Top 10 Veterans News Around the Country 2/12/10

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

  1. VA: Almost 90% Of New GI Bill Enrollments Paid Out.
  2. Field Hearings To Focus On Issues Facing Alaska Vets.
  3. Petzel Among “Slew” Of Nominees Confirmed By Senate.
  4. Memorial Service To Be Held In Texas For Charlie Wilson.
  5. New Veterans Cemetery To Open This Spring In Missouri.
  6. Even During Severe Weather, Funerals Continue At Arlington.
  7. VA To Offer PTSD Counseling Services On Flathead Reservation.
  8. Recruit Military Hosting Another Job Fair For Veterans In Florida.
  9. VA Roseburg To Co-Host Event Promoting Hiring Of Recent Veterans.
  10. After Receiving VA Help, Injured Vet Records Song To Give Others Hope.

VA is known for its commitment to innovative quality and safety programs and for the transparency of results they achieve. In 2008, VA issued its first comprehensive facility-level report of quality and safety data, reporting on care provided in inpatient and outpatient settings, quality of care within specific patient populations, and patient satisfaction and outcomes. Improved and re-issued in 2009, the report is a comprehensive snapshot of the quality of care VA provides. It points out areas of strengths and weaknesses in VA health care and is an honest attempt by VA to look at itself and to act on what it finds. Overall, it demonstrates that VA is providing excellent quality of care to the Veterans we serve. The measures in this quality report card are just a few of the many data sets VA to ensure that Veterans’ health outcomes improve. Raw data from both reports are published on data.gov to allow Veterans and the public to track changes, improvements in care, and the results of initiatives to address issues noted in previous reports. View the Report Card at Hospital Report Card

1.     VA: Almost 90% Of New GI Bill Enrollments Paid Out. The AP (2/12, Hefling) reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department is more efficiently cutting checks for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to attend college this semester, following a rocky rollout last fall that left veterans so cash-strapped there was concern some wouldn’t re-enroll. As of Feb. 5, nearly 90 percent of enrollments for the 167,000 veterans submitted to the VA for the Post-9/11 GI Bill had been paid out, the VA said.” Meanwhile, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki recently “told the House Veterans Affairs Committee that a more automated system to process new GI Bill claims will be implemented by December.” The Los Angeles Times (2/12, 776K) also covers this story, making it the second item in its “National Briefing”, as does the Chicago Tribune (2/12, 534K).

2.   Field Hearings To Focus On Issues Facing Alaska Vets. In continuing coverage, the Anchorage Daily News (2/12, 59K) reports, “Two field hearings in Alaska next week are planned to air issues facing the state’s veterans, including those exposed in a recent audit that found serious problems at the Anchorage office of the Veterans Affairs Department. The Daily News notes that the Anchorage office “said it has made improvements since” the audit.

3.   Petzel Among “Slew” Of Nominees Confirmed By Senate. CQ (2/12, Lesniewski) reports, “The Senate approved a slew of President Obama’s stalled nominees before departing” Thursday for the Presidents’ Day recess, “prompting signals from the White House that the move was enough to head off potential recess appointments next week.” CQ says one of the nominees confirmed was “Robert A. Petzel…to be undersecretary for health of the Department of Veterans Affairs.” The New York Times (2/12, A21, 1.09M) also notes Petzel’s confirmation, while the “Federal Eye” blog for the Washington Post (2/12, O’Keefe, 684K) reports, “Senators…confirmed several assistant, deputy and undersecretaries at the departments of Defense, Justice, Labor and Veterans Affairs.”

4.   Memorial Service To Be Held In Texas For Charlie Wilson. In continuing coverage, the AP (2/12) reports, “A memorial service for former” US Rep. Charlie Wilson “will be held Sunday in Texas.” Wilson, who “died Wednesday at the age of 76 in the eastern Texas town of Lufkin,” also “will receive a Feb. 23 graveside service with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.” The KWTX-TV Waco, TX (2/11) website also took note of the scheduled dates and locations for Wilson’s memorial and the funeral, as did the KTRE-TV Lufkin, TX, (2/11, Johnson) website, which focused most of its coverage on two friends reminiscing about Wilson.

5.   New Veterans Cemetery To Open This Spring In Missouri. On its website, KY3-TV Springfield, MO (2/11, Nelson) reported, “Not enough room is the reason for the state’s newest veterans’ cemetery, near Fort Leonard Wood,” which donated a “263 acre piece of land” to Missouri for the new facility. Fort Wood Cemetery, which “will be the fifth veterans’ cemetery in the state,” is “set to open in late spring.”

6.   Even During Severe Weather, Funerals Continue At Arlington. On its website, Fox News (2/12, Hlad) reported, “Arlington National Cemetery’s perfect rows of white gravestones were completely covered with snow by Wednesday afternoon, but funerals for America’s fallen servicemen and women,” including two killed in Afghanistan, continued. Fox added that according to cemetery spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst, the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, performed its duties throughout the severe weather.
Old Guard Remains At Post During Blizzards. At the end of a report it aired on problems created by recent snowfall, especially in Washington, DC,





NBC Nightly News (2/11, story 3, 3:00, Williams, 8.37M) also mentioned the Old Guard, saying that “through record-breaking blizzards, one routine remained constant” at Arlington National Cemetery, where the “Army’s Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns never left their post.”

7.   VA To Offer PTSD Counseling Services On Flathead Reservation. The Flathead Indian Nation’s Char-Koosta News (2/12, Azure, 4K) said the US Department of Veterans Affairs ” recently announced that it would offer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) counseling services on the Flathead Indian Reservation. According to W.J. ‘Buck’ Richardson, Minority Program Coordinator for the VA Rocky Mountain Network in Denver, the effort is part of the VA’s mission to bring its services to Indian reservations as well as other rural areas.” Richardson “will be on the Flathead Reservation Tuesday, Feb. 23 to inform veterans about the services.”

8.   RecruitMilitary Hosting Another Job Fair For Veterans In Florida. The St. Petersburg (FL) Times (2/12, Harrington) reports, “Veterans group RecruitMilitary is coming to Tampa to throw a job fair that it promises will draw several hundred job-seeking military veterans. Again. The RecruitMilitary Opportunity Expo will be held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts” on Thursday, “Feb. 18, just two months after the organization staged a similar expo at the same location.”

9.      VA Roseburg To Co-Host Event Promoting Hiring Of Recent Veterans. The Coos Bay (OR) World (2/12, 11K) reports the Veterans Affairs Roseburg Healthcare System “and Worksource Oregon invites coastal employers to an event designed to educate employers about hiring returning veterans. The talk will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, at the North Bend Public Library meeting room.” The World notes that during the event, “Dean Ehly, of the Roseburg VA, will discuss reintegration” and post-traumatic stress disorder issues, while Diane Yori-Rogers, also “of the Roseburg VA, will discuss supervising veterans.”

10.    After Receiving VA Help, Injured Vet Records Song To Give Others Hope. On its website, WTVF-TV Nashville, TN (2/11, Watson) said country music artist Stephen Cochran, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, “suffered an injury that left him paralyzed, but an experimental surgery at Nashville’s Veterans Affairs hospital saved his legs.” And now, he is “using music to give other vets hope.” According to WTVF, Cochran wrote a theme song, “titled ‘Hope'”, to be used as “backdrop for a new informational video” from the VA, which is “celebrating 85 years of research and development.”

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