Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – July 28, 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.   Integrated VA-DOD health record at least five years away.  The integration of separate VA and Department of Defense electronic health record systems is a key component to achieving President Obama’s promise of a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) that would capture full health care histories on individuals, including private sector care.
2.   Helping veterans help themselves by helping others.  Jeffrey Hall left Chicago to join the Navy, but he will return this week as a fellow with The Mission Continues, a nonprofit group dedicated to involving veterans of recent wars in meaningful service projects. More than 100 veterans will gather in Chicago this weekend to prepare for six months of work at nonprofits across the country.
3.   Korean War vets find camaraderie, comfort by sharing experiences.  Inside a quiet storefront office, behind a closed backroom door, a group of five graying men sip coffee and toss out the names of long-dead men such as Harry S. Truman and Douglas MacArthur as though those figures still breathe.

4.   VA to rebrand Innovation Initiative this fall.  PRWeek  The Department of Veterans Affairs is rebranding one of its most high-profile offices, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAI2), to The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation. The rebranding will take place this fall with the goal …

5.   Utah researchers developing prosthetic implant.  Medical Xpress  A new implantable prosthetic device is being developed by researchers at the University of Utah and George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Nothing like it has been used on a human in the United States. Photo Credit: Kent Bachus …

6.   Law limits state oversight of MSU.  Beckley Register-Herald  CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission could not intervene on behalf of veteran students at Mountain State University when problems surfaced because a federal law eliminated its authority to monitor the educational quality of the school’s … If not for the 2010 law, the commission could have addressed Mountain State’s approval for Veterans Affairs education benefits a year ago, said Skip Gebhart, who coordinates veterans education and training programs with the commission.

7.   Job-hopping Veteran Finds VA Retraining Program.  Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense … Eventually, Blackburn went to a local law enforcement academy, where she got her training in contract security. She then worked at the State Department for a few years and did odd jobs until she injured her hand and couldn’t … Blackburn’s contact with the VA led her to its Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which offers up to 12 months of education for unemployed veterans ages 35 to 60 who also meet other criteria. After completion of VRAP, the Labor Department will …

8.   Panetta Says DoD And VA Need To Cut Red Tape.  Washington Post  “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki acknowledged Wednesday that they have been frustrated by departmental bureaucracy in their attempts to streamline military health care for severely wounded service members.” But during a “rare joint appearance before the House Armed Services and House Veterans Affairs committees, the secretaries pointed to what they called unprecedented cooperation between their two departments in battling some of their most pressing problems, including the high rate of military suicide and the huge backlog of disability claims.” Lawmakers “praised the level of cooperation between the secretaries but complained about the pace of many of the reforms.”  NextGov (7/27, Brewin) notes, “The bureaucracies in the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments hobble joint efforts to care for veterans, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told lawmakers at a House hearing Wednesday.” At the same hearing, Shinseki “said the departments have developed separate programs to care for wounded soldiers and to manage their transition from Defense to VA and those programs ‘don’t quite harmonize.'” But Shinseki also “said he and Panetta have a close working relationship to spearhead development of what he considered the departments’ key joint project, the integrated electronic health record, and they have regular quarterly meetings and a strong commitment to make it happen.”
9.   Panetta: Program Will Help Vets Transition.  American Forces Press Service  “A redesigned program for service members separating from the military will help veterans better apply the experience they’ve gained in uniform, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said” in a recent statement. President Barack Obama “announced the revamped program, called ‘Transition GPS,’ in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Reno, Nev., July 23.” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki “said the redesign will better ensure that veterans today and in the future will receive the care and benefits they have earned.”

10.   Shinseki Comment On What Sequestration Cuts Could Mean For Veterans.  Fox News’ Special Report  “The Obama Administration may be backing off the President’s promise that services to troops who return home would not suffer from mandatory defense cuts called ‘sequestration.'” Fox News showed footage of the President stating at the recently held Veterans of Foreign Wars convention that “veterans’ benefits are exempt from sequestration.” But when Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testified before House lawmakers on Wednesday, he “acknowledged that while most expenditures for vets will be exempt not all of them will be.” According to Fox News, the Office of Management and Budget has said that VA-administered programs are exempt from sequestration cuts. Fox News added, however, that OMB’s statement is based on an OMB analysis that “did not address” whether a “number of outside programs and pieces of legislation that helped to fund” VA “may be cut by sequestration.”


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