Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 18, 2011

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Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

 

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1.    Study assesses how military treats coping skills.  Walton Sun  From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, veterans keep coming to the DAV with problems they are having with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. “I think they have to do a lot more,” Donnerstag said. The study, conducted by the RAND Center for Military …

2.    King County considers creating treatment court for veterans.  Issaquah Press  The proposed pilot project aims to meld local criminal justice resources and US Department of Veterans Affairs medical, mental health and addiction services. “A veterans court will enhance the District Court’s focused, therapeutic response to issues …

3.    Feds Grant Maine Funds to Rehab Veterans Cemetery.  MPBN News  Maine is getting a federal grant of nearly $441000 to rehab the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. The grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, will be used to raise, realign and clean more than 6500 headstones at the cemetery, …

4.    State director to discuss VA benefits at Cedar Falls hotel.  Iowa — Bob Steben, an executive director with the Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs, will answer questions about Veterans Administration …

5.    SGT. SHAFT: Vet widows retain military benefits until they remarry.  Washington Times In a recent hearing, the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations revealed that there are 91 pending criminal investigations in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program. …

6.    Marine To Receive MOH For Effort To Rover Bodies Of Fallen Soldiers. CNN  “President Barack Obama next month will present the Medal of Honor to the first living Marine to receive the recognition for actions in Afghanistan or Iraq, the White House announced Friday. Dakota Meyer was in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in September 2009 when he repeatedly ran through enemy fire to recover the bodies of fellow American troops.” According to CNN, Meyer “will be honored during a White House ceremony September 15.”

7.    Why Are There No Living Medal Of Honor Recipients For The Iraq War?  Washington Post  While “far more American troops gave their lives in Iraq than have so far died in Afghanistan” – no living US service members have received the Medal of Honor. The Post adds, “At least one plausible explanation” for this may be that in Afghanistan, “much of the fighting takes place in remote areas – and, in fact, all three of the living Medal of Honor recipients from the Afghan war have received the citation for action in mountainous regions along the border with Pakistan.” The “result is that US troops in Afghanistan have seen more situations in which small groups of personnel have found themselves caught in harrowing battles – without air support – and have been forced to make life-and-death decisions.” Some of those soldiers, the Post notes, have survived.

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8.    Plans To Give Vets More Jobs Are Gaining Steam.  Army Times  The President’s recently announced veterans’ employment plan and “two competing plans pending in Congress have enough similarities to give hope that a comprehensive jobs package could take effect this fall.” President Obama has “ordered the Pentagon and veterans Affairs Department to lead a federal task force that will put more emphasis on training, education and credentialing so service members can put their military experience to better use in civilian life.”

9.    Lake County To Offer Special Court Program For Veterans. AP Illinois’ Lake County is “scheduled to open a special court program for veterans. The Daily Herald reports…that the Veterans Treatment Program is to begin Friday” and that it will offer veterans with criminal troubles “drug and alcohol treatment, mental health counseling and employment or educational services.” The AP added, “Similar veteran courts exist in 25 states and 71 jurisdictions.”

10. Utah’s Forgotten Veterans Receive Military Funeral. AP  On Monday, a ceremony was held “for more than a dozen Utah veterans whose remains had gone unclaimed after their deaths. The service at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale was the first in the state organized by the Missing in America Project as part of a national initiative to locate unburied or unclaimed cremated remains of veterans and provide military burials.” The AP adds, “In April, Missing in America Project officials obtained whatever identification documents the funeral home had and worked with the VA and other agencies to confirm their military service.”

Have You Heard?

VA Secretary Addresses Veteran Business Owners

The National Veterans Small Business Conference is underway in New Orleans. Yesterday, Secretary Shinseki and other VA leaders addressed Veteran business owners on ways to expand contracting opportunities and nourish their businesses. View photos of the event

 

More Veteran News

 

  • Motorcycle Ride Aims To Raise Funds For Veterans.  Brentwood (CA) Patch  “A benefit motorcycle ride will be held on the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to raise funds for the Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles.” The event “is sponsored by Barger and Barterls Harley-Davidson dealerships and the West Hog Chapter, as well as other participants.”
  •  Pentagon Study Proposes “Radical” Overhaul Of Pension System. CBS Evening News “A Pentagon-sponsored study says military pensions are no longer untouchable, they’re unaffordable.” CBS went on to describe a “radical proposal…from a panel of military advisors called the Defense Business Board,” which “would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead they’d get a 401(k)-style plan with government contributions” that “they would have to wait until normal retirement age to collect.” CBS added that “it would save $250 billion over 20 years,” and “advocates say the new system would…also be fairer” because “it would give benefits to those who serve less than 20 years,” who “right now…walk away with nothing, and it would give more money to those in combat or high-risk situations.”
  • Defense Consultant Invited To National Roundtable. Dayton Business Journal  “A Dayton-area defense industry consultant” was to meet with US Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki on Monday. DeMolet Consulting President Dennis DeMolet was “invited to New Orleans to participate in a ‘Winning the Future Roundtable with American Business’ on Monday.” As part of a White House effort to hear feedback about how the Obama Administration can support business growth, Shinseki was to lead a discussion with several “hand-picked businesspeople,” including DeMolet, who said he was planning to focus on fraud and abuse in the Federal procurement system, including its Service Disabled Veteran Set Aside program.
  • Do-It-Yourself Battlefield Medicine Saves Lives.  AP  A “study, published Monday in Archives of Surgery, details the Rangers’ approach, which also has been adopted in some other parts of the military.” The “study found a 3 percent death rate from potentially survivable causes in the 75th Regiment between October 2001 and April 2010. That compares with a 24 percent rate in a previously reported set of US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, which included troops who didn’t have the Ranger-style training, the study authors said.”
  • Wars’ Toll Speeds Push For Better Helmets.  Boston Globe  Pentagon officials “know what their service members are up against — and that a primary protection for the men and women on the front lines, the helmet, is inadequate. The result is a race to solve one of their biggest equipment challenges: developing a helmet that not only protects brains from the traditional enemies of bullets and shrapnel but also from blunt blows and invisible, devastating blast waves from explosions.” The “military is attacking the problem on multiple fronts,” including through the development of safer helmets and through the use of government-funded researchers, some with Veterans Affairs, who are examining “how the brain reacts to blunt force.”
  • GI Bill Claims Processing Lags In 7 States.  Army Times “Processing of fall enrollment of Post-9/11 GI Bill claims” by Veterans Affairs is “going smoothly, as long as you’re not a private-school student in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas.” The overall faster processing pace by VA is the result of “increased automation and streamlining of benefits that took effect” at the beginning of this month. However, in the aforementioned seven states, VA must hand-process from private-school students, according to Keith Wilson, VA’s education service director.
  • VA Hospitals Score Well In Treating Heart Patients.  Army Times  “Veterans Affairs Department hospitals have better average performance than other US hospitals in Heart failure and heart attack mortality measures, but VA hospitals score notably worse in readmission rates.” In addition, a “larger percentage of VA facilities are categorized as significantly worse than average compared with nationwide hospitals overall for more than half of the indicators measured. All 124 VA acute care facilities have been included in Medicare’s ‘Hospital Compare’ database for the first time, allowing patients to see which hospitals have a high fatality rate for patients with pneumonia, heart failure and heart attacks compared with their non-VA peers.”
  • Pentagon, VA Moving Forward With Joint EHR Data Sharing Network. iHealthBeat “The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are moving forward with their efforts to develop a network to share electronic health records of military personnel, the Washington Post reports.” Elizabeth McGrath, “DOD’s deputy chief management officer, said DOD and VA plan to use a common technology framework and share data centers to reduce costs and promote efficiency” in their joint EHR effort. She also noted that DOD’s David Wennergren has been made the acting director of a joint program office which aims to speed the exchange of health information for veterans and military personnel. According to iHealthBeat, both VA and DOD oppose a bill by US Rep. Joe Donnelly (R-IN) “that would make the joint program office the only office responsible for EHR systems at DOD and VA, eliminating the individual EHR oversight offices at each agency.”
  • Merged Navy-VA Hospital Allows Navy Recruits To Have Lifetime EHR. Government Computer News  “The health care records of new Navy recruits now will be virtually electronic for their entire career as an active duty and veteran member of the service. That’s because all Navy recruits have their records loaded into systems at new James A. Lovell Health Care Center in Chicago, which recently merged together two separate Navy and Veterans Affairs hospital facilities.” This was noted last week by Col. Claude Hines Jr., program manager for the Defense Health Information Management System. He was “part of a panel of civilian and uniformed experts who discussed the state of military health care IT on Aug. 9 at AFCEA’s Warfighter Support IT day in Vienna, Va.”

 Several Studies Seek Combat Vets With Lung Problems. Army Times  “If you are a combat veteran experiencing shortness of breath or other pulmonary problems, the Army wants to hear from you. Recent reports about Iraq and Afghanistan veterans afflicted with constrictive bronchiolitis, a rare and sever lung disease caused by scarring and inflammation of the lungs’ smallest airways, may be exaggerated, officials said, but work is underway to determine the impact of repeated deployments” on US soldiers. The Army, according to the Times, has begun “Studies that officials hope will help them better treat those who get sick with pulmonary illnesses.”

 

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