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1. Hagel: Change UCMJ to deny commanders ability to overturn verdicts. Military commanders would no longer have the authority to overturn the verdicts of court-martial juries in major criminal cases under a proposed change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice announced Monday at the Pentagon.
2. Sedatives still used for PTSD treatment despite warnings. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors are continuing to prescribe tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder — despite VA guidelines advising against their use for the condition.
3. Guests of unexpected honor. After Richard Leighton was diagnosed with incurable cancer, the Westbrook resident made a “bucket list” with one deeply personal wish: to see his brother’s name on the nation’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Leighton got that wish Sunday — and so much more.
4. Nashville Woman Admits Theft of $360,000 In Federal Grant Funds Intended To Aid Veterans. Tennessee Woman Pleads Guilty To Using $360K in Homeless Veteran Housing Grant for Personal Use
5. Tampa Woman Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Prison. Misuse of Veterans Information Lands Tampa Woman in Prison for 5+ Years, Ordered to Pay $621M in Fines and Restitution
6. Jamestown Nurse Arrested, Charged With Distributing Oxycodone. Former VA Nurse at NY Clinic Faces Prison, Fine for Forging Oxcycodone Prescriptions If Convicted
7. US Departments of Labor, Veterans Affairs job fair. Enumclaw Courier-Herald
The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will host a job fair for veterans in Tacoma, Wash., on April 12. The job fair is an opportunity for veterans to connect with hiring officials. Special emphasis exists on promoting …
8. Pentagon presses for higher fees for military health care beneficiaries, Congress resists. Hyperlink to Story Washington Post (AP): The loud, insistent calls in Washington to rein in the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare ignore a major and expensive entitlement program — the military’s health care system.
9. VA to pull sponsorship of Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. Hyperlink to Story AZCentral.com (The Republic): Veterans Affairs officials in Phoenix plan to withdraw support for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, jeopardizing the popular event’s future amid controversy involving the federal agency’s longtime Arizona spokeswoman.
10. Take the Burden off Veterans Affairs. Hyperlink to Story The Boston Globe: While erasing the backlog is important, the longterm goal must be to permanently take the burden off of Veterans Affairs and place it on local health facilities and community care programs. This will not only help veterans and their families transition better to civilian life, but will reduce costs in the process.
Have You Heard?
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which provides VA an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to supporting Veterans who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST). This year’s national theme is “Outreach to Veterans Who Experienced MST: Opening Doors and Building Bridges,” to highlight the importance of ensuring all Veterans are aware of the free MST-related services VA provides. About one in five women and one in a hundred men seen in VA medical facilities report they have experienced MST– that is, sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect Veterans’ physical and mental health for many years afterward. To assist in recovery, treatment for MST-related physical and mental health conditions is available at every VHA facility and provided to Veterans free of charge, regardless of service-connection status. Veterans may be able to receive this free MST-related care, even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Every VHA facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a point person for Veterans and staff. Every VA employee has the power to help Veterans recover from MST by responding sensitively to inquiries about MST, remaining knowledgeable about VA’s MST-related services, and ensuring information about Veterans’ MST status is kept confidential. For more information, contact your facility’s MST Coordinator, or visit the MST Resource home page at http://vaww.mst.va.gov.
Veterans can access information at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/ msthome.asp.