Find out What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans
- VA Announces Expansion Of IT Program Management, Accountability System.
- Shinseki Among Those Asked To Choose Official For Healthcare IT Task Force.
- Hiring to expand veterans’ services: Q&A with W. Scott Gould, Deputy Sec of VA
- Committees Praised For Helping To Pass Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act.
- Duckworth Says She Does Not Want To Be Considered For Lt. Governor Post.
- Chief Justice “Startled” By Poor Government Performance In Veteran Appeal Cases.
- VA Doctor “Not Surprised” By Study Questioning Value Of Anti-Clotting Drug Tests.
- Colorado Lawmakers Ask VA To Support Quick Approval For New Fisher House.
- Commission Votes To Allow New Orleans VA Hospital Project To Move Forward.
- Veteran Calls For Rehab Hospital In Louisiana.
Have You Heard
The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor re-launched a new and improved Web site for our wounded warriors this week — the National Resource Directory (NRD). This directory (www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov) provides access to thousands of services and resources at the national, state and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. The NRD is a comprehensive online tool available nationwide for wounded, ill and injured servicemembers, Veterans and their families. The NRD includes extensive information for Veterans seeking resources on VA benefits, including disability benefits, pensions for Veterans and their families, VA health care insurance and the GI Bill. It also includes information for caregivers including how to find emotional, financial and community assistance. The site includes a specialized section on homeless assistance. The site offers information on programs and benefits designed to help homeless Veterans and servicemembers live as independently as possible. The NRD’s design and interface is simple, easy-to-navigate and intended to answer the needs of a broad audience of users within the military, Veteran and caregiver communities. Other features include a fast, accurate search engine; a “bookmark and share” capability that allows NRD users to spread the word about valuable resources on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites; and a news feature with updates on relevant information and events.
1. VA Announces Expansion Of IT Program Management, Accountability System.NextGov (2/24, Brewin) reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department announced on Tuesday that it will apply a strict development program that was originally designed for only information technology projects that are severely behind schedule and over budget to all of its IT programs.” NextGov notes that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki commented on the expansion of the program management and accountability system, saying, “We will end projects that don’t work, streamline those that do, and focus on the responsibility we have for achieving maximum value for our veterans.” The “Fedline” blog for the Federal Times (2/24, Neal, 40K) also covers this story.
Baker: Flat IT Budget Request “More Than Adequate.” Federal Computer Week (2/24, Lipowicz, 90K) reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department’s information technology budget may be flat in fiscal 2011, but it is more than adequate for fulfilling the VA’s IT priorities, Roger Baker, the VA’s chief information officer, told” the House Veterans Affairs Committee during a budget hearing on Tuesday. Federal Computer Week adds that VA is “slowing deployment of its Financial and Logistics Integrated Technology Enterprise program. ‘We are being very careful on FLITE; we have slowed it down substantially,'” said Baker.
2. Shinseki Among Those Asked To Choose Official For Healthcare IT Task Force.In continuing coverage, InformationWeek (2/24, Montalbano) reports, “The Obama administration has called for a government-wide task force to coordinate efforts to implement its plans for a healthcare IT system. An Office of Management and Budget memo proposes the development of a Health Information Technology (HIT) Task Force to ‘facilitate implementation of the President’s HIT agenda through better coordination among Federal agencies involved.'” The memo, “which was addressed” to numerous Administration officials, including Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, “asks each of the officials who received the memo to choose a senior policy official from his or her respective group to participate in the task force.”
3. Hiring to expand veterans’ services: Q&A with W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Washington Post (2/24) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022204601.html US Sen. Daniel Akaka, the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, “has received correspondence from veterans who were unable to receive financial assistance under the previous rules, and plans to share their information with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.”
5. Duckworth Says She Does Not Want To Be Considered For Lt. Governor Post.In continuing coverage, the AP (2/24) reports, “Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth doesn’t want to be considered for lieutenant governor. Quinn said Duckworth told him Tuesday she will keep her job” at the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
UPI (2/24) and the Chicago Tribune (2/24, Garcia, 534K) publish similar stories, as does the Chicago Sun-Times (2/24, Pallasch, Sweet, 292K), which says, “Quinn had been in Washington over the weekend for the National Governors Association meeting and he met with Duckworth…to talk about” the lieutenant governor position.
The WBBM-TV Chicago, IL (2/23) website noted that a “source close” to Duckworth “said Duckworth…wants to stand by her commitment to President Barack Obama” and the VA. The WLS-TV Chicago, IL (2/23) website and the “Federal Eye” blog for the Washington Post (2/24, O’Keefe, 684K) also note Duckworth’s decision. WPSD-TV Carterville, IL (2/23, 10:19 p.m. CT), WSIL-TV Carterville, IL (2/23, 10:07 p.m. CT), WMBD-TV Peoria, IL (2/23, 10:03 p.m. CT), WMAQ-TV Chicago, IL (2/23, 6:06 p.m. CT), and WEEK-TV Peoria, IL (2/23, 6:06 p.m. CT) also aired reports on this story.
6. Chief Justice “Startled” By Poor Government Performance In Veteran Appeal Cases.The National Law Journal (2/24, Coyle) notes that when US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was listening to “oral arguments Monday in Astrue v. Ratliff, an attorney fee case under the Equal Access to Justice Act,” he “found ‘startling’ information with which lawyers for veterans are only too familiar: In litigating with veterans, the government more often than not takes a position that is substantially unjustified.” However, Bart Stichman, “co-executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program,” said he was not surprised by the information because his organization has been complaining for years that the “quality of decision-making” at the US Court of Appeals for Veterans is “not very good.”
7. VA Doctor “Not Surprised” By Study Questioning Value Of Anti-Clotting Drug Tests.HealthDay (2/24, Edelson) reports, “Tests that try to single out who will have bleeding problems when they get a clot-preventing drug such as Plavix before surgery aren’t ready for regular use, a new Dutch study concludes.” The conclusion of the study, published “in the Feb. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association,” did “not surprise” US doctors “who have studied the issue. ‘For my purposes, these tests are research tools,’ said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, chief of cardiology” at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, “and a member of a group” of US “cardiologists who said pretty much the same thing in a 2008 statement.”
8. Colorado Lawmakers Ask VA To Support Quick Approval For New Fisher House. In continuing coverage, the Denver Post (2/24, Robles, 282K) notes that on Monday, “members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the secretary of veterans affairs asking for support for quick approval to build a new Fisher House in Aurora, next to the new VA medical center that’s set to open” at the beginning of 2014. The “goal is to have the Fisher House open at the same time.”
9. Commission Votes To Allow New Orleans VA Hospital Project To Move Forward.On its website, WWL-TV New Orleans, LA (2/23, Moore) reported, “The New Orleans City Planning Commission took the first step toward giving the state and the feds the green light to build a new” Veterans Affairs hospital. On Tuesday, the commission “voted 6-1 to turn over the sections of streets inside the footprint to the state so that the project moves forward.” WWL noted, however, that “opponents said they didn’t get enough of a chance to speak about the plans at Tuesday’s public hearing.”
The New Orleans Times-Picayune (2/24, Barrow, 169K) reports, “Amid cries from residents accusing the New Orleans City Planning Commission of being a rubber stamp, commissioners voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve the eventual closure of Mid-City streets within the footprint of a planned” VA hospital. Tuesday’s hearing “comes as an Orleans Parish court considers a lawsuit asserting that Mayor Ray Nagin exceeded his authority when he signed a November 2007 deal with the VA promising to give the federal government the land in ‘construction ready’ condition.”
10. Veteran Calls For Rehab Hospital In Louisiana.In an op-ed for the Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser (2/24, 37K), Link Savoie, “a past state commander of the Louisiana VFW,” says that as US Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has “pointed out, ‘invisible wounds’ of the mind are just as debilitating as physical wounds sustained on the battlefield.” Savoie adds, “I would like to remind the Department of Defense that since research indicates that the larger number of long-term hospitalized soldiers are from the South,” this “should justify some consideration for locating a veterans specialty rehab. hospital in the South. Louisiana should be considered for this rehab hospital due to the fact that it leads with the most wounded and amputations.”