Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country


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

  1. Shinseki Looking To Reduce Procurement Spending.
  2. VA Planning To Expedite Agent Orange Claims Process.
  3. Utah Vets To Launch Campaign For Nursing Home.
  4. Veterans Job Fair Held In Wisconsin.
  5. Bids For Vets Cemetery In Louisiana To Be Opened This Summer.
  6. VA Studying PTSD In Vietnam Era Women Vets.
  7. Stimulus To Fund Women’s Health Center, Infrastructure Upgrades At Bath VAMC.
  8. Hollywood Stars Welcome WWII Vets To Memorial.
  9. Official: VA Has Developed Prototype For Next Generation Of VistA.
  10. Obama To Donate Biggest Portion Of Nobel Prize Money To Fisher House.

Have You Heard
The Madison , Wis. , VA Medical Center is the latest of a growing list of VA hospitals recognized for excellence in nursing services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center ’s prestigious Magnet Status designation. “About five to six percent of all hospitals nationally have received this designation,” said Becky Kordahl, a nurse executive for the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in an interview with the Freeport Journal-Standard. “It’s a very prestigious award and we’re proud of it. The message it sends to our veterans is that we’re delivering quality care.” The Madison VA Medical Center joins VA medical centers in Tampa , Fla. , Portland , Ore. , Houston , Texas and Atlanta as the only VA facilities to earn the designation. The American Nurses Credentialing Center ’s Magnet Recognition Program awards health care organizations that provide quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practices. In order to receive Magnet recognition, a facility must undergo a rigorous evaluation process and provide extensive documentation related to patient outcomes, facility data, and more. Facilities achieving Magnet status consistently outperform other facilities in recruiting and retaining nurses, and the status becomes an “attractive force” in recruiting high caliber staff.

1.      Shinseki Looking To Reduce Procurement Spending. In continuing coverage, the last item in “Thursday Morning Federal Newscast” on the Federal News Radio (3/11) website said Eric Shinseki, secretary of the US Veterans Affairs Department, which “has been plagued by late delivery of new systems to support” veterans’ claims, “wants to reduce the department’s procurement spending by $2 billion dollars using a series of management reforms.” On Wednesday, Shinseki “told House lawmakers he hopes to establish a more centralized approach to acquisition. Shinseki also requested authority to establish eight new deputy assistant secretary slots to oversee strategy, product development, program management, IT performance and IT operations.”

2.      VA Planning To Expedite Agent Orange Claims Process. In continuing coverage, Government Technology (3/12, Wilkinson) reports, “In what’s being touted as a major step to better serve Vietnam veterans,” the US Department of Veterans Affairs “is planning to expedite the claims process for those with illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure.” This week, the department “announced…a new initiative to solicit private-sector input on a proposed fast-track claims process for ‘service-connected presumptive illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.'” Government Technology notes that in a press release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “With the latest, fastest and most reliable technology, VA hopes to migrate the manual processing of these claims to an automated process that meets the needs of today’s veterans in a more timely manner.”

3. Utah Vets To Launch Campaign For Nursing Home.The Deseret (UT) Morning News (3/12, Sandness) reports, “Retired military veterans” in Cedar City, Utah, “are holding a Town Hall meeting Friday to launch a public campaign for a Veterans’ Assistance nursing home. Marine Corps veteran Chuck Hoepfner recently told the City Council that the $17 million project would be a 110-bed nursing home on a six- to eight-acre lot; however, the project needs more community and financial support for it to become reality.” According to the Morning News, the US Department of Veterans Affairs “will provide 35 Percent of the costs for a nursing home in southern Utah, either for Cedar City or St. George, but not both locations,” and the “rest of the funds will be covered by the state.”

4.      Veterans Job Fair Held In Wisconsin. WKOW-TV Madison, WI (3/11, 5:07 p.m. CT) broadcast that on Thursday, the city of Madison “played host to Wisconsin’s first veterans job fair of the year.” After noting that the fair was held at Edgewood College, WKOW added, “The Department of Workforce Development joined with Military Affairs, Veterans Affairs, and the American Legion to create 18 job fairs across the state in the next seven months.”

5.      Bids For Vets Cemetery In Louisiana To Be Opened This Summer. The Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (3/12, Morgan, 30K) reports, “Bids are set to be opened June 15 for construction of the planned veterans cemetery adjacent to Fort Polk, Louisiana Veterans Affairs Secretary Lane Carson said Wednesday. Carson was in Alexandria as part of an outreach program to meet with local parish officials and talk about veterans’ benefits programs with Central Louisiana Veterans Affairs service officers.” The Talk notes that in “addition to discussing the cemetery, which Carson said is anticipated by many veterans, state officials emphasized that 37,000 veterans received $640 million in compensation and pensions in 2009.”

6.      VA Studying PTSD In Vietnam Era Women Vets.Th e WNBC-TV New York, NY (3/11, Cergol) website said that this year, after lobbying by Vietnam vet Joan Furey for a “large scale study of women” and post-traumatic stress disorder, the Department of Veterans Affairs “finally” agreed to “study ten thousand Vietnam era women veterans — the largest study of its kind. ‘Women are impacted more severely than men when it comes to how they function,’ said Dr.G. Krishnamoorthy, the head of the Northport VA’s PTSD program.” WNBC added that the “hope” of the VA study is that “data collected…will help women vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

7.      Stimulus To Fund Women’s Health Center, Infrastructure Upgrades At Bath VAMC. The Corning (NY) Leader (3/12, Elk, 13K) reports, “The Bath VA Medical Center has received approximately $8.5 million in federal stimulus funds, which will be used for a new women’s health center and infrastructure upgrades, officials announced Thursday. The women’s health center, which will cost approximately $250,000,” is “expected to be completed in 2011. ‘We are focusing our attention on the expanding number of female veterans returning home and the importance of this center to provide quality care for those we serve,’ said David West,” the hospital’s director.
In his “Roger That” column for the Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette (3/12, 22K), Roger Neumann writes, “To prepare for an expected spike in the number of female veterans needing care, and to better serve the women already receiving care,” the Bath Veterans Affairs Medical Center “is building a new women’s health center that’s expected to open next year.” Neumann notes that other stimulus money allocated to the hospital will fund an upgrade of the electrical system and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in two separate hospital buildings.

8.      Hollywood Stars Welcome WWII Vets To Memorial. The AP (3/12, Zongker) reports, “Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Elizabeth Dole welcomed 250 veterans to the World War II memorial Thursday to honor their service and introduce” a Home Box Office (HBO) “TV miniseries on the battles of the Pacific. HBO and a nonprofit group brought the veterans to Washington to mark the premiere of a 10-part series called The Pacific,” which “begins Sunday and focuses on the lives of US Marines fighting the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor.” CNN’s The Situation Room (3/11, 7:57 p.m. ET) and MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews (3/11, 7:46 p.m. ET) aired similar reports.
This story was also covered by TV Guide (3/12, Abrams, 2.93M),the Boston Globe (3/12, 325K) website, and the website for ABC News (3/12, Dwyer), which said Spielberg and Hanks attended Thursday’s “event with Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs W. Scott Gould,” and by the “Lifeline Live” blog for USA Today (3/12, Oldenburg, 2.11M). The blog noted that on Thursday night, Hanks and Spielberg would be “previewing The Pacific for the president and Mrs. O at the White House and various military brass,” a point also made by the Huffington Post (3/12) and by Vanity Fair (3/12, 1.15M) editorial assistant Bill Bradley.
In a review, the Wall Street Journal (3/12, Smith, 2.08M) says that even “those who know already that the Pacific theater was like no other in the war may be shocked by the harrowing combat re-created” in the HBO miniseries. The Charleston (SC) Post And Courier (3/12, Kropf), meanwhile, says “Some local World War II Pacific vets said they had no idea their story was coming to TV.”

9.      Official: VA Has Developed Prototype For Next Generation Of VistA. Federal Computer Week (3/12, Lipowicz, 90K) reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department has developed a prototype Web-based electronic health record system named Aviva as the next generation of its two-decade-old Veterans Health Information System Architecture (VistA) medical record system, according to a senior official. The Aviva working prototype was delivered on Jan. 4 with access to VA and Defense Department data, new search functionalities not found in VistA and a ‘scalable and reusable foundation,’ Peter Levin, chief technology officer for the VA, said in a presentation” this past Monday “to a workgroup of the Health and Human Services Department’s Health IT Standards Committee. Aviva is designed to be modular and to allow for health data exchange through HHS’ Nationwide Health Information Network.”

10.    Obama To Donate Biggest Portion Of Nobel Prize Money To Fisher House. The CBS Evening News (3/11, story 8, 0:20, Couric, 6.1M) broadcast, “When President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, he said he would be donating the nearly $1.5 million that comes with it to charity.” On Thursday, he “said the biggest share, $250,000, will go to Fisher House, which helps veteran’s families.”
ABC World News (3/11, story 7, 0:25, Sawyer, 8.2M) broadcast that Obama is “splitting…$1.4 million among ten charities, including Fisher House, which provides housing for families of wounded service members and veterans.” NBC Nightly News (3/11, story 9, 0:40, Williams, 8.37M) aired a similar report, as did KITV-TV Honolulu, HI (3/11, 10:16 p.m. HT) and numerous other local TV in various parts of the country.
According to the AP (3/11), Fisher House “provides housing for families with loved ones at Veterans Administration hospitals,” a point also made briefly by the New York Times (3/12, Cooper, 1.09M) and the Washington Post (3/12, Wilson, 684K). Bloomberg News (3/12, Brower), Reuters (3/12), the Washington Times (3/12, Harper, 77K), the San Antonio (TX) Express-News (3/12, Huddleston),”Washington Wire”, a blog for the Wall Street Journal (3/12, 2.08M), “44”, a Washington Post (3/12, Wilson, 684K) blog, “Top Of The Ticket”, a Los Angeles Times (3/12, 776K) blog, the “Blog Briefing Room” on the website for The Hill (3/12, O’Brien, 21K), “Politico 44”, a blog on the Politico (3/12, 25K) website, “The Two-Way”, an NPR (3/12, James) blog, and Politics Daily (3/11) also note the money donated to Fisher House by Obama.

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