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1. New program to aid accused veterans, military personnel. Shore News Today Dow made the announcement at a press conference at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. She was joined by representatives from US Department of Veterans Affairs, the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, the New Jersey Department of Human …
2. Top Issue For Vets: Lack of Work. Patch.com A 2010 survey sponsored by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service indicated the extent of the unemployment problem faced by veterans, especially young veterans. …
3. Salvation Army, Homeless Coalition will partner to find housing for homeless. Bismarck Tribune The Salvation Army and the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People will partner to find housing for at least 200 veterans next year through a grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This first-of-its-kind grant from the VA will fund an …
4. Navy announces results of second round of cuts. The last of 3,000 sailors who will be cut from the Navy’s ranks to meet congressionally mandated force strength numbers will be notified in the coming week, Navy officials said.
5. Critics: Overloaded VA should seek outside help for mental health care. Even with thousands of new veterans clamoring for mental health care each month, Veterans Affairs leaders haven’t yet found ways to speed up appointment scheduling and appear unwilling to partner with outside counselors, critics say.
6. Nearly half German city to evacuate Sunday for defusing of WWII era bomb. About 45,000 residents of the German city of Koblenz, nearly half of the city’s population, are under evacuation orders Sunday following the discovery of what local officials said was one of the largest unexploded bombs ever found, believed to have been dropped by the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
7. Dream sleep soothes painful memories. Futurity: Research News Walker was tipped off to the possible beneficial effects of REM sleep on PTSD patients when a physician at a US Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in the Seattle area told him of a blood pressure drug that was inadvertently preventing recurring …
8. Veteran’s success center renewed. StateHornet.com The Veterans Success Center offers a summer bridge program as a transition from military life to school to inform new veteran students about the special services provided by the school and the Department of Veterans Affairs. …
9. Vets arrive to impaction. StateHornet.com “The budget crunch has not really affected veteran admissions. In fact, it is expanding and I am busier now than ever before.” In 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported 46897 student veterans were using GI Bill benefits in California, …
10. Rise In PTSD Cases From Two Wars Strains Military Resources. USA Today According to Veterans Affairs data it obtained, 10,000 combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “flooded into VA hospitals every three months this year, pushing the number of patients ill from the disorder above 200,000 and straining resources.” A USA Today analysis published earlier this month showed new “mental health patients at about a third of VA hospitals wait longer than the department’s goal of 14 days or less.” The head of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), is concerned about such wait times, saying VA “still has work to do to decrease” them. But “VA says it has enough staffing to handle the increase in patients.” USA Today quotes VA press secretary Josh Taylor, who said, “We take these requirements seriously and are continuously monitoring” access “to mental health.”
Have You Heard?
VA Recognizes World AIDS Day
December 1 is World AIDS Day. View VA’s HIV/AIDS homepage to learn facts about the disease, signs and symptoms, treatment options, and how to get tested at your local VA facility.
- Iraq Veterans Against The War Releases New Statement: The 1 Percent Is Profiting From Our Sacrifices. Huffington Post “Iraq Veterans Against The War issued a statement Monday saying that they feel betrayed by the nation’s leaders and will continue to join the Occupy Wall Street protests to broadcast their grievances.” The Post adds that veterans like Dottie Guy, who served in Iraq, “are calling on the VA to do a better job in addressing and treating their medical issues.” Guy is “just one of about 2,000 disgruntled veterans who say they’ve risked their lives and well-being only to come home to a country that profits from their sacrifices.”
- Public Invited To Combat Veterans’ Winter Wonderland Tribute. Southwest Riverside (CA) News Network “When combat veterans come home, some war-weary and broken, the Temecula Vet Center is there to lend a hand and an ear to the American heroes.” The center’s office manager, Christine Alvarez, “said that the…organization offers free counseling and re-adjustment services to combat veterans and their families. Part of that support includes the upcoming Winter Wonderland tribute, a free event planned from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 at The Temecula Vet Center.”
- For Female Veterans, Unique Problems And Little Help. St. Petersburg (FL) Times Pam Smith-Beatty, the women veterans program manager at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, says many female veterans do not realize that they are eligible for benefits. Smith-Beatty was “one of about a dozen women who brainstormed ways Hillsborough can help female veterans at a meeting Tuesday hosted by the county’s Commission on the Status of Women.” The commission, which “didn’t offer any solutions Tuesday,” plans to “continue meeting to discuss employment, housing and mental health issues.”
- Hampton VA Center Expands Care For Women. Hampton Roads (VA) Daily Press “Women now make up more than 17 percent of the veteran population at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center.” In a “recent internet chat, representatives of the center answered questions about the expanded care the center is offering.” Among other things, the reps said they are “very excited to announce ribbon cuttings for the new mammography service and the recently constructed Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn Clinic Building.”
- VA CIO Roger Baker Talks VLER Momentum. Government Health IT “The Veterans Affairs Department said it has signed up 30,776 veterans so far to participate in the 12 health pilots around the country for the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER) program.” Government Health IT adds, “VA is assessing whether to go nationwide as planned in 2012 with the program to exchange the health records of veterans when they seek treatment with private providers, according to Roger Baker, VA CIO.” When Government Health IT asked Baker what “aspects of VLER are gaining traction,” Baker said, “Blue Button at this point is exceeding our wildest dreams.”
- MEDfx CEO Urges Private Practices To Support VLER Program. Government Health IT MEDfx CEO Colin Barry wrote, “During the past several years, the US government has undertaken a number of initiatives to encourage healthcare practitioners to adopt and use electronic medical records (EMRs). One such project was the development of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) program, a joint effort between the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement an electronic health record system to allow secure sharing of data between civilian and military healthcare organizations.” Barry, who listed 10 lessons that can be learned from examining the VLER program, said “optimal results” of the program “can only be achieved if private practices support the initiative by filling both data-supplier and user roles.”
- Real Doctors, Onscreen: VA Program Makes Online House Calls On Vets. Government Computer News “A new pilot program will allow veterans in the Midwest to access behavioral health, oncology and post-operative care services wherever they have” Internet access. Government Computer News adds, “Using telehealth technology – a combination of streaming video, e-mail and text applications – the system is designed to help veterans in geographically remote areas or with mobility issues to conveniently contact clinicians and support services. Part of the Veterans Affairs Department’s VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) Industry Innovation Competition, the effort uses the Online Care system developed by American Well to provide a variety of online services.”
- VA Pulls Plug On Purchases Of Personal Desktop Printers. AOL Government “The Department of Veterans Affairs is directing every chief information officer in the field to stop buying personal desktop printers, the first step to retiring these high-cost tools across the agency and replacing them with big multiuse printers.” On Friday, VA spokeswoman Josephine Schuda “said…the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) issued the directive recently after studying pilots at two facilities which have shown the value of buying and using desktop printers was less than using multiuse printers.” AOL Government adds, “A shift away from desktop printers could save the VA $150 million over five years, money that could be used for other essential services for the veterans, VA CIO Roger Baker told reporters in a Nov. 23 conference call.”
- Web-Based Program Fails To Boost Care After MI. MedPage Today “An Internet-based intervention intended to improve post-myocardial infarction (MI) care failed to significantly change provider behavior, a large longitudinal study showed. Compared with control clinics, the sole clinical indicator that showed a significant improvement with the intervention was in percentage of post-MI patients given a prescription for a beta-blocker, with an adjusted improvement gain of 2.6% (95% CI 0.1 to 4.1, P=0.04), according” to Dr. Deborah A. Levine “of the University of Michigan, and colleagues.” The study, “reported in the Nov. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine,” was funded by Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health.
- Boone County Considers Alternative Sentencing Court For Military Veterans. AP Veterans in Boone County, Missouri, “who run afoul of the law may soon be able to resolve their legal disputes in an alternative court for former soldiers.
- “Islands’ Veterans To Benefit From VA Pacific Islands Improvements.” Saipan Tribune “Changes can now be seen” at the US Department of Veterans Affairs VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, “which has ‘come a long way’ in its ongoing efforts to build a healthcare system that would better serve veterans on the islands.” Dr. James E. Hastings, director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, “said these improvements include making available more specialty care throughout the system by means of better technology.” Hastings “was on island along with other members of the VA Pacific Island Health Care System for the Saipan Veterans Town Hall Meet last Nov. 16.”
- New Option For Veterans Seeking Healthcare. KFSN-TV “A veteran’s clinic in Oakhurst is one of three in the Central Valley serving vets who don’t live near” Fresno’s Veterans Affairs hospital. It is “convenient for Kurtis Foster,” a veteran with a traumatic brain injury. Foster urges veterans to sign up with VA as soon as they can.
- Former Homeless Veteran Treks From Montana To L.A. To Raise Money And Awareness For Homeless. Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel Veterans Affairs helped the formerly homeless Stephen Millhouse “refocus his life’s priorities, and he decided to reach out to the homeless.” Now, Millhouse is pulling a pulls a “trailer loaded with 60 to 80 pounds of gear” during what he “calls ‘My One Man March for the Homeless,’ with the goal of raising $1 million for the homeless.” The Sentinel adds, “The VA helped Millhouse find housing and employment, but if he hadn’t had their help, he said, his situation might not have improved.”
- Disabled Iraq Veteran Celebrates “Alive Day.” CBS Evening News On Tuesday, disabled veteran Ryan Kules celebrated his “alive day,” marking six years since he survived a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Kules first heard the term “alive day” from “Jim Mayer, who had both his legs blown off 42 years ago in Vietnam.” CBS added that Mayer has been delivering milkshakes to the “hospital rooms of the wounded ever since the first war with Iraq in 1991.”
- American Legion Auxiliary Thanks Community For Helping Veterans. Chicago Tribune “La Grange American Legion Auxiliary thanks the many generous community residents who donated more than $1,000 worth of ‘comfort items’ for patients at Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital.” Collected “items, including 170 pairs of socks, 81 t-shirts, 44 pairs of underwear, and more than 300 personal care products such as shampoo and toothpaste, will be distributed to low-income veterans through” Hines’ Voluntary Services Department.