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United Spinal Association Introduces The Veterans Health Council: Improving Veterans Health through Information and Advocacy

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association ( and its veterans services program, VetsFirst (, in partnership with Vietnam Veterans of America ( introduced the Veterans Health Council ( at a press conference today at the National Press Club.

The Veterans Health Council hopes to improve veterans' health by creating an ongoing educational forum for health care professionals, advocacy organizations, educational institutions, employee representatives, businesses, state and local governments and veterans themselves.

Approximately 80 percent of veterans do not use the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) medical facilities for their health care. Many of these veterans are simply unaware that they may have health problems related to their military service that would entitle them to VA health care, as well as disability compensation and other VA benefits.

United Spinal Association President and CEO Paul J. Tobin said, "There has been a desperate need for the Veterans Health Council for a long time. Veterans must be informed about health risks related to their military service and the VA health care that is available to them."

Tobin added, "We need to educate healthcare communities about the multiple health issues associated with military service, so that they can better identify, diagnose and treat at-risk veterans. We must also develop educational materials for medical schools, nursing schools, teaching hospitals and related entities along the same lines. Besides its educational functions, the Council will also advocate on behalf of healthcare initiatives for veterans."

The Veterans Health Council is the first comprehensive collaboration between veterans' service organizations, private sector businesses and nonprofits dedicated specifically to the welfare of veterans and their families.

The Veterans Health Council website provides information on health conditions associated with military service, links to healthcare websites related to specific diseases and general information about the VA claims process.

Veterans and other claimants for VA benefits can contact VetsFirst ( with questions about VA benefits, health care and to request representation from accredited veterans' service representatives by accessing the "Ask VetsFirst" feature on the website.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post polio. It has played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association, is the embodiment of United Spinal's veterans service program.

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Paul Tobin

    For more information contact:
    Len Selfon
    Senior Vice President
    United Spinal Association

SOURCE United Spinal Association
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