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1. Experts out to solve deep-sea mystery of the USS Scorpion. Shipwreck disaster experts are calling for a deep-sea expedition to a lost U.S. nuclear attack sub, the USS Scorpion, in an effort to verify a new theory on what caused the Cold War vessel to sink.
2. Better tests find record concussions among US troops. Improved battlefield diagnosis has led to a record number of concussions detected among U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq last year, with an average of 16 inflicted each day last spring, according to newly released Pentagon figures.
3. EUCOM, Red Cross discuss crisis zone response. When there is a crisis, the Red Cross and the U.S. military often find themselves in the same place.
4. Military marriages show a surprising level of resilience. Despite enormous stress on military families from repeated wartime deployments and long periods living apart, service marriages are showing a level of resilience that social scientists can’t yet explain.
5. Say “shall” if you must: US government jargon lives on. Reuters Calls to the state’s labor department about public document requests dropped from 10 percent to 1 percent after confirmation letters removed jargon and added a fact sheet. Another example from the US Department of Veterans Affairs changed a brochure …
6. Valuable Insight Gained from VA Suicide Prevention Hotline. GoodTherapy.org The increase in military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has elevated concern for suicide prevention services among veterans. To address this potential health problem, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased its efforts …
7. VA study: Heightened traffic from new Louisville hospital can be managed. Louisville Courier-Journal A new hospital serving military veterans could have a “significant adverse effect” on traffic near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway, according to a study completed for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. But the 753000 trips a year the …
8. York VA Medical Center added to National Register of Historic Places. The Daily News Journal As part of its federal responsibilities, the US Department of Veterans Affairs nominated more than 30 VA medical centers throughout the country, including the local VA campus, for the distinction. Begun in 1939, the historic campus contains 321 acres ..
9. Online PTSD therapy for vets will be tested in Omaha. Omaha World-Herald Sometimes a returning veteran worries that seeking help from the VA will be seen as a sign of weakness by superior officers or fellow troops, even though the Department of Defense has worked to change that perception in recent years.
10. Massachusetts Bill aims to ensure veterans’ graves are marked. Wicked Local Veterans’ graves would no longer go accidentally unmarked on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, if legislators pass a bill aimed at improving the communication surrounding the deaths of veterans. Currently, when a veteran dies, …
Have You Heard?
Eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Leneski, a high school senior, has been volunteering at the VA medical center in Ann Arbor, Mich., since she was four-years-old. “Well, I didn’t actually get registered as a volunteer until I was 10,” the high school senior said, “but I started coming here with my mom when I was four. So this place is kind of like my second home. Everybody here watched me grow up. We’re like a big family.” Elizabeth, or ‘Lizzie,’ as she is known, has racked up more than 1,200 volunteer hours at the medical center, doing everything from answering phones to helping organize Hawaiian luaus and other entertainment programs for Veteran patients. Last year, she coordinated the summer youth program for almost 60 students. Her mother, Beverly Leneski, serves as Chief of Voluntary and Chaplain Services for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Almost 950 volunteers donate their time annually at the Ann Arborfacility and in 2011, nearly 87,000 volunteers contributed over 12 million hours of service to VA facilities nationwide. April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week and VA will celebrate by honoring volunteers for their service nationwide. To learn more about VA’s Volunteer Service, visit www.volunteer.va.gov
More Veteran News
- Sequestration Cuts “Unclear” For VA. Military.com While Veterans Affairs officials “think they would be safe from automatic, across-the-board budget reductions set to take effect in January,” they are not certain. According to VA spokesman Randal Noller “and White House spokesman Shin Inouye, the Office of Management and Budget is the department that will decide whether the law exempts the VA from cuts. But OMB is not talking.”
- VA CTO Peter Levin Details New White House Tech Council. ExecutiveGov “The White House is set to launch a new federal technology council tasked with sharing insight into how to solve government-wide problems…reports” NextGov. The plan was mentioned by Veterans Affairs’ Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin, who spoke at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association meeting on Tuesday. Levin is “currently a member of the President’s Innovation Cohort, which is credited with aiding agencies develop solutions to data sharing issues slowing the release of the VA Blue Button health records system.”
- Innovation In Government: Creating VA’s Innovation Initiative. AOL Government “In the federal government today, the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a leader in implementing new ways to innovate. The VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) was launched in 2010 as part of the Department-wide transformation effort led by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki,” VA Chief of Staff John R. Gingrich, and VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould, “who also serves as chair of the Executive Selection Board” of VAi2. AOL Government adds, “In order to institutionalize innovation at VA, the Department is in the process of transitioning VAi2 into a new Center for Innovation at VA.”
- First Lady, Dr Biden Mark “Joining Forces” Anniversary. American Forces Press Service At the White House’s South Lawn on Wednesday, “First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden,” wife of Vice President Joe Biden, “marked the one-year anniversary of the Joining Forces campaign by celebrating the individuals and organizations that have stepped up in ‘extraordinary ways’ to improve military families’ lives.” Focusing on comments made by the First Lady, the AFPS reports, “Over the past year, she said, more than 1,600 businesses have hired more than 50,000 veterans and spouses, and have pledged to hire at least 160,000 more in the coming years.” The AFPS points out, “The Defense, Veterans Affairs, Treasury and Labor departments all have made ‘groundbreaking’ announcements to support veterans, wounded warriors, caregivers and military spouses, she continued,” adding that “associations of doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and social workers are working to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.”
- Nursing Education Initiative Aims To Help Injured Vets. Salt Lake (UT) Tribune “Nurses and educators, including,” Penny Kaye Jensen, a nurse at the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City, were in “Philadelphia Wednesday to help launch an initiative to better train nurses to care for veterans. More than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools committed to First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden that they will teach the nation’s 3.1 million nurses and nursing students about the particular needs of veterans and their families.” The Tribune, which says Jensen is president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, notes that University of Utah College of Nursing has committed to the new initiative. In a news release, the school said that five years ago, it and Wahlen launched a VA Nursing Academy “to recruit VA nurses into our programs and collaborate to improve practice, research and education surrounding…combat-related conditions.”
- VA Plans To Drop Co-Pays For Telehealth Care. Modern Healthcare “A Veterans Affairs Department plan to drop co-pays for in-home video telehealth care provided to its beneficiaries beginning in May has drawn strong support from the telehealth industry and veterans groups.” The agency’s “‘extensive use of video visits and remote monitoring is great for improving patient care and convenience as well as VA productivity,’ Gary Capistrant, senior director of public policy for the American Telemedicine Association, said in e-mailed comments. ‘We applaud the VA’s proposal to pass the benefits of telehealth directly to patients in the form of eliminating their out-of-pocket costs.'”
- Troop Brain Injuries Hit Record. USA Today “Improved battlefield diagnosis has led to a record number of concussions detected among US troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq last year, with an average of 16 inflicted each day last spring, according to newly released Pentagon figures. It was the highest pace for traumatic brain injuries of any period in 10 years of combat, according” to that data. USA Today notes that “experts fear…there were countless brain injuries missed when there were far more casualties during 2005 through 2007.”
- Inability To Track Prescriptions Adds To Marine Drug Abuse Problem, IG Finds. NextGov “Leaders of the Marine Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C., consider combating the abuse of both illegal and prescription drugs their No. 1 priority, but they cannot track the use of these drugs due to problems with the Defense Department’s electronic health record system, the Defense inspector general reported last week.” NextGov adds, “Stan White, a retired high school teacher whose son Andrew, a Marine Iraq veteran, died in his sleep due to what White views as an overdose of prescription drugs supplied by the Veterans Affairs Department, said” he does not understand “why it is so difficult to maintain and track the medical record of our troops.”
- VFW Post Hosts Suicide Prevention Seminar On Sunday. New Richmond (WI) News “Members of VFW Post 10818 are sponsoring ‘Suicide – The Silent Veterans Epidemic,’ a seminar on suicide prevention at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.” The seminar, to be “held at the Community Commons building, 421 S. Green Ave., in the gymnasium,” will consist of a “one-hour presentation by Pam End of Horn, suicide prevention director of the VA Hospital’s Mental Health Unit in St. Cloud, Minn.”
- VA Officials To Release Detailed Plan On Lafayette Clinic Next Week. Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser Next week, officials with the US Department of Veterans Affairs will release a “plan detailing not only how the agency will hasten construction of a stalled clinic in Lafayette but also what steps will be taken during the next year to care for veterans while the facility is being built.” In a Wednesday morning email, “Rica Lewis-Payton, the network director and CEO of the VA’s South Central Health Care Network, said the VA will release the plan to members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation on Thursday, April 19, which is a week later than expected.” The Daily Advertiser add, “The VA spent nearly two years planning two new medical facilities in southwest Louisiana, but a clerical error discovered during a review process in early March forced the agency to scrap plans for the Lafayette and Lake Charles centers, which were originally scheduled to open this month.”