Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – August 30, 2012

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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.   Marine Corps remains focused on preventing suicides, commandant says.  In spite of all the suicide-prevention programs in place, military leaders expect 2012 to be another “tough year” as the trend of suicides in the military looks bleak, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos said.

2.   MARSOC ‘halfway house’ awaits returning Marines.  The Marine Special Operations Command has begun implementing a program that gives Marines a few days after a deployment to rest, relax and decompress before returning home to their families.

3.   Beshear announces team to help military service members, veterans.  Lexington Herald Leader  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 335,000 veterans live in Kentucky. About 45,000 active-duty military personnel and about 8,400 members of the Kentucky Army National Guard and Kentucky Air National Guard also live in the state.

4.   Veterans’ needs drives vehicle fleet growth.  Springfield News Sun  The Department of Veterans Affairs has increased its vehicle fleet by almost 50 percent since 2005 — acquiring more than 5,000 vehicles — due largely to new programs that provide in-home care and transportation for veterans to and from VA medical …

5.   Experts help troops, veterans with substance abuse and mental health issues.  The Courier-Journal (blog)  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 335,000 veterans live in Kentucky, which is also home to about 45,000 active-duty military personnel and 8,400 members of the Kentucky Army National Guard and Kentucky Air National Guard. Members …

6.   Team will examine substance abuse, mental health care.  The Lane Report  The number of veterans seeking mental health care has increased dramatically over the past three years, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA estimates about 335,000 veterans live in Kentucky. Including dependents, the number is …

7.   Proposed changes to military leave and vets laws.  HR.BLR.com  … been working on legislation that would amend the substance of USERRA and is planning to change USERRA and other federal laws by shifting the administration of certain veterans programs from the DOL to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

8.   Shinseki Notes Strides In Serving Nation’s Veterans. American Forces Press Service  “The Department of Veterans Affairs has made great strides in meeting the challenges posed by a decade of war, and cooperation with the Defense Department is crucial to continued progress, VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said” on Tuesday. While giving a speech at the American Legion’s national convention in Indianapolis, Shinseki “acknowledged that a backlog of claims exists, but added” that VA has made decision on the claims of nearly three million veterans in the past three and a half years and that no one at VA is “standing at parade rest.” The AFPS adds, “VA also is working with Pentagon officials to establish a single, common integrated electronic health record by 2014, Shinseki said.” He also pointed out that one of VA’s “most successful outreach efforts is our Veterans Crisis Line.”  American Legion During Tuesday’s speech, Shinseki “made it clear to thousands of Legionnaires listening to him…that the claims backlog may have grown in recent years, but many more veterans are now eligible to receive benefits earned through their service – and that is VA’s most important priority.” Shinseki, who also took note of recent VA budget increases and new VA facilities that have been opened across the country, also said VA is “on track” to meet it target of ending the claims backlog by 2015.  Military.com Shinseki “defended his agency Tuesday attributing the growing backlog of claims in the VA system on the agency’s decision to expand the pool of veterans eligible to issue disability claims.” Shinseki said making more vets eligible to file disability claims was the “right thing to do,” and VA “will do it again whenever the opportunity to better serve veterans presents itself.” He added, “Let’s not back away from such decisions, either because we’re afraid of, or don’t want the backlog to grow – let it grow.” Shinseki did stress, however, that VA will decrease the backlog. He also said VA is on track to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
 
9.   Baker: VistA Code Project Will Stay Wide Open.  Government Computer News “A contract to ‘refactor’ the source code of VistA, the Veterans Affairs Department’s enterprise system software, will be conducted in an manner that remains accessible to the open software development community, VA chief information officer Roger Baker said this week.” He was “responding to questions raised by open software developers after the agency awarded a sole-source contract to Tampa, Fla.-based Ray Group International to refactor VistA source code. Code refactoring is a technique for making small changes in source code to make it less complex, more readable and therefore easier to maintain and work with without altering the basic function of the software.”

10.   VA Continues To Reduce Gender Disparities In Health Care.  FierceGovernmentIT  “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released a report that shows improvement in gender disparities in 12 out of 14 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures in VA since 2008. HEDIS measures are used by 90 percent of America’s health plans to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service, such as screening, prevention and chronic disease management. VA consistently scores higher than private sector health care on both gender-specific and gender-neutral HEDIS measures.” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki commented in the report, stating, “Although we are encouraged by the progress we have achieved, we are not going to stop working until all gaps are eliminated.”

Have Yopu Heard?

VA Talks Women Veterans Health Care With The American Legion

On August 25, VA’s director of women’s health services spoke about health care quality for female veterans at The American Legion’s Women Veterans Panel. Learn more

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