Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 22, 2011

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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. The needs of military veterans are both chronic and acute.  Youngstown Vindicator  Residents will not only have a home, they will have easier access to support services such as mental-health or substance-abuse treatment, the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs medical clinic or job training. The third story concerned US Sen. …

2. Business incubator offers help to returning veterans.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer Inc. in late March received a two-year $3.2 million contract from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The organization, formed by local business people, is among three groups that got funding from the VA to help …

3. Judge urges Army veteran subdued by SWAT team at Oregon VA office to hire. The Republic  A judge has urged a Eugene man to hire an attorney to help him with charges that he allegedly threatened employees at a US Department of Veteran’s Affairs office with a shotgun. The Eugene Register-Guard reports 71-year-old Army veteran Milan Boon was …

4. The American Legion Slams Veteran-Unfriendly “Coburn Proposal” to Cut VA. PR Newswire  The MilCon/VA bill is the legislation that funds not only military construction but the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well. As it stands, the VA has the responsibility to establish a “positive association” between a veteran’s compromised …

5. VFW Advocates Help Defeat Anti-Veteran Amendment.  Yesterday’s Senate vote on an amendment to restrict benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange herbicides during….

6. Florist knows how to ‘Make Someone Smile’.  Jackson Clarion Ledger  The state Veterans Home is a 150-bed facility, Reed said. And to qualify for a spot, a resident must be a veteran, but ultimately, she said, GV “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center officials decide who can reside there. …





7. States save by moving vets from Medicaid’s rolls to VA’s.  Bellingham Herald  Of the 22.6 million veterans nationwide, only 8.3 million received health care in VA facilities in 2010, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Many do not know they are eligible. Some 40 percent of current veterans are over the age of 65. …

8. Job fair for veterans coming next week.  phillyBurbs.com  In this March 2009 file photo, Stella Lerro, a staffing specialist from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, talks with Jamar Wells at a RecruitMilitary hiring fair. Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 9:44 am | Updated: 10:01 am, Thu Jul 21, 2011. …

9. Harris Corporation Will Participate in Upgrading U.S. Department of Veterans. PR Newswire  The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS), an international communications and information technology company, as one of eight companies in the large business category to participate in a five-year …

10. Guide issued to help get aid to homeless women vets.  Washington Post (blog)  The female veteran population is estimated to grow from 1.8 million in 2010 to 2.1 million by 2036, according to the guide, referencing the US Department of Veteran Affairs. The guide notes that women vets are up to four times as likely as their male …

 

Have You Heard?

The Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Va., recently opened its new Center for Traumatic Stress (CTS) which was dedicated on June 13. The Center for Traumatic Stress is an outpatient clinical, education, and research center that provides services to Veterans with PTSD, returning combat service members, and those who may have experienced military sexual trauma. The CTS provides initial assessment and treatment. Groups include psycho educational, skills training, and exposure treatments. Individual therapy and marital therapy are offered, both focusing on health, interpersonal violence, PTSD and shame, and effectiveness of PTSD treatments. The CTS also provides outreach to returning service members, families, and community providers and agencies.

More Veteran News

 

 

  • State Veterans Dept. Chief Talks Budget Cuts, License Plates. San Diego Union-Tribune “The California Department of Veterans Affairs took a $23 million hit to its $1.1 billion budget this year, shutting down a new outreach program called Operation Welcome Home, which was supposed to steer veterans toward their benefits. The secretary of the state department, who spoke in San Diego Wednesday, said the loss means they will lean even more on veterans service officers at the county level to get the word out about the G.I. Bill and disability pay” from the US VA. In the “‘overall scheme of things, that was a small cut compared to other agencies in the state,’ said” California VA Secretary Peter Gravett, who added, “We’re able to do our mission with fewer people. But, obviously, if you lose $23 million, it hurts.”

  • Utah Veterans Cemetery Is Getting Upgrades. Salt Lake Tribune A planned renovation of the Utah Veterans Cemetery in Bluffdale. Retired Army Col. Craig V. Morgan “said the cemetery…is funded mainly by the state but operates under guidelines of the National Cemetery Administration.” Morgan, cemetery projects coordinator for Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, “said the work is being funded by a pair of grants totaling $4.45 million from the national organization.”

  • Veterans’ Chief Wants To Expand Help. Charleston (WV)Daily Mail The head of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance “wants to expand a program that helps former soldiers by getting social workers into rural West Virginia.” The Daily Mail added, “Social workers from the US Department of Veterans Affairs don’t travel into rural areas, State Veterans Assistance Secretary Keith Gwinn said,” adding that this meant West Virginia had to send its own people. Gwinn “wants to add two more” social workers to the four currently used.

  • 3 Federal Lawsuits Accuse Former Secretary Of Wis. Dept. Of Veterans Affairs Of Discrimination. AP

  • Senate Passes Measure Funding Veterans’ Programs. AP “The Senate has passed its first spending bill for the upcoming budget year, a $73 billion measure funding increases for veterans’ health care programs. The politically popular measure passed on a sweeping 97-2 vote,” and it “shouldn’t be too difficult to reconcile” it with the House version of the measure. According to the AP, the measure “may be one of the very few of the 12 annual spending bills setting the day-to-day budgets of Cabinet agencies to become law by an Oct. 1 deadline for the start of the 2012 budget year.”

  • Labor Releases Guide On How Communities Can Help Homeless Women Vets. American Forces Press Service “The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor has released an online publication that will help community service providers aid homeless women veterans, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said” on Wednesday. The announcement came as Solis “addressed an audience of several hundred at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Theater on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.” AFPS adds, “The publication, called Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers, also known as the Trauma Guide, is the result of nationwide listening sessions with women veterans and service providers about the challenges of homelessness.”

  • VA Offers $50,000 In Personal Health Record Competition. InformationWeek “In one of the largest personal health record (PHR) initiatives to date, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said it will offer a $50,000 prize to the first team that builds a PHR using the Blue Button download format, and arranges to install the PHR on the websites of 25,000 physicians across the nation.” The prize is sponsored “by the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), which creates opportunities to test new ideas from VA employees, academia, and the private sector.” In a statement, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “Over six million veterans who receive healthcare from VA can already download their personal health data using the Blue Button. We want to be sure the 17 million veterans who receive care from non-VA doctors and hospitals can do the same.”

  • VA Task Force Improves Care Of Women Vets. American Forces Press Service “The newly formed VA Task Force on Women Veterans will go a long way in addressing key benefits gaps to female veterans, according to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. While support for women veterans has improved, ‘it has not been enough,’ Shinseki said during the 2011 National Training Summit on Women Veterans,” held recently in Washington, DC. The “task force’s ‘near-term mission,’ he said, is to develop — in coordination with VA’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and in conjunction with the Defense Department — a comprehensive VA action plan that will focus on key issues facing women veterans and the specific actions needed to resolve them.”

  • Afghan, Iraq Deployment Linked To Lung Ailment. AP “Some soldiers have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with an untreatable lung disease that interferes with their ability to do physical exercise, possibly caused by inhaling toxic material, doctors report” in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine. One of those conducting the research was Dr. Robert Miller, who said dust storms and burn pits may have contributed to the disease. The AP adds, “In an email, R. Craig Postlewaite of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense and two other Army medical experts said they had ‘some concerns’ about the lung biopsy procedures and the diagnoses. They said they’re working with several authors of the report and others to do further research.”

  • VA Employees Learn More About How To Help Returning Soldiers. Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette “While hundreds of military families are celebrating the return of their loved ones from overseas, 150 Veterans Affairs Medical Center employees met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how they can improve care for soldiers that may be hesitant to talk about post-deployment mental health issues.” Employees attending the meeting hear from journalist David Finkel, who was embedded with soldiers in Iraq in 2207, and “discussed true life examples of young soldiers’ experiences.” The “‘goal was to get everyone to better understand how to best help the people that have chosen to come to us,’ Iowa City Veterans Affairs Administrative Officer Matthew Crosby said.”

  • Inside Look: Deadly Threat For Returning Valley Soldiers. KNXV-TV “The Phoenix VA Healthcare System works to help returning military service members dealing with PTSD, but it’s an extremely difficult fight.” Still, the “Phoenix VA Medical Center is a great resource for those with questions, or anyone who needs help with PTSD. Their clinic team can be reached at 602-277-5551 ext. 6945, or ext. 7449.”

  • Trying A New Approach To Primary Care: Prevention. “A budding model for primary care that encourages the family doctor to act as a health coach who focuses as much on preventing illness as on treating it has shown promising results and saved insurers millions of dollars.” WellPoint Inc., “UnitedHealth Group Inc., and other insurers have pilot projects around the country testing this concept. The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are making plans to use medical homes, and more than a million Medicare recipients are involved in another test.”

  • Fewer Surgical Errors Reported At VA Medical Facilities. HealthDay “The number of surgical errors at VA medical centers is on the decline, a new study finds. In reviewing adverse events and close calls in these operating rooms over a three-year period, researchers report in the July 15 issue of the Archives of Surgery that possible reasons for the drop were a greater emphasis on safety, as well as improved training and communication.” HealthDay quotes a news release from the journal in which the study’s authors state, “Despite the overall decrease in patient harm, opportunities exist to further decrease the number of incorrect surgical and invasive procedures. We must continue to improve.”

  • Watchdog Finds Significant IT Problems At Joint Defense-VA Hospital. NextGov “Information technology systems at the showcase joint Defense and Veterans Affairs department hospital in North Chicago have experienced so many problems the facility had to hire five full-time pharmacists to manually check prescription data to ensure patient safety, according to a new report” from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The “Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center — a five-year demonstration project to assess the feasibility of combining Defense and VA hospitals — includes an integrated health IT system intended to allow clinicians to easily access patient information stored in the VA Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture or the Defense electronic health record system known as AHLTA.” NextGov adds, “GAO recommended that VA and Defense address the IT problems at the Lovell facility by developing plans that better define the project’s scope, cost and schedule.”

  • Federal Legislators Blast Plans To Sell Off West Los Angeles VA Land. LookOut News “Top lawmakers representing the Westside sent a letter to President Barack Obama last week expressing outrage at a plan to sell off federally-owned land and the plan’s possible effect” on the Veterans Affairs hospital in West Los Angeles. The letter, signed by US Rep. Henry Waxman and US Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, was “written in response to press reports that the President and top congressional leaders are discussing plans to liquidate land owned by the government to pay down the national debt.” The lawmakers argue that the “West Los Angeles VA property can and should be used to help rehabilitate our nation’s veterans and provide housing and therapeutic services for the over 8,000 homeless veterans in the LA area.” The same argument was also made in a lawsuit filed against VA recently by the American Civil Liberties Union.

  • Group Picked To Develop VA Campus In Lincoln. Lincoln (NE) Journal Star “A local nonprofit will lease and develop the health campus for Lincoln’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Seniors Foundation, a Lincoln-based group dedicated to supporting Aging Partners, will develop the 59-acre complex at 600 S. 70th St. that includes a health clinic and other services, according to a VA news release.” After noting that development plans include a new health clinic, the Journal Star quotes VA spokesman Will Ackerman, who said, “We don’t expect to see any interruption in services we’re currently providing. We anticipate with this process that we’ll see an increase in what we’re providing there.”

  • Houston VA Leads Fight Against Esophageal Cancer. Cyprus (TX) Times “An outpatient treatment that destroys pre-cancerous tissue in the lining of the esophagus is now widely available” for veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Times adds, “Endoscopic radiofrequency ablation therapy has been in pilot use at the DeBakey VA for more than four years and was recently featured in the New England Journal of Medicine as a highly effective treatment for complete eradication of Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition that affects one to two million adults in the United States each year.”

  • Vets Groups Question Benefit Claims Via Email. Army Times “A seemingly simple idea – to have the Veterans Affairs Department send out emails to speed up notifications to veterans that their disability claims have been received – has drawn complaints from major veterans groups that say the idea would be more expedient but not necessarily fair. Representatives of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American, testifying Wednesday before a House subcommittee about HR 2383, the Modernizing Notice to Claimants Act, said they are concerned” about the bill because of possible waived rights if the emails are not clear or veterans do not read the fine print. But Thomas Murphy, VA’s compensation service director, said this method “would significantly enhance” efficiency and “provide increased flexibility,” while also having the potential to “significantly shorten overall claim development time.”

  • Louisville Gets Grant To House Homeless Veterans. Louisville Courier-Journal “Louisville has been awarded $243,500 in federal funds to provide housing and case management for homeless veterans, officials with the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs announced.” The “VA in Louisville will handle case management.” The Courier-Journal added, “The awards bring the number of vouchers to 225 in Louisville as part of a program meant to get homeless veterans into housing and provide support services…said” Todd Dedas, a VA healthcare coordinator.
  • VA Funding Pilot Program That Assists Homeless Vets. Waco (TX) Tribune-Herald “The Waco Salvation Army was awarded a $158,479 grant from a state veterans’ advocacy agency to provide emergency shelter and support to homeless veterans, their families and surviving spouses. The grant comes from the Texas Veterans Commissions’ Fund for Veterans’ Assistance.” Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, is paying two million dollars to fund the Veterans Homeless Prevention Demonstration Pilot, which “offers rental and utility assistance, help in job training or employment searches, and rapid rehousing for veterans who have been homeless for less than 90 days.”

  • California Lawmaker Praises VA Effort To Assist Homeless. San Diego Union-Tribune Toni Atkins, a California Democrat representing the 76th Assembly District, says the Obama Administration “recently announced a priority goal of ending veterans’ homelessness within five years and is putting resources behind that pledge.” The city of San Diego, California, has “been a leader in this effort, including being the home of the nation’s first Stand Down and the recent creation of an Ending Homelessness Downtown Campaign. The campaign’s leadership includes” the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • The VA VistA Screw-Up Bill. NextGov US Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) “has a bill (H.R. 2470) in the works that…would transfer management of the Veterans Affairs Department’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) electronic health record system from the VA to a VA/Defense Department Interagency Program Office (IPO), chartered to manage development of a joint electronic health record for both departments.” On Wednesday, Thomas Murphy, “director of compensation service at the Veterans Benefits Administration told a hearing of the House VA Committee today that language in the bill to ‘transfer all responsibility for ‘development, implementation, and sustainment of all electronic health record systems and capabilities’ away from VA to the IPO would create disruption and uncertainty in the management of the most vital set of tools VA uses to deliver world-class care for our veterans.'” Brewin adds, “Hopefully the full VA committee will drive a stake through H.R. 2470.”

  • Pot Does Not Cure PTSD. NextGov There are plans “by an outfit called the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which hangs out in Santa Cruz, Calif., to conduct a clinical trial to treat vets with 1.8 grams of government-approved grass a day over a three month period, to see” if it marijuana works as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Brewin adds, “I can save the MAPS researchers the trouble — after Vietnam I tried a variety of substances, including pot and alcohol, to manage PTSD, and this approach not only exacerbated the PTSD problem, but burdened me with a few new ones.” That is “because there is a comorbid relationship between PTSD and drug and alcohol use.”

  • Softball Team Of Amputee Vets Put Together By VA Employee. HBO A story about the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which aired on its most recent “Real Sports” program. Players on the team, made up of Iraq and Afghanistan vets, thought their injuries would keep them from playing sports, but that was before they met “softball nut” David Van Sleet, who has “been working with prosthetics for the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1981.” Van Sleet told HBO that he felt the vets “needed something to elevate them back into normal life.” According to HBO, the vets “only play able-bodied teams.”

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