Leading VSOs Release 30th Edition of the Independent Budget for the 115th Congress. Veterans cite to “strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system” as top critical issue:Washington February 7, 2017 — Today DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) released The Independent Budget Veterans Agenda for the 115th Congress. The collaborative report, now in its 30th edition, outlines legislative and policy issues for the veterans’ community and this year immediately precedes the annual funding recommendations for the programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Topping the list of six critical issues for the 115th Congress to address is the need to “strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system.”
Korea Times Korea, US will hold largest-ever joint military drills. South Korea and the United States will hold the largest-ever Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises beginning next month, defense officials here said Tuesday.
The Hill GOP gets bolder in breaking with Trump. Congressional Republicans are becoming more critical of President Trump amid the shaky rollout of his executive order on immigration and the lack of clear progress on his legislative agenda.
Stars and Stripes House looks to rebuild as military warns of shortfalls. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday that a new Congress and president could begin repairing the military this year as uniformed leaders again painted a grim picture of depleted forces.
The Hill Army, Air Force generals back base closures. The vice chiefs of the Army and Air Force on Tuesday threw their support behind another round of base closures as a way to save substantial amounts of money that can be put to use for the military’s other needs.
The Hill: Senate panel unanimously approves VA Secretary nominee. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved David Shulkin to be Veterans Affairs secretary Tuesday. Following a breezy hearing last week, the committee voted Tuesday to send Shulkin to the full Senate for what’s expected to be an easy confirmation vote, given that he’s received praise from Republicans, Democrats and veterans alike.
Stars and Stripes: Senate committee approves Shulkin’s nomination for VA Secretary. A senate panel quickly and easily approved Tuesday the nomination of David Shulkin to be Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee gathered for a fast vote off the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. They voted 14-0 to approve Shulkin’s nomination, with no dissent. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., had not cast his decision by the time of the vote Tuesday.
Politico: Senate panel approves Shulkin to be VA Secretary. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Thursday overwhelmingly advanced to the full Senate the nomination of David Shulkin to be VA secretary. The vote was 15 to 0 to approve Shulkin, now the VA’s undersecretary of health. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), has said he aims to secure Shulkin’s confirmation before the end of the week.
Military Times: Trump held his first VA listening session without Veterans advocates. White House officials held their first listening session on problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday, but without inviting prominent members of the veterans community to the event. Officials from the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars said they were not invited to the morning event and did not know about it until it was announced late Monday night, as part of the White House’s routine schedule outline.
Washington Examiner (Video): Trump meets with Veterans advocates. President Trump met with veterans advocates Tuesday about ways his administration could reform the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, just hours before his choice to lead the agency, David Shulkin, was set to receive a Senate Veterans Affairs panel vote in favor of his confirmation. Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to Trump, told reporters outside the White House that the president had a “very productive conversation” with advocates about veterans issues.
The Huffington Post: Veterans Wait To Hear About Changes To The VA. Change brings its own challenges. Not an easy time for vets, though many have a lot of practice: waiting for appointments, for treatment, a human voice at the end of a recorded voicemail menu. Before the election the new administration posted a 10-point program to improve veterans’ medical care and services. Veterans are now waiting to hear what the new administration will do.
WFED (AM-1500): VA ‘confident we’re going to commercial’ for HER, scheduling fixes. Millions of dollars and years of faulty pilots and heated congressional hearings have failed to produce more modern, interoperable IT systems at the Veterans Affairs Department, the Government Accountability Office says. But VA insists that the past 18 months have been instrumental in turning that perception around. “We lacked a coherent strategy,” Rob Thomas, VA’s acting assistant secretary and chief information officer, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee during a Feb. 7 hearing.
Federal Computer Week: Congress presses VA to go commercial on IT. Congress is once again looking to the Department of Veterans Affairs to decide whether to keep and improve its home-grown, open source Vista heath record system, or move to a commercial provider. “Retaining or replacing Vista is a make-or-break decision for VA. It must be made deliberatively and objectively,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, at a Feb. 7 hearing.
Healthcare Informatics: Senior VA IT Officials Indicate Department Will transition to Commercial EHR. A senior IT official with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) told members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs during a hearing Tuesday that the department will move to a commercial off-the-shelf electronic health record (EHR) system. Rob Thomas, II, Acting Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and Acting CIO, Office of Information and Technology for the VA, testified before House Veterans Affairs committee members during a hearing focused on accessing the VA IT landscape.
Insights Samsung: Digital Transformation Brings Cost Savings and Private Sector Quality to Government. Government agencies have a reputation in some corners as being traditional and risk-averse — slow to adopt new technologies. However, as government services increase in complexity and citizens come to expect government interactions to be as smooth as consumer transactions, many agencies find themselves turning to digital transformation efforts.
The Huffington Post: Into the Gap: Women veterans Describe Homelessness. Army Reserve Maj. Jas Boothe had orders to Iraq — as well as a young son — when she lost everything she owned to Hurricane Katrina. A few months later, she found herself battling cancer, and cancer treatments meant no deployment, which meant no job, which meant no income. When she was discharged after treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, it was to what she describes as an unsympathetic VA system…
Task & Purpose: A Vets Groups Just Released An Ad Calling Out Trump, But There’s One Problem With it. If that is indeed the case, the narrator would likely not be impacted by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, because he’d be receiving care for his service-connected injury from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Same goes for anyone else enrolled in the VA. The “thousands” of veterans he is referring to are those who either don’t qualify for VA benefits (because of, say, a dishonorable discharge or not enough time in service) or simply choose not to seek treatment from the VA.
Stars and Stripes Marine veteran uses art to cope, lands residency at Gettysburg. Veterans the world over have taken different paths on the way to dealing with those experiences. Nick Collier has taken up the tools of an artist to deal with his pain — tools he once used frequently, but set down as he progressed in his military career.
CNN Iran world’s ‘biggest state sponsor of terrorism,’ Mattis says. US Defense Secretary James Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” in his first comments on the country Saturday, a day after the Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions over an Iranian ballistic missile test.
Associated Press White House predicts courts will reinstate travel ban. Rebuffed in its bid for a quick reversal, the White House said Sunday it expected the courts to reaffirm President Donald Trump’s executive power and reinstate a ban on refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
NBC NATO Critic Trump Agrees to Attend Brussels Summit in May. President Donald Trump spoke with the secretary general of NATO on Sunday and agreed to join a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe later this year, after having repeatedly criticized the alliance and having called it “obsolete” as late as last month.
The Hill Pence on Russia: ‘We’re watching’. Vice President Mike Pence in an interview broadcast Sunday would not say Russia is “on notice” over violating the ceasefire in Ukraine, a phrase President Trump and administration officials used last week while referring to Iran.
The Hill China knocks Mattis remarks on East Asia. A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry slammed Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s assertion that the U.S. would defend Japan’s claim to a group of islands also claimed by China, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
Army Times Army drone goes missing in Arizona. An unmanned aircraft launched Tuesday from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, lost connectivity and hasn’t been found, Army officials said Friday.
Defense News Nearly two-thirds of US Navy’s strike fighters can’t fly. The US Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet strike fighters are the tip of the spear, embodying most of the fierce striking power of the aircraft carrier strike group. But nearly two-thirds of the fleet’s strike fighters can’t fly – grounded because they’re either undergoing maintenance or simply waiting for parts or their turn the aviation depot backlog.
Military Times: This week in Congress: Military readiness hearings pre view budget fights. Also this week, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee is expected to vote Tuesday to advance the nomination of Dr. David Shulkin to serve as the next VA Secretary. That meeting will likely occur off the Senate floor, outside of the regular public hearing format. The full Senate could vote on his confirmation by the end of the week.
WFED (AM-1500, Audio): Shulkin promises employee accountability, VA Choice redesign if confirmed. Dr. David Shulkin, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, seemed to impress many senators at his nomination hearing Wednesday, as he assured members that with his confirmation and leadership, he wouldn’t just be “more of the same.” “There is no doubt that if confirmed as secretary, I will seek major reform and a transformation to the VA,” Shulkin said during his Feb. 1 nomination hearing…
Washington Examiner: David Shulkin, Trump’s VA pick, faces uphill battle to keep president’s many promises. David Shulkin, President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, faces the unique challenge of overhauling a system he’s spent the past two years defending. And with a boss who spent more than a year on the campaign trail shaming VA officials for their recent failures, Shulkin may not have room for error when he tackles problems in one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world.
Task & Purpose: The ‘Removal’ Of Senior Officials Will Be The First Big Test For New Secretary. Assuming Dr. David Shulkin will be confirmed as the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and all indications leave us no reason to think otherwise, he will face a number of tests within the first 100 days. One of those tests involves DeWayne Hamlin, director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who was removed from office and federal service on the same day that President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
The Daily Dot: Vets are targeting Donald Trump with powerful new ads on the shows he watches. The Department of Veterans Affairs underwent massive struggles under the Obama administration that led the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in 2014 after a report found that veterans died due to excessive wait times for healthcare at the VA. Veterans groups American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars applauded progress the agency made under VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who was appointed by Obama after the Shinseki fallout.
Chicago Tribune (Post-Tribune): Veterans looking for more VA improvement. The Veterans Administration is making changes to improve services, a VA official said, but her message was met with some skepticism at the monthly Mayor’s Veterans Committee meeting in Portage. In 2014, scandal rocked the VA with a stream of reports of hospitals and other facilities allegedly neglecting veterans. That sparked major changes in the system and “My VA: Putting Veterans First,” the VA’s approach to focusing more on the needs of vets.
Men’s Health: Who Really Should Get Screened for Lung Cancer? A new study challenges the benefits of current guidelines. Undertaken by the Veterans Administration (VA), the study found that the rate of false positives was more than double that which was found in the NLST. Of the 2,106 patients screened, about 60 percent had nodules, but only about 2 percent required further evaluation—and just 1.5 percent actually had lung cancer. “Lung cancer screening is particularly fraught with difficulty and always has been,” says Leena Gandhi, M.D., Ph.D., of NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center.
Watchdog.org: Latest data show Tomah VA hospital improving in opioid prescriptions, Veteran satisfaction. Despite reports of ongoing painkiller prescription practices and health care delivery concerns at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the scandal-plagued hospital has noted considerable improvement over the past 18 months, according to new data obtained by Wisconsin Watchdog. The facility, described by veterans as “Candyland” because of its practice of overprescribing opioids, has seen pronounced declines in highly addictive painkiller prescriptions, according to a Tomah VAMC fact sheet.
KUER (NPR-90.1, Audio): Preventing Veteran Suicides With A Note On An Index Card. New research from the National Center for Veterans Studies has put strong data behind a remarkably simple approach to suicide prevention among veterans. Craig Bryan is a professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Utah. For the past several years he’s been studying how effective it is for veterans struggling with suicide to deal with their challenges in a remarkably simple way…
Nephrology News & Issues: VA settles lawsuits with dialysis providers. The United States Departments of Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay DaVita Inc. $538 million to settle a lawsuit that began in May 2011. DaVita alleged that the VA had underpaid for dialysis services the company provided from 2005 through 2011. Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. announced that it also has reached an agreement with the VA, resolving reimbursement for services provided to veterans by the company’s dialysis clinics from January 2009 through Feb. 15, 2011.
Military Times Unemployment rate for young vets up again in January. The unemployment rate for the youngest generation of veterans jumped to 6.3 percent in January, the fourth time in the last seven months that group’s figure has been substantially higher than the overall veteran rate.
The Washington Times (AP): Package of Veteran’s mementos makes it home after 4 years. The name of veteran Carl Burnett Burchell was on several items, so Holst called the Department of Veterans Affairs looking for information about the man. When the agency couldn’t help, Holst took his search to the internet. He sent more than 40 Facebook messages to people with potential ties to Burchell. He finally reached the wife of a man named Tim Burchell on Facebook last month.
KMSP (FOX-9): Veteran asks for people to send him letters in the hospital. A patient at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota took out a newspaper ad asking people to send him letters during his last days. The ad read: “James Wiitamaki is dying from cancer at the St. Cloud VA Hospital. He would like to receive letters from people.”
Registration Underway for Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) Mission Healthy Relationship Skills Course, February 17-19, 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia. Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) has space available for its upcoming Mission Healthy Relationship Skills Course to be held February 17-19, in Charlottesville at the Holiday Inn, 1901, Emmet St N. This course serves military veterans and spouses coping with the impact of deployment, military service, post-traumatic stress, operational stress or traumatic brain injury. Full details may be obtained in the attached flyer or clickhere. Questions? Contact Rochelle Clark-Alexander, 540-684-7822 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Submitted by Ms. Tina Parlett-Calhoun, Director of Communications, Virginia Department of Veterans Services, 101 North 14th Street, 17th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.
Day Full of Unlimited Opportunities with Remarkable Veterans. Thursday, February 23, 2017, 110 S. Union Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA, 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM (followed by reception until 7:30 pm). The Muster DC is a one-day celebration designed to showcase veteran entrepreneurs, empower the D.C. entrepreneurial ecosystem, connect veterans with each other, and foster growth, knowledge, and success. For more details and to register, go here: http://us11.campaign-archive2.com/?u=d907c28bbc61151e5a473deee&id=91eff80ae8&e=36c6058233
U.S. Commerce Department’s “Veterans-only” Trade Mission to Vietnam & Singapore scheduled for March 6 through 10, 2017. Please pass along. Thanks to our good friend Colonel Ray Jardine, U.S. Army (Ret) in Hawaii, and amazing Veterans Advocate for getting this word to us. Aloha Ray and thanks! Go here to learn more and to register: https://build.export.gov/main/trademissions/ictasean/index.asp
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.
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.
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.