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1. Togus opens hospice section. Kennebec Journal “This is a big day for us.” The project dates back to 2000, when the US Department of Veterans Affairs renewed its commitment to end-of-life care, McEwan said. Togus submitted a proposal for a new hospice unit in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2009 that it …
2. Veterans Take Advantage of GI Bill Benefits for Grad School. GIBill.com The school certifies more than 500 military veterans for GI Bill benefits every year, she said. A spokesman for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said that 26386 Post-9/11 GI Bill students pursued graduate-level studies in 2010. …
3. You get what you pay for. The River Journal As the wars wind down and more troops come home to join the ranks of our veteran community we need get our house in order. We need to gear up to be able to process VA claims and provide the services our veterans were promised and have earned. …
4.VA secretary’s Memorial Day visit highlights fact-finding trip to Alaska. Sourdough Sentinel “I’m proud to be here in Alaska,” the secretary told local media before the Memorial Day ceremony. “I’m informed the state has 77000 veterans – per capita 17 percent of the population of this state is veterans – and I think that’s the highest of any …
5. State Official Leads Women Vets’ Group. Salem (OR) Statesman Journal Val Conley, the deputy director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will “lead a national women’s veterans’ group.” Conley will “become the president of the National Association of State Women Veteran Coordinators on Aug. 1. Director Jim Willis recently appointed Conley as deputy director to succeed Paula Brown, who retired in March.”
6. Golden Age Games Was Testament To State’s Aloha Spirit. Honolulu (HI) Star-Advertiser Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth wrote that “more than 800 veterans…came to Honolulu” recently so they could participate in VA’s Golden Age Games. The event, said Duckworth, “would have been impossible had it not been for the 1,125 volunteers who came to help.” Duckworth thanked those who planned and executed the event, and added, “As a veteran and a local girl, I have never been prouder of Hawaii and I trust your enthusiasm and support for America’s veterans will continue through the year.”
7. In Dallas Veterans Court, Desert Storm Soldier Gets His Promised Second Chance Today. Dallas Observer On Monday, “Dallas County Veterans Court Judge Michael Snipes approved the dismissal of a felony possession of a controlled substance charge against Timothy Carmack following his successful completion of drug rehabilitation” at the Veterans Affairs “clinic in Bonham, Texas. Carmack is the third Veterans Court graduate, following an Air Force veteran and Army veteran.”
8. Wichita Lawyer Admits Stealing From Veterans. AP A disbarred, 57-year-old Wichita attorney named Janell Jenkins-Foster “admitted…to embezzling from the veterans whose pension benefit checks she had been entrusted to administer in a case the defense contends only came to light because ‘the guilt was eating away’ at her.” Jenkins-Foster “pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement and agreed to pay back the more than $330,600 she had stolen from veterans and their estates.” The US Department of Veterans Affairs and the “US attorney’s office did not immediately return messages seeking comment left Monday after close of business.”
9. VA Accepting Claims For Trauma Outside War Zones. Army Times “The Veterans Affairs Department will begin accepting insurance claims from soldiers who suffered traumatic injuries outside combat zones during an early period of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, an Army News release stated” last Thursday. “Beginning Oct. 1, soldiers may submit claims to the VA based on the Servicemembers’ Group Life Traumatic Injury Protection Program.” Stephen Wurtz, VA’s deputy assistant director for insurance, said his agency will “work hard to get the word out” about such claims.
10. After Fighting For His Country, Iraq Vet Fights For A Job. McClatchy With a “little help from” US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Iraq veteran Eric Smith has “become the face of veteran joblessness on Capitol Hill this year, testifying at a hearing, speaking at a press conference and lobbying individual members of Congress. ‘I am just one man, but my story reflects the struggle of over 200,000 veterans in the current job market,’ Smith told a Senate committee in April.” Most “recently, Smith has been lobbying Congress to pass a bill that would – for the first time – require US personnel to enroll in a federal job-training program before they’re allowed to leave the military.” Smith, according to McClatchy, spoke during a press conference in which Murray introduced the legislation.
Protecting Our Servicemembers
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enforces laws designed to protect the rights of members of the military. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, provides critical additional consumer and other protections to the men and women serving our nation. Read more
More Veteran News
- Lawmakers Push To Expand Help For TBI Victims. Army Times “Worried that thousands of people with undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries could still be in the service, the House of Representatives wants the Defense Department to come up with a plan for screening those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before mandatory post-deployment screening took effect in 2010.” A provision the House recently passed as part of the 2012 defense authorization bill orders the DOD to come up with such a plan.
- Cancer Care Up To Par At Veterans’ Hospitals. Reuters A new study appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found that older men with cancer who get treated at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals receive care that is as good as or better than that provided to men covered by Medicare and treated at non-VHA hospitals. Researchers who worked on the study say their findings demonstrate that the VHA system might be a good “model for care delivery,” in terms of quality and value, as the United States attempts to reform its healthcare system.
- VA Opens Same-day Surgery Unit Downtown. New Orleans CityBusiness On Monday, the “Department of Veterans Affairs opened a same-day surgery center…in downtown New Orleans.” The “Ambulatory Procedure Unit will allow the VA to use its own facility for minor surgeries instead of sending…veterans to other hospitals in the area. The newest addition to the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, at 2237 Poydras St., will cut down on the amount of time and patient coordination the VA must handle in order to provide care, said SLVHCS Acting Director Jimmy Murphy.”
- Saranac Lake Vets Clinic Close To Opening. Adirondack (NY) Daily Enterprise “Work on the new US Veterans Administration outpatient clinic on Depot Street is complete, and the facility needs one final approval before it can open. ‘We are so, so close,’ Peter Potter, spokesman for the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, said Friday. ‘We’re moved in and ready to go. All we’re waiting for is the final approval from our central office in Washington.'” The Daily Enterprise adds, “Frustrated with having to travel long distances to get the care they need, local veterans pushed for years to get the VA to locate a clinic in the Tri-Lakes area.”
- New VA Facility Takes Shape. Fort Myers News-Press “While the construction of the Veterans Affairs clinic continues its steady march toward completion, the Army Reserve center planned nearby may be held up for about a month” because of a bank takeover. The News-Press adds, “The VA clinic…is about 90 percent complete and is slated to be finished on or ahead of schedule, said Faith Belcher, spokeswoman for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. After contractor Kraft Construction hands the building over to the VA system in August or September, the next six months or so will be spent furnishing and equipping the facility, which means the opening should fall sometime in early 2012.”
- Rover Gets Answers To A Traffic Issue, VA Clinic Opening. Cadillac (MI) News A Veterans Affairs clinic in Cadillac “should be open sometime in June.” Carrie Seward, a VA public affairs officer, “said while there is no confirmed opening date yet, it should be sometime this month. She also said a dedication and ribbon cutting has been planned for 11 a.m. on July 14.”
- VA Clinic Moving Forward. Daily Post Athenian “A Veterans Administration clinic is expected to be open in McMinn County by early 2012, said a VA spokesman.”
- Patient Aligned Care Teams. WALA-TV “Pictures of United States heroes line the halls of Pensacola’s Joint Ambulatory Care Center, which has affectionately become known as the VA Super Center.” But “those framed tributes aren’t where the dedication ends. This hospital focuses on the primary care of veterans and does so in a very special way,” by using “Patient Aligned Care Teams, or PACTs,” which allow patients to avoid call centers and long
- 19. 19. VA Medical Center Inspection. WLBT-TV The G.V. Sonny Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center “in Jackson says it was not cited by the Joint Commission despite recent media reports, even though there were concerns issued about hospital staffing in certain departments.” The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, inspected the Montgomery VAMC in April, suggesting that it “consider replacing long-term contract staff in certain departments with full time” VA staff. The hospital “says it is taking action to recruit more full time radiologists” and that it maintains full accreditation status.
- Nashville VA Knocked In New Internal Report. WPLN-AM Lawmakers “in Washington are not happy about findings from an audit on veterans affairs offices. The report looked at 16 centers” and found that a regional VA office in Nashville was “among the worst. The VA’s inspector general wanted to know how regional centers were responding to veterans’ disability claims.” According to WPLN, VA is trying to improve the Nashville facility and others like it in different parts of the country.
- DAV Official Praises VA Regional Office In Montana. But in amore positive story, the KBZK-TV Butte, MT (6/6, Kershaw) website reported, “The Disabled American Veterans convention was held at the War Bonnet Hotel in Butte this weekend. On Saturday night, Anthony Baskerville, membership director of the organization spoke to the veterans,” saying, “I understand the VA local regional office here” has “been rather successful in their processing of cases expeditiously.” Baskerville “says the DAV has been making great strides towards using technology to make its agenda known to veterans and politicians alike.”
- Operation: God Bless America Motorcycle Ride Raises $58,000 For VA Medical Center In Martinsburg. Waynesboro (PA) Herald Record “Patriotism was heard loud and clear Sunday as 1,100 motorcyclists revved their engines and rolled through Greencastle and Hagerstown” to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The “21st annual Operation: God Bless America motorcycle ride to benefit veterans” raised $58,000 this year for the hospital. Susan George, the hospital’s associate director of nursing programs and education, noted that the event has “raised over $340,000” for her facility over the 21 years it has taken place.
- VA Report: Physicians Using Paper, Electronic “Workarounds” For EHRs. iHealthBeat “Even physicians with the most advanced electronic health record systems often use electronic and paper-based ‘workarounds’ in their practices to address issues associated with EHR use, according to a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs,
- Tens Of Thousands Of Lives Could Potentially Be Saved In US By Key Heart Failure Therapies. HealthDay “A national study has found that nearly 68,000 deaths potentially could be prevented each year by optimally implementing key national guideline-recommended therapies, including critical medications and cardiac devices, for all eligible heart failure patients.” Dr. Paul A. Heidendreich of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System co-authored the study, which was published “in the June edition of the American Heart Journal.”
- Exercise Helps Men Battling Diabetes And Sleep Apnea. HealthDay “Men who have type 2 diabetes in addition to obstructive sleep apnea seem to benefit from a regular exercise regimen, a new study has found. Greater endurance from consistent physical activity can significantly boost survival rates for men with both conditions, researchers found. The findings are significant since the prevalence of sleep apnea, which commonly occurs in people with diabetes and high blood pressure, is on the rise…noted” those writing the study, including “study co-author Dr. Skikha Khosla, an endocrinologist” at Veterans Affairs hospital in Washington, DC.
- VA Grant Helps U Of L Lab Buy New Equipment. “The Proteomics Biomarkers Delivery Core laboratory at the University of Louisville has received $375,000 from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to help purchase new equipment and expand the lab’s research and diagnostic capabilities. According to a news release, the Shared Equipment Evaluation Program, or ShEEP, grant from the VA allows the lab to purchase a new mass spectrometer, which aids in studying proteins and how they might aid patient care.” Business First Of Louisville added that according to the release, the remaining $125,000 cost of the spectrometer has been provided by the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
- Shortened Life Inspires Effort To Save Others. Mansfield (OH) News Journal 29-year-old Iraq veteran John Delaney “committed suicide on Oct. 5, 2010, in his East Mansfield Street apartment.” On July 2nd, at The Golf Course at Bucyrus, the first annual John Delaney Memorial Golf Scramble will be held to celebrate Delaney. All “proceeds from the event will go to the Crawford County Coalition for Suicide Prevention.”
- Veteran’s Determination Is An Inspiration For Others. Providence (RI) Journal 88-year-old World War II vet Walter Judd, who can only “see vague shadows.” Yet according to Patinkin, Judd takes a bus to Providence twice a week so that he can “volunteer at the veterans’ hospital – the VA Medical Center on Chalkstone.”
- Let Freedom Ring. Success Magazine Gary Sinise, who trough his work “became more interested in veterans” and now advocates on their behalf. Throughout the “past three decades, Sinise has lost count of his 200 or more visits with US troops at home and abroad, including several to Iraq and Afghanistan. Often he performs with the 12-member Lt. Dan Band,” in “performances benefiting military personnel and veterans.” According to the magazine, the actor also has visited wounded at the Walter Reed Medical Center.
- Somerville’s St. Polycarp Village Wins “Door Knocker Award.” Somerville (MA) Journal “Three affordable housing developments built in Massachusetts have received the prestigious Door Knocker Awards” from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). One of those honored was the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community Village in Pittsfield for its “outstanding work in producing affordable housing, specifically their contribution to creating stable living environments for those with disabilities, providing rental assistance to homeless veterans, and developing innovative housing solutions for specific communities.”
- Shelter For Homeless Female Veterans To Open This Month With Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. Saratogian Of the approximately 68,000 female veterans in the state of New York, over 4,200 are homeless. A new facility, the Guardian House “will accommodate up to 10 homeless female veterans at a time,” offering them treatment for drug and alcohol problems, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
- $650K Federal Funds Keep Vet Programs Going. Danbury (CT) News Times “The federal government has continued to fully fund one veteran employment program while cutting in half funding that helps veterans convicted of a crime transition from jail back into society. The WorkPlace Inc., a Bridgeport nonprofit organization which administers the two programs, learned last week its Veterans Workforce Investment Program, received another year of funding of $500,000 to help train and find jobs for veterans.” Meanwhile, the organization’s “Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program will get $150,000 this year, about half of what it got last year.”