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

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1.    Amputation cases among troops hit post-9/11 high in 2011The grisly toll, 240 cases of deployed troops with at least one arm or leg amputated, appears to mainly reflect the ongoing troop surge in Afghanistan, along with an increased emphasis on foot patrols in areas where insurgents are active.
 
2.    Leadership in corporate world requires adjustment for vetsFor former Marine Sean Orquiola, the hardest part of working in a corporate office after a tour in Iraq was figuring out how to motivate himself and others in a business-friendly way.
 
3.    Vets’ transition to civilian jobs often includes a perceived step downFrom the lofty responsibilities of war to the bottom rung of the career ladder: That’s the reality that veterans often face when entering the civilian job market.
 
4.    More combat opportunities for women, but still no infantryDefense officials will allow female troops to work in front-line battlefield units for the first time but still bar them from combat infantry jobs under rules announced Thursday.

5.    Change in procedure leaves some student vets waiting for funds.  Daily Illini  Though student veteran financial aid will be done being processed by early next week, some student veterans at the University are still in a state of financial limbo caused by a procedure change suggested by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

6.    Cuomo eases employment regs for veterans.  Long Island Business News  And he is project director for the soon to-be-opened Unified Family Behavioral Health Center, a partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs that will provide services to veterans and their families. Roberts is a West Point graduate, …

7.    Veteran’s Court may be coming to Broward County.  Sun-Sentinel  Up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan wars veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs. “Almost every week, we are getting calls about a new vet court. Part of the rapid growth is that there …

8.    Federal Government and State Attorneys General Reach $25 Billion Agreement.  eNews Park Forest  US Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers announced today that the federal government and 49 state …

9.    Valentine’s for Vets.  The Sacramento Press  In response, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has issued a request, and the Colfax VFW Ladies Auxiliary 2003 was eager to comply by spreading emails to everyone in the area asking for homemade valentines. In an unprecedented move, Carlo and Emma Lujan …

10. Fil-Am advocates campaign for US medicare portability.  ABS CBN News  Eric Lachica, a veteran lobbyist in the United States is spearheading the campaign for “Medicare portability,” designed to allow retired Filipino-American immigrant professionals access to their Medicare benefits at internationally-accredited hospitals …

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  •  Veteran Tax Credits Extended and Increased in Scope.  Clarksville Online  The Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 amends and expands definitions of the veteran target groups for employers hiring veterans through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program. “The Vow to Hire Heroes Act provides tax incentives for …
  •   State aims to invest in Fort McPherson’s future.  Atlanta Journal Constitution  Also, the US Department of Veteran Affairs earlier announced plans to spend about $40 million on about 10 acres to create a health care campus that would expand services for veterans. “I’d like to see more investment by the state as this goes forward,” …
  •  Veteran Small-Business Bill Would Mandate Use Of Verification Site.  Washington Business Journal  “A new bill in the House includes a provision that would require federal agencies to certify a veteran-owned small business’s status before awarding it a sole-source contract or a set-aside contract, Federal Computer Week reported. The bill serves” as a means “to root out fraudulent companies that are posing” as service-disabled “veteran-owned firms. Agencies would have to search the Veterans Affairs Department’s VetBiz database before awarding a contract.”
  • Council Speaker Endorses Parade For Iraq Veterans On Talk Show.  New York Times  New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn is “calling for the Department of Defense to withdraw its objections to a ‘ticker-tape’ parade honoring veterans of the Iraq war, even as Pentagon officials are insisting that New York should wait until troops have departed Afghanistan.” The “Pentagon’s position has some supporters as the parade issue is debated in social media. Brandon Friedman, for example, a veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the director of online communications for the Department of Veterans Affairs, wrote on Twitter: ‘Pushing for a victory parade while many Iraq vets are still fighting in Afghanistan is in extremely poor taste.'”
  •  States Try To Help Veterans Find Jobs.  McClatchy  “Several governors…used recent state of the state addresses to outline plans to help make it easier for veterans to find jobs.” President Barack Obama, meanwhile, “has made a big push to help veterans get jobs, including the creation of a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters.” And in “November, Congress passed legislation that provides federal tax credits to companies that hire vets.”
  •    Minnesota Among States Trying To Help Unemployed Vets.  Minnesota Public Radio  A weekly veterans’ workshop at the Minnesota Workforce Center is “part of a state effort to help unemployed veterans find civilian employment, a difficult challenge in a tough job climate.” Minnesota Public Radio added, “A bill moving through the Minnesota Legislature aims to make it easier for veterans to find jobs by allowing private employers to give veterans preference in hiring decisions.” Another “bill would increase veteran preferences for state government jobs and contracts.”
  • Illinois VA Employee Helping Fellow Vets As VFW Post Hosts Job Fair.  Carol Stream (IL) Press  “In hopes of helping unemployed veterans find work, the Berwyn Veterans of Foreign War Post 2378 recently hosted a job fair for veterans, and just under 200 veterans signed in to the event – showing a significant need for these kinds of services.” The Press notes that Iraq veteran Angel Hererra Jr., a 30-year-old Chicago resident, took “advantage of the GI Bill” and returned to school. Now, Hererra “helps veterans find benefits, services and even jobs as a veterans service officer at the North Riverside office of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”
  • It Is Shameful That Our Vets Have To Fight Harder For A Job Than They Did In Combat.  FOX News  Retired Brigadier General James A. Marks says that “while the government has been giving the issue of veterans’ unemployment greater attention in recent months with tax incentives for companies and job programs for returning service members, it’s still nowhere near enough. Breaking down barriers that disconnect job-seeking veterans and employers is vital.” Marks urges readers to hire veterans, help provide them with “expertise and connections,” and donate “time to work with a veterans’ organization.”
  • VA Hospital Debuts Treatment For Stressed Soldiers.  WLWT-TV  “Gunfire and exploding IEDs can lead to vivid memories blamed” for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “in many veterans.” But the Veterans Affairs hospital in Cincinnati “has now debuted a new treatment which lets them relive those terrible moments in therapy. Soldiers returning to the Tri-State now have the latest and greatest in PTSD treatment technology, a virtual reality system that is the first of its kind in the area.”
  •  The Challenges Of Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  KJZZ-FM “Dr. Jason Caplan, associate professor and department chair of psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and Dr. Adam McCray of the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Both men talked about post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD). Caplan “says that once a person seeks help, symptoms can be managed through a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Memories of traumatic incidents will remain, but veterans will be more prepared to deal with them.”
  • Drug Costs Pose Smaller Financial Burden Amid Generic Boom.  New York Times  “Prescriptions” blog reports, “Thanks to greater use of generic drugs, the financial burden of prescription costs has become less of an issue for families in the United States, according to a new study by the RAND Corporation.” The study, led by Dr. Walid Gellad, a RAND researcher and an internist at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, is “published in the February issue of Health Affairs, an academic journal.”  HealthDay “More Americans are buying the generic forms of medications, and this practice has made their prescriptions more affordable, according to a new report” from “researchers at RAND Corp., a nonprofit research organization.” The researchers also found, though, that while “some out-of-pocket drug costs may have declined, paying for prescription drugs remains an obstacle for people with low incomes, public insurance and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and mental disorders.” HeathDay points out that in addition to being a staff physician at the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center, Dr. Gellad is a “researcher with the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.”
  •   Military Families Needed To Study Post-Deployment Hardships Of Parenting.  Minneapolis Star Tribune  “The University of Minnesota announced Wednesday it is seeking 300 more Guard and reserve families for its study of the ADAPT parenting program and whether it helps ease problems post-deployment.” The Star Tribune adds, “Participating in the study is Melissa Polusny of the Minnesota VA Medical Center, who has already examined the mental health of Minnesota Guard members before and after their deployments. A year after returning home, 42 percent of Guard members in her research reported ‘problematic drinking,’ ” while the “rate of PTSD nearly doubled in that transition year following deployment, from 8 percent to 14 percent, as did depression, from 9 to 18 percent.” Polusny’s study was published in January of 2011.
  • VA Division Saves $742,000 With Telehealth.  InformationWeek  “A single veterans hospital in rural Oregon saved more than $88,000 in travel expenses during fiscal year 2011 by shifting 3,224 patient encounters from in-person visits to telehealth services, according” to Tracy Weistreich, associate director for patient care services at the VA Roseburg Healthcare System. She made her comments at the “annual Telehealth Alliance of Oregon meeting in Portland last week.” InformationWeek notes that VA’s “Northwest Health Network, also known as Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20, was able to trim upwards of $742,000 from its budget during the same period by facilitating 23,580 remote consultations.”
  •  Vets Center.  Arkansas Times  A recent Little Rock City Board meeting, city attorney Tom Carpenter “said he was studying, but as yet had no opinion, on whether the fact that the Veterans Affairs Department has applied for a building permit to convert a Main Street building for a day center for vets puts it beyond the reach of any future change in zoning ordinances. An ordinance that would have required a conditional use permit for the vets center was deferred” at the meeting. Brantley adds, “A VA spokesman said it is proceeding with plans for the Main Street work, though VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has been asked to intervene by US Rep. Tim Griffin and hasn’t made his thoughts known yet.”
  • Donations Help Struggling Veterans.  Tucson (AZ) Explorer  “Members of the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs have witnessed a growing problem with veterans transitioning back into civilization. Toni Bravo, a VA spokesperson, said there are almost 400 homeless veterans living in Tucson, largely the result of social or mental issues such as post traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries upon their return.” But according to the Explorer, VA has “created a program to qualify homeless veterans for apartments.” Bravo said, “We meet with homeless veterans, with and without families, and assess their situation. If they have a commitment to live in Tucson for one year, they can qualify for this program.”
  • Veterans Mentor Says He Lied About His Military Record.  Houston Chronicle  40-year-old Paul Schroeder, who directs counseling at a nonprofit for veterans in Houston, “confessed Wednesday to lying about his military record and falsely claiming a Silver Star and other medals.” Schroeder “portrayed himself as a decorated Special Forces sergeant first class who suffered” from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “after serving in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Central and South America. In his job at the nonprofit PTSD Foundation of America, Schroeder mentored veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.” FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said the “FBI takes allegations such as these very seriously, and we thoroughly investigate all allegations of stolen valor.”
  •  Houston VA Psychologist Recognized By Veterans County Service Officers Association For Changing Lives Of Veterans.  Cyprus (TX) Times  “On February 7, 2012, the Veterans County Service Officers Association of Texas (Harris County) recognized Ashley Clinton, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center,” for her work with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Clinton is a psychologist in the hospital’s “Trauma Recovery Program – OEF/OIF Team.” The Times quotes Adam Walmus, the hospital’s director, who said, “Dr. Clinton’s effort to care for these heroes is a perfect example of the excellent medical programs available at the VA.”
  •  Battle For Benefits: World War II Veteran Wins 60-Year Fight For His Rights.  Morgan County (OH) Herald  World War II veteran Tim Dolan “fought some 60 years with the Veterans Administration for his healthcare and compensation for his wartime injuries.” The Herald adds, “There have been hundreds of cases” that the group Disabled American Veterans (DAV) “and other agencies have tried to win for their clients who served in WWII. The problem most of the time for the WWII veterans was lack of medical records.”
  •   Kansas City Museum To Mark Death Of Last Known WWI Veteran.  AP  The National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is “planning a wreath-laying ceremony” for next Wednesday to mark the passing of 110-year-old Florence Green, the last known living World War I veteran. After noting that Green died in England on Saturday, the AP says the National World War I Museum “also had a ceremony to mark the February 2011 death of Frank Buckles, the last known American World War I veteran. Museum head Brian Alexander says it’s more important than ever to keep the memory of the veterans alive.”
  • Disabled Upland Army Vet, 87, Leads Legal Fight After Health Benefits Allegedly Denied.  KCBS-TV  “An elderly Army veteran from Upland is leading the charge against an insurance company on allegations the company denied him and other seniors their benefits.” Dr. William Hall, an 87-year-old Korean war veteran, is a “plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, or SHIP.” Attorney William Shernoff “said the problem first began when SHIP began ‘an insurance runaround’ when the wheelchair-bound senior filed to receive payments for home care.”

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