May 06, 2020

Chairman Takano Meets with PVA Executive Director Carl Blake to Discuss the Impact of COVID-19 on At-Risk Veterans

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)

Miguel R. Salazar

RIVERSIDE, CA – Last week, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke with Carl Blake, Paralyzed Veterans of America’s (PVA) Executive Director, to discuss concerns regarding access to caregivers and VA’s tightened restrictions for routine care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. See the full conversation with the Paralyzed Veterans of America here



Watch the full conversation here.


“I want to thank your membership for the leadership they’ve shown during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that many of your members have been leaders in their community in this regard and so from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the partnership that we have,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “VA is certainly ready to use this moment of expedited onboarding with its emergency authority to hire on more staff, and there are really qualified professionals out there. Together, we can be more encouraging and keep rooting them on to make sure that the Spinal Cord Injury Centers get the staff they need. Your members are an inspiration. To think about the challenges they face every day and rise even in a non-pandemic situation, in a non-combat situation-- they have a heroic stance and heroic attitude. Thank you so much for this time to talk together, Carl!” 

“The number one concern of our members has always been ensuring that they can get the care they need when they need it. The VA has tightened up their operations and put a lot of restrictions on what veterans can seek in terms of care. Our members have concerns about this tightening because they are the highest-end users of VA healthcare exclusively.” said PVA Executive Director Carl Blake.  “Second to that is the caregiver experience. Many of our members, while they get their care at the VA, also get their care from either a family caregiver or a paid personal care attendant. They have raised concerns about if their care attendant gets sick. But our members are resilient and they demonstrate as well as any cohort of the veteran populations what it takes to overcome serious challenges. For our membership this is just another challenge-- our members will be there to lead the way and show people there’s no challenge that can’t be overcome.” 

For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources for available for veterans, please visit: