Travel benefit cuts left many vets with no way to get to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities for needed treatment. These are men and women who answered our country's call in times of war. Many lost limbs, sight, hearing, or good health. They may live a great distance from a VA hospital. And so many exist on small fixed incomes, finding the cost of transportation to a VA hospital is just too high. They're left with two choices. They could go without the treatment they need, or skimp on food or other necessities to pay for transportation.
Vet's disabled in our nation's service should never face such dire options. So DAV and Auxiliary volunteers responded, driving vets to and from VA hospitals and clinics. Other grateful Americans are helping too. It's all part of the DAV Transportation Network, administered by DAV Hospital Service Coordinators (HSCs) at the VA's 172 medical centers. The DAV has also donated vans, where needed, to make the program work.
All DAV van drivers are volunteers and do not receive payment for the services they provide.
The following Rules and Regulations have been established by the VA and DAV National Headquarters - Not by the volunteer drivers.
- The DAV van driver is not to lift or attend medically to any patient
- The DAV van driver is only permitted to stop the van for rest stops and/or emergencies and to pickup and discharge passengers. Passengers should not request the driver to make side trips to take care of their personal business.
- Passengers are not permitted to smoke, chew tobacco, drink alcohol, use foul language or bring weapons, drugs, or any illegal substance on the van. Further, the van driver may not provide transportation to any veteran who is intoxicated, abusive or poses a threat to the driver or other passengers on the van.
- Passengers should not engage in any activity that will distract the drivers attention.
- Passengers should wear seat belts at all times. Any passenger refusing to buckle-up will be denied transportation on the van.
- All trash must be placed in the proper trash receptacle
- Individuals other than the veteran will be permitted to ride in the van with the veteran in only two cases. Any exceptions to this policy must be authorized by the patients attending physician:
- a veteran's spouse who has a "Spouse Permission to Travel" slip from the patients doctor, or
- a caregiver who is authorized by the VA to provide the veteran with "Aid and Attendance"
Patients being discharged or granted passes may be transported on a DAV van during the van's trip back to its home city only if space is available. The patient must be ready to leave when the van departs the VA Medical Center. Patients should be dressed and ready to leave for the hospital at the time specified. The driver cannot wait for patients. It is the responsibility of the veteran or his/her family member to contact the DAV HSC as soon as possible regarding appointment cancellations or changes Only articles small enough to be held on the veteran's lap or put under the seat will be transported in the DAV van. The driver may refuse to transport any veteran who he feels is too ill to ride the van, or the driver may request a written statement from a VA physician stating it's permissible for the veteran to travel. Patients utilizing the DAV Transportation Network will not be eligible to receive reimburstment for travel expenses.
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