clear any child that has, been legally documented with psychological issues into Society thinking this is safe to do so. When it's been Documented that they are in danger to others as well as themselves! These children are continually left behind Only, To Break Free In-To "The Life Of The Unimaginable" My Niece Was Forced Into Human Sex Trafficking And The State Of NY Is NOT Helping Her! They keep placing this every so, un-stable child who is indeed in danger of herself into "MULTI" Un- Secure Group Homes throughout NY State! Which this child Keeps escaping from, "MIND YOU" Each And Every Group Home!" They are NOT providing the treatment needed to help this 14 year old who has, been running a muck Carelessly without having any common sense. Due to the very fact she has been brainwashed into thinking she is, owned by but NOT limited to "Gang Members!" She as well as, many other children have been told this is the only life that's best for them! The State Of NY NEEDS TO properly place NOT ONLY THIS CHILD BUT SO MANY OTHER CHILDREN WHO ARE "LOST IN THE SHADOWS" Within a Secured LOCKED DOWN Facility "NOT A JAIL LIKE SETTING EITHER!" Placed Somewhere they can be natured back into civilization and understood so, they can better express themselves freely without being rejected for their opinions as well valued as a human beings. They need to be taught with strategy and given tools to better understand that they are, NOT SEX OBJECT'S NOR DO THEY NEED TO BE SUBJECTED INTO THE LIFE OF BEING ABUSED AND OR USED BY ANYONE FOR ANYTHING! If These "LOST Innocent Children" are NOT HEARD and OR HELPED With the correct management needed to bring them back in the real world safely they will NEVER understand THERE IS, "A BETTER LIFE" Outside of "Human Sex Trafficking!" These Children have been conditioned into the Street Life Of "Human Sex Trafficking!" They have been trained to think this life is normal, they have been trained to call their Johns they're boyfriends AND NOT THEIR PIMPS! WE PLEASE ARE BEGGING FOR YOUR HELP TO STOP HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING. " Our Children Are Our Future "

54 supporters