Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – November 16, 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. More business advice from a vet success story.  In September, Stars and Stripes interviewed Army veteran, entrepreneur and private equity investor Joseph Meyer. When the conversation turned to how military members and veterans could find mentors as they transitioned to the civilian world, Meyer suggested we include his email in the article. So we did. Here’s his description of what happened as a result

2. The Price of Freedom.  Housatonic Times  According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ statistics in 2010, there are 21.8 million US veterans, and Mayor Patricia Murphy said that instead of coming up with a speech to deliver on this occasion she did some “research” online to find ..

3. Veterans groups offer short-term fixes instead of long-term budget cutsWith budget-cutting deadlines just a week away, nervous veterans advocates offered lawmakers their proposed changes to federal programs in an effort to save millions without severely impacting medical care or support services.

4. Critics: Fort Carson policy targeted troubled, wounded soldiersArmy Cpl. Joshua Smith was awarded the Army’s highest award for noncombat heroism, but when he tested positive for cocaine, the Army moved quickly to drum him out of the service. Critics claim this became unofficial policy at Fort Carson for wounded troops accused of minor misconduct.

5. Law Firm Working with Disabled Veterans. JDJournal.com  Fields is a former US Army radio operator who is attempting to get the US Department of Veterans Affairs to approve disability benefits for a back injury Fields suffered after he was hit with shrapnel. Fields is not alone. He is one of only thousands ..

6. Food stamp use at military commissaries up sharply in four yearsFood stamp purchases at military commissaries have nearly tripled during the last four years, according to Defense Commissary Agency figures.

7. VA touts research department’s newest efforts.  VA researchers have a prosthetic arm that patients can control just by thinking about it.

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8. South Dakota veterans get mental care sooner.  Sioux Falls Argus Leader  South Dakota’s veterans have a shorter wait for mental health care than patients in many states, according to an analysis by USA Today. The critical report doesn’t reflect services at South Dakota’s Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, …

9. The Real Cost of Veteran Homelessness and Nine Things Every Community Can Do.  Huffington Post (blog)  (Days eliminated: 44) Local VA branches can eliminate any requirement that a veteran enter treatment as a condition for receiving a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher. Such treatment is not required by federal statute. …

10.  ‘Make the Connection’ creates awareness for veterans.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle  Make the Connection is a public awareness campaign by the US Department of Veterans Affairs that provides personal testimonials from other veterans and resources to help veterans discover ways to improve their lives. Many of our nation’s veterans …

 

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VA and Veterans Team Up for Medical Research

The Million Veteran Project is a partnership between VA and Veterans to better understand how genes affect health and illness in order to improve health care for Veterans.
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More Veteran News

 

  •   Congress Unveils Stopgap Spending Bill To Keep Government Open Until Dec. 16, Avoid Shutdown.  AP  “Congressional leaders announced Monday plans for a stopgap spending measure to keep the government running through mid-December.” Under the measure, follow-up spending bills “would roughly freeze agency budgets at levels negotiated earlier this year in hard-fought negotiations between” President Obama “and Speaker John Boehner. The Pentagon and the Veterans Administration would get slight increases, while many domestic agencies would bear further cuts.”
  •  Metro Job Fair Attracts Hundreds With Military Experience.  Washington Post “Inside Metro headquarters Monday” morning, “about 550 people…attended” a “job fair designed to attract military personnel to work at the transit authority.” Metro is “seeking to fill more than 200 positions, including bus operators, rail mechanics, escalator repair technicians and administrators. The event marked the second time Metro has held recruitment fair designed to target those with military backgrounds.”
  • Drug Cartel Plot Aimed At US-Owned Targets.  Washington Times In 2008, “Mexican drug bosses discussed buying heavy weapons from US war veterans to carry out terror attacks on US diplomatic or commercial targets in Mexico City to ‘send the gringos a message,” according to Federal prosecutors in Chicago. In court documents, prosecutors allege “the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin Guzman, proposed the attacks as a way of hitting back at US and Mexican law enforcement.” Prosecutors “said the cartel wanted American weapons, although the court papers do not disclose why the drug bosses believed they could buy heavy armaments from US service veterans.”
  •   VA Launches Telemed Pilot Project.  Information Week The US Department of Veterans Affairs, “through its annual industry innovation competition VAi2, recently selected American Well and SweetSpot Diabetes Care, Inc., to collaborate on separate initiatives that will bring telehealth services to veterans in their homes.” The “pilot project, which will last 18 months, calls for American Well to roll out its Online Care service at two locations, one in Minnesota and the other in Nebraska.” The “VAi2 also announced that SweetSpot Diabetes Care, will pilot an initiative in Dayton, Ohio, to remotely monitor blood glucose levels in veterans with diabetes.”
  •  Veterans To Create World’s Largest Medical Database.  NPR audio “Morning Edition” story from Monday on the “Million Veteran Program, or MVP,” which is trying to “build a huge database, with both medical histories and blood samples from 1 million US veterans.” After noting that the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, California, is participating in the program, NPR added, “What makes this possible is that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been keeping computerized medical records for more than two decades. This puts the VA way ahead of the curve, compared with most hospitals and doctors’ offices,” and now, the agency is turning its records “into a gold mine for medical research.”
  • Low-Income Seniors At Greater Risk For Heart Failure.  HealthDay “Seniors with low incomes are more likely to develop heart failure than those with higher incomes, even if they have Medicare coverage and are college-educated, a new study finds.” HealthDay adds, “Low-income patients may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with their Medicare coverage, the researchers suggested. ‘They may have to choose between their drugs and their groceries. Or the out-of-pocket expenses might adversely affect how often they go see their doctor,’ explained” Dr. Ali Ahmed, “who is director of the Geriatric Heart Failure Clinics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Birmingham VA Medical Center.”
  •  Study: PTSD Programs Duplicated.  AP   “The US military has more than 200 programs devoted to brain injuries and the psychological health of its men and women, but no uniform way to evaluate whether they work or to share their findings, according” to a Rand Corp. “study commissioned by the Pentagon.” In its study, Rand “said some programs overlap and the proliferation of programs creates ‘a high risk of a poor investment’ of military spending. Military officials are still reviewing the report, but some of its recommendations are already being implemented, Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said Monday.”
  •   Virginia Veterans Talk About How They Have Battled.  Newport News (VA) Daily Press  “Veterans from Hampton Roads will share stories of their recovery from mental illness Thursday evening in a program geared toward former service members, their families and caregivers. ‘In Our Own Voice: Virginia Veterans Journey of Recovery’ will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Hampton Treasurer’s office, 1 Franklin St., Hampton.” One of the presenters will be 51-year-old Chris Cox, who is “involved in counseling veterans with mental illness at the Hampton VA Medical Center.”
  •    Supreme Court Opens New Veteran’s Court In Mineola.  Mineola (NY) Patch In Mineola on Thursday, the opening of a new court for veterans was celebrated. The court “will be headed by Judge Terence Murphy, a veteran himself. It is estimated that 15 percent or more of veterans suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome or substance abuse.”
  • Surveys About Camp Lejeune Water Still Sought.  AP  “The federal agency leading the health survey about contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is using YouTube to reach out to service members and civilians who worked at the base and their families.” The “Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Marine Corps have released three public service announcements on YouTube.” The AP adds, “The results of the survey are expected to provide statistical information about health effects of exposure to chemical contaminants in the Camp Lejeune drinking water between the 1950s and 1980s.”
  • New Program Aimed To Help MT Vets Deal With PTSD.  KTVQ-TV  “With so many service members returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post traumatic stress disorder is a reality for some of these veterans.” But US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) “says a new program called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, will now take place in Billings and in Anaconda. A.R.C.H. will allow veterans to use their healthcare benefits to receive medical care in facilities closer to where they live.” KTVQ quoted Tester, who said, “There’s some good things going on in Veteran Affairs to deal with injuries of veterans that are coming back. … We’re looking for every opportunity to maximize what the VA has and also maximize what the private sector has.”
  • Campbell To Open Wounded Soldier Barracks.  AP  Fort Campbell is “celebrating the opening of new barracks for wounded, ill and injured soldiers that is part of a large complex including an outdoor wheelchair obstacle course, a healing garden and administrative offices.” On Tuesday, a “ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held…at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line.” The Warrior Transition Barracks, funded by the American Relief and Recovery Act in 2009, “can house up to 206 soldiers who need specialized medical care and features apartment-style rooms with accessible kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas.”
  • Ft. Belvoir Builds Housing For Wounded Soldiers.  Washington (DC) Examiner “The Patriot,” a “3,000-square-foot yellow ranch house” in Fairfax County, Virginia, is “specially designed to house wounded veterans at Fort Belvoir, and developers hope that its design will be used as a model for hundreds of other houses across the country. Developer Clark Realty Capital is set to unveil the Patriot and its companion, the Freedom, at a ceremony at the end of the month.” The Examiner adds, “Both the Patriot and the Freedom…are built” to accommodate “not only handicapped veterans in wheelchairs, but also patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
  •   Volunteers Make Sure Dying Veterans Aren’t Alone.  Fresno Bee The Veterans Affairs hospital in Fresno runs “No Veterans Die Alone,” a program which ensures that “veterans have someone by their sides in their final days.” Program volunteers “spend time with terminal or seriously ill patients who either have no family or whose families are unable to visit often because of distance or work constraints. The idea for No Veteran Dies Alone, which has served about 47 veterans since it began in April, came from similar programs at other hospitals, said program coordinator Jenny Chalifoux.”
  •  “No Veteran Dies Alone” Program At The VA.  Rapid City (SD) Journal  “The VA Black Hills Health Care System is initiating a volunteer hospice program aimed at ensuring that Veteran hospice residents are provided comforting companionship during their final days and hours.” The “No Veteran Dies Alone (NVDA) provides the reassuring presence of a volunteer companion to patients in their final hours who would otherwise be alone.” The Journal adds, “Persons interested in becoming a volunteer in the NVDA program should contact Cheryl Rieniets at the VA Black Hills Volunteer Service Program Office at 605-347-7206.”
  •   Formerly Homeless Veterans Find Support At Huot House.  York County (ME) Journal-Tribune  “Named for Arthur Huot, a local veteran who advocated for the home and died in June of 2010, the Huot Home opened one year ago at the Kimball Health Center, providing 10 efficiency apartments for homeless veterans.” One of those helped by the Huot Home is Desert Storm veteran Jason Longo. Approximately “five months ago, he went to Togus Veterans Hospital, entered the Chemical Dependence Recovery Program and was referred to the Huot House.”
  •    Drug Court Director Empathizes, Sympathizes With Clients.  Lakeland (FL) Ledger 67-year-old Rick Rhodes, a “a recovering alcoholic with 18 years of sobriety,” is the “newest manager for Polk County’s Drug Court program.” Rhodes “said he lived for a year in a patch of woods before getting help from the Veterans Health Administration in Tampa.” The Ledger adds, “With the aid of a counselor, Rhodes was able to get treatment, and was inspired to go back to school for a career in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.”
  •   Philanthropist Seeks Veterans In Need.  Burlington County Times  “Wrightstown philanthropist Gene Epstein has announced he will hand out money to active and discharged military service personnel who are struggling financially this Thanksgiving. Epstein said he plans to distribute 50 checks to veterans during a free breakfast and turkey giveaway inside the Calvary Baptist Church in Bristol on Nov. 21.” Those “seeking help must provide identification of being an active or former veteran and of receiving either welfare, unemployment benefits or Supplement Security Income for a disability.”
  • Wounded Veterans To Duel On Diamond With Local Cops, Firefighters.  Miami Herald  “In a few weeks, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team will take on some of South Florida’s first responders on a Miami Beach baseball diamond.” On “Dec. 16 and 17, Jacobs and 10 other veterans who lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan will compete in a tournament at South Beach’s Flamingo Park with softball teams from police departments in Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Miami-Dade County, as well as the Miami Beach Fire Department.” The “team of wounded veterans was created about eight months ago by David Van Sleet, an Army veteran, longtime softball enthusiast and 30-year employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who now works as a southwest manager in prosthetics” for VA.
  •   ONC Celebrates One Year Anniversary Of Veterans Affairs’ Blue Button. Becker’s Hospital Review   “For Veterans Day, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information celebrated the one year anniversary of the Blue Button, a tool that allows veterans to access their electronic medical records, according to an ONC report. The Department of Veterans Affairs collaborated with CMS,” the US Department of Defense “and the Markle Foundation’s Consumer Engagement Workgroup to launch Blue Button in Oct. 2010. Blue Button allows veterans to engage in their healthcare by downloading, updating and sharing their medical records and downloading medical appointment schedules, laboratory results and prescription histories.”
  •  Clay-Batelle High School Students Raise Money For Veterans Memorial Stone.  WBOY-TV

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