Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

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Veterans!  Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need…..

  1. Akaka pushes for action on vet caregiver lawMarine Corps Times Daniel Akaka is urging the US Department of Veterans Affairs to begin implementing a law he wrote that requires caregiver support for wounded veterans.
  2. VA outlines plan to help caregivers of wounded‎.  Washington Post  Senators and service groups have said the VA hasn’t moved fast enough. While the VA says it’s offering more help for caregivers of vets from all eras, …
  3. VA outlines plan to help caregivers of wounded. – Army News | News    A long-awaited plan to give caregivers of severely wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans some extra help was unveiled Wednesday 
  4. Decorated veteran to speak at Democratic Party galaHelena Independent Record
    Duckworth was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the Department of Veterans Affairs assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental
  5. Florida Veterans Face Budget Cuts and Agency ChangesWUSF 89.7 News  If you compare the current state veterans affairs budget of $81 million to the governor’s proposed budget of $45.5 million, it appears as if Scott is
  6. Veteran’s upset over VA Clinic ServiceKGNS A committee of Laredo war veterans meets with the department of veteran affairs once every 3 months to discuss issues surrounding the clinic while the
  7. Jones Assigned to Several Senate Committees. WJBD Online  Jones will also serve on the Senate’s State Government and Veterans’ affairs Committees, which tackle government operations and veteran issues.
  8. Seek full service VA hospital in St Albans. Queens Courier “The EUL process should be suspended until an appropriate study of veterans needs is conducted, and a plan for a full-service Veterans Affairs Medical
  9. Stanford Engineering Certificates Now Eligible for GI Bill Reimbursement.  EON: Enhanced Online News -The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) has received notice from the US Department of Veterans Affairs that its
  10. Congress could crack down on mortgage lenders preying on troops.  Lawmakers said they will consider tougher penalties, including larger fines and criminal charges, against mortgage lenders who ignored financial protections for active-duty troops and overcharged military families thousands in loan fees.

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Mark Helfand MD, MS, MPH, and Brian Mittman, PhD, have been appointed by the GAO Comptroller General to serve on the Methodology Committee of the newly-created Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the PCORI was authorized as a non-profit corporation designed to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed health decisions by providing relevant quality evidence on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor diseases and other health conditions. Dr. Helfand is director of the VA Evidence-Based Synthesis Program, a staff physician with the Portland VA Medical Center, and is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Mittman is director of the VA Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support, and a Senior Social Scientist at the VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior. To learn more about the new PCORI Methodology Committee or its recently appointed members, read the GAO’s official press release.

IN OTHER NEWS

11. Bank apologizes for overcharging troops for mortgages. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is repaying more than $2 million to about 4,000 military families who were overcharged for their mortgages.

12. Some sailors to receive shorter time to move to next duty station. A budget shortfall that will delay permanent-change-of-station orders during the next few months could leave some sailors scrambling to make it to their next duty station.

13. Navy cuts some re-enlistment bonuses. The Navy is cutting or eliminating re-enlistment bonuses for 31 different skill and experience combinations, according to a Navy Personnel Command memo released Wednesday.

14. Senators Concerned About Pace Of Implementing Veterans’ Caregiver Law. Marine Corps Times “A bipartisan group of senators that last year helped to pass landmark legislation providing more support for caregivers of severely wounded veterans is pushing the administration to stop stalling implementation of the new law.” The Times adds, “‘To date, the Obama administration has failed to even set out its initial plan to carry out'” the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, “says a statement issued by the office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairwoman.” Murray is “one of…18 senators who fired off a letter Monday asking Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Jack Lew, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, what is taking so long.”

15. VA Texas Valley Planning To Cut Ribbon On New Surgical Center. Texas Insider “The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health System (TVCBHS) is making final plans for their much anticipated Ribbon Cutting ceremonies to be held at the new surgical center at 2601 Veterans Drive, Harlingen, TX on February 25, 2011.” Veterans Affairs will be represented by Dr. Petzel.”

16. Impact Of Vets’ Benefits On Federal Budget Won’t Be Felt Until 2040. USA Today “The greatest impact on the federal budget of veterans’ benefits might not be felt until 2040, according to the calculations of Queens College economist Ryan Edwards,” who “estimates the wars eventually will cost every American an average of $10,000 over the course of a lifetime.”

17. Koch Worried DOD Not Replicating Success Of Model Warrior Transition Unit. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “When asked to name the commander who most impressed inspectors canvassing the Army’s 38 special medical units, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Noel Koch quickly” named 48-year-old Lt. Col. Andy Price, who is in charge of Fort Riley’s “Company A, Warrior Transition Battalion.” For “failing to live up to his standards of compassion, accountability or competence, three commissioned officers and twice as many senior enlisted leaders have been fired by Price since he arrived at Fort Riley two years ago.” Koch is “worried that the Army and the Department of Defense aren’t taking lessons learned by better units like Price’s and replicating those successes throughout the medical system.”





18. Suicides Among Inactive Army Guard Soldiers Increasing. Philadelphia Inquirer The recent “death, by hanging,” of Afghanistan vet Jose Lopez was the “14th suicide among Pennsylvania Army Guard ranks since 2003, including four in the last year. At a time when suicides among active-duty Army troops have been on the decline, suicides among inactive Army Guard soldiers have nearly doubled nationally, from 62 in 2009 to 114 last year.” Guard “leaders have been at a loss to explain the increase, except to note that guardsmen are left on their own when they return from a deployment.”

19. VA Collecting Data On Quality Of Care For Improvement, Transparency Purposes. Federal News Radio “Each year, the Department of Veterans Affairs collects data on the quality of medical services at its 153 hospitals nationwide,” and an “annual report card is posted at VA.gov, and now at data.gov. Doctor Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health at VA, told Federal News Radio the data is collected” so that VA can “use this information to improve the way we do our business” and for transparency purposes.

20. VA To Host Forum On Ending Veteran Homelessness. Helena (MT) Independent Record The Veterans Affairs Montana Health Care System (VAMTHCS) is “stepping up efforts to end homelessness among Montana’s veterans. VAMTHCS hosts the Regional Forum 5-Year Plan to End Homelessness Among Veterans from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Helena Civic Center.” Over “500 professionals representing city, county, community, federal and other agencies have been invited to discuss and hear ways to prevent and eliminate veteran homelessness in the region.”

21. Bath VAMC To Hold Benefits Open House. Corning (NY) Leader “from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.” on Feb. 23, the Bath Veterans Affairs Medical Center will “hold a benefits open house…at the Bath American Legion, 14, W. William St.” During the event, “VA, New York State and Steuben County veterans benefits counselors will be on hand to answer questions about medical care, housing assistance, education, disability, veterans’ tax exemption eligibility, employment assistance, women’s health services, and pension and burial benefits.” In addition, “VA personnel will be on hand to process applications.”

22. GI Bill Claims Delay Generates “Flurry Of Activity” On VA’s Facebook Page. Federal Computer Week “The Veterans Affairs Department kicked off a flurry of activity on its Facebook page in recent days by saying bad weather has slowed processing of Post-9/11 GI Bill education claims.” Federal Computer Week points outs that “VA’s processing office for the education claims started posting information about weather-related closures on Feb. 1 and on subsequent days, and has received more than 1,700 comments and ‘Like’ messages since then.” After an official announcement about the claims processing delays was made Tuesday on “VA’s Facebook Wall,” responses “from veterans have ranged from angry and frustrated to a few positive remarks.”

23. Transition To Internet 2.0 Has Risks, But Official Says VA Is Prepared. NextGov Last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers “finished allocating space for new Internet subscribers and Web-enabled devices, bringing federal agencies closer to the culmination of a half-decade of preparatory work to make systems compatible with Internet 2.0. Still, the transition will not be without risks that will require immediate attention, many federal officials say.” But Steven Pirzchalski, “transition program manager at the Veterans Affairs Department” for IPv6, the “next-generation Internet,” praised VA’s leadership, saying it is willing to devote time and funds in order to properly transition.

24. VA Obtaining Feedback On Social Media. Federal Computer Week VA “continues to hone its communication channels, it is now entering a second phase of social media deployment that involves obtaining feedback and acting on it.” The “goal is to cultivate a two-way relationship between VA and veterans and make social media such an integral part of the department’s culture that it becomes routine and unremarkable. ‘We want to get this to the point where it is not even newsworthy,'” said Brandon Friedman, VA’s director of new media.

25. Baseball Team’s Mascot Visits New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home. Cherry Hill (NJ, 21K) Courier Post “The New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home caught a little spring fever Monday,” when Philadelphia Phillies mascot the “Phillie Phanatic and Millville native Mike Trout,” a “top Major League Baseball prospect, paid the home a visit. The Phanatic appeared as part of the home’s Second Wind Dreams project, in conjunction with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Second Wind Dreams aims to fulfill dreams of the home’s residents.”

26. Florida Governor Looking To Privatize Veterans Homes. Orlando (FL) Sentinel Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s “$65.8 billion spending pitch to lawmakers includes privatizing veterans homes, mental health facilities and developmental disability centers, which the governor’s budget staff has concluded will save $103.9 million. Scott health-care policy coordinator Jane Johnson said the governor’s office was still working with Veterans Affairs director Bob Milligan on the specifics of how to hand veterans homes over to private enterprise, a concept she called ‘public instrumentality.'” Lawmakers’ “first-blush reaction to the idea of privatizing veterans’ nursing homes was muted.”

27. VA Funding “Largely Left Intact” As Committee Approves Spending Cuts. Politico “Facing a two-front war on the left and right, the House Appropriations Committee voted, 27-22, Tuesday evening to move ahead with Republican plans for cutting close to $40 billion from domestic and foreign aid spending over the last seven months of this fiscal year.” The “Department of Veterans Affairs is largely left intact, but for some savings from information technology programs.”

28. Local Veterans Share Their Stories Through Art. Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier

29. Mich St, UNC Moving Forward With Carrier Game. AP “Michigan State and North Carolina are moving forward with plans to play a basketball game aboard an aircraft carrier on Veterans’ Day.” On Tuesday, “Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said…the long-discussed game is to take place this year in San Diego’s harbor.”

30. City Ordered To Rehire Officer. Chattanooga (TN) Times Free Press The Hamilton County Chancery Court recently “ordered Chattanooga to give” Iraq veteran Mickel Hoback his “job back with back pay.” The Free Press noted that court documents show Hoback lost his job after a psychiatrist with the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Chattanooga decided that the veteran needed to be admitted to the VA clinic in Murfreesboro as a suicide risk.

31. Local DAV Chapter Meeting Veterans’ Needs. Cookeville (TN) Herald-Citizen

32. Local Veterans Use Mac TV To Reach Out To Fellow Veterans. Holland (MI) Sentinel

33. Bagge Family Moves Into New Home. Dalles (OR) Chronicle

34. Purple Heart Recipient Receives Home In Humble. Ultimate Lake Houston

35. World War II Memorial Model On Way To La Salle. LaSalle (IL) News Tribune

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