Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

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From The VAFact: Nine out of 10 Veterans have never been tested for HIV. That’s going to change! Every year, the U.S. marks June 27 as National HIV Testing Day. This year, VA is going one better. We’re having VA HIV Testing Week, June 27–July 3. The week will kick off a sustained effort to increase HIV testing throughout VHA, with a goal of diagnosing those Veterans with HIV and providing them with the care they need. We all know that HIV testing saves lives. It’s as cost-effective as screening for colon cancer or diabetes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends making HIV testing part of routine medical care. So does the American College of Physicians. And so does VA—routine voluntary HIV testing is now official VA policy. Therefore, we’re not trying to just increase testing for a week. We’re shooting much higher. We want to make HIV testing a clinical reflex in VA. Why? To minimize the number of Veterans in VA care with undiagnosed HIV infection, last August VA removed the requirements for written informed consent and scripted pre-test counseling before HIV testing. Patients now just receive a short educational pamphlet and give verbal consent. With these barriers removed, the rest is up to you. The VA encourages all Veterans in VA health care to participate in voluntary HIV testing.

Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News

  1. VA Secretary Announces New Hotline for Homeless Veterans Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the establishment of a new telephone hotline to provide emergency support and resources to homeless Veterans. He made the announcement as he toured the facility at the VA medical center in Canandaigua. “It is unacceptable for a single Veteran to spend the night on the streets of America,” said Shinseki. “The hotline of the new National Call Center for Homeless Veterans will provide homeless Veterans with caring, timely assistance and coordinated access to VA and community services.”
  2. VA now requires PTCB certification for pharmacy technicians employed at grade GS-6 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now requires Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification for VA pharmacy technicians employed at grade GS-6 and above. VA’s decision came after formal recommendations from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and is reflected in the VA Handbook 5005/15.
  3. VA hospitals: A model system Much of the opposition to government-run health care is that it limits choices and often shuts out the free enterprise system. But “government-run” need not imply poor quality. In fact, the Veterans Administration medical system is an entirely government-run operation. Doctors are paid salaries and hospitals are run by the government.
  4. Government is living up to a promise to veterans They were cheered at parades, and their fallen comrades were honored at wreath-laying ceremonies. But now that the Memorial Day celebrations are a few days gone, veterans might be wondering: What have you done for me lately? This is a good time to ask. Next Wednesday marks six months since President Obama issued an executive order calling on the federal government to increase its hiring of vets.
  5. An electronic health record that builds on veterans’ system Electronic health records are poised to move from few-and-far-between doctors’ offices to more of a mass-market phenomenon, thanks to robust financial incentives in the 2009 economic stimulus package that kick in next year. But as doctors and hospitals look to install digital networks that talk to each other, they also have to protect doctor-patient communication, not to mention patient privacy.
  6. VA Medical Center reaches out to women Women now make up 15 percent of the nation’s military, with many serving in combat situations. Yet Pat Conroy, women veterans program manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Plains Township, said not all women vets are aware that they might be eligible for programs at the center.
  7. Vouchers put homeless veterans into housing The federal government is allocating 25 rental assistance vouchers worth $173,064 to help get local homeless veterans and their families into stable housing. The vouchers, awarded Thursday by HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Authority, are part of a $58.6 million national program targeted to house homeless veterans.
  8. Merlin Awarded Application Development Contract From the Department of Veterans Affairs Merlin International the leading IT solutions provider to the U.S. Federal Government, today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded the company a fixed price contract to build the user interface into the image repository of electronic claims and evidence within the Virtual Regional Office (VRO).
  9. Gov. Launches Operation Welcome Home for California’s Veterans Building on his commitment to strengthen employment, economic opportunities and services for California’s veterans and their families, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today launched Operation Welcome Home, a first-in-the-nation, statewide campaign to connect every returning veteran with the services they need to transition successfully from the battlefront to the home front.
  10. Industry team to monitor some VA IT programs The Veterans Affairs Department has contracted with a team led by High Performance Technologies Inc. (HPTi) to help evaluate and monitor the Veterans Relationship Management information technology programs under a five-year contract valued at up to $115 million, the company said today.

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