Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 03, 2013


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.   ‘Can’t’ isn’t in ROTC student’s vocabulary.  When she adorns an Army uniform, she’s reserved and respectful. Dancing with her friends down the hallways of Kenmore high school, she’s “really girly” and “outspoken.” “You kind of have to get to know all of me,” Shaitayana Tomlin says with a smile that never seems to fade.
2.   Program helps Navy families with children with disabilities.  Karen Smith was seven-months pregnant in July and walking the aisles of the wholesale store Costco when she received the call.
3.   Vets go from the front lines to the front of the class.  Stationed for 13 months along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in 2007 and 2008, Brian Thompson had a lot of time to wonder what could come next for him. In charge of a mortar squad with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Thompson often thought he’d go to law school once his three-and-a-half years were up.
4.   What Congress got done, and what it didn’t.  Lawmakers passed a flurry of bills before the end of the legislative session, but still left some key questions unanswered for toops and veterans.

5.   Legislators Avoid Fiscal Cliff, Delay Sequester Process.  Congress has avoided the fiscal cliff, but Pentagon Press Secretary George Little called on the body to continue efforts to permanently eliminate the threat of sequestration.
6.   House VA Chairman Targets Mental Health, Claims Backlog.  Army Times  “Improving access to mental health counseling and finally making a dent in the mountain of disability claims are the top priorities for the House Veterans Affairs Committee in 2013…says” US Rep. Jeff Miller, the panel’s chairman. The committee “needs to focus on why the backlog continues to grow” at Veterans Affairs, stressed Miller, who is entering his “third year in charge of the panel that oversees” VA. Miller “said he’s also considering pushing for an extension in the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program…and wants to get to the bottom of VA’s spending on conferences and travel.”

7.   Bill Aids Veterans’ Queries About College.  USA Today  “On Sunday, the House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 4057) that will provide student veterans using their Post-9/11 GI Bill with much-needed information about the colleges and institutions to which they apply.” The legislation now awaits the President’s signature. It “would, among other things, create a centralized complaint process to track student issues concerning the GI Bill, as well as require the Veterans Administration to set up a website to better inform prospective students.” Also “sent to the president for his signature was the Dignified Burial and other Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2012,” which “makes possible proper burials for veterans with no resources or family.” The American Legion (1/1) website had similar coverage.
8.   Burn Pit Registry Bill Was Also Approved On Sunday.  Army Times  “Two sweeping packages of veterans’ legislation received final congressional votes Sunday, including provisions to create a burn pit registry to monitor the health of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, provide better consumer-related guidance on using the GI Bill and provide dignified burials for veterans who die with no money and no known next of kin.” The latter bill, according to US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), “demands better coordination between VA and medical examiners to identify veterans who have no next of kin and ensures VA has authority to provide a casket or urn for any veteran.” The Times pointed out that VA had opposed creating the burn pit registry “but lawmakers sided with veterans and veterans’ groups.”
9.   Agencies Crack Down On Misleading Mortgage Ads.  Navy Times   “The Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced that they had conducted a joint ‘sweep’ of about 800 randomly selected mortgage ads across the country, including ads for mortgage loans, refinancing and reverse mortgages.” After doing so, according to the Times, the regulators “sent warning letters to…32 companies,” citing “specific examples of possible violations,” including that some firms “used language that states ‘the VA is offering you,’ while advertising a product. VA deals with these potentially misleading marketing practices from time to time, said spokesman Randal Noller.”

10.  Link Between Cost And Quality Of Healthcare Remains Unclear.  Medscape  “When it comes to improving healthcare in the United States, most discussions revolve around the twin pillars of quality and cost: Will higher expenditures result in better care, or will better clinical outcomes help to contain costs? In a review of the evidence currently available, there was no clear relationship between the 2, leading the authors of an article published in the January 2013 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine to conclude that the association between healthcare cost and quality is still poorly understood.” The authors wrote, “For example, a study of 22 Veterans Affairs geographic networks found that an average increase of $1000 in risk-adjusted funding was associated with nonstatistically significantly lower odds of death among male patients (odds ratio, 0.943 [(confidence interval [CI]), 0.880 to 1.010]). With a larger sample size, the study may have identified a statistically and clinically significant association.”

Have You Heard?


Tips for Encouraging Your Loved One to Access Mental Health Services

Below is a blog post from Military Pathways, written by Dr. Steven L. Sayers, a psychologist and director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Coaching Into Care program.

It happens every year. We visit friends and family who we only see occasionally and are often surprised at their condition. For the family of a struggling veteran, this can be especially difficult if that veteran doesn’t want to seek treatment. Fortunately, there is a program specifically for those trying to help a veteran who won’t seek treatment. The program will “coach” you through working with your vet.

Family members are key resources for service members and veterans. They know when something is wrong and can encourage each other to seek help. Unfortunately, sometimes misunderstandings, disagreements and conflicts get in the way of helping. Here are some suggestions for working with your service member or veteran when you think he or she is troubled and experiencing depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another mental health concern:

Read more


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