Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 25, 2012

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Veterans! Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

 

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1.    White House to field veterans’ questions this Thursday.   The White House is planning a series of online follow-ups and forums after Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, including a veterans-focused session Thursday morning featuring Matt Flavin, the administration’s point person on veterans issues and wounded warrior policy.
2.    Veterans Aid And Attendance Pension Rates Increase.  NewsLI  As we begin 2012, there is good news for Veterans who have served our country. The United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approved a rate increase in the Veterans Administration’s (VA) Aid and Attendance Pension rate …
3.    As local programs get more federal money, homeless vets find homes.  MinnPost.com (blog)  She says the Obama administration has resolved to end veteran homelessness by 2013. Typically, she says, Minnesota’s homeless veterans as male, with only 12 percent female. Most are mid 50s to 65, so are considered Vietnam era vets though they did not …
4.    Hispanic National Bar Association Proudly Announces the Veterans Legal.  Sacramento Bee  Started as part of National President Benny Agosto, Jr.’s “Year of the Advocate”, the Veterans Initiative will organize HNBA members to volunteer at local Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, American Legion posts, and Veterans of Foreign Wars locations, …
5.    VA Telehealth Lauded As Model Healthcare Program.  InformationWeek  Without the care coordinators’ summaries and alerts, physicians would never be able to deal with the home monitoring data, observed Kenneth Kizer, MD, a former undersecretary for health in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in an interview …
6.    VA Blasts GAO In Report.  Washington Business Journal   “The Department of Veterans Affairs delivered the latest punch in an ongoing battle with the Government Accountability Office, calling the watchdog agency’s interpretation of a law that requires the VA to set aside contract awards for veteran-owned small businesses ‘defectively incomplete’ and conflicting with precedent. The VA delivered the report Jan. 4 in response to a request from the GAO, which is in the process of deciding a protest filed by Portage, Mich.-based small business Aldevra LLC that claimed the VA violated the law when it acquired an ice-maker dispenser through the General Service Administration’s Federal Supply Schedule, which allows agencies to purchase goods and services at pre-negotiated discount prices.” Aldreva’s protest is the second one it has filed “claiming that the VA violated the 2006 Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act.”
7.    APG Joins University Of Delaware In Effort To Improve Care For Wounded Warriors, Civilians.  Baltimore Sun   “The Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and the University of Delaware have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement to collaborate on an orthopedic rehabilitation project that will improve rehabilitative care for wounded warriors and civilians. Entitled ‘Enhanced Locomotion for Limb Salvage Patients: Optimal Dorsiflexion Resistance Ankle-Foot Orthoses,’ the joint project will generate personalized rehabilitation devices (orthopedic braces) for wounded warriors who receive treatment at Department of Defense” and VA “medical treatment facilities, as well as civilians.”
8.    VA Hospitals Not Following PSA Guidelines For Elderly.  Modern Medicine “Veterans Affairs hospitals screen elderly men with limited life expectancies for prostate cancer at surprisingly high rates, even though guidelines recommend against such screening, according to a recent” study“published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.” Authors of the study “recommend new interventions at VA medical centers to reduce inappropriate PSA screening in elderly men, as well as new communication tools to help elderly men weigh the benefits and harms of screening.”
9.    As Victims, Men Struggle For Rape Awareness.  New York Times  “While most experts agree women are raped far more often than men, 1.4 percent of men in a recent national survey said they had been raped at some point.” Meanwhile, in a “study of 3,337 military veterans applying for disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, 6.5 percent of male combat veterans and 16.5 percent of noncombat veterans reported either in-service or post-service sexual assault. (The rates were far higher for female veterans, 69.0 percent and 86.6 percent respectively.)”
10.   VA Enhances Blue Button Features.  Government Health IT  “The Veterans Affairs Department will offer a mobile app for its Blue Button feature this year so veterans have more options to view and download their personal health data from the department’s patient portal. Vendor Northrop Grumman last year tested a Blue Button mobile application to work on the Apple iPhone, according to James Speros, special assistant to VA’s chief technology officer.” Government Health IT adds, “Other vendors are developing Blue Button apps for other smart phones and tablets, he said.”

 

Have You Heard?

Songwriting Brings Vets Together

A group of Veterans recently came together and told their stories to musicians. Their stories have become powerful songs about war and remembrance.
Read more at VAntage Point.

 

More Veteran News

 

  • VA Moving Electronic Health Records To DISA Data Centers. ExecutiveGov   “The Department of Veterans Affairs will move its electronic health records to data centers operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency, VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said according” to NextGov, which notes that the move is scheduled to begin in March and take a little over a year to complete. ExecutiveGov adds, “According to NextGov, the move supports the development of a joint electronic health record system for both the VA and the Pentagon. The joint system would serve more than 9.7 million active duty personnel and 6 million veterans.”
  •   Burial Problems Found At VA Cemeteries. Washington Post  “The Department of Veterans Affairs has found scores of misplaced headstones and at least eight cases of people buried in the wrong places at several” national cemeteries, which are operated by VA. The review by VA’s National Cemetery Administration “follows the revelation of widespread burial problems at Arlington National Cemetery,” which led to calls from “some veterans groups and members of Congress” that the Army-run cemetery be transferred to VA. The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), said that he is disappointed to hear of the national cemetery problems and that he “will work with the VA to make sure” they are fixed.
  •  Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down.  Washington (DC) Informer The VA hospital in Northeast DC and Secretary Shinseki “recently hosted the 16th annual Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down campaign to help hundreds of homeless and at risk Veterans in the DC metropolitan area. The campaign served more than 350 people and dozens of agencies were on hand to provide services and referrals.” The VA, which wants to “end Veteran Homelessness by 2015,” and the “Department of Housing and Urban Development made an announcement last month stating that homelessness among Veterans was reduced by nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011.”
  • GAO: Homelessness Rising Among Female Vets.  Army Times “The number of homeless veteran females more than doubled between 2006 and 2010, according to estimates in a recent government” report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which suggested “that the number of homeless female veterans rose to more than 3,300 in 2010, up from less than 1,400 in 2006.” Officials with VA said they “generally agree” with the findings in the report, which stated, “Absent more complete data, VA does not have the information needed to plan services effectively, allocate grants to providers and track progress toward its overall goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.” The Times adds, “The GAO urged VA to ramp up services for homeless women.”
  •   Steps N Stages’ Jubilee House Provides Shelter For Homeless Female Veterans.  CNN  “Fifty Five thousand women who have served in the military are homeless, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.” CNN adds, “In fact women are 4 times more likely than male veterans to end up homeless.” CNN made Barbara Marshall its “Breakthrough Woman” for “supporting other female military members at Steps N Stages’ Jubilee House,” which is a “home for homeless, female, military veterans and their children.”
  •   National Veterans Small Business Conference Coming To Cobo In June.  Crain’s Detroit Business  The US Department of Veterans Affairs is “expected Wednesday morning to announce plans to bring the National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo to Detroit’s Cobo Center in June. The event is expected to include a ‘VA for Vets’ hiring fair for veterans looking for careers in the public and private sectors.” The “event will include an open house that gives veterans the opportunity to connect with program managers and more than 200 procurement decision-makers from the VA and other” Federal agencies.
  •  President Of Buy Veteran: Hiring Vets Is Good For Business. Fox News’ Fox And Friends  Chris Hale, president of Buy Veteran, who said hiring veterans is “good for the bottom line” of businesses. Hale said his organization has “done a lot of work with state and local governments, with the Federal government, creating opportunities at the corporate level.”
  • Thousands Attend DC Vets Job Fair.  American Legion  “The Washington, DC, Convention Center was swamped with veterans on Jan. 18 as thousands attended a Department of Veterans Affairs-sponsored hiring fair.” The “American Legion was among several veterans service organizations offering advice and counsel to attendees. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki conducted a brief press conference during the event, reminding reporters of veterans’ virtues in the workplace” and of the value of fairs like the one in DC.
  •   Battle In Black Hills Over VA Hospital.  Army Times  “Veterans face an uphill battle to keep open the Veterans Affairs Department hospital” in Hot Springs, South Dakota. The aging hospital’s “inpatient facilities receive an average of just five patients a day, and VA wants to close them and use the savings to expand the nearby Fort Meade VA campus and build a new clinic in Rapid City.” The Times adds, “Area American Legion members have banded with local American Federation of Government Employees members and businesses and the town government to prevent closure of the historic” Hot Springs hospital, with its “distinctive, 100-year-old pink sandstone buildings, some of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”
  •   W.Va. Man Charged With Faking Army Record.  AP  A resident of Martinsburg, West Virginia, “who never served in the military,” has “been charged with faking an Army service record and fraudulently collecting more than $97,000 in benefits.” “A 10-count indictment issued by a grand jury in Martinsburg last week charges” 44-year-old Ronald Lamont Clements “with mail fraud, theft of government funds, falsifying military discharge certificates and false claims of medals and decorations. Prosecutors say Clements defrauded the Department of Veterans Affairs of more than $20,000 in one instance and more than $77,000 in another between July 2007 and January 2012.”
  •   Why Returning Military Members Must Be Challenged To Lead. Huffington Post
  •   Effectiveness Of VA Mental Health Care Questioned.  Veteran Journal  Veterans advocate Peter S. Gaytan says he finds it “troubling that there” are “problems with VA Mental Health Care facilities.” Gaytan adds, “VA must focus on hiring qualified professionals to meet the growing veteran population suffering from mental health troubles.”

 

  • Corps Mandates Yearly Hearing Test For All. Marine Corps Times   “Mandatory annual hearing tests for all Marines start now under a new policy aimed at putting some muscle behind the Corps’ hearing conservation program.” The Times adds, “A Government Accountability Office report published last January concluded the cost to the Veterans Affairs Department in 2009 for hearing loss and injury compensation exceeded $1 billion paid to more than a million claimants from all services. This prompted” a study which “showed Marines who left the service in 2007 and 2008 submitted more than 9,000 claims with associated long-term costs climbing past $404 million.”

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