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Statement of Michael J. Missal, Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs, Before The Subcommittee On Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, And Related Agencies Committee On Appropriations, United States House Of Representatives, Oversight Hearing On The Department Of Veterans Affairs Office Of Inspector General March 22, 2017.https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/statements/VAOIG-statement-20170322-missal.pdf
Quick Turnaround Folks – 2017 FedEx Small Business Grant. Deadline: March 29, 2017, Award Ceiling: $25,000 Eligibility: small business. Summary: FedEx has demonstrated through its previous grant competitions that it is fair with its distribution of funds to women and men. To determine the winner, FedEx allows the public to vote for their favorite company in the competition. The winners with the most votes receive a $25,000 grant, and they receive free exposure through FedEx’s media outlets. Go here for details: http://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com/ Thanks to Sharon Blumeno, Senior Business Development Specialist, Automation Alley, Technology’s Matchmaker for Business, Troy, MI. for getting this to us!
A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources
On The Road with Scott Blackburn, Interim Deputy Secretary: Part of the duties of the Deputy Secretary include visiting VA facilities and talking with the employees who make them work. Last week Interim Deputy Secretary (IDEPSEC) Scott Blackburn was in Jacksonville, FL, and met up with a VA employee whom he’d heard about from another grateful employee. KC Carlson’s mom, an Operating Room Tech who served
Associated Press Military seeks new ways to punish bad online behavior. Skeptical Congress members on Tuesday pressed senior military leaders to take more aggressive action to prevent and punish inappropriate online activity by service members, including posts of “intimate” images on social media sites.
Big Island Now: Bill Would Prevent VA Nursing Home Care Coverage Expiration. Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bipartisan Keeping Our Commitment to Disabled Veterans Act to extend an expiring requirement under law that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide nursing care for certain veterans with service-connected disabilities. Without extension by Congress beyond Dec. 31, 2017, the VA would no longer be required to provide this coverage.
Stars and Stripes: Lawmakers introduce bill to expand VA services for female Veterans. A few years after Army Reserve veteran Kate Hoit returned home from a yearlong deployment to Iraq in 2005, she sought medical treatment at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, where she was made to feel like she didn’t quite belong. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called ‘Mr. Hoit’ or [was] stopped while navigating my way through VA hospital halls,” Hoit said.
Military Times: Advocates push for more focus on women Vets in the wake of military scandals. Advocates are lobbying for sweeping reforms in women veterans services in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandals that have raised questions about misogyny and morale in the military. “When people think of veterans, when they close their eyes, they don’t think about someone who looks like me,” said Allison Jaslow, chief of staff for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
AllGov: Acting Under Secretary of the Veterans benefits Administration: Who is Tom Murphy? Thomas J. Murphy was named in June 2016 to be the acting under secretary for benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Murphy’s official biography states that he received a B.S. in Human Resource Management from Colorado Christian College in 1986, however his LinkedIn profile says this happened in 1999.
The Washington Times: VA Secretary David Shulkin says his agency to decide on fixing VistA medical records system. Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Tuesday that his agency remains committed to deciding by this summer whether to overhaul or replace the electronic medical records system for VA hospitals, but he backed away from setting a hard deadline of July 1. Speaking during a panel discussion on pioneering digital health technologies, Mr. Shulkin said the VA will look for a commercial provider…
FedScoop: ‘A strategic mistake’: Shulkin criticizes VA’s decision against unified health records with DoD. It was a “strategic mistake” for the Department of Veterans Affairs not to move to an integrated, modernized electronic health record platform directly aligned with the Defense Department, the new VA secretary said Tuesday. “This has been going on for a long, long time. It is a very difficult decision. It’s been kicked down the road, and if I could back up time, I believe it was a mistake not to have made a decision with the DOD at the time,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said.
FOX News (Video): VA suicide hotline still plagued with problems, IG finds. Despite change in leadership and promises to address ongoing problems with its veteran suicide line, nearly 30 percent of calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs were redirected to outside emergency centers, according to an inspector general report released Monday. “We found that [Veterans Crisis Line] staff did not respond adequately to a veteran’s urgent needs during multiple calls to the VCL and its backup call centers,” the report said.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Report: Problems persist at VA crisis line, VA: It’s Fixed! A VA inspector general report this week said the seven recommendations it made back in February 2016 are “still open,” meaning they haven’t been accomplished. However, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the VA declared that the rollover problem is fixed. “Our current call roll over rate is less than 1 percent, with over 99 percent of all calls being answered by” VA workers, it said.
Military Times: Animal rights group accuses VA of using doges i questionable experiments. A group of animal rights activists wants to know why the Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting controversial medical experiments on dozens of dogs at a Virginia laboratory with insufficient public disclosure on the practice. The accusations come from the group White Coat Waste Project, a bipartisan group of activists focused on taxpayer-funded animal experimentation.
KPCC (NPR-89.3): Minority Veterans, ranks growing, need help with benefits an services. Racial and ethnic minorities make up an increasing share of the military, yet face added obstacles when seeking to access veterans benefits, according to a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs. While the overall veteran population is expected to decline, the number of minority veterans will rise in coming decades, said Barbara Ward, director of the VA’s Center for Minority Veterans and a contributor to the study.
NASDAQ: Building A New VA Healthcare System, Block by Block. There continues to be a flurry of media attention about persistent problems facing the V.A. health system. As the largest integrated health system in the U.S., the system serves 8.76 million veterans annually at over 1,700 care sites. It is also the nation’s largest provider of graduate medical education along with being heavily involved in medical research, employing a staff of over 340,000.
The Enterprise: Brockton VA partners with Uber for Veteran rental pilot program. The Brockton VA is collaborating with Uber to provide veterans with enhanced transportation options and new opportunities to earn money through a special car rental program. The VA Boston Healthcare System recently announced that it is partnering with Uber for a pilot program aimed at supporting veterans. The new pilot program is being rolled out “specifically” at the Brockton VA campus, said Pallas Wahl, a spokesperson for the VA Boston Healthcare System…
Norman Transcript: Helping local widow have a brighter day. Linda Womack lost her husband in August due to a service-connected disability. She mailed his death certificate to Veterans Affairs. However, she quickly realized the checks her husband had received from the VA were no longer coming. She reached out to her friend, Neal Owens, to see if he could help.
Caregiver Support: VA values your commitment as a partner in our pledge to care for those who have “borne the battle.” We have several support and service options designed with you in mind. The programs are available both in and out of your home to help you care for yourself and the Veteran you love.
Newsweek US Reducing Nuclear Weapons: Air Force Deployed Missiles Drop To Lowest Level In 60 Years. As President Donald Trump calls on the nation to increase its nuclear might, the Air Force is taking steps to carry out an Obama administration plan to comply with an arms control treaty with Russia and reduce its nuclear arsenal. That means the Air Force will soon have its lowest arsenal of deployed nuclear missiles in nearly 60 years, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The Wall Street Journal: Watchdog Criticizes Veterans Affairs’ Suicide Hotline, Problems seen earlier haven’t been fixed. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide crisis hotline is understaffed, poorly supervised and sometimes leaves veterans on hold so long that they simply hang up, according to an investigation released Monday. The VA’s internal watchdog, the Office of Inspector General, tracked the performance of the phone hotline and found problems ranging from how wait times are measured to the supervision of contracts with third-party call centers.
Stars and Stripes: Report: Calls to Veterans’ suicide hotline still being sent to backup centers. The Veterans Crisis Line continued to send approximately 30 percent of its calls to backup centers near the end of 2016, according to an internal watchdog report released Monday that outlined widespread problems with the suicide hotline. The Department of Veterans Affairs established the Veterans Crisis Line as a suicide-prevention effort in 2007 and estimated 10 percent of its calls would be routed to a backup call center…
Military Times: Report: More than one-fourth of Veterans’ suicide hotline calls to go to backup lines. More than one-fourth of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line end up being redirected to other emergency response services because of ongoing problems with the services’ operations, according to a new report released Monday. Those problems persist despite leadership changes and promised reforms at the crisis hotline in the last year, and a years-long emphasis on suicide prevention efforts from Department of Veterans Affairs officials.
USA Today: VA suicide hotline still riddled with problems, investigation finds. The VA suicide hotline is still sending nearly a third of calls to outside back-up centers despite pledges by Veterans Affairs officials to stop the practice last year after a scathing report found the centers had routed veterans to voicemail, an inspector general investigation found. The VA opened a new call center and hired more staff to answer phones, but as of November, 30% of calls — or 14,600 that month — rolled over to backup centers.
Stars and Stripes: VA exempts more vacant jobs from federal hiring freeze. The Department of Veterans Affairs has added more than 60 job titles to the list of vacant positions exempt from the temporary federal hiring freeze enacted in January by President Donald Trump. VA Secretary David Shulkin issued a memorandum last week on the additional exemptions, including some positions in the Veterans Benefits Administration, an agency that lawmakers have urged for more workers to be hired to help with veterans’ claims.
WFED (AM-1500): Shulkin adds more VA hiring freeze exemptions. The Veterans Affairs Department announced additional exemptions to the President’s temporary hiring freeze last week, which now include benefits and claims processors and some cybersecurity professionals. VA Secretary David Shulkin updated the list of exemptions from the hiring freeze, which the department first announced in January and covered mostly health care professionals, construction…
FEDweek: Hiring Freeze’s Impact at VA to Get Capitol Hill Scrutiny. The House Veterans Affairs Committee plans hearings this week that will include the first formal scrutiny by Congress of the general federal hiring freeze that is now nearly two months old. That will be one of the topics in a general examination of the hiring practices and general state of the workforce at the Veterans Health Administration.
Military.com: Rural Vets may See More Options for Telemedicine. The Veterans Affairs Department is researching how to improve the quality of care for veterans in rural areas with serious or chronic conditions. A telehealth collaborative care study announced in January is surveying about 800 veterans in rural areas in Texas and Georgia who have been diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.
Politico: Insiders tell Trump: You’re missing half the story on VA health care. The much-maligned veterans’ health care system has real problems, but President Donald Trump and other Washington leaders keep forgetting to learn its digital health lessons, too. That’s according to health care IT leaders and thinkers who participated in POLITICO’s health IT advisory forum this week. The forum was convened ahead of POLITICO’s Tuesday briefing on lessons from the VA health system.
FierceHealthcare: VistA’s long, contentious history helps explain its demise. As officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs look to scrap the system’s legacy electronic medical records system for a commercial EHR, a look back at the system’s history shows a program that was ahead of its time but often met with resistance. To hear lawmakers talk about VistA in its current form, one might think the system has lost a step to private EHR vendors…
Task & Purpose: This Former Marine Just Took His First Steps in 33 Years. In 1984, Marine Maj. Terry Labar was walking back to his ship in Haifa, Israel, when a hit-and-run driver launched him 110 feet in the air, leaving the Vietnam veteran unable to walk, paralyzed from the waist down. On March 16, he took his first steps in 33 years, with some high-tech VA help.
Brattleboro Reformer: Sanders hears from Veterans in Brattleboro. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he wants to strengthen Veterans Affairs health care services. “I think, in general and what I hear in Vermont, is most people think the VA is a pretty good place,” the Vermont independent said at the VA clinic in Brattleboro on Thursday. “It’s a welcoming place. They’ve got pretty good care.”
Military Times: VA: GI Bill processing delays impacting 11,000 beneficiaries. Sommona Ada is a graduate student at the University of North Texas who’s been paying for school with the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits she earned after 11 years in the U.S. Air Force and reserves. But Ada hasn’t been able to re-enroll in classes for the next eight-week term at the UNT Health Science Center because the Department of Veterans Affairs hasn’t paid her bill.
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation – List of Job Fairs. Updated every quarter. Sent in by our fellow Veteran, Jorge Cruz, Maryland, DLLR, U.S. Army (Ret).http://www.dllr.maryland.gov/employment/jobfairs.shtml
Women Veterans Alliance 3-day Spring Unconference “Nourish Your Soul” March 24 – 26, 2017, Sacramento, California. For more information:http://www.womenveteransalliance.org/events/unconference/ Women Veterans Alliance in partnership with our nonprofit partner California Capital Financial Development Corporation will be hosting the Women Veterans Alliance Unconference. These 3 day events are the largest outreach to women Veterans in California that will provide resources and an amazing experience for all women that served from WWII to current, representing all branches. Our goal is to equip, empower, and encourage participants by providing opportunities to connect with service providers, fellow women Veterans, employers, and through interactive workshops.
Objective Rally Point (ORP) Breakfast – Veterans Business Networking Event. Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7:15 AM to 9:15 AM, Army-Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. Limited seating available. Although the focus of ORP is primarily on the connections made between and with Veterans, we do have a presentation each month. This month we have a panel from the Small Business Administration (SBA) speaking about resources available to Veteran business owners and updates to the law impacting small businesses. The panel will include Barb Carson, Associate Administrator Office of Veterans Business Development, Ken Dodds, Director, Office of Policy, Planning& Liaison and Sandi Clifford-Deputy Director, All Small Mentor Protégé Program senior members of the SBA. Don’t pass up this opportunity to network with other Veterans focused on success in business. If you are a company looking for a VOSB or SDVOSB to team with there is no better place to find qualified Veteran owned businesses than at DC-ORP. ORP is hosted by Lee Dougherty, a service connected disabled Veteran and Partner at the law firm of Montgomery Fazzone, PLLC. Cost to attend this event is $35. Full breakfast provided. *Non-Veterans, please contact the host at LDougherty@mft-law.com or (202)888-2104 to request information on attending the event. Register today: http://march2017orp.eventbrite.com
Disabled Veteran Business Alliance (DVBA) SoCal Construction Expo, Tuesday March 28, 2017 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The Socal Construction Expo combines networking, business, information sharing, personal access to government and corporate contracting officials, and success celebration in an action packed one-day event designed for the full range of business owners from novice to experienced entrepreneur. We invite Veteran and Disabled Veteran business owners as well as any veterans separating from the service in the near future who might be thinking about working in, starting a new business or buying a business in the construction industry. For more information and to register go here.
Livestock Conservancy Group to Hold Veteran Workshop, April 7–8, 2017, Lexington, VA. The Livestock Conservancy Group will be hosting a veteran workshop entitled From Service to Stewardship on Friday April 7th and Saturday April 8th at the Virginia Horse Center, 487 Maury River Road, Lexington, VA 24450. The workshop will focus on farming with heritage breeds of livestock and poultry. For additional details, please see the flyer here… Questions? Contact the Livestock Conservancy Group at 919-542-5704 or email email@example.com Sent in by Ms. Tina Parlett-Calhoun, Director of Communication, Virginia Department of Veterans Services.
27th Annual Government Procurement Conference. Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC. Come join hundreds of small businesses, prime contractors and government agencies looking for new business and partnership opportunities.
See exhibitor and attendee rates. Visit www.fbcinc.com/procurement for more information and updates. The Conference is a national conference fostering business partnerships between the Federal Government, its prime contractors, and small, minority, service-disabled veteran-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, and women-owned businesses. Now in its 27th year, the Government Procurement Conference has become the premier event for small businesses throughout the United States. Participating firms will have the benefit of marketing their products/services to procurement representatives and small business specialists from government agencies. Companies may choose to set up an exhibit table to showcase their capabilities or simply come as an attendee. The conference also includes educational conference sessions, procurement matchmaking, and a dynamic exhibitor showcase.
PTAP (VPTAP) & Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Small Business Subcontracting Training and Networking Outreach Event – May 18, 2017. For more information please go here…… If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Myra Morgan, Defense Logistics Agency, Office of Small Business Programs (DB)at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-767-3653.
National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) VETS-17, June 12 – 14, 2017, Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk VA. A great Business Development Conference created by Veterans for Veterans. Early Bird registration is now through March 31st. Pay now, save now! The Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Virginia always sells out quickly. NSSBC does not have other hotels contracted, so if you want the convenience of staying at the Riverside Marriott, please consider booking ASAP. Go here for more scoop and to register: http://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com/Hope to see you folks there!
National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement – VIP GROW Course – June 20-22, 2017, Bolger Center, 9600 Newbridge Drive, Potomac, MD 20854. This is one great Program folks, better sign up quickly because the seats shall go fast! About VIP Grow. VIP Grow is a 3-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program designed for veteran owned small businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts. Facilitated by subject matter experts, participants receive hands-on, market-based instruction that helps establish best business practices for Federal government contracting. VIP GROW is offered at no cost to participants. ELIGIBILITY Owner, principal or C-level executive for a veteran-owned small business. In business for at least 2 years, with at least 3 full-time employees. Company has experience performing on Federal government contracts as a prime and/or sub to a prime. For more details and to register: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Spread-the-Word-to-Veteran-Owned-Small-Businesses—Apply-to-VIP-GROW-Class—June-20-22.html?soid=1101128334983&aid=z6dhIQTmuKo
2017 Virginia Women Veterans Summit, June 22 – 23, 2017, Chesapeake, VA. This event brings together Veterans, employers, community leaders and government agencies from federal, state, and local levels to raise awareness about the services and benefits offered specifically for women veterans through expert presenters, panel discussion and exhibits. The conference will feature speakers such as Dorothy McAuliffe, First Lady of Virginia (Invited) and Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016, U.S. Army Reserve Captain and more! The Virginia Department of Veterans Services encourages women veterans who have, currently are, or will be transitioning into civilian life to register for this event. If you do not meet this qualification, kindly respect those who do by not registering for this event. Registration for this event is required. For details and to sign up, go here…
14th Annual Elite SDVOB National Conference, August 16 – 18, 2017, Orlando, FL. Convention website here: http://www.sdvobconference.com/ Go here for Hotel Information and Reservations: