Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News – February 07, 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.   Medal of Honor recipient questions lawmaker’s tweet on SEAL’s slaying.  What was Rep. Ron Paul thinking? As a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I read the news coverage surrounding Paul’s callous and inane comments about the death of a decorated Navy SEAL at the hands of another veteran with utter and complete disbelief.

2.   Armed Services committees’ Republicans propose plan to avert sequester with federal workforce attrition.  The day after President Barack Obama proposed a short-term budget plan to avert sequestration’s devastating cuts before the March 1 deadline, top Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees unveiled their own proposal based on a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce through attrition.
3.   Congress inaction on budget could affect raises, benefits for military.  The inability of Congress to pass a federal budget could result in smaller-than-expected pay raises for military troops next year, and if automatic spending cuts are triggered by further gridlock, military benefits could be next on the chopping block.
4.   Family leave extended to servicemembers and their families.  On the 20th anniversary of the Family & Medical Leave Act, the Labor Department announced Tuesday an expansion of FMLA for military servicemembers and their families.
5.   Iraq War vet gets help paying for her service dog’s care.  Devon, a 7-year-old golden retriever, has been Tori Stitt’s lifeline to the world since 2009. So the Navy lieutenant, an Iraqi war veteran, was touched when her California community donated $8,000 to help cover medical expenses for Devon.
6.   Visit Veterans At VA During Valentines Week.  Leavenworth (KS) Times  VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System Director A. Rudy Klopfer writes, “I would like to personally invite every one of your readers to show their love and appreciation to the veterans who defended their freedoms by visiting the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients” that runs from February 10th to the 16th. Readers “can join our ‘Visit a Vet for Valentine’s Day’ program or arrange for a visit through our Voluntary Service Office during National Salute week to visit veterans at a VA facility and remind them that their sacrifices are not forgotten.”

7.   VA Puts Hospital Contractor On Notice For Orlando Project. Orlando (FL) Sentinel “The US Department of Veterans Affairs has fired another volley in its ongoing showdown” with Brasfield & Gorrie, the “main contractor for the much-delayed Orlando VA Medical Center. The VA has issued a ‘Show Cause’ notice” to Brasfield & Gorrie, which basically means that the contractor is being asked to show “why it should not be fired.” Once VA see’s the contractor’s response, “officials will determine whether the contractor is in default of the contract.”
8.   DOD, VA To Speed Integration Of Health Records. American Forces Press Service Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta have “announced their departments will speed implementation of the Integrated Electronic Health Record program” and “accelerate the exchange of real-time data by September.” Shinseki said, “We’ve agreed to improve interoperability before the end of this year by standardizing” healthcare data. Stars And Stripes  “Roger Baker, assistant VA secretary for information and technology, said the announcement Tuesday is one of several ‘high-value, quick-win’ actions by the departments as they work towards their goal of fully-integrated online health records over the next four years.” According to Stars And Stripes, “progress on the records has been frustratingly slow, because of the existing cumbersome VA and DOD systems and infighting between officials at the agencies.”
9.   Cutting Red Tape.  Pacific Daily News  Veterans Affairs has “announced it’s cutting red tape for veterans by eliminating the need for them to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report, or EVR.” Gildea adds, “Under the new initiative, Veterans Affairs will work with the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration to verify continued eligibility for pension benefits. ‘By working together, we have cut red tape for veterans and will help ensure these brave men and women get the benefits they have earned and deserve,’ said” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
10.  Mental Health Experts, Vets Caution Public Against Jumping To Conclusions About PTSD.  Dallas Morning News  “Saturday’s slayings of Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL known as America’s deadliest sniper, and his neighbor Chad Littlefield at an Erath County gun range have prompted mental health experts and military veterans to caution the public against jumping to conclusions about those with PTSD. There is no strong evidence that someone with PTSD is ‘going to be violent toward anybody,’ said Dr. John Hart, a national expert on PTSD and the medical science director at the Center for Brain Health” at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas). The Morning News adds, “Veterans with PTSD are less likely to harm others than themselves – by engaging in addictive behaviors like heavy drinking and substance abuse…said” Iraq veteran Mike Rials, who works as an outreach coordinator at UT Dallas’ Center for Brain Health.

Have You Heard?

VBA Twitter Town Hall Series: Disability CompensationU.S. Army Veteran; Communications Specialist, Veterans Benefits Administration Last Thursday, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) continued our monthly Twitter town hall series with an event focused on VA disability compensation exams.

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