Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – February 29, 2012


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.  Fresh from dodging Taliban bullets, Afghan veterans refocus their aim on job.  Edmonton Journal  In the year after release from the military, veterans see a spike in income: a combination of their military pension, severance and any disability pay. A Veterans Affairs study found that, on average, a veteran will earn about $44000 annually in the 10 …

2.  Guam not ready for Okinawa’s Marines, officials say.  The U.S. and Japan might be moving forward with plans to relocate thousands of Marines off of Okinawa, but it will be years before those troops could be stationed on Guam, according to the Navy and the territorial government there.

3.  Medical officials investigate Europe facilities after PTSD complaint.  Officials with European Regional Medical Command are investigating whether some troops diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder got better care than others.
4.  NCO earns Soldier’s Medal for valor during bank robberyArmy combat training and a commitment to defend the people of the United States in or out of uniform served Staff Sgt. Eddie Peoples well when he took down a bank robber while on leave in Florida last year. It earned him a Soldier’s Medal for noncombat valor.
5.  Dover report: Cremated remains of 9/11 victims dumped in landfillThe mishandling of remains at Dover Port Mortuary — which included dumping in a landfill the incinerated remains of some 9/11 victims — are not shocking given the lack of command authority and structure at the facility, retired Army Gen. John Abizaid said Tuesday.
6.    Guam not ready for Okinawa’s Marines, officials say.  The U.S. and Japan might be moving forward with plans to relocate thousands of Marines off of Okinawa, but it will be years before those troops could be stationed on Guam, according to the Navy and the territorial government there.

7.    Pickens woman convicted of embezzling.  Greenville News  A Pickens woman was convicted in federal court of embezzling military survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Megan Mosteller, 26, of Pickens was convicted by a federal jury trial in Florence of stealing more than $37000 from the …

8.    US DOD and Veterans Affairs Secretaries Meet.  defpro  US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta welcomed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki Feb. 27 to the Pentagon for the latest in a series of regular meetings the two secretaries have held on issues of common …

9.    Study shows disturbing trends for Fort Drum medical battalion.  Additionally, many reportedly used a calculation tool on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website to determine what conditions would improve their disability claims. Despite the listed problems, the inspector general’s office commended the …
10.  Veteran Who Called Suicide Line Offered Counseling To Avoid Charges.  Washington Post   “Sean Duvall, the Navy veteran charged with fabricating a homemade gun after calling” a Veterans Affairs “suicide hotline last year, would avoid prosecution if he completes court-mandated counseling under an agreement reached in federal court Monday.” The counseling will be “overseen by a new Veterans Treatment Court.” The Post says the case had “outraged veterans groups,” who “were flabbergasted that the man in charge of the office pursuing the charges against Duvall” was US Attorney Timothy Heaphy, the son-in-law of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and an “advocate for helping troubled veterans rather punishing them.”


More Veteran News


  •  VA Tries Online Benefits App For Reservists.  Army Times  VA is “trying to make the benefits enrollment process easier for National Guard and reserve personnel coming home from combat” by launching a pilot version of an “online application program with the Ist Army, based at Camp Shelby, Miss.” The initiative, which is “expected to reduce the paperwork process for enrollment from 10 days to three,” is “part of an ongoing effort to ensure Guard and reserve forces get appropriate care and compensation from VA.” Secretary Shinseki commented on the pilot program, saying it “demonstrates VA’s commitment to work with the Department of Defense to make it easier for service members to get the care they earned by their service.”
  • NY Group Unveils App To Aid Suicidal Veterans.  AP   “A New York company has developed a free smartphone app aimed at helping veterans struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. Woodbury-based says the ‘Operation Reach Out’ app is designed for service members who may be depressed, suffering from” post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “or having suicidal thoughts.” The app, which was “developed in collaboration with psychologist,” is “free for both the iPhone and Android.”
  • Pills As Good As Stents For Stable Heart Patients: Analysis.  Reuters  According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, drug treatment works as well as implanting stents into patients with blocked heart arteries. The Archives of Internal Medicine also published an editorial about the study. The editorial was written by Dr. William Boden of the Samuel S. Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany, New York, who authored a 2007 study that also challenged whether stents were superior to drug treatment for heart patients. The authors of the new research say their work could be helpful in terms of “controlling rising” healthcare “costs in the United States.” But Dr. Theodore Bass, vice president of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, criticized the new research, saying it “uses old data, from 1995 to 2005, which offer little, if any, new information to guide clinical care.”
  •   Depression Risk Lower In Heart Patients Who Take Statins.  Medical News Today “Heart disease patients who took statins, the drugs prescribed for lowering cholesterol, were significantly less likely to develop depression than counterparts who did not take the drugs, according to a new study led by Dr Mary Whooley, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The researchers write about their findings in an article published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry on 21 February.” Veterans Affairs was one of several organizations that “helped pay for the research.”
  •  VA Study Attempts To Create One Of World’s Largest Medical Databases.  KPBS-FM  “San Diego’s VA Medical System is looking for veterans to take part” in the Million Veteran Program, a nationwide study that is “attempting to create one of the world’s largest medical databases.” Researchers working on the study “will collect genetic, health and lifestyle information and put it in a giant database.” Neil Johnson, research coordinator for the San Diego site, “says one goal is to get a better understanding of the links between genetic variations and diseases.”
  • VA CIO Roger Baker Gives Reasons For Exploring Alternative Office Software.   Federal Computer Week  A recent conference call with reporters, VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said his agency is considering alternatives to Microsoft Office because of budget pressures and a “Cloud First” policy put into effect by the Obama Administration. During the same conference call, Baker “gave an update on the Integrated Electronic Health Record project being jointly run by the VA and Defense Department.” On the positive side, Baker said his agency has started “moving digital medical records from its ‘VistA’ records system into the Defense Information Security Agency’s data center.” Also, though, Baker “declined to comment on a stop-work order” for a contract with ASM Research to contract to “develop an enterprise service bus for the integrated” records system.
  • VA Relying On New Paperless System To Solve Backlog.  Army Times  “An ambitious goal set by the Veterans Affairs Department – processing more claims that it receives in 2013 – depends heavily on the success of a new paperless claims system.” The Times continues, “Refinements are being made in the electronic system, with claims experts and so-called ‘super users’ sitting alongside software developers to ‘ensure that we close any gaps,'” said Alison Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits. The Times adds, “VA officials have told Congress they’re optimistic that things are on the right track.”
  •  VA CIO Roger Baker’s February IT Report.  FierceGovernmentIT  “Veterans Affairs Department Chief Information Officer Roger Baker spoke with reporters Feb. 24 about the department’s monthly data breach report.” Among the “incidents in the report, which covers the period of Jan. 2 through Feb. 5, were 107 un-encrypted email incidents, 109 mis-mailing incidents and 17 lost BlackBerries but all of the potential data breaches were classified as low- or medium-risk.” Baker “said by the end of February, all laptops that are not part of a Food and Drug Administration-certified medical device will be encrypted.” Baker added, “We’ll be at the point where lost and stolen laptops should not be a significant issue for us.”
  •    GAO Report Cites “Overstated” Savings By VA.  Modern Healthcare  “The inclusion of ‘overstated’ projected savings in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 Veterans Affairs Department budget may result” in “cuts in veterans’ healthcare services, according to a report” by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Modern Healthcare adds, “The budget problem, according to the GAO investigators, stems from applying savings from several cost-saving initiatives launched in the previous fiscal years to the proposed budget as offsets for other costs.” While VA officials agreed with some GAO recommendations, “such as dropping projected savings from its employee telework initiative,” they “justified the application of past savings by noting that the department did not account for those savings within the budget for the fiscal year in which they occurred.”
  • Class On Agent Orange Exposure Set For Smithfield.  AP  A “benefits workshop for Vietnam veterans regarding Agent Orange exposure will be held Wednesday” in Smithfield, Virginia. Representatives “from the Hampton VA Medical Center Rural Health Initiative team will conduct the seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the American Legion George F. Dashiell Post 49, 818 South Church St.” The AP points out that VA “assumes…certain diseases, such as diabetes and prostate cancer, may be related to Agent Orange exposure during military service.”


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