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1. DARPA Takes Robots to Disaster Mitigation Trials. Next week, 17 teams will take their multi-limbed, capable-looking robots through eight realistic disaster-response tasks that will make up the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge Trials Dec. 21-22 at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. The best performers will determine the baseline for the state of robotics, Dr. Gill Pratt, DARPA’s Robotics Challenge program manager, said during a recent …
2. Despite veterans opposition, Senate Dems vow to pass budget deal. Hyperlink to Article Stars and Stripes: Despite strong resistance from veterans advocates, Senate Democrats on Thursday vowed to push through a proposed budget deal to avoid steep funding cuts and government shutdown threats for the next two years.
3. Congress to Defense and VA: Give Us A Plan For Integrating Health Records By Februray. Hyperlink to Article NextGov: The Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments will need to present a detailed plan for developing a single or interoperable electronic health record in just six weeks, based on language contained in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act agreed to by the House and Senate Wednesday
4. VA ‘aggressively’ seeking physicians for Orangeburg clinic, officials say. Hyperlink to Article The Times and Democrat: Veterans Affairs officials say they are “aggressively” recruiting doctors for Orangeburg’s clinic after a number of veterans expressed concerns about the lack of a doctor.
5. Filling The Gaps For Veterans With Bad Discharges. Hyperlink to Article NPR: Community and charity groups are scrambling to provide care where the VA is failing veterans who left the military with less-than-honorable discharges.
6. VA official talks challenges, successes. Hyperlink to Article Wyoming Tribune Eagle: A high-level official in the Department of Veterans Affairs paid a visit to the VA Medical Center here on Tuesday as part of a whistle-stop tour of facilities around the country.
7. At Last, VA Electronic Access to All Your Military Records. Hyperlink to Article NextGov: Language in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the House and Senate calls for the Defense Department to provide the Veterans Affairs Department with electronic access to all military records as of Jan. 1, 2014.
8. Senator Questions Stats on Accuracy of VA Claims. Hyperlink to Article Military.com: Since pressure was applied by veteran service organizations last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs has claimed that it is not only shrinking the backlog numbers but has raised the accuracy rate of the compensation claims it has completed, to where it’s now at 97 percent.
9. Homelessness, hunger climbing in U.S. cities, mayors’ survey says. Hyperlink to Article Los Angeles Times: One bright spot in the survey: A wide majority of the cities said they had made gains in getting veterans off the streets and into housing.
10. Care at Minneapolis Veterans Home gets new scrutiny. Hyperlink to Article Minneapolis Star-Tribune: In the past three years, state records show, the Minneapolis Veterans Home has been the subject of 11 state health department investigations, including four suspicious deaths.
HAVE YOU HEARD?
“Big data” and “data analytics” are hot topics in government and industry, but how much do they affect the care that Veterans receive at VA? They have a significant impact, actually, as a recent report from the nonprofit, Partnership for Public Service, demonstrates. The report, “From Data to Decisions III: Lessons for Early Analytics Programs,” describes how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has pioneered data analysis capabilities to predict health risks and target services to patients. Thanks to VHA-developed tools like the Care Assessment Needs (CAN) score, health care providers are identifying patients who are at elevated risk of hospitalization or death and customizing care for them — making VA care more proactive and preventative. “From Data to Decisions III: Lessons for early Analytics Programs,” is available on the Partnership for Public Service website at: http://ourpublicservice.org/