Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

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From The VA
South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) in San Antonio, Texas, is among six organizations recognized by The Quality Texas Foundation for Achievement in Organizational Excellence for effective and systematic approaches to organizational management. South Texas is in good company with Raytheon and Baylor Medical Center among those recognized by the Foundation. The Quality Texas Foundation is a non-profit corporation focused on quality assessment and feedback, education, training, and recognition to help businesses, schools, hospitals, non-profits, and government agencies improve performance. The Foundation administers the Texas Award for Performance Excellence program (based on the Baldrige Criteria), the state’s highest recognition for quality.

Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News

  1. US inquiry finds problems at Prescott VA hospital Phoenix, Arizona – AP – A federal agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints has closed its probe of the VA Medical Center in Prescott after concluding that medical errors had occurred and the facility had suffered from understaffing of nurses and housekeepers. The Office of Special Counsel investigated problems in the hospital’s long-term care and hospice wards reported by a nurse who alleged that she was fired in 2008 because she complained that patients were suffering. The report found no evidence to support an illegal firing.
  2. The mission to bring veterans all the way home Providence, Rhode Island – Sometimes, says Eric Shinseki, he gets “the Heisman” when he talks to student veterans about the baggage they carry. The secretary of Veterans Affairs puts out a hand in the style of the football player on the Heisman Trophy. It is a gesture of pushing something or someone away. “Not me” the hand is saying. No baggage here.
  3. VA official says department is challenged to stay in touch with veterans Ventura, California – The biggest challenge facing the California Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to get in touch with the state’s 2.1 million veterans, a department official said Thursday. “We’ve got veterans from every ethnic group you can think of, every age group you can think of, male and female, stretched from El Centro and San Diego all the way up to the Oregon state line,” said J. P. Tremblay, the department’s deputy secretary for public affairs and legislation.
  4. 2nd Circuit Rules False Claims Act Suit Using FOIA Documents May Proceed New York, NY – A Vietnam veteran can sue under the False Claims Act for his employer’s failure to file or the filing of false claims under a statute geared to help veterans win jobs with government contractors, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. Addressing a case of first impression, the circuit said Daniel Kirk was not blocked by the act’s jurisdictional bar on suits using documents assembled during the preparation of government reports, hearings, audits or investigations.
  5. New law increases access to veterans’ services Iowa City, Iowa – With the eighth largest veterans’ population in the state, a new law that goes into effect July 1 will likely increase the number of people who use county Veterans Affairs services, officials said Thursday. Passed in the 2009 Legislative session, veterans from peace-time or war-time eras will now all be eligible for Veterans Affairs services as long as they meet the other criteria: completed basic training or boot camp, active duty, honorably discharged and meeting the 100 percent poverty level used by the Johnson County Veterans Affairs department.
  6. Waco VA building evacuated after chemical mix Waco, Texas – The Veterans Affairs building in Waco was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after chemicals were inappropriately mixed during a repair. Reportedly, an air-conditioning mechanic mixed freon with oil and a large amount of the mixture leaked into the air.
  7. Montana governor has new idea for cheaper drugs: the VA Helena, Montana – Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday that he has a new idea to get cheaper medicine for Montana — but it would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to directly undercut the pharmaceutical industry.
    Schweitzer sent the VA a letter asking it to resell to Montana pharmacies the medicine that Schweitzer says the federal agency gets at a steep discount directly from the pharmaceutical industry.
  8. Ohio vets deserve faster, fairer treatment Cincinnati, Ohio – If there’s one thing virtually all Americans agree on, it’s that we owe much to our military veterans. Unfortunately, when it comes to making good on that obligation, the systems in place can be slow and stingy – particularly in Ohio, it turns out. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ohio is near the bottom of the list of states in the speed with which veterans’ claims are handled and the amount of compensation they receive – 47th among the states, and 50th among the 54 districts, states and territories in which veterans get benefits.
  9. Veterans frustrated with pace of new hospital in Colorado Denver, Colorado – (AP) – Some veterans are frustrated by the pace of work on an $800 million Veterans Affairs hospital in Denver that is expected to be built to serve Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. Ralph Bozella, chairman of the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, said Wednesday that the site has been cleared for the 200-bed facility but delays in a federal audit have kept construction from starting.
    That could delay the full opening of the hospital by about four months, to May 2014, Bozella said. The opening date has been pushed back before.
  10. VA said to save $3 billion by using health IT Washington, DC – The Veterans Affairs Department saved a net $3 billion over the last decade by using health information technology to eliminate duplicate tests, and reduce medical errors and operating costs, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. From 1997 to 2007, the VA spent $4 billion on health IT systems. During that time, the savings achieved as a result of health IT systems totaled $7 billion, for a net savings of $3 billion, said the study published April 7.

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