Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 03, 2011


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. Are you a caregiver for a critically injured vet? Florida Today  The US Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting applications for the new program where caregivers of veterans who sustained serious injuries — including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma and other mental disorders, …
  2. Boro Cabinet Hears Of FDNY Exam, Veterans’ Affairs.  Western Queens Gazette  MOVA was enacted in 1987 through New York City Local Law 53 to advise the mayor on issues and initiatives concerning veterans and the military community. MOVA works with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the state Division of Veteran Affairs, …
  3. Oregon prepares to connect vets with VA benefits, get them off Medicaid. (blog)  The effort is gathering momentum because it offers a clear path to savings for the state, while benefiting veterans who receive more generous federal benefits. Jeffrey Hill, who manages the Disability, Aging and Veteran Services division in Hillsboro, …
  4. Another Face in the ‘The Wall’.  Working with teachers and volunteers, the CCSU Veterans History Project and the Veteran’s Affairs department have organized the statewide effort to collect pictures and remembrances of the 612 Connecticut service members killed during the war. …
  5. Grant to provide aid to veterans.  Cherry Hill Courier Post  With a recently acquired grant from the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the Catholic Charities arm of the Camden Diocese hopes to assist more than 1200 needy veterans in South Jersey, the executive director of the organization, Kevin Hickey, …
  6. One-of-a-kind Texas State Veterans Home gets a name.  The Cherokeean Herald  The home is being built with a $12 million grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, with the remaining 35 percent paid for by the Texas Veterans Land Board. The new Texas State Veterans Home will join seven others across the state in Amarillo, …
  7. Family blames Veterans Affairs for man’s death.  West Virginia Record  — The family of a deceased West Virginia veteran is suing the US Department of Veterans Affairs for wrongful death and medical negligence. Robert L. Bailey Jr., on behalf of the estate of his father Robert L. Bailey, filed a federal tort …
  8. National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Profiles disabled veteran Brandon Rumbaugh, who is competing in the games. At “22 years old, the first-time Wheelchair Games participant is the third-youngest of the 630 athletes. ‘I definitely want to encourage other Marines from Walter Reed to come here and compete,’ Rumbaugh said, ‘and give the older guys a run for their money.'”
  9. Debt Deal Pits Pentagon Against Other Security Agencies. Washington Times The debt deal reached between Congress and the President “sets up what will likely be a painful fight for funding between the Pentagon and other national agencies, according to analysts and officials.” Congress, it notes, “structured the first round of budget cuts – almost $1 trillion worth over 10 tears – by dividing them into security and nonsecurity spending,” but the State Department, VA and DHS “are included alongside the Pentagon budget in that total.” Some analysts, according to the Times, “predict the State Department and Homeland Security will be gouged to protect Pentagon spending.” One analyst, however, suggests the VA “is politically protected,” because it provides services to veterans.
  10. US Troop Retirement, Healthcare May Be Cut. AP “Cuts in health care, retirement and benefits for the military are all potential targets for cuts as America struggles to rein in spending, the top” US military “officer told anxious troops on two warfronts. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going down as US forces withdraw over the next few years, the latest debt agreement will demand defense cuts” and no spending is off the table. If “‘we’re going to cut spending, we have to go where the money is,’ Mullen told several hundred troops gathered at the Al Faw Palace on the soon-to-be-shuttered Camp Victory outside Baghdad on Tuesday morning.”


Have You Heard?

Thomas R. Kosten, M.D. was recently selected as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC). In his new post, Kosten is charged with management of one of the largest research programs in the VA health care system. Following a successful, 25-year tenure as professor and chief of Psychiatry atYaleUniversityand VA Connecticut, Kosten joined the DeBakey staff in July 2006, bringing more than 30 years of exemplary federal service. Kosten is also the JH Waggoner Chair & Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Neuroscience; as well as, the associate vice president and dean for Clinical Research at Baylor College of Medicine. Since 2006, Kosten has also served as the research director of the VA National Substance Use Disorders Quality Enhancement Research Initiative. He established the Division of Addictions Psychiatry at Baylor and Yale, and directs their National Institutes (NIH) ofHealthMedicationsDevelopmentCenterfor Substance Abuse. He was recognized in the 2010-2011 Best Doctors in America®, an honor reserved by only 5 percent of the nation’s doctors.

More Veterans News

  • Drugs Found Ineffective For Veterans’ Stress. New York Times “Drugs widely prescribed to treat severe post-traumatic stress symptoms for veterans are no more effective than placebos and come with serious side effects, including weight gain and fatigue, researchers reported on Tuesday. The surprising finding…challenges current treatment standards so directly that it could alter practice soon, some experts said,” adding that while the new research focused on one medication, Risperdal, what it found most likely can be applied other antipsychotic drugs. Such drugs have been increasingly used to treat US soldiers with PTSD because they have not been helped by antidepressants. According to the Times, the new research comes “at a time when the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are straining to provide treatment to returning service members who are not only concerned about the stigma of mental illness but are also often skeptical of the value of treatment.”

  • VA Secretary To Address 90th DAV National Convention In New Orleans. Disabled American Veterans “will once again convene its national body to address the needs of disabled veterans, including those who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, when the organization meets at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for its 90th National Convention Aug. 6-9.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is “scheduled to deliver a major speech to more than 3,000 DAV delegates the morning of Aug. 7.” According to DAV National Commander Wallace E. Tyson, his organization knows that “VA realizes its claims system is grossly outdated and inadequate to properly ensure veterans receive the help and care they have earned through service to our nation, so it is important to hear how its mission to reform the process is progressing.”

  • VA’s New Under Secretary For Benefits Urged To Avoid Rushed Claims Evaluations. VVA Veteran “Brig. Gen. Allison A. Hickey, a 27-year veteran of the Air Force, is the new Under Secretary for Benefits for the VA. We hope she knows how daunting a challenge she will have to address in her new post: the out-of-control accumulation of claims and appeals of rejected claims for disability compensation and other benefits earned by veterans.” Welsh offered Hickey some advice, including that adjudicators “must take however much time is needed to evaluate claims properly, rather than rush through claims in order to meet some quota.”

  • VA Creates A New Office Of Veterans Economic Opportunity. VVA Veteran One of “VVA’s top legislative initiatives for the past three years has been the creation of a Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration. VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki preempted any congressional action by creating a new Office of Economic Opportunity within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) headed by a deputy under secretary for economic opportunity.” Welsh concludes, “This should enhance coordination and reduce, if not eliminate, duplication of services” when it comes to education, loan guaranty, and vocational rehabilitation.

  • Causes Of Failure To Prevent Retained Surgical Sponges ID’d. HealthDay “Failure to prevent retained sponges after surgical procedures occurs at different points in the perioperative process and may be due to a wide range of causes, including distraction, multitasking, not following procedure, and time pressure, according to a study published in the August issue of the AORN Journal. Victoria M. Steelman, Ph.D., R.N., from the Iowa City Veterans Administration Health Care System, and Joseph J. Cullen, M.D., from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iowa City, examined perioperative processes that are used to prevent retained sponges after elective abdominal surgery to identify potential failures in surgical counts and the causes, probability, and severity of these failures.” HealthDay adds, “The investigators identified 57 cases of potential counting failures, which were mainly attributed to room preparation, initial count, adding and removing sponges, and the first and final closing count.”

  • Panic Attacks Don’t Come Out Of The Blue After All. Medscape “Panic attacks do not come ‘out of the blue’ but are preceded by physiological changes similar to those that precede seizures, stroke, and even manic episodes, a new study suggests.” The “study was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Beth and Russell Siegelman Foundation.”

  • Hospitalist Care More Costly On Balance. MedPage Today “Lower inhospital treatment costs associated with hospitalist care for Medicare beneficiaries were erased by higher rates of readmission and emergency department visits after discharge, researchers said, suggesting that current hospitalist models actually increase overall costs.” The study appeared in the “Aug. 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.” In an “accompanying editorial, two…researchers from the VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., agreed that the hospitalist model may not be working perfectly, but said it would be premature to call it a failure.”
  • VA Clinic Goes To French Camp. Tracy (CA) Press The US Department of Veterans Affairs has “decided that a site near San Joaquin County Hospital in French Camp will become home to its new health care center for military veterans. According to Kenneth Cohen, director of San Joaquin County health care services who was ‘ecstatic’ about the decision, it’s a coup for the county and the hospital.” The Press adds, “In addition to serving the 87,000 estimated veterans who call San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties home, Cohen said the clinic will employ up to 400 people when fully operational as well as several hundred during construction.”

  • New Plan For Housing At VA Campus In Menlo Park. Menlo Park (CA) Almanac “The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to work with a contractor to build new, affordable housing for veterans and other at-risk people at the VA medical center campus off Willow Road in Menlo Park. Over the next couple of weeks, the VA will seek bids from contractors to lease 1.9 acres on the 96-acre campus to build the housing.” The Almanac adds, “The contractor, which could be a public, private or nonprofit entity, would most likely construct a new facility on the allotted land, said Kerri Childress, communications officer for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, which includes the Menlo Park campus.”

  • Veterans More Transportation Options. Liberty County (MT) Times Veterans in Montana will “soon have more ways to get to and from their health care appointments. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced VA Montana Health Care System as one of 47 sites nationwide to use the Veterans Transportation Service (VTS) program.” In Montana, funding for the program is “expected to be more than $400,000 this year, and will be used to purchase seven vans for VA Montana Health Care System, including four wheelchair accessible vans.” The Times notes that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki commented on the importance of the program, stating, “Even the best care anywhere will have no impact unless our Veterans can make it in to their appointments.”

  • VA To Hold Outreach Event At McCook Readiness Center. KHGI-TV “An outreach initiative to provide rural-area veterans information and counseling about Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and services takes place Aug. 5 and 6 at the Armed Forces Readiness Center, 1 1/2 miles east on Highway 6 near McCook, Neb.” The US VA is “partnering with the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, veteran service agencies, county veteran service officers and military transition assistance advisors to bring information and services at a Veterans of the Armed Forces Open House. Veterans and their family members with questions about benefits are encouraged to visit the open house between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 5 or from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 6.”
  • Charity To Provide DVDs To Hospice Patients. KWTX-TV “The Killeen Police Department and ‘Operation: A Bit of Home’ charity need your help to get 20 portable DVD players and at least 1500 movies to residents” at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Temple, Texas. The “organization hopes that the donations will benefit the residents of the Temple VA hospital, many of whom are immobile and in hospice care.” KWTX added, “To make a donation, visit the Killeen Police Department’s South Headquarters located at 3304 Community Blvd., the North Precinct at 402 N. 2nd St. or the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, located at 3601 S.W.S. Young Drive.”

  • Ineligible Contractors Getting $500M A Year From VA, OIG Says. Washington Technology “Federal auditors took a hard look at procurement practices at the Veterans Affairs Department in two new reports, finding that VA is likely to be awarding about $500 million a year to ineligible contractors.” Officials with VA have agreed with recommendations for improvement in both reports, both of which were put out by the inspector general’s office.

  • Oregon Prepares To Connect Vets With VA Benefits. Oregonian Some states are shifting “residents from Medicaid to veterans benefits, saving state general fund money. About 9,500 veterans were removed from the Medicaid rolls under the Washington initiative since the program began in 2003, saving the state $27 million, according to the National Coalition on Health Care.” Oregon is now “taking baby steps toward imitating the success of Washington state.”

  • Marine Mom Makes The Grade, Thanks To GI Bill.The “Sgt. Shaft” column for the Washington Times

  • VAMC Takes Care Of Women Patients. Lebanon (PA) Daily News Veteran S.R. Garman says he disagrees with a recent letter to the same paper, which had argued that Veterans Affairs needs to improve the care it provides to women vets. Garman contends, “The patient only needs to ask for what they need.” Garman adds, “I feel” that the Lebanon VA Medical Center is “doing a great job in treating our veterans.”


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