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1. Giving Back to Our Returning Veterans. Hyperlink to Article The Huffington Post: As Veterans Day approaches, I have been reflecting on how we honor — and dishonor — the veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have crowds with signs and balloons and yellow ribbons and cameras welcoming veterans home as they step off that plane; we have parades and sales at the mall a couple of times a year in honor of their service.
2. Ky. guard, VA create veterans treatment option. Hyperlink to Story Houston Chronicle (AP): A new program in Kentucky is designed to speed up mental health treatment for combat veterans and reduce the wait for care from the federal Veterans Affairs administration.
3. VA discriminates against sexual trauma victims, advocates say. Hyperlink to Story Baltimore Sun: The Department of Veterans Affairs is approving claims for post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from military sexual assault or harassment at rates that are “significantly lower” than those for PTSD from combat and other causes, advocacy groups said Thursday.
4. Panel: Merge DoD, VA care. Hyperlink to Story Army Times: In the Defense Department, a “unified medical command” means a health system combining the assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force medical branches.
5.VA nominee pledges progress on claims backlog. FierceHealthIT … pick to serve as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, pledged … and joint electronic health record efforts, Federal News Radio reports.
6. Veterans Affairs Slashes Claims Backlog By A Third Since March. Hyperlink to Story The Huffington Post (Reuters): After growing steadily for years, the backlog of U.S. military veterans’ disability claims is falling sharply – dropping by more than a third since March, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said on Thursday.
7. Veterans Affairs suspends mandatory overtime for workers as disability claims backlog drops. Hyperlink to Article FOX News (AP): Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says he is temporarily suspending a program that requires disability claims processors to work at least 20 hours of overtime per month and has helped drive down a massive backlog in requests for compensation.
8. VA lifts overtime requirement for claims workers. Hyperlink to Article WIS-TV (AP): The Department of Veterans Affairs will temporarily suspend a program that requires more than 10,000 disability claims processors to work at least 20 hours of overtime per month with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki saying Thursday he had to be careful not to burn out his workforce.
9. Shinseki: ‘We’ve done well’ on VA backlog, but more work ahead. Hyperlink to Story Stars and Stripes: Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki isn’t declaring victory in efforts to clear the disability claims backlog. After all, the department still has 400,000 cases overdue.
10. Shinseki: VA turning corner on claims backlog. Hyperlink to Story Army Times: The Veterans Affairs Department is starting to sense victory in its long battle to eliminate the frustrating and nagging backlog of benefits claims.
Have You Heard?
Coach helps Manage PTSD Symptoms:There is now an online “Coach” — developed by VA’s National Center for PTSD — which Veterans can access from their personal computers to help them manage PTSD symptoms.