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. Health care is DODs Achilles heel.  The Pentagon currently spends more than $50 billion about 10 percent of its base budget on health care, an almost 300 percent increase over the last decade. These costs are projected to jump to $65 billion by fiscal 2015. To put this in perspective, the department will spend more on health care this fiscal year than on the war in Iraq and will probably spend more on health care in 2015 than on the conflict in Afghanistan.

2. Exercise blast at Fort Bragg injures 10.  An apparent explosion during a training exercise Monday night at Fort Bragg, N.C., has injured ten Camp Lejeune-based servicemembers, according to a 2nd Marine Division spokesman.

3. Pentagon preparing for a nuclear worst-case scenario at Fukushima.  If the deteriorating situation at a Japanese nuclear plant veers toward a worst-case meltdown scenario, people across the country including 86,000 American servicemembers, civilian employees and their dependents could face an unprecedented atomic disaster.

4. Military monitors radiation as troops deliver humanitarian aid.  U.S. military assets continue to converge on Japan, hoping to deliver humanitarian assistance while being careful not to expose servicemembers to radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

5. Sanchez: Texas veterans don’t deserve cuts to Texas Veterans Commission.  Austin American-Statesman  Note the following direct impacts of TVC efforts: 170795 benefits cases filed, resulting in over $2 billion in benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs; 34038 jobs found for veterans, generating $1.8 billion in wages; 67015 veterans approved

6. East Montgomery to get VA clinic.  Montgomery Advertiser  A Montgomery County commissioner said the US Department of Veterans Affairs will build a new regional outpatient clinic in east Montgomery — a move he said could bring as many as 300 jobs and have a huge economic impact on the city.

7. Veterans Affairs Health Care: Why So Many Vets Are Struggling (VIDEO).  Huffington Post…  The Huffington Post recently spoke with Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA’s executive director and founder, about the many ways the Department of Veteran Affairs falls short of providing timely, accessible health care for veterans returning home from war.

8. Veteran and teacher receives Long Leaf Pine award on 90th birthday. StarNewsOnline.com…Townsend, an Air Force veteran of World War II and Korea and a retired teacher, was saluted for his work in veterans’ affairs and education. Caster praised him as “Mr. Veteran” of New Hanover County. “Sometimes a person gets a swelled head over

9. Bill gives vets options on how they want to get state honor medals.  NOLA.com  “A veteran should be allowed to state a preference,” Edwards said. State Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Lane Carson said that the mail-out option has been available since Feb. 1. “The bill is unnecessary because we do it,”

10. Office of National Drug Control Policy — Fact Sheet: Veterans. While news accounts remind us daily of the dangers our military men and women confront

 

HAVE YOU HEARD?

March is Social Work Month, a big month for social workers and VA. There are more than 8,000 Masters Degree-prepared social workers serving as licensed practitioners in the VA healthcare system. Social Workers support and advance the mission of the Veterans Health Administration by providing high quality psychosocial services to Veterans and their families. These services include assessment, crisis intervention, high-risk screening, discharge planning, case management, advocacy, education, supportive counseling, psychotherapy, resource referrals and resource acquisition. Social Work services are a key component in the continuum of clinical services provided to Veterans in VHA facilities. Social Workers are assigned to VA health care facilities, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, and Readjustment Counseling Centers across the country. Social workers bring training and expertise in mental health specialty areas such as PTSD and substance abuse and provide an advanced level of clinical practice. Social Workers develop new programs to meet the needs of Veterans and their family members such as the Patient Centered Medical Home, and coordinate medical center programs such as the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans, Women Veterans, and Community Nursing Home programs. To learn more about VA Social Workers, visit www.va.gov/socialwork.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

  • Veterans Administration’s Website with Hospital. … performance of their local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital against … The new VA Hospital Compare website presents two data sets or “ dashboards. … Compare website displays the data for all VA hospitals in that state.

 

  • Hopkins Co. Veteran home renovation.  WFIE-TV  Along with state funding, the nearly $10 million expansion will be funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The addition will include three separate 12 bedroom living centers for a more home like feel. “These buildings will be more like houses.

 

  • Free local event for veterans planned.  TheReporter.com  Representatives from the California and United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, other agencies, and local veterans groups will be on hand to discuss services available to …

 

  • Purple Hearts – Army Clarifies “Concussion.” USA Today The US Army “will allow more battlefield concussions to be eligible for a Purple Heart, embracing the latest scientific findings that even brief periods of dizziness or headaches are evidence of the wound.

 

  • Battlefield Brain-Injury Assessment Tool Fails 25-33%. NextGov “The standard tool the military services use to measure traumatic brain injury on the battlefield fails between 25 percent and 33 percent of the time, Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker told lawmakers …

 

  • “Hurt Locker” Damaged His Credibility. AP Army Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver Jeffrey Sarver, an Iraq veteran “who claims he is the basis for ‘The Hurt Locker,'” that the movie has placed his life at risk and subjected him to ridicule about his bomb disposal prowess.” Sgt Sarver’s “filing claims Army leadership mistakenly believes he sold his story so that it could be made into a movie, which has hurt his chances for a promotion…

 

  • Military Groups Split On Tricare Fee Hikes. Army Times “Sharp differences were revealed Wednesday among the views of military associations about Pentagon plans to raise health care fees for working-age retirees.” Part of the 2012 defense budget which “would raise annual enrollment fees in Tricare Prime fees by $30” for individuals and “$60 for families ‘is fair,’ said Kathleen Moakler of the National Military Family Association at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel.” Rick Jones of the National Association for Uniformed Services is “concerned that the Defense Department intends to push for large fee hikes in future years.”

 

  • Leadership To Change In CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project. Augusta (GA) Chronicle CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project is undergoing a leadership change, Laurie Ott is stepping down as its executive director, but she will take a seat on the board of directors.” The project was “conceived by Ott, a former television news anchorwoman, interviewed” a disabled Iraq vet “in the Active Duty Rehab Center”

 

  • Skeletal Injuries Top Afghan War Ailments. Military.com “Nearly 25 percent of medical evacs out of Afghanistan between 2004 and 2007 were for fractures, serious sprains and other musculoskeletal injuries, according to a Johns Hopkins study. The Department of Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, “reports that the most prevalent service-connected disabilities stem from musculoskeletal system injuries, accounting for…

 

  • The Human Face Of TBI. Fox Business “When it comes to readjusting to the rhythm of everyday life, factors like physical injuries that can include traumatic brain injury [TBI] and anxiety and general emotional unsteadiness can …

 

  • Prosthetics Help Wounded Soldiers. WTVT-TV The PowerFoot BiOM, is being labed as “amazing” advance “when it comes to treating” vets like Randy Tipton, a Veteran who lost his left foot during one of his military tours of duty.  VA and the Department of Defense “spent $3.5 million to develop” the PowerFoot BiOM, which “mimics a real foot.” Tipton, who served tours in Afghanistan and in Iraq, is the “first VA patient in the country to have” a PowerFoot BiOM.

 

  • Women In Combat Roles, Poll Says. Washington Post “Seven in 10 Americans support permitting women in the military to serve in ground units that engage in close combat, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.” Those “findings come as the Pentagon prepares to review whether women should continue to be barred from combat units. Verna Jones, “director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation issues for the American Legion, said a change in policy would help female veterans gain quicker access to medical and mental-health benefits related to combat experiences.”

 

  • Disabled Veterans Looking For Work Have Resources. San Francisco Chronicle 40-year-old disabled Desert Storm veteran Jason Skerik runs Eco-Vet, a cleaning service that uses hires veterans and uses environmentally friendly cleaning products. Skerik, diagnosed with PTSD, “said he grew stronger with the help of medical treatment and counseling” from the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Francisco.

 

  • Listen To Vets. WXIA-TV Leslie Lugosi, the daughter of a troubled Vietnam vet, has made a film about a “Vietnam Vet living a quiet, productive life when he suddenly begins having flashbacks: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Not only is “‘Listen’…headed for the Sundance Film Festival,” it will also be screened “for veteran and community groups,” in the hopes that such screenings will “stimulate discussion and awareness.”

 

  • Homeless Vets Get Reinforcements. Grand Rapids (MI) Press US Department of Veterans Administration “expect to help” veterans by opening an “expanded center for area homeless veterans. By July, the VA expects to open new facilities in leased space at 620 Century Ave.

 

  • Medical Center To Host Focus Group. Muskogee (OK) Phoenix Veterans are “invited to participate in a focus group” at the Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center on April 1, from 2-3 p.m. in the afternoon. Clinical “leaders will meet with veterans for an exchange of ideas to help the medical center improve its care to veterans.”

 

  • Debate Heats Up. Brentwood (CA) News The US Department of Veterans Affairs has “issued a draft master plan spelling out its vision for use” of its West Los Angeles campus “over the next 25 to 50 years. Homeowner groups, advocates for disabled and homeless veterans, a charitable wing of the Annenberg Foundation” and the American Civil Liberties Union “have now all jumped into the mix.”

 

  • VA Official Defends Plan. Brentwood (CA) News After praising the care provided by his system, Riley defended VA’s plan for the West LA campus, saying, among other things, that “buildings 205, 208 and 209 will be converted at a future date to serve as housing for homeless veterans, starting with Building 209 because it is the only building that has, to date, received the necessary funding.”

 

  • Patients Using My HealtheVet. WJET-TV “more than 2,000 patients” at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Erie are “using a new way to manage their own health online. Through a program called My HealtheVet, patients have a wide variety of health- related sources to help them take control …  The “program’s newest feature, secure messaging, patients can send private messages to their healthcare providers.”

 

  • Post-Stroke Depression Severity Increases Dependency. HealthDay “People who suffer from depression after a stroke are more likely to be dependent if they have more comorbidities, had a more severe stroke, or had increased baseline depression severity, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of Neurology.”

 

  • Don’t Cut Military Benefits. The Hill Veterans Service Organizations are “flooding Capitol Hill this month to make the case that military benefits should be kept out of proposals to reduce the deficit.” And, unlike “many other groups fighting spending cuts,” the VSOs are “expecting a warm reception from both sides of the aisle.”

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