Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News May 19, 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.    Union College marks 150th anniversary of ‘Taps’It is the solemn 24-note military bugle call that launched a thousand handkerchiefs and became an American musical icon. “Taps,” a national song of remembrance that rarely fails to cause listeners to dab at moist eyes at the end of military funerals and memorial services, turns 150 this year.
 
2.    VA teams up with heart experts on women’s healthThe collaboration includes information for patients on programs to help with host of heart-related issues, and new training for physicians
 
3.    Budget amendment would pull all four BCTs out of EuropeHouse lawmakers voted Friday to remove all brigade combat teams from Europe in coming years, a plan that would drastically reduce the United States’ footprint in the region and is opposed by military officials.
 
4.    House passes defense bill despite DOD, White House objectionsHouse lawmakers on Friday passed a $643 billion defense budget draft, setting the stage for a lengthy fiscal fight with the Senate and White House over the military’s future missions and funding.

5.    The Swarm: New survey focuses on needs of California’s female veterans.  Sacramento Bee  As part of a series of pieces on veterans’ issues, I wrote a year ago about government agencies and nonprofits, especially the US Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, trying to gear up to handle the surge of female veterans.

6.    VA health expansion, site plans on target.  The Advocate  The rollout of expanded health services for Acadiana-area veterans and the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ do-over of its site selection process for new clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles are on schedule, according to an update from …

7.    Gov. Haslam proclaims May 19 Armed Forces Day.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle  Bill Haslam and state Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced May 19 is Armed Forces Day. The single day celebration was created to signify the unification of the Armed Forces under one federal department; …

8.    Department of Veteran Affairs, 15 Tribal Health Programs Sign Agreement.  Alaska Native News  15 Alaska Native tribal health programs sign an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that will allow Alaska veterans living in rural communities to seek health care closer to home.

9.    Tax records show charities spent millions on direct mail.  CNN  Beyond its finances, the other services that the National Veterans Foundation offers to veterans are also questionable. On its website, it says one of its principal benefits to veterans is a toll-free hotline, but the US Department of Veterans Affairs …

10.    Lansing Community College program gives boost to veterans.  Lansing State Journal  Ferrell and other students with military backgrounds are scheduled to meet with Shinseki, who now serves as head of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, before today’s ceremonies. Ferrell plans to tell Shinseki how initiatives such as the Military …

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  • Veterans Listening Session Scheduled For Monday. Door County (WI) Daily News “Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John Scocos and Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross will host a town hall listening session for veterans on Monday, May 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the City of Sturgeon Bay Municipal Building.” The “‘State of Wisconsin is committed to providing the highest level of support, benefits and services to our nation’s heroes,’ Secretary Scocos said. ‘The best way we can make sure we are successful in this effort is to get out in the state and listen to what veterans have to say and then adjust according to their needs.'”
  •   Use Of Last-Resort Antibiotics Rises In VA Hospitals, National Study Finds.  Pharmaceutical Processing Magazine  “To fight the rising number of drug-resistant infections, doctors in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are more frequently turning to last-resort antibiotics, known as polymyxins, which can cause serious kidney damage, according to a new study in the journal PLoS One. Their rising use also may increase bacterial resistance to these drugs, leaving doctors, in some cases, with no treatment options.” The authors of the study are “physicians and researchers with the University of Utah and the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System.” MedPage Today  Study researchers cautioned that “what has been happening in the VA system might not reflect what has occurred in the US hospital system as a whole.”
  •   Paralyzed Woman Moves Robotic Arm Using Thought Alone.  CNET News “By implanting a 96-electrode sensor the size of a baby aspirin onto the surface of their brains, researchers have enabled two quadriplegic participants to use their thoughts alone to perform tasks with two types of robotic arms.” One of the participants was able to serve herself coffee, noted Dr. Leigh Hochberg, a “neuroengineer and critical care neurologist who holds appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard.” Hochberg made this point in a news video about a study “that appears this week in Nature.” Hochberg was the lead author of the study.
  • House Approves 20 En Bloc Amendments To Defense Reauthorization, Including Satellite Language.  The Hill  “The House approved its first slate of amendments to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) early Thursday afternoon, including one that would allow the president to remove commercial satellites and components from the munitions list.” Another amendment from US Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) “states that Military Sexual Trauma (MST) continues to be a significant problem within the Department of Defense and many victims of MST suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The amendment would also state that the secretary of Veterans Affairs should review the disability claims process to ensure that victims of military sexual trauma who file claims for service connection do not face unnecessary or overly burdensome requirements in order to claim disability benefits with the Department.”
  •   VA’s IT Budget Would Increase Under House And Senate Bills.  FierceGovernmentIT  “Funding for information technology systems at the Veterans Affairs Department would increase relative to this year under House Appropriations Committee and Senate Appropriations subcommittee versions of the VA spending bill for the coming fiscal year.” Under the “House bill, the Integrated Electronic Health Record, better known as the iEHR, would receive $104 million, with up to $169 in additional fund available for development and $65 million for operations and maintenance. However, the House committee would prohibit VA’s iEHR budget from using more than 25 percent of the appropriated funds until the VA and Defense Department’s joint program office ‘submits a fiscal year 2013 execution and spending plan, as well as a long-term roadmap for the life of the project that includes elements such as annual and total spending for each Department and a quarterly schedule and milestones for each Department.'”
  • VA Effort Fights Heart Disease In Women. Army Times  Veterans Affairs is “stepping up efforts to diagnose and treat heart disease in women as part of a cooperative effort with the American Heart Association. This is a timely effort, VA officials said Thursday, because the number of women using VA care has almost doubled in the last decade.” Dr. Robert Jesse, “VA’s principal deputy undersecretary for health, said the effort includes screening women earlier and more often for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and other heart-related issues.”
  •   Mental Illness Is The Leading Cause Of Hospitalization For Active-Duty Troops.  NextGov  According to its own investigation, the “Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have spent almost $2 billion since 2001 to buy drugs to treat mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder despite growing evidence some of those drugs exacerbate PTSD symptoms.” NextGov adds, “Despite this vast expenditure on psychotropic drugs since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, mental illness ranks as the leading cause of hospitalization for active-duty troops, according to a report published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in the April issue of its Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, released May 14.”
  •    Lessons In A Catalog Of Afghan War Wounds May Be Lost.  New York Times  US Army Col. Michael D. Wirt has put together a database on injuries suffered by US soldiers who have fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wirt’s database shows “the promise and obstacles related to studying more than a decade of American war.” According to the Times, “there are concerns that the potential lessons from such data could be lost, because no one has yet brought the information together and made it fully cohere.”
  •  DOD, VA Agree On Joint EHR Architecture. Information Week  DOD said that it and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had made ‘significant progress’ on their project to create an integrated electronic health record (iEHR).” Information Week added, “The DOD report to Congress is strong evidence that the departments finally have their ducks in a row, said Mary Lamb, COO of Suss Consulting in Jenkintown, Pa., in an interview.”
  • 3M President Pleased To Hear About Data Dictionary Plan For Project.  Government Health IT  A “Sources Sought Notice that…VA” recently “put in Federal Business Opportunities” indicates that the joint iEHR project will use a “recently licensed open source Healthcare Data Dictionary (Open HDD) originally developed by the 3M Company that is now available to contractors through an HDD Content Download License.” Government Health IT discussed this with 3M President Jon Lindekugel, who said he is excited by the news.

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