Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country 1-20-10

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Find out What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans

  1. Florida Vets Look To Congress For Help With Claims Backlog, Survivor Benefits. 
  2. VA Researchers Say They Have Discovered Way To More Reliably Diagnose PTSD. 
  3. Vietnam Vet Attempts To Help Others With PTSD. 
  4. VLER Contract Announcements Made By VA. 
  5. VA Contracts With Non-Profit For Vets’ Long-Term Care. 
  6. TRICARE Increasing Social Media Presence. 
  7. VA Hospital In DC To Host Event For Homeless Veterans. 
  8. Lutz VAMC Implementing Transportation Initiative. 
  9. Volunteers Visit Hospitalized Vets On MLK Day. 
  10. Report: Claims Mismanaged By VA Office. 

 


HAVE YOU HEARD?
Sumner G. Whittier, Administrator of Veterans Affairs (head of VA) from 1957-61, died January 8, 2010, at age 98. The World War II Navy veteran led the VA under President Eisenhower and later served with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore where he worked until age 80. VA’s construction budget ballooned during Whittier’s tenure as facilities were modernized and VA began exploring the potential of computers with the acquisition of its first electronic processing systems. Whittier also championed the adoption of Lincoln’s quote – “… to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” – as VA’s official motto and had it inscribed on plaques placed at the entrance to VA Central Office.


 1.      Florida Vets Look To Congress For Help With Claims Backlog, Survivor Benefits. The Tallahassee (FL) Democrat (1/20, Jansen) reports, “Florida veterans are urging Congress to shorten the backlog for disability claims and to eliminate an overlap” in retirement and disability benefits for survivors of deceased veterans. On Wednesday, “advocacy groups will raise” their concerns “at a roundtable” with the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

2.      VA Researchers Say They Have Discovered Way To More Reliably Diagnose PTSD. The St. Paul (MN) Pioneer-Press (1/20, Olson) reports researchers “affiliated with” the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Minnesota “say they may know how to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder much more reliably – a breakthrough that could help many Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans,” but the “diagnosis comes through a magnetic imaging machine that costs in the millions and only exists now in 40” or so US “hospitals and research facilities.”

3.      Vietnam Vet Attempts To Help Others With PTSD. On its website, KXRM-TV Colorado Springs, CO (1/19, Welte) reported, “Experts say many combat veterans will suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetimes and…the key to dealing with and overcoming PTSD is talking with people who understand.” One such person is Donald Griggs, a Vietnam vet who went to a Veterans Affairs “clinic in Denver” for his PTSD and is now part of the “Faith Community Education Collaborative began, an initiative among faith-based communities to help soldiers suffering from PTSD.”

4.      VLER Contract Announcements Made By VA. Government Health IT (1/20, Mosquera) says the Department of Veterans Affairs recently “made a set of contract announcements that gets the ball rolling on its joint venture with the Defense Department to build a lifetime electronic benefits and health record for military service members and their families. The contracts set up management services for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) project,” as “well as solicit firms to evaluate communities where” the project “could be tested.” 

5.      VA Contracts With Non-Profit For Vets’ Long-Term Care. The last item in the Bergen County (NJ) Record‘s (1/18) “Non-Profit Events” section noted that Christian Health Care Adult Day Services of Wyckoff, New Jersey, “has entered into a contract with the Veterans Administration to become an authorized medical adult-day program for veterans in Bergen and Passaic counties needing long-term care services.” 

6.      TRICARE Increasing Social Media Presence. The final item in Federal News Radio‘s (1/20) “Daily Debrief” reports, “TRICARE is taking the plunge into social media to uncover what issues matter most to its beneficiaries.” The “deputy director of the TRICARE Management Activity said in a press release that TRICARE is already active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, and is getting ready to launch a new media center Web page in March 2010.”

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7.      VA Hospital In DC To Host Event For Homeless Veterans. According to the second item in the Washington Times‘ (1/20, Fales) “Sgt. Shaft” column, the “Sarge is looking forward to attending the Winterhaven Homeless Veterans Stand Down, an “annual event hosted” by the Veterans Affairs medical center in Washington, DC. This year, the event will be held “on Jan. 23, 2010.”

8.      Lutz VAMC Implementing Transportation Initiative. The Gaylord (MI) Herald Times (1/20) notes that the Aleda E. Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center “in Saginaw is implementing” a Rural Health Transportation Initiative that “will provide round-trip veteran transportation from the Gaylord Community Based Outpatient Clinic” in Gaylord “to the VA medical centers in Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Detroit.” 

9.      Volunteers Visit Hospitalized Vets On MLK Day. The St. Petersburg (FL) Times (1/20, Castillo) says “about 300 volunteers,” including some who “rode a bus” to the Veterans Affairs medical center “at Bay Pines to visit hospitalized” veterans, “heeded the call to serve others during Largo’s MLK Day of Good Deeds.”

10.    Report: Claims Mismanaged By VA Office. On its website, WSLS-TV Roanoke, VA (1/19, Leamon) noted, “A federal Office of Inspector General report claims employees with Roanoke’s regional office of veteran’s affairs mismanaged several disability claims.” The report “claims many of the errors have been either corrected or in the process of being corrected.”
     File Cabinets Said To Be A Safety Concern. A separate story on the WSLS (1/20, Hatcher) website also covered the report, which took note of weight concerns at Roanoke’s Poff Federal Building, where the VA office is located. In his response to the “report by the Va’s Inspector General,” William Nicholas, director of the Roanoke office, “said 40 to 60 percent of the file cabinets would be moved from the Poff Building to an off-site storage facility.” WFXR-TV Roanoke, VA (1/19, 10:06 p.m. ET) also aired a report on this story.

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