Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 15, 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.   County Council Establishes Veterans Treatment Court.  Seattle Medium  The Veterans Treatment Court will connect eligible veterans to treatment and counseling services available through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA coordinates with local governments and criminal justice agencies to identify …
2.   Veterans Find Help At Stand Down.  Gazette Newspapers  “The Greater Harbor Area Employer Advisory Council donates $2500 every year, and then State of California Department of Veteran Affairs gave us $1500,” McBride said. “This collaborative effort is a major thing this year. We assisted 400 last year, …
3.   Next MOH recipient Meyer says hero status doesn’t change his identityDakota Meyer doesn’t mind if people call him a hero. He doesn’t really believe it, but he’ll accept the compliment graciously. On Thursday, the White House will honor Meyer with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for valor.
4.   Minneapolis VA launches health information exchange.  Superior Telegram  The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced it is expanding the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) pilot program to include veterans in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has …
5.   Another board member resigns over Scocos appointment.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)  Scott Walker’s recent nomination of John Scocos to serve a second term as head of the state Department of Veteran Affairs. Anthony Hardie, former executive assistant to Scocos, announced today that he was leaving the Wisconsin Council on Veterans …
6.   State Veterans Home Leader Steps Down. Minneapolis Star Tribune Gilbert Acevedo has “resigned as a deputy commissioner in the state Department of Veterans Affairs.” He was “hired four years ago following reports of unstable leadership and unsafe care at the state’s veterans’ home in Minneapolis. Acevedo, who is taking an undisclosed position in Minnesota’s private elder-care industry, helped ‘put ‘the ship’ back on course’ during his oversight of the state’s five veterans homes, said Larry Shellito, the state’s veterans affairs commissioner.”
7.   How Is California Supporting Its Veterans?  KALW-FM Michael Blecker, who works for “the local veteran advocacy group Swords to Plowshares,” is “hoping the state of California will…make changes to meet the demands of today’s returning vets. He sees a positive shift in Governor Jerry Brown’s attitude” from when he was first the state’s governor and there was less public support for Vietnam vets. Blecker stated, “He’s forming this inter-agency council for veterans, and I think that speaks to a greater awareness of their needs, and how the state should step up and do something. So I’m encouraged by that.
8.   Veterans Affairs’ Funeral Policy Inflames Area Veterans. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review A “Veterans Affairs policy…prohibits religious recitations in volunteer honor guards’ funeral rituals without prior family consent.” Because of the policy, which “came about after families complained about religious words being said during services without requests for them to be included,” a pending Federal lawsuit in Texas accuses VA “officials at the Houston National Cemetery of censorship.” While “Western Pennsylvania veterans and some congressmen who are watching the Houston case are appalled,” a statement from “VA spokesman Josh Taylor said the agency ‘would like to emphasize that we care deeply that the First Amendment rights of the families of those patriots who are interred in our national cemeteries, and the rights of all who visit these national shrines, are fully respected.'”  Stars And Stripes  “Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman in Washington,” said it is not true that VA has banned religious words. The policy, she explained, “allows families to determine what they want to have said. I don’t believe anything’s been done that shouldn’t have been done.” Stars And Stripes added that in July, US Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) “was among two dozen lawmakers who signed a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki calling for the removal of Houston National Cemetery Director Arleen Ocasio.”
9.   Survey: Older Prescription Drugs Are Often Safer, But Many Consumers Think New Is Better.  AP “Many consumers mistakenly believe new prescription drugs are always safer than those with long track records, and that only extremely effective drugs without major side effects win government approval, according to a new study” that appeared in “Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.” The “means consumers ‘may not get the benefit from drugs they think they’re getting, or they may expose themselves to more harm than they think’ said study co-author Dr. Steven Woloshin of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the VA Outcomes Group.” Dr. Michael Steinman of the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Francisco VA Medical Center, “who wrote a commentary about the study in the journal,” said, “So much of what doctors learn about new drugs is somehow affected by drug company marketing.”
10.Aetna Web Tool Lets Members Get Electronic Medical Records. Bloomberg News The “third-largest US health insurer…said 9 million customers can more easily download electronic versions of health records from a company website as part of a government push to promote online data. The insurer expects by next year to give its members the ability to send personal health records directly to doctors and other providers across a secure system, said Brian Kelly, head of informatics and strategic alignment” Aetna Inc. The “service is part of the Obama administration’s Blue Button initiative, a set of privacy and security practices designed by the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense to promote use of personal online health data.”

 

Have You Heard?

Nearly 240 Veterans with injuries and other disabilities are in Iowa to participate in the National Veterans TEE (Training, Exposure, and Experience) Tournament Sept. 12-15. “Golf is not an easy game, especially for disabled Veterans who must concentrate on more than just their swing,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “The physical and mental challenges of golf  and these other events helps these heroes restart and revitalize their lives.” Sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and supported by over 300 volunteers and numerous corporate sponsors, the National Veterans TEE Tournament provides Veterans with disabilities the opportunity to develop new skills and strengthen their confidence through adaptive golf.  Activities also include bowling, horseback riding, kayaking and other recreational sports.  For more information about the National Veterans TEE Tournament visit the website at www.tee.va.gov.

More Veteran News

 

  • Veterans Get Personal Care In VA Medical Foster Home Program. Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer 78-year-old veteran Bill Eaton Jr. is pleased to be part of a Veterans Affairs medical foster home program. There are “currently 348 VA medical foster homes nationally in the 12-year-old VA program, serving 420 veterans. The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center’s foster home program started last year and according to program coordinator Stefanie Redmon, nine veterans have been placed in five homes located in East Cleveland, Orange, Akron, Alliance and Lodi.”
  • PTSD Sufferer Who Gave Wife, Nation A Scare Is Now “Normal Again.” Chicago Tribune  30-year-old Chris Miller is a former US Marine and Iraq veteran who “disappeared for two days in October 2010, taking with him” his “infant son, Jackson.” Miller and his wife “now know that he was suffering” from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He has gotten help at the Hines Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Bruce Roberts, the head of mental health services at Hines, said “said…VA has developed programs to seek out returning troops as soon as possible.” He added, “What we try to do now is be proactive and not have lifelong patients. The key thing in this process is to get people back to 100 percent of where they were. If you don’t do that, there is a risk of relapse.”
  • Bill Would Provide Mental-Health Services To National Guard Members.  Providence (RI) Journal  “Sen. Jack Reed has authored a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that would provide mental-health services to National Guard members.” The Joining Forces for Military Mental Health Act “would provide outreach and support services to Guard members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer” from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The Journal added, “The bill is an amendment of the Defense Authorization Bill, which Reed said will be considered in the fall and is likely to be passed.”
  • Iraq Vet Claims He Was Wrongfully Fired From Job For Having PTSD.  Chattanooga Times Free Press  “A $1.5 million federal lawsuit against Chattanooga in which a former police officer claims he was wrongfully fired for having” PTSD went to trial this week. Plaintiff Mickel Hoback “alleges Chattanooga violated his civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing him for having PTSD.” The Free Press adds, “After a one-year combat deployment to Iraq, Hoback returned to work at the Chattanooga Police Department in 2006” and was “fired two years later when then-Police Chief Freeman Cooper learned that he had PTSD.”
  • San Francisco VA Using Virtual Reality To Treat Younger Vets With PTSD. KALW-FM “Veterans Association studies have found that 1 in 5 returning vets suffer” from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a “study by the San Francisco VA, only 1 in 10 of those vets seeks treatment” at a Veterans Affairs hospital. While the “San Francisco VA provides many traditional approaches to PTSD,” including “group therapy, substance-abuse programs, and cognitive behavioral therapy,” it uses a “helmet, motion centers,” and stereo headphones to create for “Virtual Iraq,” a virtual reality PTSD treatment for younger veterans. Dr. William Wolf, who directs the hospital’s PTSD program, said, “Men and women who are coming back now grew up on video games. This is something that is natural for them, so it seems like a great thing to explore.”
  •  Military Veterans Seek Help From Colleges. Washington Post “Veterans and their advocates say colleges need to step up efforts to help students adjust to campus life.” Veterans Affairs is “testing a program called VetSuccess – offering counseling and personal assistance to student veterans – at Texas A&M, San Diego State, the University of South Florida and five other campuses. There are plans to expand to nine more schools next year.”
  •  VA Medical Center Launches Health Information Exchange. Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times The Charles George Veterans Affairs Medical Center “has been selected as a pilot site for a new electronic data exchange enterprise called” the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) program, which “allows health records of enrolled Veterans to be shared securely over the Nationwide Health Information Network. For Veterans enrolled in the voluntary program, this provides the added safety and benefit of giving healthcare providers in 16 Western North Carolina hospitals access to vital information.”
  • Construction At Memphis VA Hospital Will Address Expanding Patient Needs.  Memphis Commercial Appeal Almost “$20 million in construction projects will modernize many areas of the Memphis Veterans Medical Center in the coming months, including a new ‘front door'” for Veterans Affairs facility. A “$3.4 million polytrauma unit will bring together clinical and rehabilitation resources from across Memphis VA’s campus for veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn with multiple injuries.” The Commercial Appeal added, “Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2012, said Leland Fong, project supervisor.
  • Teen’s Bus Shelter Project At VA Clinic A Success. BN9-TV “Veterans will no longer have to sit in the hot sun while waiting for the bus outside” the Veterans Affairs clinic in Lakeland. High school “student Fisher Curry raised thousands of dollars to help build a bus shelter in front of the clinic, which is located on South Pipkin Road.” City “leaders held a ribbon cutting for the shelter on Monday.”
  • Post-9/11 Wounded Veteran Finds “Giving Back” Is Path To Healing. Huffington Post  “The Mission Continues, which made his new life possible, was founded in 2007 by a former Navy Seal, Eric Greitens, who realized that wounded warriors serving after 9/11 often lacked the opportunity to give back and become engaged again in service. As part of its work, the organization awards fellowships to give wounded veterans” like Phil Bauer, who lost a leg during his service in Iraq, the “opportunity to work with nonprofit service groups.” Such “fellowships, which provide post-9/11 wounded veterans a living stipend for 28 weeks, are intended to help ease the transition from isolation and despair to community participation.”
  • Vets Deserve Better Than Pension Cuts.  USA Today  New Jersey resident Les Albert, Maryland resident Ed Vitalos, and Texas resident Brian Cooley argue against changes or cuts to military pensions.
  • Vet Asks Where To Find List Of Units Exposed To Agent Orange. The “Sgt. Shaft” column for the Washington Times
  • Alamo CrossFit Is Seen As A Life-Changing Gym.  San Antonio Express-News The Alamo CrossFit gym “hosted its second Wounded Warriors Summit.” The summit attempted to prove “to the wounded warriors that their changed bodies could still be challenged, could still be made more fit and healthy.” During the summit, “14 wounded warriors” completed “two days of standard CrossFit workouts.”
  • Transportation Boost Makes Difference To Vets. Army Times
  • VA Center Scam Targets Veterans, Elderly. Green Bay (WI) Press-Gazette The Door County Sheriff’s Department has been contacted by the Veterans Affairs Department about suspicious telephone calls soliciting money for a new veterans outpatient clinic in Green Bay. These phone calls are a scam, and any money donated will not go to the clinic, officials said.
  • Inside The Office Of The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Majority Staff: Elby Godwin. The Hill

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