Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – January 11, 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.   Obama signs Katie’s Law, burn pit registry bills.  The establishment of an open burn pit registry aims to help patients, doctors and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs determine to what extent air pollution, caused by open air burn pits, has led to medical diseases among servicemembers.
2.   Retirees far from bases to lose Tricare Prime.  Tricare Prime, the military’s managed-care option, will end Oct. 1, 2013, for retirees, their family members and for military survivors who reside more than 40 miles from a military treatment facility or from a base closure site, Tricare Management Activity announced Wednesday.

3.   Aynor couple indicted for defrauding the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.  Steven Mickey Bunker and Diane Bunker, both 46, were charged in a one-count indictment with converting more than $100,000 belonging to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from May 2010 and Dec. 2012. The maximum penalty both could receive if …
4.   Obama Cabinet Shuffle Taking Shape. AP “The composition of President Barack Obama’s second term Cabinet became clearer Wednesday, with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigning and three other members of the president’s team deciding to stay on amid concerns about diversity in Obama’s inner circle.” The AP continues, “A White House official said three Cabinet members – Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki – would stay on as the second term begins. It would ensure diversity among the president’s leadership team – Holder is black, Sebelius is a woman and Shinseki is of Japanese-American descent.”  New York Times  “Adding to a scarcity of female advisers among” President Obama’s “top aides, Hilda L. Solis, the secretary of labor for four years, announced on Wednesday that she would be resigning, following the most prominent female Cabinet member, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, out of the administration. Separately, administration officials let it be known on Wednesday that several Cabinet members will remain in their jobs: Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, who is expected to stay through the full adoption of the 2010 health care law in 2014; Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general; and Eric K. Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs.”

5.   Develop An Open Source Scheduling System For VA And Win $3 Million.  NextGov “On Wednesday, the Veterans Affairs Department launched a contest with $3 million in prizes for development of a new patient scheduling system based on open source software.” In a news release, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said, “This contest marks a major change in direction by VA, away from software that is so customized that only VA can use it, toward open standards and commercial systems that build on proven practices.” According to Shinseki, the contest will help VA “serve veterans by encouraging ideas to provide more personalized care.” NextGov adds, “In March 2009, after spending $167 million over eight years with no viable software to show for it, VA cancelled its previous replacement system for scheduling new patients.”
6.   Women Veterans Health-Care Site Available.  American Legion  “The Department of Veterans Affairs now has a website devoted strictly to women veterans. On the Women Veterans Health Care website, visitors can find tools and resources for and about women veterans, include statistics, tips on wellness and healthy living, recent news, and links to publications, products, VA’s Health Awareness and Culture Change campaigns, and links to VA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.” The site also has the “recently developed Women Veterans Outreach Toolkit, which includes fact sheets on VA care and benefits, answers to frequently asked questions, brochures on VA services and health-care awareness materials.”

7.   “It’s Given Me A New Lease On Life.”: Veteran Discusses How VA Programs Helped With PTSD.  WDBJ-TV  Veteran Rob Bradley needed help for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), “so he came to the Center for Traumatic Stress at the Salem Veterans Affairs Hospital.” Bradley said that help has given him a “new lease on life.” He added, “I don’t look outside in this tunnel vision anymore, I actually see the world for what it is.” Dr. Dana Holohan, the center’s director, “says PTSD knows no age that veterans all the way from World War II come here. She says the heightened awareness and increase of facilities like this really do enhance the lives of these veterans.”
8.   Vietnam Vet With Cancer Might Lose Home Due To Reduced Benefits.  WBBM-AM Veteran Sonny Cooper “is in danger of losing his home, because of a serious illness connected to his service in Vietnam more than 40 years ago.” After the US Veterans Affairs Department linked Cooper’s prostate cancer to Agent Orange exposure, the agency awarded him 100 percent disability pay. But Cooper “said the VA told him” that because his cancer is in remission, his disability pay is being cut from 100 to 20 percent. The veteran, however, said, “I’m not going to be able to pay my house note. I had to give up my insurance. I had to give up my car.” WBBM notes that on Wednesday, a VA spokeswoman said the agency is “researching Cooper’s case, and will be in touch with him regarding his benefits.”

9.   Oldest Patients May Not Need Cancer Screening. MedPage Today  “Patients with a life expectancy of less than 10 years derive little benefit from screening for breast or colorectal cancer, a meta-analysis of randomized trials suggested.” The “study was supported by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco.”

10.“Stand Down” To Benefit Needy Veterans. Washington Post  “More than 60 federal, state and community agencies will offer services to needy and homeless veterans during the Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down,” which is scheduled to be held from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon this “Saturday at the VA Medical Center, 50 Irving St. NW.” The Post points out that during the event, advisers “from the Department of Labor Employment Offices, VA Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the DC Coalition for the Homeless will offer employment counseling. Representatives from the Veterans Benefits Administration and veteran service organizations will assist with benefits claims.”

Have You Heard?

Exposed to burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan? A planned burn pits registry will help VA to monitor effects of exposure and keep Veterans informed about studies and treatments. Learn more.  Visit to learn more about other public health topics and VA services.


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