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1. Panetta: 2 Army combat brigades will leave Europe. Two U.S. Army combat brigades will be withdrawn from Europe as part of a new Pentagon defense strategy that aims to find efficiencies while also shifting more strategic focus to Asia.
2. Analyst: NATO reaction will be mixed bag. The United States’ NATO partners will likely view the loss of more U.S. troops in different ways, said Jan Filip Stanilko, president of the conservative Sobieski Institute think tank, in the wake of an announcement Thursday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that two U.S. Army combat brigades would be withdrawn from Europe.
3. Secretary of Veterans Affairs impressed by Oneida Health Center. Green Bay Press Gazette Retired Air Force veteran Kerry Metoxen, left, and retired Army Airborne Vietnam veteran Cletus Ninham, right, meet with John Scocos, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, at the Robert Cornelius VFW Post Thursday in Hobart. …
4. Medical Schools to Give Students More Training to Help Military Patients. U.S. News University For example, the US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that about 5.2 million people have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during any given year. Additionally, military personnel may develop physical injuries, anxiety disorders and substance …
5. Native veterans’ issues. Billings Gazette Wondering Medicine talked about how veterans get shuffled between US Department of Veterans Affairs health facilities and the Indian Health Service, having to wait a long time to get the help they need. “They should be prioritized, they should be given …
6. Wrong place for homeless veterans? U-T San Diego Working to end homelessness among veterans by 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs wants to open a 40-bed center in San Diego for former Iraq and Afghanistan fighters struggling to find their footing back home. But neighbors in the proposed …
7. PSA Screening Overused Among Frail Elderly At VA Facilities. Medscape “Severely ill elderly men are often screened for prostate cancer at Veteran’s Affairs (VA) facilities, especially in the South, even though the test can potentially do more harm than good, according to a study published online December 17 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.” The “study was supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the Medical Student Training in Aging Research Program at the American Federation for Aging Research, the National Institute on Aging, the New Mexico VA Health Care System, the White River Junction VA, and the VA Health Services Research and Development Service Award.”
8. More States Decide To “Buy Veteran.” Wall Street Journal More states and local governments are offering preferential treatment to veteran-owned businesses by setting aside money to buy their items and services. This is happening more and more as vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan face a high unemployment rate. Some states have resisted joining in with this movement, though, as they are concerned about the cost of verifying that vets own businesses. The US Veterans Affairs Department, which awards approximately three billion dollars in contracts each year to veteran-owned businesses, has had problems with its verification program for such contracts. Greg Kutz, a director with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), said that while VA has improved the verification program, more can be done.
9. Boston Helps Returning Veterans Obtain Services, Benefits. Boston Globe City officials in Boston “have launched a new initiative to help Boston veterans learn about their rights by hosting periodical breakfasts designed to explain the city’s services and other benefits for returning servicemen and women. ‘While we hope your return home is prosperous, and one that leads into a prosperous and stable career we have to let you all know help is available should you find yourself in hard times,’ said Francisco Urena, commissioner of Boston’s Veterans’ Services Department.” Urena made his remarks while “welcoming about a dozen veterans and their families Thursday to the city’s first breakfast at Beacon Hill’s historic Parkman House.
10. 4 Mass. Medical Schools Pledge To Train Doctors In Treating Veterans. Boston Globe “White Coat Notes” blog reports, “More than 100 medical schools across the country, including four in Massachusetts, have pledged to invest resources in training future physicians to treat war veterans and their family members, ensuring that their education includes the latest information about diagnosing and treating combat-related issues such” as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The “commitment was made as part of Joining Forces, a program supporting families of veterans spearheaded by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.” In a press release, Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), said, “The relationship between” VA “medical centers and academic medicine dates back to the end of World War II and serves as a model for successful partnerships between public and private institutions. Our work with the White House on Joining Forces is a natural extension of our efforts in this area and renews our commitment to the wellness of our nation’s military.
More Veteran News
- Mobile Health Centers Deliver Medical Care To Rural Veterans. NextGov “About 41 percent, or 3.3 million, veterans enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Department health system live far from a VA hospital, so last week the department added another 20 vehicles to its fleet of 50 mobile vet centers packed with sophisticated communications gear to bring medical care and other services to rural veterans. VA Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel, speaking at the Columbus, Ohio, plant of Farber Specialty Vehicles, which builds the mobile centers, said, ‘VA is committed to expanding access to VA health care and benefits for veterans and their families, and these 20 new vehicles demonstrate that continued commitment.'” The mobile centers, according to NextGov, can be used to “support demobilization of National Guard units” and to “respond to emergencies and natural disasters.”
- Should Government Develop Apps? Federal Times “A number of federal agencies are in the app-development business: NASA, Transportation Security Administration and Veterans Affairs Department to name a few. But mobile app development governmentwide is dispersed and done in silos, federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said from” the government conference held this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Times adds, “A federal mobile strategy due in March will address the government’s role in app development, VanRoekel said.”
- New Performance System Could Lead To General Schedule Overhaul. Federal Times “Early steps toward overhauling the six-decade-old General Schedule pay system for federal employees are being taken now at six agencies. The agencies – the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Labor departments, the Coast Guard and the Office of Personnel Management – are pilot testing a new way to manage employee performance that could serve as a template for other agencies.” The performance management system is known as “GEAR, which stands for goals, engagement, accountability and results.”
- “No Veteran Dies Alone” Program Honors Veterans, Enriches Volunteers. Ann Arbor (MI) Journal “Priceless is how volunteer Linda Wroblewski would sum up her experience with the ‘No Veteran Dies Alone’ program at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Health Care System.” The “program is part of a national effort to train volunteers to provide companionship and assistance at the medical center to veterans who are at the final stages of their lives. Locally, the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System has been running the program for over a year in which time it has served approximately 20 veterans who chose to participate.”
- Program Allows Long-Distance Monitoring Of Local VA Patients. Chillicothe (OH) Gazette “A new system that went live Wednesday at the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center can beam a second set of eyes and second opinions into the hospital’s special care unit from more than 100 miles away. The technology, known as Tele ICU, allows medical staff at the Cincinnati VA to monitor patients in Chillicothe using high-resolution video cameras that can zoom in as close as the patient’s pupil or a measurement mark on a syringe.” The “Veterans Integrated Service Network 10, which includes VA facilities in Ohio, uses Tele ICU to monitor 72 critical care beds at four VA sites, including 10 beds in Chillicothe.”
- St. Albans VA Supporters Take Fight To Web. Queen (NY) Times Ledger “A group of concerned Queens residents is using the Internet to send a message to the president to get him to support a measure that would help halt any attempt to break up the site” of the St. Albans Veterans Affairs hospital. An “online petition has been posted on the White House’s ‘We the People’ Web page that calls on President Barack Obama to support the US Senate bill that would bar anyone from selling part of the hospital’s land to private developers.” According to the Times Ledger, VA “declined to comment about the petition, which must have 25,000 signatures by Jan. 21 in order for it to receive a response from the White House.”
- Local Wounded Soldier Vying For Spot At 2012 Wounded Warrior Games. Mobile (AL) Press-Register “This weekend a Mobile native will be among 30 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers demonstrating his marksmanship skills at the University of Texas-El Paso in preparation for the 2012 Warrior Games.” Staff Sgt. Tracy Smith, who is “currently assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Stewart, Ga.,” hopes “to get a spot on the Army shooting team.” This year’s Warrior Games will be “supported by the Department of Defense, US Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.”
- Iraq War’s Legacy: One Marine’s Five-Year Battle With PTSD. MSNBC
- Columbia Music Historian Compiles Vietnam War Songs. Baltimore Sun
- Veterans Conclude 101-mile Trek To Homestead, Raising Awareness For Wounded Warriors. Miami Herald