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1. Smaller military, narrower capabilities highlight strategy review. A smaller American military of the future won’t be designed for conflicts centered on long-term nation-building, but will emphasize special operations and counterterrorism, according to a U.S. defense strategy overview released Thursday.
2. Holly Petraeus: ‘Under water’ home loans force families apart. Many military homeowners who saw their homes plummet in value in the financial crisis still can’t get relief from ‘under water’ mortgages that leave families owing more to loan servicers than their homes are worth.
3. Richland veteran helps secure millions for local disabled vets. KVEW Last year, he helped secure $3.4 million for Vietnam veterans with disabilities. Prince calls himself a ‘secretary with hairy legs’. He fills out the funding paperwork for veterans and sends that off to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, …
4. Homelessness drop 21 pct. among Mass. veterans. Boston.com That’s according to the 2011 supplement of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report prepared by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Department of Veterans Services Secretary Coleman Nee and US Department of Veterans Affairs officials say …
5. Hospice introduces We Honor Veterans campaign. nwitimes.com Hospice of the Calumet Area has become a partner of We Honor Veterans, a campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. As a We Honor Veterans partner, …
6. Riders fight for vets who meet lonely end. Tbo.com US Department of Veterans Affairs officials at Bay Pines National Cemetery in Pinellas County, in conjunction with VA officials at Florida National Cemetery near Bushnell, decided last year to hold the ceremonies quarterly, instead of monthly. …
7. VA Deploying 20 New Mobile Vet Centers. United States Department of Veterans Affairs … in more than 3600 federal, state and locally sponsored Veteran-related events.
8. VA passes on purchasing Huntsville’s Stone Middle School. al.com (blog) The US Department of Veterans Affairs has taken a pass on Stone Middle School, at least for now. The VA last fall had expressed an interest in locating a medical facility at Stone, which was closed in May …
9. Prominent Navajo Code Talker Dies In Arizona. Reuters On Wednesday, the Navajo Code Talkers Association said its president, 87-year-old Keith M. Little, has passed away. AP Little was “one of the most recognizable faces of the Navajo Code Talkers.” The Navajo Code Talkers Association “says Little died Tuesday night at a Fort Defiance hospital.” Little “joined the Marines at 17 and used a code based on the Navajo language to confound the Japanese and help win World War II.”
10. Anchorage Lawmaker Proposes Tax Credit For Hiring Veterans: Alaska Senate. AP Bill Wielechowski, a state senator representing Anchorage, Alaska, “plans to introduce legislation that would provide tax credits to Alaska businesses that hire military veterans.” Wielechowski “calls the proposal a winning proposition both for struggling businesses and for veterans, which he says would have an increased chance of finding work.” Wielechowski’s “office says in a release that the measure would provide a $2,000 tax credit for each veteran hired who works at least 1,560 hours within a year, or roughly 30 hours a week.”
Have You Heard?
VA and Housing and Urban Development recently released a national report that shows Veteran homelessness fell nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. The 12-percent decline keeps VA on track to meet the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015. “This new report is good news for the tens of thousands of Veterans we have helped find a home. Our progress in the fight against homelessness has been significant, but our work is not complete until no Veteran has to sleep on the street,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We have been successful in achieving this milestone due to strong leadership from the President and hard work by countless community organizations and our federal, state, and local partners who are committed to helping Veterans and their families get back on their feet.” According to the 2011 supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released, 67,495 Veterans were homeless in the United States on a single night in January 2011 — a significant reduction from last year’s single night count of 76,329. For more information on Veterans homeless issues, visit www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp
More Veteran News
- Bay Area Veterans Taking Part In Massive DNA Project. US Navy Seals VA “has shared its efforts towards making a significant contribution to medical research, through the Million Veteran Program (MVP).” The goal of MVP “is to collect blood specimens and genetic information from one million Veteran volunteers, which will become part of a database that contains the full electronic health records of millions of Veterans. The VA has described the effort as a ‘genomic game changer,’ and is actively recruiting Veterans willing to volunteer for the program.”
- Cheers For Kind Strangers, Jeers For Tip Thieves. Seattle Times “Rave To the Auburn Police Dept. and Seattle VA hospital for all your care and compassion when my son, an Iraq vet, had a serious meltdown. You helped things turn around.” The earlier letters were not about Veterans Affairs.
- Ohio Veterans Tour Mobile Vet Centers. Columbus (OH) Dispatch On Wednesday, some “Ohio veterans gave the thumbs up…to specially-equipped Mobile Vet Centers that will soon be dispatched to care for veterans in rural and underserved areas across the nation.” Several “area veterans and government officials,” including Robert A. Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health, toured “Farber Specialty Vehicles, a Reynoldsburg company that designed and built the 20 vehicles” for Petzel’s agency. The 20 vehicles “will join a fleet of 70 similar” ones that are “used to make house calls, providing counseling and other medical services to veterans.” The Dispatch quotes Petzel, who said, “Our top priority is expanding” access to “counseling and other services” to “all veterans.
- Alleged Mount Rainier Shooter’s Troubles May Not Have Been Service-Related . MSNBC “The man who authorities say killed a ranger before dying in Mount Rainier National Park was in turmoil over developments in his personal life after his discharge from the Army, friends say, suggesting that his alleged actions over the weekend may have had little connection to his military service.” After noting that the mother of 24-year-old Iraq veteran Colton Barnes’ daughter thought Barnes might have had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), MSNBC quoted “Brandon Friedman, an Army combat veteran in Afghanistan and Iraq and author of the highly regarded memoir ‘The War I Always Wanted.'” Having “‘PTSD doesn’t signify a propensity to murder Americans,’ Friedman said, adding that he was concerned that depictions of Barnes as a sufferer of PTSD could fuel public perceptions that all Lewis-McChord veterans are ‘dangerous psychos.’
- VA’s Advice To Vets With PTSD Noted. Seattle (WA) Post-Intelligencer “With recent news reporting that the ‘person of interest’ in the shooting and killing of Mt. Rainier Park Ranger Margaret Anderson is a well skilled survivalist and an Iraq war veteran, the topic of PTSD has once again surfaced.” The Post-Intelligencer pointed out that according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, there are several steps that can be taken by vets with PTSD, including finding a “support group with fellow veterans who are working through the same issues that have a game plan.”
- Stretch Goals Require New Way Of Doing Business. Federal News Radio Bob Behn, a lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. According to Behn, when agencies want to achieve set “stretch goals,” they “have to invent new strategies, new incentives – entirely new ways of achieving their purpose.” Federal News Radio adds, “The efforts by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to end – as opposed to reduce – veterans’ homelessness by the end of 2015 is an example of a stretch goal with a true performance target, Behn said. That is, it includes a goal and a date as two examples of federal leaders setting true performance targets.
- Pharmacists As Direct-Care Providers. Medscape In order to “find out more about the role of the pharmacist in the medical home,” it “interviewed Vincent J. Willey, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Pharmacy Administration at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences, in Pennsylvania.” When asked if there are “parts of the country where having a pharmacist at the point of care has begun to take hold,” Wiley noted, “The Veterans Administration has utilized pharmacists to provide direct patient care services in the outpatient setting for decades.
- VA To Update EHR Medical Scheduling Component. FierceEMR “The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) hopes to replace the medical scheduling package (MSP) in its EHR system–and also to avoid the mistakes it made the last time it attempted to do so. The organization is actively soliciting advice from industry, academia and others before going forward, according to a request for information (RFI) published December 21.” According to FierceEMR, when VA “last attempted to update the MSP,” it “abandoned the project in 2009 after spending $127 million.”
- How To Enforce Your Mobile Policy. GovInfoSecurity “A comprehensive mobile security policy is essential now that so many employees use tablets, smart phones, USB drives and other mobile devices and media to conduct business.” GovInfoSecurity adds, “Effective enforcement of a mobile device security policy requires the use of a mobile device manager application that closely monitors the devices and enforces security controls, says Stephen Warren, principal deputy CIO at the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA, which provides healthcare to veterans, is in the process of acquiring an enhanced mobile device manager, he adds.”
- VA Pursuing Larger Outpatient Clinic In Bremerton. Kitsap (WA) Sun “The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to nearly double the size of its Bremerton outpatient clinic in the next couple years and possibly add services. The VA wants to team up with the Navy, but if that doesn’t work out, it’ll proceed alone, VA Puget Sound Health Care System deputy director DeAnn Lestenkof told veterans organization members Wednesday at Silverdale Community Center.” The Sun adds, “The VA and Navy are also in the early stages of exploring the possibility of allowing veterans to receive emergency and certain inpatient health care services at Naval Hospital Bremerton.”
- Input Requested On Proposed VA Hospital Changes. Scottsbluff (NE) Star-Herald “Veterans Affairs officials announced in mid-December a proposal to close” the VA hospital in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and transfer many of the services offered there “to Rapid City, S.D., and the Fort Meade facility near Sturgis, S.D.” Officials with VA “say the number of veterans seeking treatment” in Hot Springs is going down “and budgetary constraints are forcing them to look at other alternatives.” Chadron “and Alliance will host community forums Friday at 1 and 5 p.m. respectively,”
- VA Clinic “First-Class.” La Grande (OR) Observer “The veterans of Northeast Oregon are lucky to have a first-class” Veterans Affairs clinic in La Grande.
- WWII Veteran Raises $100K To Improve Lives Of Disabled Vets. Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier
- Disabled Helena Veteran Facing Foreclosure, Bank Won’t Take Payment. KXLH-TV