Traill County Veterans Service Office

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Yearly Archives: 2016

Wreaths Across America Event – 17 Dec 2016

Bismarck’s Civil Air Patrol is once again supporting the Wreaths Across America Event in Bismarck & Mandan.  The ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 17th at 11:00am at the ND Veterans Cemetery (south of Mandan).  See the attached flyer for additional information on how to sponsor a wreath for $15 via check or PayPal (  Sponsorship deadline is November 27, 2016.  For any questions or assistance, please contact Bismarck’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron at (701) 390-9593 or email:


Traill County Blue Christmas Veterans’ Remembrance Service


In remembrance of beloved Veterans we miss at Christmas, and in support of families and friends who may find rejoicing difficult, please join us for a:

Blue Christmas Service

Monday, December 12th at 6:30 p.m.

St. Rose of Lima Church, 503 3rd St SE, Hillsboro, ND

Refreshments Following

Please RSVP – Emily Cost, Traill Co. VSO, 701-636-4414 or 701-430-7059

Fargo VA kicks-off new Veterans Choice Program initiative



Oct. 4, 2016


Fargo VA begins new Veterans Choice Program initiative to help Choice-eligible Veterans better coordinate their medical care in their communities


FARGO, N.D. – Beginning Oct. 4, Veterans enrolled in the Fargo VA Health Care System who are eligible for the Choice program will now be able to work directly with VA staff located in Fargo to help schedule and coordinate community medical care appointments.


Entitled the Choice Program Care Coordination initiative, Veterans can contact the Fargo VA Health Care System Clinical Resource Management Department at 866-517-9363 to facilitate their healthcare needs in their respective communities. 


The initiative is a direct response from Veterans reporting concerns that calling an out-of-state Veterans Choice Program third-party administrator for scheduling of community medical care resulted in coordination challenges attributed to the administrator’s lack of understanding of North Dakota and Minnesota geography and other issues unique to the area. Under the initiative, the VA is re-establishing direct connections with Veterans.


Because of an understanding of the local geography and relationships with community providers, Fargo VA staff will help Veterans schedule and coordinate community care appointments. Veterans Choice Program third-party administrator staff will continue to provide administrative and provider support.


“The VA is working every day to improve the community care experience,” said Dr. Baligh Yehia, Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Community Care. “Innovative solutions like this one, developed in direct response to Veterans’ and community providers’ concerns, are key to the development of our consolidated community care program. We cannot lose sight that healthcare is local and we will need flexibility to meet the needs of each community across North Dakota, Minnesota, and the nation.” 


The Fargo VA’s Choice Program Care Coordination initiative is one of only a few of its kind in the nation. The current process and laws make community care cumbersome. The Care Coordination initiative is just one way VA is working to improve the community care experience for Veterans.  VA is also actively working with all its partners, especially Congress, to simplify community care eligibility criteria, streamline clinical and business processes, and standardize provider payment. The VA is committed to providing a Community Care program that is easier to understand, simple to administer, and improves the community care experience for Veterans, providers and VA Staff. 


“I am very pleased to see the focus placed on local Veteran and provider needs,” said Lavonne Liversage, Fargo VA Health Care System Director. “Having Fargo VA staff work directly with Veterans and our community healthcare providers will allow for better communication of care needs and improved Veteran experience; this initiative will benefit those who have given so much.”


For more information or questions relating to the Care Coordination initiative, please contact the Fargo VA Health Care System Clinical Resource Management Department at 866-517-9363.


– END –


VA Conducts Largest Analysis of Veterans Suicides

VA Conducts Largest Analysis of Veterans Suicides


Dear Veterans, Family Members, and Readers,

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conducted a comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the US.  This extends the VA’s knowledge from a previous report in 2010 where the VA estimated 22 Veterans committed suicide every day.  The new analysis shows that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.  The final report will be published later this month.  Key findings from the study are:

  • 65% of all Veterans who died from suicide are 50 years or older
  • Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide in the US, a decrease from 22% in 2010
  • Since 2001, adult suicide rates in US increased 23% while Veteran suicide rate increased 32% in that same time period, making risk of suicide 21% greater for Veterans
  • Since 2001, the rate of suicide of Veterans who use VA services has increased 8.8%, while Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%
  • In that same time period, the rate of suicide of female Veterans who used VA services increased 4.6% while female Veterans who did not use VA services increased 98%Immediate help for Veterans and family members/friends concerned for a Veteran is available at or calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or texting at 838255.Very Respectfully,Traill County Veterans Service OfficerOffice Cell:
  • Fax: 701-636-4415
  • Phone: 701-636-4414
  • Emily Cost
  •             I wanted to keep you posted that I am projecting to be on maternity leave from August 29th to November 18th. The North Dakota Department of Veteran Affairs is planning to provide office hours for help on Tuesday and Thursdays while I am on leave. These dates for leave are currently tentative, and I will continue to keep everyone posted as the time gets closer for Baby Cost to be born.
  • The VA is taking new measures to prevent suicide to include same-day access for Veterans with urgent mental health needs at all their points of care (medical care facilities, Vet Centers, VA Crisis Line and other outreach points). The VA is also planning on expanding telemental health care, hiring 60 new crisis intervention responders for the Veterans Crisis Line, and building new collaboratives with other researchers and healthcare providers.

Vet Center Open in Grand Forks



May 27, 2016


Vet Center to open in Grand Forks, May 31


Fargo, N.D. – The Department of Veterans Affairs will open a new Grand Forks Vet Center Outstation, offering the full range of Vet Center Services, on May 31.

The Grand Forks Vet Center Outstation, located at 300 Cherry Street in Grand Forks, North Dakota, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, providing individual, group, marital/family and bereavement counseling and drug and alcohol referral to combat Veterans, as well as military sexual trauma counseling to all Veterans.

The Grand Forks Vet Center Outstation will also act as a liaison with VA and other community resources to ensure every Veteran receives the help they need. The Grand Forks Vet Center Outstation is completely free of charge and confidential.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs is opening this location to better serve Veterans in Grand Forks and the surrounding area,” said Timothy Teig, Fargo Vet Center Team Leader. “These areas were previously supported by counselors from the Fargo Vet Center, but with the more than 6,000 Veterans in the area, a brick and mortar Vet Center would support Veterans even more by providing more opportunities to receive the services they have earned and deserve.”

Both walk-ins and appointments are welcome. For more information, call the new Grand Forks Vet Center Outstation at (701) 306-4669.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

During Mental Health Awareness Month, let Veterans know that there is help available.  Treatment works and recovery is possible.  Getting help is a sign of strength, NOT weakness.

National Salue to Veterans Week

National Salute to Veterans Week Schedule

Heart Health Fair & Go Red for Women Expo

Heart Health 2016

VA to Expand Disability Benefits for Camp Lejeune Vets

The Department of Veteran Affairs announced on December 17, 2015 that it plans to propose expanded disability compensation eligibility for Veterans exposed to the contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune.  Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for up to 30 days or more during August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987 are already eligible to receive VA healthcare for up to 15 conditions.  Family members may also be eligible for reimbursement for out of pocket medical expenses for those medical conditions.  Based upon the VA’s review of the current medical science and Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Secretary McDonald intends to propose a presumption of service connection for the following conditions: Kidney Cancer, Liver Cancer, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Scleroderma, Parkinson’s Disease, Aplastic Anemia/Myelodysplastic Syndromes.  This proposal would also expand to the Reserve and National Guard personnel who served at Camp Lejeune during the same time period.

The VA is currently working on the regulation that would establish these presumptive conditions for compensation.  A claim for benefits cannot be granted based on presumption until the final regulation is published, but Veterans that have one of the conditions can begin to file a compensation claim.  Please come visit my office for help with the claim.