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Strategic Plan 2008-2013
Building a Solid Foundation for the Future
John A. Scocos, Secretary
A MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR DOYLE
Wisconsin has a proud military history and a tradition of honoring the remarkable men and women who have made great sacrifices to serve their country. We owe our nation’s veterans – and those who are serving today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world – a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid. The veterans who have returned home, and those who will, have earned our deepest respect and most profound gratitude. Every day that we wake up in a free country is a day we must thank our veterans. To honor their service and sacrifice, our veterans deserve the best services and benefits that our nation and state can offer today, and in the future. I am pleased the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to ensure that Wisconsin is looking ahead to find the best ways to meet the changing needs of our veterans and their families. As Governor, I am committed to working every day to be sure the service of Wisconsin’s nearly 450,000 veterans and their families is not forgotten.
THE SECRETARY’S VISION
Within this strategic plan and based on our assessment of the needs of Wisconsin veterans and their families, we have established the direction of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) for the remainder of this first decade of the 21st century. It is our permanent mission to implement and sustain programs that meet those needs now and in the future. As we have done in the past, so shall we work together in the future as a team guided by a vision and a set of values we hold in common.
Secretary John A. Scocos
We see ourselves leading the nation as a state agency in service to our veterans and to their families. We are and will continue to be the best. First and foremost, we must fully honor our commitment to Wisconsin Veterans. That commitment will never waiver. Second, WDVA must ensure stakeholder involvement, working hard to extend and expand the department’s critically important relationships with all the veterans’ service organizations, county veterans service officers, key leaders, VA officials, and many others. Third, WDVA must continue strong and positive legislative partnerships, at the state and federal levels and on both sides of the aisle, working in a non-partisan manner to ensure that the needs and goals of Wisconsin’s veterans continue to be met. Finally, we must ensure the solvency of the Veterans Trust Fund. We owe our veterans and their families nothing less than the very best of those things we value most: • Leadership on behalf of our veteran community. • Advocacy on issues that affect veterans.
• Expert and committed customer service and outreach. • Resources to support our programs. • Honor and respect for veterans and their families.
Wisconsin has earned a distinguished reputation nationally for instituting programs and services that meet the needs of its residents who served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. The state’s proud tradition of providing assistance to veterans and their families began soon after the Civil War. Most of this early assistance was intended to alleviate the suffering of destitute veterans and their families. In 1887, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a prominent organization representing Civil War veterans, founded the Grand Army Home at King. This facility near Waupaca was eventually turned over to the State of Wisconsin and became the Wisconsin Veterans Home (WVH) at King. In August 2001, the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove opened. In 1901, the state honored Civil War veterans by establishing a GAR headquarters and museum in the State Capitol. In 1989, the Legislature authorized the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to build a new museum, honoring veterans from all wars, across the street from the Capitol. The award-winning Wisconsin Veterans Museum opened in 1993. In 1919, the state issued its only wartime bonus to Wisconsin veterans of World War I. In 1945, rather than issue a wartime bonus with little lasting value, the Legislature created programs that offered long-term benefits for state veterans and their families. To administer state veterans programs, the Legislature created the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs in 1945. The department was given the administrative responsibility for the Grand Army Home at King, the GAR Memorial Hall in the Capitol, the state’s economic and education assistance benefits for veterans, and other programs. It also assumed responsibility for segregated funds for veterans that were combined in 1961 to form the Veterans Trust Fund.
Today, the WDVA provides an array of benefits and services to eligible state veterans, and in some instances, veterans’ family members. For this purpose, we manage three distinct business processes: • Long Term Care at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes at King and Union Grove. • Benefits Programs and Services such as loans, grants, education and training assistance, Federal claims assistance, the Veterans Assistance Program for homeless veterans, Military Funeral Honors, the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemeteries at King, Union Grove and Spooner. • Public Education through the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at Madison, Volk Field and King. To deliver these benefits and services, the WDVA works in joint enterprise with a number of other agencies, most notably the county veterans service officers (CVSOs), the Department of Workforce Development, commercial lenders, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) and University and Technical College Systems.
Veterans receive the most up to date information on benefits from WDVA personnel. “Supermarkets” of veterans benefits are conducted at various locations around the state to inform veterans and their families of the benefits available to them from federal, state and local governments. Since 2000 WDVA has reached out to over 30,000 veterans and their families.
Looking Forward: Our Future Environment
How WDVA’s Environment Will Change The size of our military forces will remain roughly the same but the role of Reserve Components will continue to expand with an increase in activations and deployments. The rapid and violent pace of current military operations has introduced new needs for returning veterans. Reintegration issues to include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Blast Injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury. During the plan period, Wisconsin’s veteran population will age from roughly 60 to 62 on average and the number of veterans over 80 will actually increase. Structural fiscal pressures on Wisconsin’s state government will not abate for the foreseeable future. Effects of These Changes Need to reevaluate benefit eligibility for Guard members and other Reservists.
Need for increased outreach to get veterans suffering from these effects access to benefits and services. Need for simple and accessible modes of treatment for veterans and family members affected. Need to review future Long Term Care needs and internment service for Wisconsin’s veterans. Need to develop new relationships with enterprise partners so as to reduce duplication of services, achieve greater efficiency and reduced expenditures. Need to ensure solvency of the Veterans Trust Fund and Mortgage Loan Repayment Fund. Need to provide easier and more efficient access to services with a technically skilled workforce. Increased need for education and job training for veterans.
New information technology will become available for the delivery of services. Wisconsin will increasingly build a "new economy" based on technology.
On Memorial Day, 2006, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signs into law the Wisconsin GI Bill, expanding tuition benefits to qualifying veterans, as well as surviving spouses and children of those killed in the line of duty, offering them the benefit to get an education, tuition-free, at Wisconsin universities or technical colleges.
Looking Forward: Our Goals and Strategies
Leadership To lead the way with respect to veterans’ issues, we must persuasively communicate the veterans’ message through public education and advocacy of veterans’ issues. By law, we must undertake departmental initiatives consistent with the clear direction set by the Board of Veterans Affairs on issues vital to veterans. Communicate the WDVA mission and vision through a consistent, cohesive, compelling veteran’s message. Advocate for programs and services that meet veterans’ needs. Implement aggressive forms of outreach to ensure that Wisconsin veterans receive a full measure of the Federal benefits to which they are entitled. Capitalize on opportunities to expand programs and service for veterans. Testify before state and Federal legislative committees about issues affecting Wisconsin veterans. Provide for a suitable venue to build on our educational mission and sustain public support through innovative museum programs that explain the history of veteran contributions and the significance of their legacy to our state and nation. Sustain funding for Wisconsin Veterans Museum operations, exhibit upgrades, and infrastructure improvements as well as implement a distance learning program. Partnership To maximize our service delivery, we must act in partnership with other veterans service providers and State Agencies to include public and private institutions of higher learning. We must reinforce our partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by assuring that all Wisconsin veterans have undiminished access to USDVA programs. At the same time, we must continue to strengthen our relationship with County Veterans Service Officers, who are our partners in delivering services to veterans, and in fulfilling our statutory responsibility to assist Wisconsin veterans to obtain their Federal entitlements.
Continue to implement marketing and outreach plans that increase Federal healthcare, compensation and pension benefits for Wisconsin veterans. Continue to obtain all types of grants for partnership programs. Capitalize on opportunities to develop new and improved state veterans programs that meet the needs of veterans and are more efficient, cost effective and complement and supplement USDVA and other programs. Develop new and stronger partnerships with other state agencies including the Departments of Administration (DOA), Workforce Development (DWD), Health and Family Services (DHFS), Military Affairs (DMA), and Corrections (DOC) to serve veterans more effectively. Continue to partner with County Veterans Service Officers and Veterans Service Organizations to improve service delivery to veterans. Service To serve the veteran community, we must provide benefits and services that meet the needs of Wisconsin veterans now and in the future. We must make our current programs more accessible as we also provide new and/or enhanced programs as the need and the opportunity arise. We must also endeavor to expand the number of Wisconsin veterans eligible for WDVA benefits and services. Continue aggressive outreach and marketing efforts to permit Wisconsin veterans full access to their federal VA entitlements and to other federal and state benefits, programs and services. Complete planning, begin construction and operation and of new Long Term Care facilities at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Chippewa Falls to provide skilled nursing care, resident activities and community-based residential living facilities for veterans in northwest Wisconsin. Reorganize the Veterans Assistance Program to improve services provided for homeless and near-homeless veterans. Restructure the program to ensure that program outcome objectives incorporate proven best practices for homeless transitional services.
Provide easy access to reintegration and mental health services for veterans who are returning from the Global War on Terrorism. Provide enhanced customer service to Wisconsin veterans through expanded partnership, Web-based technology, and direct outreach service. Expand educational opportunities by partnering with the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College Systems and USDVA to provide education and transition service opportunities to veterans. Make education more affordable for veterans through state and federal programs for loans, grants, and remissions of education expenses. Coordinate approvals for school and educational courses to enhance the technical skills of veterans preparing them for the new economy. Meet the basic needs of our most needy veterans by providing bridges to USDVA healthcare benefits and by providing gap fillers when needed. Management To operate with the efficiency, innovation, and adaptability of a wellmanaged business, we must dedicate ourselves to the continuous improvement of our business processes and functions. We must dramatically improve our internal processing, cycle-time and quality of service delivery to veterans. We must accelerate the implementation of information technology for service delivery and for efficient operations. Finally, we must agilely reallocate resources to handle changing workloads. As planning for new initiatives materializes, reorganize work units to accommodate emerging program needs. Provide IT funding and staff to meet DOA infrastructure standards and to support growth in users and workstations and new program initiatives. Implement new or ongoing IT projects in the following areas: Enterprise Database, Internet and Intranet Development, Agency Scheduling and Timekeeping, Claims Tracking, Document Imaging, Veterans Home Resident Information, Electronic Charting, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Electronic and Wireless Charting Software, Member Care Monitoring, Accounts Receivable software, Cemetery Pre-Registration, Military Funeral Honors Administration, Departmental Forms Automation,
Primary Mortgage Loan Application Automation, Grants Application Automation, Loan Accounting Automation and On-Line Benefit Eligibility Determination. Provide funding for hardware and software to ensure access to remote databases and facilitate the flow of electronic information between partners using Web-based technology that is secure and protects veterans personal and sensitive data. Invest in the training and development of our employees. Strive for a highly motivated and empowered staff trained in strategic planning and automation methodologies. Enhance Veterans Homes training programs for newly hired care providers. Provide education grants to nursing students committed to working at the WVHs. Finance To act as stewards of the veterans’ community, we must preserve a solid base of financial resources. We must ensure that the Primary Mortgage Home Loan Program and the Veterans Trust Fund are fiscally sound and able to meet the current and future needs of veterans. We must seek new and enhanced flows of revenue for the Veterans Trust Fund. Furthermore, we must balance operating revenues and expenses at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes. Aggressively seek out federal funding and federal/state grants to broaden funding streams. Continue to implement a business plan to increase Veterans Trust Fund revenues and generate long-term fund solvency. Continue to implement a business plan to increase Primary Mortgage Loan fund revenues and generate long-term fund solvency to include evaluation of the impact of managing primary mortgage loan servicing in-house. Continue to maximize the use of Qualified Veteran Mortgage Bonds (QVMB) for mortgage loans and seek other forms of funds to make loans to veterans who are restricted from using QVMB proceeds.
Continue to seek new sources of revenue for the Veterans Trust Fund to include the formation of a Veterans Trust Foundation to solicit and manage large donations and investments from private donors. Revise the Personal Loan Program to enhance its revenues and usage. Analyze revenues and expenditures at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes at King and Union Grove to develop a plan to make the homes self-supporting with full consideration for new federal payment guidelines and administrative costs.
The Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove.
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs will continue its outstanding record of service to Wisconsin’s veterans throughout the plan period and beyond that in the future. We will ever care for those men and women who “have borne the battle.”
State of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
30 West Mifflin Street Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7843
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