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A Variety of Veterans News from Variety of Sources
Veterans find prostate cancer cure at Richmond VA hospital: Thanks to the nationwide scope of the Veterans Health Administration, a national referral program has allowed Veterans from around the country to descend on the McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond for treatment of moderate to aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer among American men, who make up the largest population of Veterans. The most common form of treatment in most VA facilities is external beam radiation, a six to nine week process that involves treatments five days a week.
New York Times Russia’s Military Drills Near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression. Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer, one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.
Yonhap News Agency Tillerson to visit Southeast Asia, discuss N. Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Southeast Asia later this week to attend a series of regional meetings expected to focus on North Korea and other issues, his office said Tuesday.
Deutsche Welle US tells North Korea: ‘We are not your enemy’. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States would like to have a dialogue with North Korea and isn’t seeking to topple its regime. Efforts to curb the rogue state’s nuclear program have had little effect.
Military.com Commandant: ‘I Will Not Break Faith’ With Transgender Coast Guardsmen. As military services await guidance following President Donald Trump’s announcement last week via Twitter of a ban on transgender service members, the commandant of the Coast Guard is speaking out, saying he has no intention of leaving transgender Coast Guardsmen out in the cold.
DAVArmy Veteran Becomes First Woman to Lead Big Three Veterans Service Organization. Retired Army veteran Delphine Metcalf-Foster was elected National Commander of the nearly 1.3 million-member DAV (Disabled American Veterans) today at the organization’s 96th National Convention. She becomes the first woman veteran, as well as African-American female, to assume the organization’s highest post. She is also the first female elected to lead one of the country’s major veterans service organizations. Metcalf-Foster followed in the footsteps of her father, a Buffalo soldier, by pursuing …
The Washington Post (AP): Senate Oks $3.9B to Address VA’s Looming Budget Crisis. The Senate approved a pair of bills Tuesday taking aim at urgent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, clearing a $3.9 billion emergency spending package to fix a looming budget crisis and adopting new measures to pare down a rapidly growing backlog of veterans’ disability claims. Both bills passed by unanimous vote.
Washington Examiner: Senate votes to boost VA healthcare funding by $2.1 billion. The Senate quickly passed legislation Tuesday night that would boost funding for a key Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare program by $2.1 billion, in a vote that sends the bill to President Trump’s desk. The legislation is a response to recent warnings from the VA that funding for its Veterans Choice Program would expire soon without an act of Congress.
Stars and Stripes: Senate passes VA Choice funding deal, sends bill to White House. The Senate on Tuesday evening passed a funding deal to provide $2.1 billion to the nearly bankrupt Veterans Choice Program while investing another $1.8 billion in Department of Veterans Affairs personnel and facilities. The bill, a bipartisan compromise negotiated between House and Senate lawmakers last week, would avert the threat of interrupted medical care for thousands of veterans and inject enough money into the Choice program to keep it going for the next six months.
Military Times: Senate advances VA Choice fix, claims appeals reform package. Senate lawmakers quietly advanced two major Veterans Affairs reform bills on Tuesday night, sending a funding fix for the Choice program to the White House and queuing up a benefits claim appeals reform package to become law later this year. Both measures were passed by voice vote in the waning hours of the Senate’s session, as lawmakers look to leave town for an extended legislative recess.
Stars and Stripes: Senate passes VA appeals reform bill. The Senate unanimously passed legislation Tuesday evening to reform the process veterans use to appeal claims for benefits – a system that now leaves veterans waiting years to receive earned disability compensation and health care. The legislation creates three ways for veterans to appeal their claims for benefits.
Stars and Stripes: ‘Forever GI Bill’ losing momentum? Advocates intensify push for Senate vote. The House unanimously passed a large expansion of veterans education benefits last week, just nine days after the legislation was introduced in that chamber. But advocates are now concerned that momentum has been lost in the Senate. Student Veterans of America, the American Legion and other groups have been pressing Senate leadership to schedule a vote on the expanded GI Bill for the past week.
The Patriot-News: They served us – now higher education must serve our returning Veterans. Given the 16 years of continuous military activity following 9/11, it is not surprising that a large number of returning veterans are looking forward to the next step in their lives. As a nation, we should always remember their individual and collective sacrifice and courage. Increasingly, higher education is taking a larger role in providing opportunities for our veterans. About 924,000 veterans have obtained benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, according to the Pat Tillman Foundation and Operation College Promise.
Hugh Hewitt Show: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin. One of the most interesting people in the United States Cabinet is Dr. David Shulkin, who is the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, and has been at the VA since taking the number two position there under President Oibama. He was promoted by President Trump, confirmed unanimously because of his private sector experience with patient-centered care. He was a CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
The Washington Times: VA Secretary says John Kelly’s new role is a reset for the Trump administration. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Tuesday that John Kelly’s new role as chief of staff is a true reset for the Trump administration. “I think that this is a reset. I think that this is a White House that is dealing with so many issues and trying to move so quickly that it’s taking a while to learn the best way in which to organize itself internally, and to represent itself externally.
Washington Examiner: Longtime director of SC VA medical center fired from VA Headquarters: Report. The Department of Veterans Affairs fired the former director of the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, who was reassigned to VA headquarters in April, according to a report Tuesday. In a statement Tuesday, the agency said Brian Hawkins “failed to provide effective leadership at the medical center,” NBC4 in Washington first reported.
Stars and Stripes: Report Ousted VA hospital director emailed sensitive information to unsecure accounts. The director of the Washington VA Medical Center — removed from his position in April after a government watchdog found the hospital was putting veterans at risk — had also broken Department of Veterans Affairs policy by sending sensitive information to private email accounts belonging to him and to his wife, according to a report released Tuesday.
U.S. News & World Report: Field Hearing Set to Examine Veterans Hospital Allegations in New Hampshire. U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster is convening a House subcommittee field hearing on allegations of substandard care and conditions at New Hampshire’s only veterans hospital. Kuster is the lead Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She says the subcommittee’s chairman will join her at a field hearing in New Hampshire on Sept. 18.
Concord Monitor: The doctor will be in Friday, and Manchester VA patients are ready. Be ready. Have answers, a plan. Show compassion, and mean it. Open your ears and listen. Otherwise, you’ll get a frigid reception, harsh like a New Hampshire winter, from some of the veterans who have been mistreated at the Manchester VA through the years. And there have been lots of them.
Stars and Stripes: Report: Veterans with private-sector docs at greater risk for opioid abuse. Veterans who use Department of Veterans Affairs programs to receive private-sector medical care are at “significant risk” for abusing opioids, according to a VA watchdog report released Tuesday. New VA policies that aim to decrease opioid prescriptions do not cover private-sector doctors who sign on with the VA to treat veterans, the VA Office of Inspector General found.
Task & Purpose: VA Report: Vets in Private Care Are At Higher Risk For Opioid Addiction. As the Senate today deliberated on an emergency funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ premier private-health program, a new government report is warning of “a significant risk” of addiction and health complications for veterans who are prescribed opioid prescriptions outside the VA. The July 31 VA inspector general report found that the department is having communications problems with the private-sector healthcare providers they hire to treat veterans…
WJXT (TV-4): Conflicting guidelines for prescribing opioids increasing risks for Veterans. The nation’s opioid crisis is having a significant impact on the veteran population, and after the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs looked at how these painkillers are currently being prescribed, it finds veterans are being put at an increased risk. According to an OIG report released today, there is an immediate need for change because of conflicting guidelines for VA and non-VA providers.
Marine Corps Times: Marine Corps Vet’s widow searches for answers in VA fentanyl death. A Marine Corps veteran fatally overdosed on fentanyl while under lockdown in inpatient care at a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatric facility. Now his widow wants to know how he got ahold of the drugs, reports The Boston Herald. Hank Brandon Lee died March 4 of acute fentanyl intoxication at the age of 35. He was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital after being discovered unresponsive in the Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatric campus in Brockton, Massachusetts, according to the Herald.
The Hill: Feds’ rampant use of no-bid contracts: the essence of corruption. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) David Shulkin just awarded a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Cerner, a health technology company. Secretary Shulkin, who was seeking a firm to build the VA’s new electronic health records system, awarded the contract without even considering proposals from other companies.
VIDEO They Called Me Doc’ Jim McCloughan MoH Yesterday, the President presented Spc. 5 Jim McCloughan the Medal of Honor Spc. 5 Jim McCloughan served as a combat medic during the Vietnam War. Nearly 50 years later, was awarded the nation’s highest honor for saving 10 of his fellow Soldiers during the battle of Nui Yon Hill in Vietnam. Meet ‘Doc’ Jim McCloughan
Associated Press VP Pence in Estonia: Attack on one NATO ally is attack on all. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday strongly pledged America’s commitment to protecting NATO allies against attacks, including the Baltic states, which have anxiously watched a growing Russian military presence in the region.
Yonhap News Agency U.S. ‘ready’ to install more THAAD launchers: Pentagon. The United States is ready to deploy the remaining parts of an advanced missile defense system to South Korea, the Pentagon said Monday with tensions rising over North Korea’s latest missile test.
Politico Kelly seizes control of the West Wing. Almost the first thing White House chief of staff John Kelly did after being sworn in Monday was dismiss communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who he believed had become a distraction in the aftermath of a profanity laced-tirade to a reporter.
C4ISRNET Navy applies a layered defense approach in cyberspace. In addition to being the direct service link for U.S. Cyber Command, 10th Fleet, or Fleet Cyber Command, has a mission set in cyberspace for the Navy that is much more expansive than just the man, train and equip cyber mission force CYBERCOM contribution.
Air Force Times Air Force trims eligibility for up-or-out extensions. The Air Force is giving airmen in 106 enlisted career fields up to two more years to get promoted before they are made to leave the service under the newest round of high year of tenure extensions.
Military Times In their own words: Vets in Congress push for GWOT memorial. Before the House last Friday unanimously passed legislation to start the process of building a Global War on Terrorism memorial, a line of young war veterans took to the chamber floor to offer an emotional view of the importance of the work.
The Tennessean (USA Today Network – TN): Political debate brews over nearly broke VA Choice health care program. While almost every eye on Washington, D.C., last week focused on the Senate and its failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, another health care battle continued on the other side of the Capitol. Less than three years into existence, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Choice health program is nearly broke and often criticized for not achieving what it said it would.
The Denver Post: Good reasons to support the VA Choice program. News that veterans in Colorado are dealing with long waits to get into Veterans Affairs hospitals and facilities is truly depressing, and should add weight to arguments for continued support of the Choice program that covers private visits when VA doctors are too busy. Given that our nation seems to be on a path of perpetual war, those who volunteer to put life and limb on the line to defend us ought to trust that the VA stands ready to help when injuries and illness strike.
The Journal: New VA Secretary outlines five priorities for improved service to Veterans. Because the new VA secretary David Shulkin previously served as undersecretary for health, he is familiar with the Veteran’s Administration in his new role, according to the acting medical center director of the Syracuse VA Medical Center. “He very quickly identified five priorities,” Dr. Judy Hayman said during Monday’s meeting of the North Country Veterans Advisory Committee.
Washington Examiner: Whistleblower gets job in new accountability office at Trumps’ VA. A government worker who has testified in Congress about problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs has a job at the new office aimed at protecting VA whistleblowers from retaliation. Brandon Coleman, an addiction therapist at the Phoenix VA hospital, will work at the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
Concord Monitor: VA whistleblower: Manchester should be a ‘test case’ for national reform. One of the whistleblowers at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center said he plans to propose his workplace as a “test case” for national reform of the veterans’ health care system when he meets with VA Secretary David Shulkin this week. Dr. Ed Kois, the head of the facility’s spinal cord clinic, said he hopes to peel away restrictive layers of bureaucracy at the state’s only veterans hospital and hold it up as a model for the rest of the country.
CNN (Video): Doctors increasingly face changes for patient overdoses. Stanos said doctors who receive cases like these can learn a lot from the Veterans Health Administration, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Early on, the health care system heavily pushed opioid painkillers as part of its pain management approach. But over much of the past decade, the VA revamped its approach to pain, offering a wider variety of pain services and addiction treatment programs. The impact of these measures — including the 2013 rollout of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative — was a major cut in the number of opioids it prescribed.
Huffington Post: Veterans Administration Approves EF (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Treatment. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has been approved as a “generally safe” therapy by the US Veterans Administration (VA). After reviewing the extensive evidence for the safety and efficacy of EFT, a group of experts in the VAs Integrative Health Coordinating Center published a statement approving EFT and several other complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices.
FOX News (Video): VA resumes Caregiver Program after controversy over caregivers’ removal. The Department of Veterans Affairs has resumed a program funding caregivers for disabled veterans after complaints led to a suspension earlier this year – though veterans across the country remain concerned about how thousands of caregivers were abruptly removed by the agency. “VA has taken immediate steps to improve the program’s operations,” VA Secretary David J. Shulkin in a statement on Friday.
KSAT (ABC-12): Army Vet who defrauded VA shown walking on DoJ footage after claiming he couldn’t faces up to 50 years in prison. The United States Department of Justice has released footage showing an Army veteran who told doctors he could no longer walk mowing his lawn and walking around his front yard. The footage, gathered over several months by undercover investigators with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, was used in June to convict 54-year-old Mack Cole Jr. of federal health care fraud and making false statements about a health care benefit program.
Stars and Stripes Survivor’s guilt shadows veteran 50 years after Vietnam War disaster. Steve Heinrich leaned forward in his easy chair and stared into the distance as he told the story, his mind taking him back to places he never cared to revisit. But survivor’s guilt can be a powerful thing, and he figured the moment had come to try to shed some of it.
Mount Vernon Celebrates Purple Heart Day – Monday, August 7, 2017. You are cordially invited to celebrate National Purple Heart Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It is our honor to have you join us as we commemorate the oldest military decoration in the United States at the beloved home of its founder. Here is information you might find helpful in planning your visit. http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2313d2141f19dbc004908589e&id=04795fbcf8&e=
2017 College Acceleration Summit – A virtual summit. August 8, 2017. No cost. Take the first step to accelerate your professional growth by registering for the 2017 College Acceleration Summit, a free virtual conference on August 8. This conference will help adults access the knowledge and skills they need for success in the working world. It will feature over 20 world-class education experts, including Military Warriors Support Foundation CEO Leroy Sisco, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Perry Tarrant, healthcare education leaders and many more, who will lead sessions that share insights, strategies, and tactics to give you a clear plan to advance your careers. For attending, you will be eligible to win one of three $500 scholarships. The event is completely free to the general public. Register now at www.collegeaccelerationsummit.com Please pass it along.
GovConectx Federal Government Small Business Procurement Event – August 10, 2017. Falls Church, VA. Details here…
Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) offering Relationship Building Course for Military/ Veteran couples, August 18 -20, 2017, Richmond, VA. Details here…..
Marine Week – Detroit, MI – September 6 – 10, 2017. Marine Week, hosted by the United States Marine Corps in one city per year, is a celebration of Community, Country and Corps – providing the American public the experience of directly connecting with hundreds of Marines. From September 6 –10, 2017, Marine Week Detroit will feature hands-on static displays, live demonstrations, time-honored Marine Corps traditions, musical performances and other events to showcase the history, military capabilities and community involvement of the Corps. For details: http://usmarineweek.com/