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VA OIG – Healthcare Inspection—Quality of Care Concerns at Two Veterans Integrated Service Network 23 Facilities and a Veterans Readjustment Counseling Center, St. Cloud VA Health Care System, St. Cloud, Minnesota; the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis.https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-15-00509-301.pdf
A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources
Saluting the 100-year legacy of World War I Veterans: This year marks the 100th anniversary when the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1914. On this Bastille Day, Friday, July 14, the French people will honor our continuing commitment as trusted allies by inviting the United States military to lead the traditional military parade. Nearly 200 American service members will march along the Champs-Elysees in commemoration of the U.S. entry into “the Great War.” VA is a proud participant in the United States World War I Centennial Commission tribute to our past Veterans. Nearly five million men and women served in WWI with 116,516 giving their lives in the line of duty. More than 320,000 were injured in service to our nation. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American Veteran died in 2011. We should never forget these dedicated service members whose commitment in a new kind of warfare forever changed the world. World affairs, military technology and geo-political maps formed during the war from 1914 – 1918 remain today.
Military Times This week in Congress: Nominations abound. After months of complaints from lawmakers over the slow pace of executive branch nominations, key defense and veterans committees will handle a host of high-profile confirmation hearings this week, potentially stocking President Donald Trump’s administration before the August break.
ABC News (AP): Lawyers: Government seeking to depart Iraq War Veteran. An immigrant rights group is asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to release an Iraq War veteran who has been detained for more than three months while waiting to learn whether he’ll be deported. Chong Kim, a South Korean immigrant and green card holder from Portland, Oregon, joined the National Guard in 2005 and served in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
The Stranger (SLOG): Army team Leader, VA Psychologist Write Letters to ICE to Free Detained Iraq Veteran in Tacoma. Chong Kim, an Army vet who served in Iraq, came to the United States from South Korea at the age of five. Today, he sits in Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center awaiting deportation proceedings. You can read more about Kim’s story—his service, his subsequent struggles with addiction, homelessness, and a conviction for attempted arson—in this Guardian story.
Bloomberg: GOP Leaders Plan for Senate to Vote First on Debt Limit, Sources Say. Republican leaders plan for the Senate to move first in August to raise the U.S. debt limit, with the House to act later, two people who were briefed on the plan said Friday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters this week he wants to act on a debt limit increase before leaving Washington for the August recess.
WFED (AM-1500): Lawmakers call for full review of outdated and crumbling VA facilities. Congress is once again attempting what has since been an impossible task — a full and actionable review of the Veterans Affairs Department’s more than 6,000 owned buildings and 1,500 leased facilities that many say are underutilized, outdated and insufficient to meet the modern medical needs of an evolving veteran population.
The Wall Street Journal: GOP May tie Debt-Limit Increase to Veterans Bill. Republicans are considering tying a must-pass increase in the federal debt limit to funding for a program that lets military veterans get medical care outside of Veterans Affairs facilities, people familiar with the idea said. The legislative move, still in the early stages of discussion on Capitol Hill, would let Republicans claim a policy victory while raising the federal borrowing cap.
Healthcare IT News: Senate passes VA appropriations bill, omits Cerner HER funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the 2018 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill on Thursday, which provides the agency with $192.8 billion in total funding. Included in the funds is $88.9 billion in discretionary funding – $6 billion more than the fiscal year 2017. But the amount is $568 million less than what was proposed in the President’s budget request.
The Atlantic: How VA Reform turned into a fight Over Privatization. In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs was mired in a scandal. An inspector general’s report had found “systemic” manipulation by government officials to hide lengthy and growing wait times at its medical centers. Veterans were waiting months for appointments, and dozens may have died because they could not get treated in time.
The Boston Globe: Top 2 officials out at Manchester VA hospital. Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin on Sunday removed the two top officials at the Manchester VA Medical Center and ordered a “top-to-bottom” review of New Hampshire’s only hospital for veterans. Shulkin’s action came within hours after the Boston Globe published a Spotlight Team report detailing what several doctors and other medical staffers allege is dangerously substandard care given at the facility.
The Washington Times (AP): Top officials at Veterans hospital removed from duty. Two top officials at a New Hampshire’s only hospital for veterans have been removed following a report alleging “dangerously substandard care” at the facility. The Boston Globe reports Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin removed Manchester VA Medical Center Director Danielle Ocker and Chief of Staff James Schlosser Sunday.
Reuters Health: Dying Veterans boost participation in hospice care. An initiative to enroll dying veterans in hospice care appears to be working, and its success may offer clues for how to persuade others who are terminally ill to join the highly lauded end-of-life program, a new study shows.
The Hill: VA secretary vows to bring down Veteran suicide rate. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin pledged to combat suicide among veterans in a pre-taped interview on Sunday, saying the current veterans suicide rate is “unacceptable.” “The issue of veterans suicide is our number one clinical priority in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it’s really the only clinical priority that I talk about as our major focus,” Shulkin told John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York on Sunday.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Mental Health Summit highlights mental health services, partnerships, change through Lubbock VA clinic. The Lubbock VA Clinic has doubled its staff and amped its efforts to provide adequate mental health care for veterans within the past eight years, according to Dr. Michael Lambert. Its two biggest priorities regarding mental health have been to increase access for veterans and decrease rates of suicide among the veteran population, said Lambert, chief of mental health and behavioral services for the Amarillo VA Healthcare System.
KKCO (NBC-11, Video): Mental health summit addresses opioid issues. Veterans are twice as likely to die from an accidental overdose than civilians. That was one of the issues discussed at the VA mental health summit on Thursday in Grand Junction. Speakers talked about how prescribing more and more opioids creates more problems than fix. The community came together to learn more what it can do to curb the opioid epidemic affecting veterans across the country.
Commercial-News: Chaplains help Vets in various ways. Chaplains at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System are on call 24 hours a day — whether in person, by phone or through computer. A new teleconferencing feature is available to veterans so they can speak with a chaplain from their home. The VA provides a camera that attaches to a computer; if the veteran doesn’t have a computer, the VA will provide a tablet.
Stars and Stripes: House plans to pass ‘Forever’ GI Bill by August. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing Monday about a large expansion of veterans’ education benefits with a plan to vote on the measure Wednesday and have the bill sail through the House in just two weeks, ahead of a monthlong summer recess.
WISH (CBS-8, Video): Veterans await help after I tech shutdown. When Carmel-based ITT Technical Institute shut down, thousands of the students impacted were veterans. Classes just stopped, and few other schools would accept their credits. Many veterans had spent their GI Bill education benefits there. U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican from Shelbyville, is hoping to change that.
Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin Veterans agency loses federal funding for long-running homeless Veterans program. Two residential programs for homeless Wisconsin veterans are set to close this fall after the state Department of Veterans lost federal funding to operate them. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs did not renew the grants for the state’s homeless programs located at the King and Union Grove veteran nursing homes, displacing 47 veterans who will be moved to other facilities.
Los Angeles Times $5-million program finds housing for only 268 veterans, report says. A $5-million program to assist homeless veterans has helped only 268 get off the streets over 18 months, according to a recent Los Angeles County civil grand jury report — in part because a $1.2-million contract to provide interim shelter has been delayed for nearly a year.
The Post and Courier: Former motel to house homeless Veterans in North Charleston. An aging North Charleston motel will soon house some of the Charleston area’s homeless veterans. The former Catalina Inn on Rivers Avenue is being transformed into 74 studio apartments called Patriot Villas, set to open Aug. 1. Lowcountry leaders and military officials formally launched the project Friday with remarks and a ribbon-cutting.
Star Tribune: Minnesota Veterans of the CIA’s ‘secret war’ seek an honorable burial. The old soldier bears scars of his many brushes with death. The hollow where a bullet went through his arm. Discolored skin where a hand grenade blast nearly severed his leg. Shrapnel in his body that sets off airport metal detectors. Khao Insixiengmay survived 13 years of war and another dozen in a prison camp before emigrating from his native Laos to the Twin Cities.
Associated Press Burns sees Vietnam War as virus, documentary as vaccination. Filmmaker Ken Burns views the Vietnam War as a virus that infected Americans with an array of chronic illnesses — alienation, a lack of civil discourse, mistrust of government and each other. And he hopes his new documentary can be part of a cure.
WSGW (AP-790): Saginaw Township Girl Selling Lemonade To Help Veterans. For years, young people have had a lemonade stand in front of their home. An 11-year-old Saginaw Township girl, Samantha Stricker, is taking the concept to a new level. She’s heard of kids selling lemonade for cancer or other charities, but never to help veterans. It’s the third year for her lemonade stand, raising $250 in the first two years. She has a goal of $500 this year.
The Washington Times (AP): At 111, oldest WWII Veteran visits Memphis for documentary. Despite the swelling crowd that milled about, silence descended on the baggage claim area of Memphis International Airport this past Thursday as the most famous passenger on Flight 511 sat in a wheelchair posing for photos with strangers and accepting handshakes from children born a full century after he was.
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
Hundreds of Veterans to Participate in National Veterans Wheelchair Games.Largest wheelchair sporting event provides therapeutic benefit to disabled U.S. Veterans. Nearly 600 of the country’s best wheelchair athletes are arriving in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 37th National Veterans Wheelchair Games being held July 17–22, 2017. https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2929
Hire Our Heroes Virtual Career Fair, July 25, 2017. Click on following link for details and to sign up. http://www.targetedjobfairs.com/july-25-2017-hire-our-heroes-virtual-career-fair/#tab-id-2
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=
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: