Top 10 Veterans’ News From Around the Country

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

  1. 100 Boy Scouts Celebrating 100 Years.
  2. VA Facilities Honoring Hospitalized Vets.
  3. Synagogue Members Chip In For Veterans.
  4. Lincoln Square Couple Inspire Each Other’s Art.
  5. At VA Hospital, WWII Vets Honor Fallen Chaplains.
  6. Volunteers Make Valentine’s Day Cards VA Hospital Patients.
  7. Roseburg VA Administrators Deciding How To Best Serve Vets.
  8. Jesse Brown VAMC Cardiologists Offering New Heart Procedure.
  9. Vietnam Generation Begins To Fade As Death Rate Rises For War’s Veterans.
  10. Providence VA Women’s Veteran Program Offers Heart-Healthy Cooking Demo.

Have You Heard

President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal includes 20 cost-saving ideas submitted by federal employees; three from VA employees:
Allow Veterans to Keep Medication When They’re Discharged: The award-winning SAVE Award idea would allow veterans leaving VA medical facilities to keep leftover medications, including eye drops and inhalers. The plan would save taxpayers $14.5 million in the next four years.
Personal Computer Power Savings at VA: The department will save $32.5 million over four years by using energy efficient software, including systems that will make laptops “hibernate” when not in use to save battery power. VA has more than 300,000 personal computers.
Oracle Enterprise License Agreement: VA will award one Oracle ELA (Enterprise License Agreement) to consolidate all of the existing Oracle software programs currently owned by the Department. The plan should save $117.75 million over four years.

1.      Agents: Vets May Not Realize They Qualify For Agent Orange-Related Benefits. In continuing coverage, the Milford (MA) Daily News (2/8, Studley, 8K) reports, “Area veterans agents say Vietnam vets suffering from Parkinson’s disease, some types of leukemia and heart disease may not realize they now qualify for service-related benefits” related to Agent Orange exposure. Following “an independent study last year by the Institute of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced recently vets with Parkinson’s disease, B cell leukemias and ischemic heart disease, among other illnesses, may now qualify for disability compensation and health care benefits for their service in Vietnam.” The “newly recognized illnesses join a list of diseases that includes lung cancer, prostate cancer and Hodgkin’s disease, among others.”
In a related op-ed, Troy (NY) Record (2/8) Kathleen M. Jimino, a Rensselaer County executive, wrote, “Recently, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs…revised a number of their policies that could have significant impact on the lives of Vietnam veterans and their family members. These changes,” including the expanding of the “list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange,” are “clear examples of why veterans should from time to time check in with their local veterans service agency to make sure that as their health changes or when changes” in VA “policies occur the benefits the veteran is entitled to are applied for and received.”

2.      Congress Moves To Prod VA On Improving Service To Female Vets.strong> The Los Angeles Times (2/8, Perry, 776K) reports, “Moves are underway in both houses of Congress to prod” the Department of Veterans Affairs, a “massive organization that has historically been dedicated to the treatment of men, to improve service to female veterans. VA officials say they have gotten the message.” For example, Patricia Hayes, “chief consultant for the Women’s Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare Group at the VA, said four-day seminars are being held nationwide with the goal of training 1,200 employees to become specialists in women’s health issues.”

3.      Lawmaker, Businessman Discuss Rural Vets’ Needs.The Silver City (NM) Sun-News (2/8, 8K) reports US Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM) “and local health care administrator Charlie Alfero recently participated” in a US House Veterans Affairs Committee “roundtable discussion about the needs of New Mexico’s rural veterans.” Teague “invited Alfero, CEO of Hidalgo Medical Services, to participate in the ‘Meeting the Unique Health Care Needs of Rural Veterans’ roundtable. Hidalgo Medical Services provides primary medical, dental, mental health, family support and economic development services in Hidalgo and Grant counties.”

4.      West Virginia Vets Upset About Agency Status, Budget Cuts.The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail (2/8, Gavin) reports, “West Virginia veterans groups are fighting for better access to Gov. Joe Manchin and against proposed budget cuts they say would hit military families at the worst possible time.” According to the Daily Mail, a bill “pending in the state Senate calls for elevating the state Division of Veterans Affairs to its own department headed by a cabinet-level secretary.” Manchin, however, “considers the bureaucratic change an unnecessary expansion of government.”

5.      VA Hospital Co-Conducting Spinal Cord Injury Study.The Deseret (UT) Morning News (2/8, Moore) says researchers at Intermountain Medical Center (IMC) are “hoping to eventually help improve the quality of life for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury with a unique study of newly injured patients.” The study at IMC is “being conducted in conjunction with researchers” at the Veterans Affairs hospital “in the Bronx, N.Y. Both hospitals hope to enroll spinal cord patients who would participate in regular examination of their blood, muscles, heart, lung function and other body processes to give researchers a better understanding of what happens outside…changes in the central nervous system.”





6.      Claims Deadline For Filipino Vets Approaching Soon.The Philippine Star (2/8, 260K) reports, “All claims from Filipino WWII veterans for benefits created by the 2009 Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 must be received by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) by February 16, 2010.” These one-time payments were made available when the ARRA was passed” by the US Congress and “signed by President Obama in February 2009.” The lead item in “The Consul General’s Corner” for Guam’s Pacific Daily News (2/8, Palala) also notes the deadline.
7.      VFW Focused On Improving VA Claims System.The lead item in the “Veterans’ Journal” column for the Providence (RI) Journal (2/8, Reilly) noted, “Following a federal investigation” of the US Department of Veterans Affairs “in March 2009, the VA’s inspector general released a report stating that one-fourth of VA claim files, or roughly 200,000 files, contain errors,” and that the wait time on claims decisions and appeals of those decisions can take quite some times. But, according to the Journal, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) “recently announced that improving the VA claims system would become a top congressional legislative priority for them in 2010. ‘We envision a day when a veteran gets their claim done correctly the first time within a reasonable time frame,’ said Eric Hilleman, director of the VFW’s legislative service,” who added, “We are working with the VA and Congress to find constructive ways to address the shortcomings of the system.”

8.      Serving Veterans.In continuing coverage, the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal (2/8) editorializes, “We applaud” the plans by the US Department of Veterans Affairs “to place a branch clinic in the Marketplace Mall…in Winston-Salem.” The Journal also praises the “medical center in Salisbury and the VA clinic on Kimel Park Drive in Winston-Salem,” saying both facilities “provide generally good service.”

9.      Planning Underway For 2011 National Veterans Wheelchair Games.The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (2/7, Fuoco, 223K) reported, “Planning has already begun for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games that will be held in Pittsburgh in August 2011. Billed as the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world, it is expected to draw more than 500 athletes and thousands of others to the Steel City.” The event is “co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America with financial assistance from corporate, civic and veterans’ service organizations.”
10.    Yoga Instructor Reaching Out To Iraq, Afghanistan Vets.The Grand Junction (CO) Free Press (2/8, Sullivan, 15K) profiles Tim Withee, a Vietnam vet who “believes he has something to offer veterans returning from modern-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Withee teaches a form of yoga called Kundalini, every Monday from 5-6:30 p.m. at Fairmount Hall, 2511 N. 12th St. The class is open to anyone,” but Withee is “reaching out especially to veterans.”

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