Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – October 14, 2011


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


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1.    Authentidate Holding Corp. Reports Fiscal 2011 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results.  MarketWatch   Selected by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as one of six approved suppliers for its Telehealth Program, already one of the largest in the world. As an approved VA supplier, VA facilities throughout the country will be able to utilize our …
2.    4 sites in Gilbert are in running for VA clinic.  Arizona Republic  The US Department of Veterans Affairs operates 19 community-based outpatient clinics in Arizona, including locations in Buckeye, Anthem and Casa Grande. The clinics supplement the department’s three major hospitals in Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott. …
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3.    Ex-Navy woman takes first same-sex marriage case to US Department of Veterans.  Herald Sun  A DISABLED US Navy veteran is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recognise her marriage to her long-time female partner – in what is believed to be the first time a former member of the armed services has sought recognition of same-sex …
4.    Yale Lawyers Challenge US Government Over Same-Sex Marriage Benefits.  NBC Connecticut  Then, she applied to the US Department of Veterans Affairs for spousal benefits, but they denied her application. A VA statute prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, according to the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale …
5.    Outreach Campaign Versus Veteran Homelessness Launched by VA.  US Navy SEALs Blog & Information (blog)  VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki shared: “Those who have served this nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope.” He shared further that by “working with our partners in state and local government, …
6.    Ceremony in Holly Springs to mark grave of Civil War veteran.  Cherokee Tribune  In 2010, the administration doled out 355640 headstones to all Veterans Affairs national cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries and private cemeteries across the globe, Nacincik said. “It is the right thing to do,” Nacincik said.
7.    “It’s Critical The Government Supports Struggling Veterans”.  Middle East North Africa Financial Network  Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today commended the US Department of Veterans Affairs for their upcoming outreach efforts this month on services …
8.    California Congressional Delegation members call on president to act on housing.  Lake County News  … would apply to Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and private servicer modification programs. …
9.    Veteran’s Corner.  Molokai Dispatch  “Veterans Affairs Department (VA) now offers phone counseling for veterans’ family members and friends to help them encourage their loved ones to get medical and mental health care if needed. The ‘Coaching into Care’ service, run by professional counselors, helps callers ‘find the right words’ to convince their veterans to seek help, according to VA.” The Dispatch adds, “The line is connected with the VA Veterans Crisis Line, Caregiver Support Line and the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans in case of an immediate crisis, and veterans who need immediate help anytime can dial the VA Crisis Line at 800-273-8255.”
10.  Why Returning Vets Are In Frequent Car Crashes.  AOL Autos  “Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for military personnel in their first year home from the war, according to Karen Cutright,” a Veterans Affairs program manager “who runs clinics for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.” According to AOL Autos, VA “paired up with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense to start the Safe Driving Initiative, to increase awareness of car crashes among veterans and to encourage them to continue wearing seat belts and to slow down. And they have been using simulators to re-train drivers on how to drive when they return home.” In addition, the Obama Administration is trying to increase make mental health providers more aware of driving issues with veterans.


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  •   Gulf Breeze Native Writes Legislation For US House.  Pensacola (FL) News Journal 35-year-old Helen Tolar, the staff director and chief counsel for the House Veterans Affairs Committee, which “oversees VA health care, GI Bill education benefits, national cemeteries, life insurance and other measures affecting veterans.” Tolar “said the committee has…been closely monitoring the VA’s implementation of a law enacted in May that provides financial assistance to people who give up their job to care for a disabled veteran. ‘It was slow to start, but (the VA) seems to be doing the job that Congress intended with the program,’ she said.”
  • Vets Touched By Gulf War Illness Fret Over Research Funds.  USA Today  “A congressional move to shift control of the flow of money to research a mysterious Gulf War illness has alarmed veterans of that conflict who fear the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have little interest in uncovering the true causes of their ailments.” Last month, the “Senate voted to exclude” the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) “from next year’s Defense Appropriations Act, while the House, after a last-ditch amendment from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, voted to fund it with $10 million.” Jim Binns, chairman of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, said CDMRP is “by far the best hope to improve” the health of Gulf War veterans “and to prevent similar illnesses in current and future conflicts.”
  •  VA Researcher Promotes Better Care For Liver Cancer Patients.  River Oaks (TX) Examiner  Hepatocellular carcinoma “related to the hepatitis C virus is the fastest rising cause of US cancer-related deaths.” Now, though, a researcher at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center has “summarized recent advances in prevention, surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment in order for physicians everywhere may be better educated and improve care for their patients. The review article, by Dr. Hashem B. El-Serag, chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, appeared in the Sept. 22, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.”
  •  Philippine-American Vets Still Fighting.  Las Vegas Review-Journal On Tuesday, more than 500 people signed a petition to remove red tape in a Veterans Affairs policy that was put into place by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under the policy, Filipino-American veterans of World War II can get up to $15,000 in benefits. Though March, however, VA had rejected 42 percent of all claims made by such vets. The Review-Journal contacted David Martinez, a VA spokesman in Las Vegas, who had no immediate comment on the matter.
  • NJ Firm Tasked With Treating Brain Injuries Among Returning Veterans.  Bergen (NJ) Record  “Bancroft Neuro-Health’s 20 years of experience in dealing” with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) “has allowed it to land the only contract in New Jersey from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to serve moderately and severely brain-injured members of the armed services.” Bancroft is “one of 21 nationally accredited agencies that won a contract in June. The three-year, $23.5 million Assisted Living-Traumatic Brain Injury pilot program is aimed at helping veterans cope with the limitations of their conditions – and to regain independence wherever possible.”
  •  Portrait Of Resilience In Afghanistan And Iraq.  Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader  The US Army “estimates up to one-fifth of the 1.7 million soldiers dispatched to the war on terror in the past decade will return with symptoms of anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.” But Staff Sgt. Matthew Zimmermann, a “2000 O’Gorman High School graduate with the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., insists he is not one of them.” Dr. Robin Carter-Visscher, a psychologist at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Sioux Falls, talked about why people like Zimmerman do better than others who have seen combat. Carter-Visscher said, “There are a lot of factors for…resilience, such as the coping skills we develop prior” to stressful events. The “environment we grow up in … we tend to develop strong or less strong coping skills because of it.”
  •  Beyond The Battlefield: Lack Of Long-Term Care Can Lead To Tragic Ends For Wounded Veterans.  Huffington Post  For some wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the “quality and type of medical care they require simply isn’t available on a long-term basis, and that’s a problem the military and the Veterans Administration have yet to fully wrestle to the ground.” A senior VA “official acknowledged poor coordination among various bureaucracies of the VA and other federal and private agencies.” In July, while testifying before the US Senate, Dr. John D. Daigh of the VA Inspector General’s Office, said, “For those veterans with a complex interplay of mental health, medical and psychosocial issues, VHA (Veterans Health Administration) needs to better coordinate care internally among providers and clinics, between VBA (Veterans Benefits Administration) and VHA and when possible between private sector health care providers, families and VA.”
  • Congress Slams Miami VA Hospital At Hearing.  McClatchy  “Lawmakers on Wednesday called for the dismissal of the director of the troubled” Veterans Affairs hospital in Miami, “saying she and her staff are not making enough progress in the aftermath of a scandal two years ago that left thousands of patients exposed to HIV and other illnesses. Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs committee harshly criticized the leadership at the Miami VA during a Capitol Hill hearing to review lessons learned from the failures at the hospital.” But William Schoenhard, a deputy undersecretary with VA, said his agency “believes it has in place ‘leadership that’s in the best interest of our veterans.'” Officials with VA were also asked about Catawaba Howard, a veteran with psychiatric problems who was shot by the police after leaving the Miami VA. The officials told the committee if mistakes were made in Howard’s case, they would be addressed in the “performance appraisal process.”
  •  House OKs More Service Dogs At VA Facilities.  Army Times  “The Veterans Affairs Department soon could be going to the dogs after a key House vote Tuesday to expand the types of assistance dogs allowed in VA facilities.” A provision in HR 2074, a veterans’ healthcare bill, would “open VA hospitals, clinics, vet centers and regional offices, including any property owned or leased by the agency,” to dogs “trained to help” vets “with mobility, hearing impairment, seizure disorders or post-traumatic stress or other mental illnesses.” Currently, “VA service-dog regulations…guarantee access to only seeing-eye dogs.”
  •  Old Veterans Benefits Cuts May Be New Road Map.  Army Times  “Congressional researchers have supplied the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee with a list of veterans programs cut since 1980 in the name of deficit reduction, providing a potential road map for what lawmakers could recommend as part of the current effort to reduce federal spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Oct. 7 report from the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, makes no recommendations.” The Times adds, “Representatives of veterans’ service organization who have met with supercommittee members have been warned that VA will not be exempt from budget cuts, but they have not been told of any specific proposals.”
  • House Passes Veterans Jobs Bill.  Stars And Stripes  “After a day’s delay, the House overwhelmingly approved the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act on Wednesday evening, a move supporters hope sets the stage for a veterans job bill being signed into law in the next few weeks.” A “similar measure is pending in the Senate, but House leaders and veterans groups said they expect Wednesday’s House vote to speed up work for on a compromise measure reconciling the two.” The “House legislation would overhaul the military’s Transition Assistance Program, update job protection laws for deployed guardsmen and reservists and create a job training program for unemployed older veterans.”
  •   New App Gives VA Doctors Instant Patient Information.  Federal Times  “The Veterans Affairs Department is testing an application it hopes will give clinicians anytime, anywhere access to patient data.” The app, called the “iHealth adaptor, is being tested on Apple iPads at the Washington VA Medical Center. Under the three-month pilot, which began in August, clinicians test and document their ability to use the devices to connect to VA’s network, view patients’ health information, access secure email and merge their personal and work calendars, said Dr. Deyne Bentt, assistant chief of anesthesiology at the Washington hospital.”
  • White Cane Day On October 15th.  WWLP-TV  “White Cane Day celebrates blind and visually impaired people’s achievements in the United States on October 15th every year.” WWLP spoke about the day with Kelli Jarosz, the coordinator for the Visual Impairment Service Team at Veterans Affairs Central Western Massachusetts. The services VA “‘has to offer our visually impaired veterans are amazing,’ said Jarosz,” adding, VA is “able to provide high quality care enabling visually impaired Veterans to acquire the skills and capabilities necessary for the development of personal independence.” Bob Bliss, a blind veteran who also spoke about White Can Day with WWLP, said VA “has been excellent, and we’re very fortunate as veterans to have such good facilities across the nation.”
  •   “Going Blind” To Be Shown In Montevideo.  Montevideo (MN) American-News “To enhance community awareness of sight loss and low-vision issues affecting thousands of Minnesotans,” the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Health Care System is “hosting a special screening of the film ‘Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark about Vision Loss.'” Veterans attending the free screening, to be held at the Montevideo VA Clinic on Tuesday, October 18th at 6:30 p.m.,
  • Denied Veterans Benefits Over Same-Sex Marriage, Ex-Sailor Challenges Law.  New York Times  “In what experts say is the first case of its kind, a disabled Navy veteran from Connecticut is challenging the constitutionality of two federal laws that define marriage as being between opposite-sex partners, saying the government denied her veterans benefits because she is married to a woman.” One of the laws Carmen Cardona will challenge is the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits the Federal “government from recognizing same-sex marriages.” While the Department of Justice has been directed not to defend DOMA “against lawsuits challenging its constitutionality,” cases “before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims are generally argued by lawyers from the Department of Veterans Affairs – and some veterans lawyers said it was possible the department might try to chart a different legal course.” VA spokesman Josh Taylor said, “If an appeal is filed, VA lawyers will analyze the legal arguments made by the appellant and respond appropriately in its briefs.”
  •    State Honors Veterans With Distinguished Service Medal.  Asbury Park (NJ) Press “The 45 men and women now reside in places like Barnegat, Harvey Cedars and Toms River, thousands of miles from where they served – Normandy, France; Saigon, South Vietnam; Kandahar, Afghanistan. On Tuesday, most of those men and women came together again at the Ocean County Mall, where New Jersey presented them with medals of appreciation as state and local officials looked on.” The Press adds, “Tuesday’s ceremony also marked the beginning of a three-day visit of the veterans outreach kiosk to the Ocean County Mall on Hooper Avenue.”
  •   Helping Veterans Come “All The Way Home.” Brunswick (ME) Times Record  “The Volunteers of America Northern New England chapter is preparing to distribute approximately $145,000 worth of goods” to “homeless veterans throughout the state.” Some of the supplies “will go to the Togus veterans hospital in Augusta, which holds an annual event to support homeless veterans on Oct. 29.”
  •  La Junta VAClinic Offers Flu Shots To Veterans.  La Junta (CO) Tribune-Democrat La Junta VA community based outpatient clinic will have a walk-in influenza clinic on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.” This free “influenza vaccine clinic is open to all veterans registered in the VA system.
  • Angels Among Us – October, 2011 – Hattie Moore Of Fort Wayne.  WPTA-TV  Hattie Moore, who “volunteers at the Fort Wayne Veterans Hospital.” Hattie “says she appreciates the excellent medical attention she and other veterans receive” at the hospital.
  •  Campaign Aims To Collect Photos Of Every American Who Died In Vietnam.  New York Daily News


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