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Breakthrough for Arizona Veterans

Location: Phoenix, AZ


State Creates New, Streamlined Care for Returning Troops

PHOENIX - Governor Janet Napolitano has announced a new agreement that will make it easier
for returning members of the Arizona National Guard to receive the benefits they deserve.
The Arizona Guard has been deployed worldwide since the beginning of the U.S. war on terror in
2001. Upon returning to the country, soldiers and airmen faced a lengthy medical review and
evaluation - at a time at which they were anxious to get home and see their families. Quite often,
returning members would choose to waive the medical review, thereby complicating delivery of
benefits they would later need.

Now, in a new, negotiated agreement between Arizona Guard, state and federal agencies and
private healthcare providers, members will be able to process quickly upon their return, capture
their benefits, and still see their families with minimal delay.

The agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding signed Sunday by representatives of the
Arizona National Guard, Arizona Department of Veterans' Services, U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, Arizona Department
of Economic Security, Arizona Veterans' Services Advisory Commission, TriWest Healthcare
Alliance Corporation, Unified Arizona Veterans and the U.S. Department of Labor.

"When Governor Napolitano was made aware of the problem, her reaction was quick and clear -
she wanted to improve the process for our service men and women," said Patrick Chorpenning,
Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services. "We began complicated talks that
involved a lot of time and a lot of agencies, but we got it done."

Governor Napolitano added, "When our troops return from overseas, sometimes from
deployments that have gone on for months, they deserve to be able to get home, and not be hung
up in bureaucracy. I'm glad we've been able to streamline the process for them and for their

The MOU details specific responsibilities for each of the signatory agencies before, during and
after a Guard deployment. The agreement also calls for support for families.

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