Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – September 29, 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.   Researchers at new facility aim to study veterans‘ health issues.  Cronkite News  Susan P. Bowers, director of the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ network in the Southwest, said understanding the genetic makeup of veterans who have illnesses such as PTSD, for example, could lead to researchers being able to determine whether an …
2.   Lockheed Martin Buys QTC Holdings.  Zacks.com  QTC Holdings, headquartered in Diamond Bar, California, is the largest provider of outsourced medical evaluation services to the US government and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, processing more than 450000 evaluations in fiscal 2010. …
3.   Army veteran turned investor-entrepreneur wants to hear your ideas.  Know any millionaire investors’ You do now.
4.   Groundbreaking set for state veterans cemetery near Spanish Fort,  al.com (blog)  Last month, the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs awarded the state veterans agency a $7 million grant for the cemetery project. Under an agreement, the federal government will pay for construction, and then turn over the cemetery to Alabama. …
5.   State, federal aid to SJ County could be in short supply.  Stockton Record  But county leaders got a pretty good look at what’s going on in the nation’s capitol – and in Sacramento – during a briefing Tuesday by state and federal lobbyists. Some of what they see, they like. Such as the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ recent …
6.   Decorated Afghanistan Vet Declines Special Treatment On FDNY Application.  NBC Nightly News  Dakota Meyer, the “newest recipient of the Medal of Honor”. When Meyer “missed this year’s application deadline” to join the Fire Department of New York (FDNY),  a “judge ordered that it be extended just for him.” Meyer “politely declined, saying no exceptions should be made just for him, perhaps not surprising, since the medal is meant to honor courage, patriotism and sacrifice.”
7.   Washington’s Lottery Offers Tickets To Benefit Veterans. Issaquah (WA) Press “Through a partnership between the state Department of Veterans Affairs and Washington’s Lottery, lotto players can help veterans by purchasing a ticket. Funding for the Veterans Innovations Program to aid service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq comes from The Hometown Heroes Raffle.” The “drawing is scheduled for Nov. 11, Veterans Day.”
8.   Bill Would Broaden Agent Orange Compensation. Glens Falls (NY) Post Star  US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have introduced the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011, which would amend the “Agent Orange Act to include Navy veterans of Vietnam who served on board ships but not on land.” The “bill would allow sailors who served in ‘the territorial seas’ of Vietnam to apply for compensation. Previously, the so-called ‘blue water Navy veterans’ — sailors who could not show they spent time on land in Vietnam or on its intercoastal waterways — were excluded, even if they were suffering from diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure.”  New Haven (CT) Independent “About a dozen veterans…met Tuesday in Rocky Hill for an informal discussion of Agent Orange exposure with US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., state veterans affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, and Rick Weidman, executive director for policy & government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America. Blumenthal and Schwartz convened the meeting to begin forming an action plan to help Vietnam veterans suffering from health problems connected to Agent Orange exposure get compensation from” VA. Veterans attending the meeting “said that while the VA has taken steps to expand the list of illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, the agency has yet to recognize claims from veterans who did not serve in-country, but were exposed to residual toxins in the US and other countries.”
9.   The New TBI/PTSD Treatment Super Machine. NextGov “The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center said it started using an advanced medical machine from Siemens approved by the Food and Drug Administration this June to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder among military service members and civilians.” The “purchase of the Biograph mMR was made possible through the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, a Defense Department-funded collaboration between NIH and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The CNRM carries out research in TBI and PTSD that would benefit troops treated at Walter Reed National Navy Medical Center, near the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md.”
10. Military Detects More Brain Injuries. USA Today  “Nearly 1,400 US troops were found to have concussions or mild brain injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq this year under a program that forces service members to take a break from combat when exposed to a blast or other jarring incident.” The “mandatory examination is part of a treatment program put in place last year to uncover hidden and subtle damage to the brain caused by exposure to blasts — injuries that would have likely gone undiagnosed.” There is “just a greater awareness nationally” that soldiers need to get head injury care early on “and then go forward,” said physician Michael Kilpatrick, a Pentagon health official.

 

Have You Heard?

The Cincinnati VA Medical Center’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program for COPD recently received certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, making it the second VA program of its kind to receive this certification. COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, refers to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, two commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs that cause airflow limitation. The condition gets worse over time and causes difficulty breathing, coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, chest tightness and other symptoms. The Cincinnati VA Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program is a 12-week, multidisciplinary program that incorporates both breathing exercises and education about the disease and treatments to help patients live a more satisfying life.  “Pulmonary rehabilitation is increasingly being recognized as an essential element in the care and management of individuals with COPD and has been shown to improve quality of life, increase functional status, and reduce health care utilization,” said program Director Ralph Panos, MD.

More Veteran News

 

  • Utah Homeless Vets To Get New Homes On VA Campus. Salt Lake Tribune New apartments on the campus of the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center will help cut down on the number of homeless veterans in Utah. That is according to speakers at a groundbreaking Tuesday for Valor House, which “will be built southwest of the hospital.” Wahlen and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City are collaborating on the $4.5 million facility. Steve Young, “executive director of the VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System, said Valor House will help Utah attain the goal of no homeless veterans in three more years. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki two years ago set a national goal to eliminate homelessness among veterans within five years.” During that two years, said Young, VA has “reduced the number” of homeless vets by half.
  •  New GI Bill Now Covers More Job Training. Army Times  “Unemployed and separating service members now will be able to train in skills that may lead more quickly to private-sector jobs as the Post-9/11 GI Bill starts covering vocational, on-the-job and apprenticeship training and correspondence schools. Noncollege, nondegree courses are covered under the education benefits program effective Saturday.” Commenting on the new benefits, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said they represent a “tremendous opportunity to create more good-paying jobs for veterans in a matter of months.”
  • Some Doctors Blame Themselves For Rising Healthcare Costs. Los Angeles Times While Americans are not sure who to blame for the high cost of healthcare, a “study published in Tuesday’s edition of Archives of Internal Medicine offers up a surprising culprit: primary care doctors who admit that they give their patients too much care. That’s right – 42% of the docs in a nationwide survey said the patients in their own practices ‘were receiving too much medical care’ and 28% said they personally were ordering more tests and making more referrals to specialists than they would ‘ideally like to be.'” The Times adds, “‘Many primary care physicians believe there is substantial unnecessary care that could be reduced, particularly by increasing time with patients, reforming the malpractice system, and reducing financial incentives to do more,’ wrote the authors from the Veterans Administration Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vt., and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, N.H.”
  • Saw Palmetto No Help For Enlarged Prostate. MedPage Today  “Doses of saw palmetto extract up to three times the standard did not reduce lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed.” After noting that the research results will appear in the September 28th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, MedPage Today continues, “Over-the-counter extracts made from the berries of the saw palmetto dwarf palm tree are popular remedies for treating lower urinary tract symptoms from BPH because of ‘easy and convenient access (no need for a doctor visit or prescription),’ according to Muta Issa, MD, MBA, a urologist” at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Atlanta. In “addition, he wrote in an email to ABC News and MedPage Today, ‘there is … [an] unwarranted psychological fear of loss of sexual ability with prostate medications. As such, men convince themselves that herbs are natural and do not interfere with their sexual ability.'”
  • Off-Label Use Of Atypicals May Do More Harm Than Good. Medscape  “Off-label use of atypical antipsychotics may do more harm than good, a new meta-analysis suggests.” The study, which “appears in the September 28 issue of JAMA,” was “supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and by the Department of Veterans Affairs,”
  • Is A Veteran’s Adopted Son Who Is Disabled Eligible For Benefits? Washington Times  “Kudos to the 20 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers from across the nation that were recognized by The Joint Commission as Top Performers on Key Quality Measures for 2010.” The Times noted that in a news release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “We at VA are very pleased with the recognition from The Joint Commission. We are proud of the medical centers that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to performance measures, transparency, and accountability. This achievement demonstrates our dedication to being the provider of choice for veterans.”
  •   Questions Raised On VA In Hot Springs. Rapid City Journal  “Actions that began at the American Legion in Hot Springs have led to the first public questioning of future” Veterans Affairs “plans by an employee and veteran.” The American Legion has adopted a resolution for VA to “maintain the existing type of care for veterans at its Hot Springs Campus.” But Bob Nelson, a “veteran who has worked at the VA in Hot Springs for 36” years, “said he is concerned as staff leaves and is not replaced and sees it as part of a VA plan to limit services in Hot Springs.”  Rapid City Journal  Nelson stated, “Nothing would please me more than for my observations to be the ramblings of an alarmist and that the VA hospital in Hot Springs does indeed have a vibrant future. The American Legion in Hot Springs has started monthly meetings; someone else is concerned, with the goal of stopping and reversing the trend of the past 15 years.” Nelson adds, “Attend these meetings” in the hopes of making it so VA services stay the same in Hot Springs.
  •   Looking After The Veteran, Back Home And Damaged. New York Times  A “growing community of spouses, parents and partners who, confronted with damaged loved ones returning from war who can no longer do for themselves, drop most everything in their own lives to care for them.” The Times adds, “One of the most frustrating aspects of life now, they say, is the bureaucracy they face at the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, from problems with the scheduling of medical appointments to being bounced around among different branches of the system, forcing them to become navigators and advocates for their loved ones.” The Times does point out, however, that VA has a new assistance program that provides health insurance, counseling, and monthly stipends to caregivers. According to the Times, VA “estimates that 3,000 families will benefit from the new caregiver program; 92 percent of the caregivers approved so far are women.”  New York Times Veteran Tom Marcum and his wife, April, who is his caregiver and receives a stipend from the aforementioned VA assistance program. During his service in Iraq, Tom suffered a traumatic brain injury and has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  •  Honest, Another Lincoln Statue In The Works. Chicago Tribune “Plans are under way for a life-size bronze statue of Lincoln to be built at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, just south of Joliet in Will County.” After noting that the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Support Committee is raising money for the statue, the Tribune adds, “The committee is not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration, which approved the project this year.” The “statue project coincides with a $22 million expansion and renovation at the cemetery to accommodate the expected increased demand.”
  •  Veterans’ Burial Benefits Explained.  Item  “Burial benefits for military veterans and their families and a description of the National Cemetery System will be the main topics at the annual meeting of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of South Carolina. The meeting will take place Oct. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Susan B. Robinson Garden Room at Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community, One Still Hopes Drive, West Columbia.” During the meeting, representatives of the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) “at Fort Jackson will present an overview of benefits, focusing primarily on the Fort Jackson Cemetery, one of the newest establishments in a national system of 131 burial grounds available to those who have served the nation in uniform.”
  •  MERS/Goodwill Program Helping Veterans Find Jobs.  Southeast Missourian  “Navy veteran Patrick Doyle of New Madrid, Mo., is enrolling at Southeast Missouri State University in his desire to change careers with assistance from the Vet Success program through MERS/Goodwill.” The Missourian continued, “MERS/Goodwill just received a $226,000 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue the…Vet Success program, which began last year, to help disabled veterans find jobs. The grant, which begins Oct. 3, will cover the costs of the program for up to five years.”
  •  Scottsbluff Soldier Sentenced For Faking Combat Injuries.  AP  A 27-year-old Scottsbluff soldier named Dustin Douglass “has been sentenced to three months in prison and three months’ house arrest for faking combat injuries to get disability pay.” The US Attorney’s Office “in Omaha says a federal judge also ordered…Douglass to repay more than $22,000 to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Douglass was indicted in February on two counts of making false claims” to VA.
  • Veterans Groups – And Others – Encouraged To Donate To New State Veteran’s Home. Rapid City Journal
  •  Veterans Appreciation Pinning Ceremony For 22 Held Sept. 13.  Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail  “Solaris Hospice of Anderson and Belvedere Commons of Seneca partnered to provide a Veterans Appreciation Pinning Ceremony for 22 of its resident veterans on Sept. 13.” Solaris Hospice, “serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties, is a Level II partner of the We Honor Veterans Program through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Solaris is 1 out of 25 hospices in the country to have achieved this status that requires a high level of staff education on end-of-life care for veterans and their families.”

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