Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – December 15, 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.    Veterans transition from war zone to classroom.  CNN   Nationally, about 450000 people used the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for college this fall, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. “We are anticipating that the people who are taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill over the course of the …
2.    Benefits for Filipino veterans pressed.  Manila Bulletin  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila, citing reports from the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, said Cuisia met with officials of the United States Army, Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), and US Congress to argue on behalf of …
3.    Local programs work to employ vets.  UI The Daily Iowan  Brenda Dodge, operations director at Iowa City branch of Iowa Workers Development, said the center’s Veterans Affairs regularly hosts workshops and seminars in which veterans are trained to showcase their acquired skills in a good light. …
4.    VA May Have Improperly Spent Billions, U.S. Lawmaker Says.  Bloomberg  The US Department of Veterans Affairs may have improperly spent billions of dollars on purchases including pharmaceuticals, according to a lawmaker who is probing the allegations and whether the safety of those who use …
5.    Obama Seeks To Leverage $1 Trillion Spending Bill.  AP  “President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies in the Senate are using a critical year-end spending bill as political leverage to try to force Republicans to negotiate bipartisan legislation to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits due to expire at the end of the year.” As of Monday, lawmakers had “reached agreement on most issues on the $1 trillion spending bill,” which “chips away at the Pentagon budget, foreign aid and environmental spending but boosts funding for veterans programs and modernizing the US nuclear arsenal.”
6.    US And Iraq: A Two-Way Legacy.  Washington Post  Analyzes the war’s effect on both the US and Iraq. The war, says the Post, “has left a legacy of lasting effect on American politics and culture. There is the federal debt, inflated by an estimated trillion dollars spent on the war, along with more than 4,400 dead troops, a generation of young amputees, a fragile ally in the heart of the Arab Middle East and narrowed ambitions for American power.” Even potential gains, such as “an emerging democracy in an oil-rich Arab nation, freedom for millions of Iraqis from a dictator’s brutal whimsy — remain vulnerable in a heavily armed country with a light rule of law.”
7.    State Officials Host Event In Suburban Chicago For Veterans.  AP  State officials in Illinois “say they’ve planned an event for veterans featuring resources available to them. It’s called the ‘Helping Our Hometown Heroes’ benefits fair.” It “will be held at Illinois Army National Guard Armory in Joliet on Thursday.”
8.    Veteran Hires In Federal Government Hit 20-Year High.  Washington Post The federal government hiring “the highest percentage of veterans in more than 20 years during the past fiscal year,” a figure which was noted by the Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday. In fact, “veterans represented 28.5 percent of total federal hires in fiscal 2011, an increase of 2.9 percent over fiscal 2010 and 4.5 percent over fiscal 2009.” Meanwhile, Labor Department statistics from early December show the unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars stands “stands at 11.1 percent.”  Federal Times  Reports on the record high number of veteran hires while adding that the President’s Council on Veterans Employment, “will start a new program in spring to find jobs for formerly homeless veterans. OPM said agencies agreed to hire up to two formerly homeless veterans, and said they will match vets’ skills to jobs to ensure they have a chance at a long-term career.”
9.    Navy Gives Neck Injections A Shot At Curing PTSD.  Wired  Chicago anesthesiologist Dr. Eugene Lipov is drawing closer to convincing the Pentagon that there is the possibility of curing “post-traumatic stress disorder with a single injection to the neck.” In particular, the Navy has hope for the procedure “called stellate-ganglion block (SGB).” Dr. Lipov has “touted the method for years, even winning then-Senator Barack Obama’s support in 2007, and he’s treated dozens of military personnel and veterans at his own clinic.” After years of having requests for military research funding denied, the Navy “is now several months into the first-ever military study on SGB,” and it appears the “method actually appears effective.” Wired says “the study is the latest evidence of the Pentagon’s increasing desperation to get a handle on PTSD.”

10.  Infection Prevention Up In VA, Non-Federal Hospitals.  HealthDay  “From 2005 to 2009, there was a significant increase in the use of hospital-acquired infection (HAI) prevention practices in non-federal and Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.” For the study, “Sarah L. Krein, Ph.D., R.N., from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan, and colleagues analyzed the use and trends in use (between 2005 and 2009) of HAI prevention practices by US non-federal hospitals (which come under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] no payment rule), and VA hospitals (not subject to the CMS rule).”

 

Have You Heard?

VA Contingency Plan: Agency Operations in the Absence of Appropriations

VA is committed to supporting Veterans and their families even during limited operations in absence of appropriations, commonly known as a government “shutdown”. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is revising its shutdown plan, in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–11, Section 124 (dated July 21, 2010). Based on the instructions contained in Circular A-11, the Anti-Deficiency Act, and on guidance offered by VA’s Office of General Counsel, the attached document details VA’s analysis for a potential government shutdown. More information

More Veteran News

 

  •   VA Helps Formerly Homeless Iraq Vet. CNN Newsroom  An interview with Iraq veteran Mickiela Montoya, who was homeless until she received help from an organization called USVETS. Montoya says she now works “at the Department of Veterans Affairs for a new pilot program called Homeless Veterans Supported Employment, and I assist veterans in finding employment that are coming back from Iraq and having to face the struggles that I had to face.” Montoya said the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program has been “excellent” for her and “hopefully it will be” for other Iraq veterans. When asked whether she and her colleagues are afraid that the number of homeless vets will increase as people come home from Iraq, Montoya said she thinks there could be an increase, but “with the way the VA is tackling” the problem, “there is hope.”
  •     Work Begins On Expanded Stress Center For Women.  Buffalo Business First  “The VA Western New York Healthcare System will start construction this week on an expanded residential treatment program for women” with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The “9,500-square-foot facility, to be located at 222 Richmond Ave. in Batavia, will double the number of beds from six to 12, replacing an existing program on the Batavia VA campus. The site is expected to open in winter 2013.”
  •  More Women In Combat Means More Mothers With PTSD.  CNN  “With more female troops in combat, there has been an increase” in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses for women vets, like Iraq veteran June Moss. Six years ago, Moss “cut her wrists to end the pain. Today, Moss has progressed significantly after specialized therapy provided by the local Veterans Affairs in Palo Alto, California, where the focus is on female vets.”
  •     People On The Move.  CQ  “Sherri Brown has been appointed as a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.” She is a “senior vice president of services to the armed forces at the American Red Cross.” Sara J. McVicker, the “region 3 representative for the Vietnam Veterans of America,” is “also is a member of the group’s national women veterans committee.”
  • WWII Vets Outraged At “Ultimate Disrespect” From “Hawaii Five-O” Crew; CBS Apologizes.  ABC News  A World War I veterans group visiting Hawaii was left feeling “disrespected them in a way just short of criminal” after the TV crew from the CBS series “Hawaii Five-O” ruined their visit to the “National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific,” commonly referred to as “Punchbowl.” ABC notes that “the Denver-based Greatest Generations Foundation brought 24 WWII veterans to the cemetery to pay their respects and take part in a memorial ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.” According to a witness account, “some elderly veterans were placing roses at anonymous graves,” at which time a “Hawaii Five-O” crewmember “shushed” them “and told them to move along.” Also, “pictures…show equipment set up on or very near actual graves.” The executive producer for the TV show issued a statement apologizing.
  •  VHA Acquisition Reforms Not Working, OIG Says.  Federal Computer Week  “Acquisition oversight reforms begun two years ago at the Veterans Health Administration have not been effective, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.” FCW notes that in 2009, the VHA “created a new Integrated Oversight Process to monitor…contracting activities” for purchasing at 150 healthcare facilities. Veterans Affairs agreed with the inspector general, which “recommended that VA and VHA acquisition management improve oversight of Veterans Information Management Service contracts and develop effective tools to manage those contracts.”
  •  VA Hosts Forums On Changes To Health Care System.  Scottsbluff (NE) Star-Herald “Veterans Administration Black Hills Health Care System officials will be in Gordon and Gering Thursday for public forums to discuss proposals for the improvement of veterans’ health care services in portions of western South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. Proposals introduced Monday” by VA “were driven by the desire to maintain the delivery of high quality care and to decrease travel for Veterans and their family members, according to a VA Black Hills press release.” The department’s proposals include “building or leasing a new Hot Springs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Hot Springs with a dialysis unit either co-located with the Fall River Hospital or the State Veterans Home, or alternatively at a free-standing site with the purchase of pharmacy, laboratory and X-ray services at the Fall River Hospital.”
  • Hot Springs Residents Concerned About VA Proposal.  AP   “A proposal to close the Veterans Affairs medical center in Hot Springs has landed VA officials in hot water with residents.” Earlier this week, the US VA “announced plans to transfer many of its treatment and care options from outdated facilities at the Hot Springs Center to private providers and VA facilities in Rapid City and Sturgis. Hot Springs Mayor Don DeVries said such a closure would ‘be a blow to the community.'”
  • Seniors Helping Seniors At VA Medical Center.  Greece (NY) Messenger Post, “Seniors Helping Seniors is a program that matches senior veterans with high school seniors, providing both with a chance to help each other and learn. Seniors at Canandaigua Academy earn work-study credit and also serve as volunteers” at the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center, “helping the veterans develop skills with computers and other electronics.” Canandaigua VA Information Technology Specialist Tammy Beattie is behind VA’s “end of the project.”
  •  Fresno VA Hospital Gets National Attention.  KGPE-TV  “Just recently,” the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fresno was “put in the national spotlight with a program called ‘No Vets Die Alone.’ Bill Whitaker with CBS News got a behind the scenes look.” KGPE added that “No Veterans Dies Alone” is an “all volunteer effort” which makes sure that “vets have a human hand to hold till the end.”
  •   Disabled Flushing Resident Says The Veterans Administration Botched His Wheelchair.  New York Daily News  Claims from a Flushing, NY Vietnam veteran, Matthe Raible, who “said he waited nine months for the Veterans Administration to give him a proper wheelchair that he desperately needed for his everyday life” only to have “both wheels fell off” within a week of its arrival. Raible, a quadriplegic, has a host of other complaints about the VA, and says, “They ought to be held accountable for gross negligence and gross incompetence.” The Daily News also says that Department of Veteran Affairs officials disputed Raible’s story, as spokeswoman Christine Pons, in a statement, assured that the “VA takes very seriously the quality and care of our nation’s heroes,” adding, “In this particular case … efforts were made to support him in any way possible.”
  • Southwestern Illinois Businessman Sentenced To 20 Years In Federal Prison In Investment Scam.  AP   “A man who admitted duping relatives and military veterans in a $2.4 million investment scam,” landing him a sentence of “two decades in federal prison.” The convicted sixty-four-year-old, “Edward Moskop of Belleville also was ordered…to pay $1.5 million in restitution.” According to local authorities, “witnesses have testified that the scam affected 18 victims who included widows, those fighting cancer and a Nazi labor camp survivor.”

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