Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 22, 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.   Air Force faced with ‘new reality’: fewer pilots.  ‘The fact of the matter is, we’re going to have less fighter pilots in the future,’ said Lt. Col. Mark Daley, chief of the Air Force’s crew management branch at the Pentagon. ‘How does the Air Force adjust to that new reality”
2.   Female veterans tormented by combat and sexual trauma.  BBC News  There are now 1.8 million women veterans. The percentage growth has outpaced that of the male veteran population, and the number of female veterans continues to increase. The healthcare system run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs has had to …
3.   Report: More troops suffering amputationsA U.S. Army report has confirmed what military trauma surgeons in Afghanistan have long suspected: More troops are suffering devastating wounds, including arm, leg and multiple-limb amputations as well as genital injuries, because of bomb blasts.
4.   Device might offer some troops an alternative to amputationJohnny Owens thought about quitting his work as a physical therapist after several of his patients, each of whom endured up to a year of painful rehabilitation, chose to have their legs amputated after all.
5.   US VA halts Avastin use for eye disease.  Reuters  The US Department of Veterans Affairs said it has stopped using Roche’s Avastin to treat a sight-robbing eye disease as it looks into reports of increased risk of infection. Roche’s Lucentis is specifically approved to treat wet age-related …
6.   New plan for local veterans home.  Herald and News  Previously, when the state awarded a veterans home to a community, that community had to provide 35 percent of the funding, with the US Department of Veterans Affairs paying the remaining 65 percent of construction costs. …
7.   Union says veterans home residents may suffer under privatization plan.  The Detroit News  The state is turning the work over to a private contractor as part of a plan to save about $4.2 million, said Jason Allen, senior deputy director for veterans affairs in the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. In a news release, …
8.   Union seeks to halt to layoffs at veterans home in Grand Rapids.  The Detroit News
The state is turning the resident care aide work over to a private contractor Oct. 1 as part of a plan to save about $4.2 million, said Jason Allen, senior deputy director of veterans affairs in the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. …
9.   Veterans’ center path will be paved by state.  Mail Tribune  The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to widen and pour asphalt on a nearly mile-long dirt path on the west side of Highway 62 that long has been used by veterans at the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Southern Oregon …
10. US House Approves Funding For Homeless Vets In LA.  AP  The “House of Representatives has passed a funding bill that provides nearly $36 million to renovate parts of the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs campus in west Los Angeles.” The “campus is currently the subject of a lawsuit accusing…VA of offering insufficient services for homeless vets.” US Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) “said in a release that the bill includes $20 million for renovations to a building that will be used to provide long-term housing for homeless veterans while they receive therapy.”


Have You Heard?

VA recently announced that it will expand its pilot for the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), which enables sharing of Veterans’ health records, adding six additional sites to the current five already using the program.  “The expansion of the VLER pilot program will allow more Veterans and facilities to participate in this exciting new technology,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “It will keep health care providers informed, improve continuity and timeliness of care, and eliminate gaps in health care information.” VLER is a multi-faceted business and technology initiative that includes a portfolio of health, benefits, personnel, and administrative information sharing capabilities.  The pilot expansion is designed to share Veterans’ health information electronically, safely, and privately between VA, Department of Defense (DoD), and selected private health care facilities that are members of the secure Nationwide Health Information Network. This expansion will enable authorized users to access health information and will provide seamless service to service members and Veterans.  To find out more about VLER, Veterans may call the toll-free at 1-877-771-VLER (8537).


More Veteran News


  •  HR 2646 Authorizes $850 Million For VA Medical Facility Construction. CQ  “The House passed a pair of health-related measures Tuesday – endorsing bills to authorize funding for medical facilities construction” for VA “and to support medical residency programs at children’s hospitals.” The “VA bill (HR 2646) would authorize $850 million for construction and renovations at medical facilities in California, Puerto Rico and Missouri. It also would authorize $50 million for the leasing of medical facilities in various parts of the country.” CQ quotes US Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), who said, “VA provides high-quality medical care and services to our honored veterans through an extensive and diverse portfolio of medical facilities. Congress and the Administration have an obligation to ensure that this national infrastructure is appropriately maintained.”
  • Army Secretary: Improvements At Arlington Cemetery. AP  “The Secretary of the Army has released a report detailing improvements made at Arlington National Cemetery more than a year after the disclosure of embarrassing revelations at the burial ground.” On Tuesday, Army Secretary John M. McHugh “released the report and wrote a letter to lawmakers. He said the new management team at the cemetery has made progress in reconciling decades’ worth of paper records with physical graveside inspections.”
  •  State Veteran’s Affairs Official Stepping Down. St. Paul Pioneer-Press  “Gilbert Acevedo, a deputy commissioner in the state’s veterans affairs department who was brought in four years ago to right the ship in the wake of care-related scandals at the Minneapolis veterans home, is stepping down next month.” His “last day will be Oct. 11. He’s leaving to pursue a position in the private sector, a department spokeswoman said.”
  •  Concern Raised About Meds And PTSD In Vets. Newsday  The death of Iraq veteran John Jennings “raised troubling questions about another threat that is an increasing concern among military and veterans groups: accidental poisonings by painkillers and other legally prescribed drugs.” Jennings received treatment at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, whose acting chief of medicine, Dr. Hussein Foda, “said doctors there have taken measures to curb prescribing painkillers to veterans.” But “Veterans advocates say they are alarmed by the increased use of pharmaceutical drugs to treat soldiers for chronic pain.”
  •  “Real Warriors” Battles Against PTSD, Military Suicides. WTOP-FM  “As many as one-third of all military service members returning from war suffer” from post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD). WTOP added, “Tragically the rate of suicide remains high, which is why the military has dedicated September as National Military Suicide Prevention Month.” One of those who got help from the US Army for his PTSD is Maj. Jeff Hall. Hall served in Iraq and is “spending the rest of his military career making sure others get help through the Real Warriors Campaign.” Hall told WTOP that the goal of the campaign is to “reduce the stigma of soldiers coming forward when they need psychological help.”
  • Shinseki: New Telephone Service Will Help Those Trying To Get Proper Care For Vets.  Washington Times  “Sgt. Shaft” column said the Department of Veterans Affairs has “launched a telephone service, Coaching into Care, to provide assistance to family members and friends trying to encourage their veteran to seek health care for possible readjustment and mental health issues.” In a news release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “Those closest to veterans are often the first to recognize when veterans are having difficulties. Family members and friends may not know what to say to encourage their veterans to seek much needed readjustment and health care. The Coaching into Care line will help them find the right words.” The “Coaching into Care program offers unlimited, free coaching with family members or friends over a series of telephone calls.”
  •  St. Cloud VA To Host “Personal Safety For Women” Event. Alexandria (MN) Echo Press  “The Women Veterans Program at the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System will host the Fourth Annual Women Veterans Health and Wellness Day on September 27.” This event “celebrates women Veterans and their military service by emphasizing healthy lifestyles and medical care unique to women. This year’s event is scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m., in Building 96 on the St. Cloud VA Medical Center campus in St. Cloud.”
  •  VA Clinic Getting Ready To Host “Women Are Veterans, Too!” Expo. Lufkin (TX) Daily News  “The Charles Wilson Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic is sponsoring a ‘Women are Veterans, Too!’ Expo from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 14 at 2206 N. John Redditt Drive in Lufkin.” The expo is “free and open to all women veterans living in East Texas. Women veterans may bring their DD Form 214 Military Service Record to the event for immediate enrollment in the VA Health Care System.”
  •  Band Of Airmen Take On PTSD. Northwest Florida Daily News  “From deployed days to weapon references, the military experience flows through many of the songs written and performed by Gone with the Flesh. Bassist Jenn Goode said one subject close to the hearts of band members” is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Goode, a “medic in the Gulf War, said she came back with a minor case of PTSD after working a mass casualty event and treating victims of an improvised explosive device.”
  • More Women Suffering From PTSD. KING-TV  “New research shows women are twice as likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder than men.” KING added, “All veterans who may be struggling with PTSD are encouraged to contact their local VA hospitals for help. In July, the government established new PTSD regulations to help simplify and streamline the claims process.”
  •  Army Looking At How Fish Oil Might Reduce Suicides. USA Today The US Army is “eager to know whether omega-3 fatty acids…might deter soldiers from killing themselves. ‘I’m all over it, because I’m looking for something to help,’ says Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff, who has been working for years to reduce the service’s record number of suicides.” Last month, research “published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry…showed that men in the service with low levels of an omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, were 62% more likely to commit suicide.” USA Today quotes Chiarelli, who said, “I’m trying to make sure our docs get going as fast as they can to get some clinical trials going so we can make a determination whether or not there’s anything to this.”
  •  Celebrities Push For Transcendental Meditation To Treat PTSD.  Stars And Stripes A “group of celebrities wants to bring transcendental meditation to veterans” with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is the “pet cause of filmmaker David Lynch, known best for ‘Blue Velvet,’ ‘The Elephant Man’ and the TV show ‘Twin Peaks.’ He runs Operation Warrior Wellness and has recruited Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld and George Lucas to help him raise money to teach the meditation technique to 10,000 veterans.”
  • Federal Contracts: Big Wins For Sept. 19, 2011. Washington (DC) Business Journal “The Department of Veterans Affairs reported a contract award worth $12.73 million to D.C.-based Reingold for strategic outreach support services for its Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.” Reingold “is creating a strategic, integrated communications campaign to help veterans and their families and friends overcome the stigma associated with seeking mental health services, and to increase the number of veterans who obtain support.”
  • Anti-War Vets Call For Investigation Of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Oregon Public Broadcasting  “A group of anti-war veterans and an Army widow are calling for a Congressional investigation into Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They say a spike in apparent suicides shows prevention efforts by the Army aren’t working.” The comments came during a news conference held on Tuesday. A “spokesman for Lewis-McChord says suicide prevention is a top priority and ‘we’re working every day to get better.'”
  •  Wounded Warrior Project Assists Injured Veterans. Altoona (PA) Mirror  “A program with services for injured veterans wants to fill in the gaps for those dealing with combat-related stress, representatives said Friday. ‘We need to find these injured service members,’ Brace Feldbusch, Wounded Warrior Project outreach coordinator, told those attending a ceremony” at the Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center “in observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day.” The Mirror noted that through the Wounded Warrior Project, “veterans have access to information and services, including assistance for those with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.”



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