Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 27, 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. Victory For Veterans: GI Bill Legislation Clears Final Hurdle.  Huffington Post To get around the issue, according to a spokesperson for Miller, the US Department of Veterans Affairs will now interpret “enrolled students” as anyone who has applied to a school and been accepted — effectively extending the grandfather clause to all …
  2. US homeless war veterans at all-time high.  Press TV  That’s according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2006 there were around 1300 homeless vets who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. That number has doubled three times in about six years. Of the nearly 10-thousand five hundred currently homeless …
  3. United States Veterans Initiative Named Finalist in Toyota 100 Cars for Good. Business Wire  USVETS services are coordinated with the medical and mental health services provided by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the Employment Development Department; local businesses to employ veterans; and a wide variety of service agencies and …
  4. Bingaman: Big Grant For Goodwill Industries Of New Mexico Will Help Veterans. KRWG 90.7  US Senator Jeff Bingaman announced today that the US Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded Goodwill Industries of New Mexico a $574651 grant to help prevent homelessness among New Mexico veterans and their families. …
  5. US gives $1.59 million for Michigan vets programs.  Port Huron Times Herald  The US Department of Veterans Affairs is giving $1.59 million for programs helping homeless Michigan veterans and their families. Department Secretary Eric Shinseki said Tuesday that two Michigan nonprofit agencies will help about 545 homeless …
  6. VA Preparing to Open Small Business Conference.  MarketWatch  The conference learning sessions will be targeted at a variety of businesses–from new business owners to well-established Veteran-owned businesses looking to expand opportunities or increase market share. Additionally, the state directors of VA from …
  7. Homewood veteran tells US Senate, Veterans Affairs about waits for PTSD. al.com (blog) Members of a Senate committee and US Department of Veterans Affairs officials who listened to his story, including a suicide attempt in 2004 and a years long struggle to get treatment, agreed. Williams, a former Army biochemist who served in Iraq in …
  8. Shalikashvili Dies At Age 75. NBC Nightly News  “As you may have heard over this past weekend, this country lost a celebrated and decorated military officer” when 75-year-old John Shalikashvili, a retired four-star general for the US Army, passed away. The Vietnam vet was from Poland, making him the “first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff not born in this country.” He “served President Clinton at the Pentagon for four years.”
  9. Walter Reed Closing Its Doors After 102 Years. Washington Post “After more than a century of treating the war’s wounded and Washington’s most powerful people, Walter Reed Army Medical Center will close its doors and move to a new facility in Bethesda.” On “Wednesday, former and current patients and Walter Reed employees will…say goodbye during a ceremony on the grounds. Most of the moving will take place in August.”
  10. DOD Disputes Research On Vets’ Lung Problems. CBS Early Show  “A soon to be published study obtained exclusively by CBS News found that veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are seven times more likely to report having lung problems than non-deployed vets.” The study’s author “says vets’ lung woes are caused by a toxic mix of ingredients” found in burn pits, dust, and bomb fallout. The “Department of Defense strongly disputes research showing an increase in persistent lung problems.” Burn bits in Iraq have been replaced with incinerators, and the same will happen in Afghanistan.

 

Have You Heard?

Did you know VA has an award-winning national TV commercial series?  VHA’s Healthcare Recruitment and Retention Office (HRRO) recently received a prestigious 2011 Gold Aster Award for their commercial series “Today’s VA.”  The commercial series was developed in collaboration with JWT INSIDE, a recruitment advertising and employment communications agency.  Launched on Veterans Day, November 11, 2009, the series encourages medical professionals to consider a career with VA.  The commercial took home the gold in the TV/Video Advertising – Series category.  The Aster Awards are presented to elite medical marketing health care organizations and advertising agencies nationwide.  They are hosted by an internationally recognized firm, Creative Images Inc. that has specialized in strategic health care marketing for more than 17 years. The award was announced in Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine, a top resource for many health care marketing professionals. To see the award-winning commercial series, visit:  www.vacareers.va.gov/career-life/tv/todays_va.html

More Veteran News

 

  • VA Blue Button Contest Is “Front Door” For All Patients To Access Data. Government Health IT “The contest by the Veterans Affairs Department to expand its Blue Button download capability to veterans treated by private sector physicians is a bid to extend access to information to all patients, said” Peter Levin, VA chief technology officer. He made his comment during a “July 21 briefing with reporters.” Government Health IT adds that VA’s Innovation Initiative (VAi2) “will award a $50,000 prize in October to the first developer team that arranges with 25,000 physicians or other clinical professionals to install on the physician’s website the Blue Button function through which patients can view and transfer their personal health records/information.”

  • Number Of Homeless Veterans Explodes. USA Today “More than 10,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are homeless or in programs aimed at keeping them off the streets, a number that has doubled three times since 2006, according to figures released by the Department of Veterans Affairs.” The “spike in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking shelter comes at a time when the government and non-profit groups are pouring more resources than ever into fighting veteran homelessness,” with VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development “spending $46.2 million to expand” a housing voucher program. And on Tuesday, VA is “set to announce…that nearly $60 million will fund a program of grants to veterans with families who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.”

  • Apps To Help Vets With PTSD, Brain Injuries Jointly Developed By VA And DOD. AP “When terrifying battlefield memories come rushing back to mind, in night sweats, flashbacks or a panic attack, some troops and vets now find comfort by reaching for their smartphones. Using new-age technology to cope with age-old wounds of war, they tap into mobile phone applications, or ‘apps,’ designed to help” with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and brain injuries. The AP adds, “A half-dozen apps with names like ‘T2 MoodTracker,’ ‘PTSD Coach’ and ‘Breathe2Relax’ have been developed by the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department” to “offer at-your-fingertips information about what the military calls ‘invisible wounds’ of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and techniques for managing the symptoms.”

  • Organizations Pairing Troubled Vets With Pets. CBS Evening News After “two near-death experiences” during his time with US Air Force security forces in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, veteran Dave Sharpe “returned home with severe post traumatic stress disorder” and nearly took his own life, only to pull back from the edge when thinking about leaving his dog behind. Sharpe then “started Pet to Vets, now known as P2V, an organization that has put dozens of injured veterans together with their own four legged saviors, dogs and cats.”

  • Program Trying To Find, Treat Vets With PTSD At California Community Colleges. Southern California Public Radio A “nonprofit group US Vets launched the ‘Outside the Wire’ program in several Southern California community colleges in January.” The group is “trying to find and treat vets with PTSD.”





  • Virginian-Pilot Upset With VA Over Mental Healthcare Services. Norfolk (VA) Virginian-Pilot With “mental health problems…have to cope with dangerously long delays in getting the care they deserve” from VA facilities. Stories of “long waits for treatment remain legion, as was clear at a Senate committee hearing earlier this month.”

  • VHA Flunks Medical School Contract Management, IG Says. Federal Computer Week “The Veterans Health Administration’s management problems with contracts with affiliated medical institutions and providers resulted in missed opportunities for saving up to $174 million from 2006 to 2010 and cutting costs by up to 31 percent on those services, according to a new report from the VA’s Office of Inspector General.” The “report makes 11 recommendations for change. VHA managers generally agreed with the recommendations and said they have begun implementing them.”

  • UPS Clerk Pleads Guilty To Stealing Vets’ Drugs. AP Mr. Sean Locke, a former parcel delivery service worker in central Illinois, has “pleaded guilty to stealing drugs headed to military veterans.” Locke “admitted that he stole drugs including methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl patches while working as a United Parcel Service clerk in East Peoria. The medications were being mailed to Department of Veterans Affairs patients.”

  • Special Minnesota Court For Troubled Veterans Marks 1-Year Anniversary. AP “Minnesota’s special Veterans Treatment Court is marking its one-year anniversary this month of trying to help veterans in trouble with the law stay out of the criminal justice system.” In a story that aired on Monday, “Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter, who oversees the court, told Minnesota Public Radio…that officials expected to primarily see Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, but they’ve mostly had Vietnam veterans, and they’ve been a little bit harder to help.” The court is assisted by Veterans Affairs. David Holewinski, a social worker with VA, “said the idea is to stabilize veterans so they no longer need expensive services.”

  • Veterans’ Homes Slip Away. Philadelphia Inquirer “After the Second World War, returning veterans were welcomed home to two of the most successful government initiatives ever — the FHA and VA housing programs — which put millions of them into their own homes for the first time.” But today, many veterans are losing their homes. According to Veterans Affairs, 66,000 veterans defaulted on home loans last year and were assisted by the department, but that “number did not include the tens of thousands of other veterans who faced foreclosure on FHA or conventional mortgages” or those in the National Guard who fell behind their mortgage payments while deployed, leaving the actual number of defaulting veterans unknown.

  • Disabled Veterans And Supporters Plan “Virtual March” To Protect Benefits. Washington Post “The nation’s largest organization representing disabled veterans and their families is organizing a ‘virtual march on Washington’ on Facebook to protect veterans’ compensation and benefits from being targeted for cuts in the ongoing debt crisis negotiations.” The online protest is sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), “set for Wednesday,” and “comes as veterans groups express increasing anger that veterans are being used in a game” of debt ceiling brinksmanship. Asked to “comment on the veterans concerns, Joshua P. Taylor, press secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that ‘the president believes we will resolve this situation and avoid any disruption in government operations or payments.'”

  • DAV Commander: Prioritize Vets’ Needs. The Hill‘s  Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Commander Wallace Tyson writes that as Congress and the Obama Administration try “to deal with the unenviable task of coming to terms with our budget deficit and staggering debt, there is increasing pressure on all parties involved to make cuts, find savings and ‘make hard choices.’ However, if there is one choice we must avoid, it is jeopardizing the care and benefits of our veterans.” The “resources to meet the needs of our veterans must be sustained and guaranteed.”
  • Deficit Talks and Veterans.   Fred Burns, the VFW Washington Office Director of Administration and Operations, attended a meeting this afternoon in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with representatives from other veteran and military service organizations, and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Jon Carson, Director of Public Engagement.
  • Amputees Learning How To Handle Firearms Using Bionic Limbs. WCPO-TV “We have finally reached the point where prosthetics aren’t just a suitable replacement for a lost limb – they’re actually stronger, and have more stamina than the real thing.” This has led to “bionic soldiers” like US Army Sgt. Jourdan Smith, who lost a leg in Iraq, after which time he received training at the Tactical Defense Institute in Adams County. Smith, who is still on active duty, is “one of five amputees participating in a pilot program, learning how to handle firearms using their bionic limbs,” which are funded by the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs.

  • Volunteers Help Landscape Arlington National Cemetery. NBC Nightly News On Monday, hundreds of “volunteers turned out at Arlington National Cemetery…to help spruce up the final resting place of so many of our nation’s veterans.” Planet, an environmental group, “sponsored the project, which donated about $200,000 worth of landscaping services, including the installation of an irrigation system.”

  • American Legion Riders Present Funds. Coldwater (MI) Daily Reporter “American Legion Riders (ALR) of Quincy Michigan, Post 157 recently presented a donation of $750” to the recreation fund of the Veterans Affairs hospital in Battle Creek. The “money was raised through a Motorcycle Poker Run that the group held recently that also included a pizza lunch and a meet and greet with the residents of the hospital. This is the second year for the fundraiser.”
  • Open Forum: These Organizations Respect Veterans. Brainerd (MN) Daily Dispatch Veteran Maurice Karst said he “would like to publicly commend and thank the staff and volunteers of the Crow Wing County Veterans Service Office,” as well as the Veterans Affairs clinic in Brainerd and the VA hospital in St. Cloud. Karst said he was “treated with dignity and respect at all three organizations by phone and in person.” He recommended that “any military veteran needing assistance with any problems related” to their “time served visit these service organizations.”

  • Illinois Soldier’s Remains Buried After 40 Years. AP

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