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A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources
March 2017 issue of Public Health Law News: Each issue features legal news relating to public health and includes announcements; top national, state, and local stories; state and federal court opinions; and interviews.
Stars and Stripes VA one of few agencies Trump recommends for budget increase. President Donald Trump on Thursday proposed a 6 percent boost in funding in 2018 for the Department of Veterans Affairs – one of the few significant increases in a budget blueprint that includes cuts to most federal agencies.
Military Times: VA would see 6 percent boost under Trump’s FY18 budget. The Department of Veterans Affairs would see a 6 percent boost in programming funds under the fiscal 2018 budget outlined by President Trump, one of only a few federal agencies given a plus-up in his funding plan. Discretionary spending would reach $78.9 billion “so that VA can continue to meet the ever-growing demand for health care services while building an integrated system of care that strengthens services within VA…
The Street: Department of Veterans Affairs Gets Budget Boost. The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a 6% increase in its budget under President Trump’s 2018 proposal. The president’s budget requests $78.6 billion in discretionary funding for VA, a $4.4 billion increase from the 2017 level. The Budget is also requesting legislative authority and $3.5 billion in mandatory budget authority in 2018, in order to continue the Veterans Choice Program.
Stars and Stripes Trump’s budget makes sweeping cuts to EPA and State, while boosting defense spending. The Trump administration proposed dramatic cuts Thursday to environmental protection, diplomacy and housing assistance as part of a budget blueprint that would ramp up defense spending and commit more than $4 billion for construction of a border wall with Mexico, setting up a battle with Democrats and potentially even fellow Republicans over government spending priorities.
Associated Press Sex assault reports up at Navy, Army academies. Reports of sexual assaults increased at two of the three military academies last year and an anonymous survey suggests sexual misconduct rose across the board at the schools, The Associated Press has learned.
Stars and Stripes US halts visas for Afghans who aided American forces. Afghans who aided U.S. forces fighting the Taliban can no longer receive special visas for their service, at least until year’s end, said U.S. senators and advocates who are trying to pass legislation to restart the flow of newcomers.
Arizona Business Daily: McCain launches legislation to preserve Veterans Choice Program. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he testified March 7 at a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on behalf of legislation to better veterans benefits. McCain said in a recent release that he and fellow Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-MT) introduced the Veteran’s Choice Program Improvement Act in anticipation of the projected demise of the current Veterans Choice Program.
FOX News: Rep. Phil Roe: The VA must be held accountable, Here’s what Congress needs to do. A recent study completed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that, on average, it takes six months to a year to remove a permanent civil servant in the federal government. Oftentimes, it takes even longer. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not exempt from the red-tape that prevents agency leadership from firing or disciplining employees within their agency.
ABC News (AP): House votes to give VA more power to discipline employees. The Republican-led House approved legislation Thursday to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire, suspend or demote employees for poor performance or bad conduct, part of a renewed GOP effort targeting VA accountability in the new Trump administration. The bill, which passed 237-178, would reduce the time that workers have available under a union grievance process to appeal a disciplinary action. Any employee facing discipline would receive advance notice of 10 days.
The Hill: House votes to make it easier to fire VA employees for misconduct. The House passed legislation on Thursday that would give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) more power to quickly remove employees for misconduct. The measure, approved largely along party lines on a vote of 237-178, allows the VA more leeway to punish employees found to be incompetent or engaging in wrongdoing.
Military Times: House passes contentious bills on Veterans gun rights. House lawmakers approved a pair of contentious veterans policy measures on Thursday which would make it easier to fire Veterans Affairs employees and allow some “mentally incompetent” veterans to own firearms. Both measures have drawn criticism from Democrats in recent days, who questioned why the bills were rushed ahead of widely supported proposals like a plan to reform the appeals process for veterans disability benefits.
Stars and Stripes: House passes bill enabling gun sales to Veterans deemed ‘mentally incompetent’. The House on Thursday passed legislation prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs from placing veterans on a no-gun list, despite outcry from some Democrats and former military leaders. The House voted 240-175 approving the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which will now go to the Senate. Critics of the bill said it would make it easier for veterans with mental illnesses to access firearms…
The Hill: Give our Veterans considering suicide help, not a gun. As the Army’s vice chief of staff, I spent much of my time working on a crisis most Americans don’t even realize exists. A crisis that on average takes the lives of 20 American veterans each day: the devastating epidemic of veteran suicide. Our brave men and women in uniform risk their lives daily to make America safer. But for many, when they return home, the battles they face are far from over.
Newsweek: American Legion: Department of Veterans Affair’s Disarming Policy Must Go. Current Department of Veterans Affairs policy unfairly imposes upon the Second Amendment rights of veterans who are experiencing financial difficulty and require VA assistance in managing their money. Under current VA rules, all such veterans are considered incompetent forcing officials to report them to the FBI to have their names listed on the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) System.
The Roanoke Times: Med Beat: Former Salem VA director tapped for leadership role. Veterans Administration Secretary David Shulkin has promoted the former director of the Salem VA Medical Center to a leadership role. Dr. Miguel LaPuz, who was in Salem from 2011 to 2015, began his new assignment Monday as acting VA principal deputy under secretary for health. LaPuz last year was appointed director of the Veterans Integrated Service Network in Florida.
Modern Healthcare: VA healthcare remains a high waste and management risk. The Veterans Administration’s healthcare IT continues to be outdated, inefficient and without sufficient interoperability, and the agency needs to take significant steps before it’s no longer considered a high risk of fraud and abuse, the U.S. Government Accountability Office told a Senate panel on Wednesday.
Military.com: Expanding veterans’ mental health Care. The brave men and women who stand in defense of our nation have experienced the unfortunate realities of combat that most of us only see portrayed in war movies. Many of these heroes who have displayed immense strength and courage often are living with unseen injuries. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Bloomberg Business Week: These VR Systems Help Treat Veterans Recovering From PTSD. The VR images on Rizzo’s proprietary headsets aren’t meant for the Call of Duty crowd. Rizzo runs Bravemind, an academia-Pentagon venture that makes VR hardware and software for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. “It’s about confronting your past and moving past it,” says the 62-year-old, motorcycle-riding, Uggs-wearing Ph.D. “A medical VR version of prolonged exposure therapy.”
MedicalXpress: Drug and alcohol problems linked to increased Veterans suicide risk especially in women. Veterans who have drug or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades, a new study finds. And women veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide—more than five times that of their peers, the research shows. The risk of suicide differs depending on the type of substance the veteran has problems with, according to the study.
WRIC (ABC-8, Video): Paralyzed Veterans Gain Independence With McGuire Study. New research at McGuire VA Medical Center is helping some paralyzed veterans literally take steps to improve their lives. Currently, there are six veterans enrolled in the study on ReWalk, the first FDA-approved exoskeleton for both home and hospital usage. After training, approved patients are able to take the robotic device home to see how regular use aids not only their physical health but also their emotional well-being.
Modern Healthcare: VA to build 3-D printing network. The VA is identifying 3-D printing experts throughout its medical centers to find the best specialist for each device that needs to be made. The launch of the network coincides with a donation of five printers, materials and training from Stratasys, a 3-D printer manufacturer with headquarters in Israel and the Minneapolis area.
Healthcare IT News: VA under new fire for high-risk status, IT, Scheduling Systems. VA Inspector General Michael Missal had a laundry list of damning evaluations concerning the state of VA and its IT systems. Those include: Ambiguous policies, inconsistent processes, inadequate oversight, delays, series of questionable decisions and mismanagement by Veterans’ Affairs senior officials, and more.
Health Data Management: VA decision to replace VistA with commercial HER expected by July 1. David Shulkin, MD, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, would like to see his agency’s information technology needs met by commercial-off-the-shelf software. However, whether that transformation will result in the VA replacing its legacy electronic health record system with a commercial EHR is a decision that Shulkin needs more time to consider.
WPEC (CBS-12): VA orders facilities to display temporary photos of Trump, Shulkin. The Department of Veterans Affairs ordered all facilities Thursday to put up temporary official photos of President Trump and VA Secretary Shulkin. The decision came after CBS12 broke the story. Earlier this week, Congressman Brian Mast and a group of angry veterans demanded the West Palm Beach VA hospital put up the portraits. Workers put them up, only to have the hospital take them down again, citing it must follow protocol.
WJON (CMN-1240): St. Cloud VA Still Waiting for President Trump’s Portrait, Ask for Patience. The switchboard at the St. Cloud VA has been lighting up over the past few days. Callers are questioning why there’s no official portrait of President Trump hanging at the VA yet. We’ve received numerous phone calls this morning, as well as yesterday, regarding the fact that there’s not a photo displayed. Some are indignant. I would tell them to check their anger.
VA’s The American Veteran video series highlights Veterans stories: This month, VA is re-launching its award-winning video series, The American Veteran. As part of its ongoing effort to engage and reach out to the Veteran community, VA’s quarterly half-hour video program will highlight VA’s services and the benefits Veterans have earned. Each episode will include information on benefits or products as well as stories from Veterans and links to resources. The video program adds to the number of innovative ways VA communicates directly with Veterans and their families. VA has a robust presence online, with more than 150 Facebook pages, most of which belong to individual VA medical centers. VA’s digital presence also includes the VAntage Point blog, nearly 100 Twitter feeds, Instagram, a Flickr page containing more than 32,000 photos, and a YouTube channel with nearly 1,000 videos, which has amassed more than 5.6 million views. Most recently, the department launched the “This Week at VA” podcast, which is available through both iTunes and Stitcher.
ABC News (AP): Winners and losers in trump’s first budget plan. Military spending would get the biggest boost in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. Environmental programs, medical research, Amtrak and an array of international and cultural programs — from Africa to Appalachia — would take big hits, among the many parts of the government he’d put on a crash diet…Veterans Affairs. Up 5.9 percent. That’s an additional $4.4 billion, driven by ever-growing health care costs.
Stars and Stripes Sex assault reports up at Navy, Army academies. Reports of sexual assaults increased at two of the three military academies last year and an anonymous survey suggests sexual misconduct rose across the board at the schools, The Associated Press has learned.
Money: Thousands of Veterans and their Families Would Lose Insurance Under the AHCA. The rollback Fischer is referring to is a nod to President Donald Trump’s promise to “get our veterans the care they need wherever and whenever they need it.” Trump has also vowed to cut wait times at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and increase the number of mental health professionals available.
The Washington Post (Video): Veterans Affairs budget is in line to grow by 6 percent. The Department of Veterans Affairs, the second-largest federal agency with 313,000 civilian employees and a far-flung hospital system, is one of the few corners of the government that would see its budget grow in the next fiscal year — by 6 percent. During his campaign, President Trump promised dramatic reforms at an agency he said was filled with a culture of “fraud, coverups and wrongdoing” after a 2014 scandal…
WFED (AM-1500): Transformation is ‘a marathon, not a sprint,’ VA says. The Government Accountability Office is questioning whether the Veterans Affairs Department has the right people, skills and attention devoted to removing VA healthcare from its biennial High-Risk List. GAO offered its expertise to help VA leadership address its challenges, and it has seen some progress. But it’s not good enough, and VA remains on the 2017 list.
Stars and Stripes: Senators want details on VA’s plan to provide mental health care for ‘bad paper’ Vets. Eight Democrats in the Senate are seeking more details from the Department of Veterans Affairs about an announcement last week that the VA would provide urgent mental health care to veterans with other-than-honorable discharges. In a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin, the senators wrote the announcement had sparked interest from some veterans with other-than-honorable discharges who are now scrambling to find more information about what services the VA will provide.
Military Times: VA plans to help ‘bad paper’ Veterans don’t go far enough. A Capitol Hill conference room erupted in cheers March 7 when Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced that he would start providing mental health services to “bad paper” veterans – men and women who, typically for minor disciplinary problems and often as a result of mental health issues that started in service, have been denied access to most VA care.
Newsweek (Video): Guns in America: Bill Seeks to Allow Gun Sales to Mentally Ill Vets. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected this week to consider a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from submitting to the federal criminal background check system the records of veterans with severe mental illnesses without judicial rulings. As it now works, veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” by the VA are placed on the list of individuals who could be denied weapons permits.
WJON (CMN-1240, Audio): Voice For Veterans: National Nutrition Month. Today on WJON I talked with Barry Venable (Public Affairs Officer) and Nutritionist Kari De Fouw from the St. Cloud V.A. during our Voices For Veterans segment. The topic of discussion was on nutrition and how veterans and get help through the V.A. Barry discussed the hiring of Stephen Black as the new St. Cloud V.A. Director.
Statesman Journal: Female Veterans honored at new art exhibit. The exhibition, which represents all five branches of military service, spotlights women as veterans and shines a light on the contributions, needs and experiences of women who have served in the military. It is a partnership between the ODVA and Portland State University’s Veterans Resource Center.
The Times-Picayune: New Orleans’ old VA hospital picked for homeless shelter. The former Veterans Affairs hospital site in downtown New Orleans has been picked for redevelopment into a new low-barrier homeless shelter in a joint project of the Downtown Development District and the city with financial backing from tourism and convention groups. The old hospital has been replaced with the new VA medical facility in Mid-City, although a renovated wing of the building still houses the VA’s Community Resource Referral Center…
WPEC (CBS-12): Another VA Center has no POUS portrait displayed. Some south Florida veterans are upset with the VA Medical Center in WPB. They want a photo of President Trump displayed in the lobby. And we’ve discovered that’s not the only VA facility that hasn’t put up a photo of the commander in chief. In the lobby of the Delray Beach VA clinic at Military and Linton, much to the dismay of some veterans, you won’t find President Trump’s picture.
The Palm Beach Post: Still no portrait of trump at VA hospital? Vets, Mast cry foul. Upset that a portrait of President Donald Trump has yet to be displayed at the Veterans Administration hospital here, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast and a few local veterans took the initiative. On Tuesday morning, Mast, R-Palm City, visited the facility in Riviera Beach with photos of Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Mast asked a VA employee to hang the portraits in the hospital’s lobby.
New York Post: VA hospital yanks ‘inappropriate’ portraits of trump, Shulkin. Officials at a Florida VA hospital gave President Trump the brushoff — removing a portrait that a local congressman provided of the commander-in-chief. Rep. Brian Mast, who helped hang the unofficial portraits of Trump and VA Secretary David Shulkin at the medical center in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, said they were promptly removed.
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
2017 Veterans in Business Conference – 12th year. Registration is open for Sponsors, Exhibitors and General Admission. Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:45am – 3:30pm, Army-Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202 http://www.veteransbusinessconference.org/ Presented by the Veterans Business Outreach Center, Community Business Partnership, A Sponsored Program of the GMU Mason Enterprise Center
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 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
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: