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Saturday and Sunday Interments in National Cemeteries - VA Conducts Study and Seeks Comments. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a Request for Information in the August 9, 2017, edition of the Federal Register, relating to VA’s conduct of a study on the feasibility and need for providing increased interments in VA national cemeteries on Saturdays and Sundays. Section 304 of the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-315) (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) requires VA conduct this study. VA’s notice requests comments and feedback from interested parties to help inform VA as it conducts this study, to include specific questions for comment (see below) with regard to the perceived need for such increased interments. Comments in response to this request for information must be received by VA on or before September 8, 2017. Details here…
Stars and Stripes Marines eye plan to put women in West Coast combat training. The Marine Corps is eyeing a plan to let women attend what has been male-only combat training in Southern California, as officials work to quash recurring problems with sexism and other bad behavior among Marines, according to Marine Corps officials.
Navy Times Navy increasing orders lead times. Navy personnel officials received approval for a $257 million plus-up from Congress that they say will allow the service to beginning cutting more orders — some as much as six months out.
Stars and Stripes Navy extends USS Nimitz stay in Persian Gulf . The Navy informed families Saturday that the USS Nimitz, which was involved in a second incident with Iran on Tuesday, will extend its stay in the Persian Gulf.
Associated Press Daunting budget deadlines loom for government. The Trump administration and Congress face a daunting set of budget-related deadlines in the coming weeks. Blowing them could cause a partial government shutdown and upend global financial markets.
Defense News Thorny fiscal deadlines await Congress’s return. The Trump administration and Congress face a trio of high-priority budget items when lawmakers return from recess in September. If they stumble, it could lead to a partial government shutdown.
Washington Examiner Bill banning VA's dog testing program draws an opponent: Disabled veterans. Groups representing disabled veterans and medical researchers warned this week that legislation banning most medical experimentation on dogs at the Department of Veterans Affairs would deprive veterans of needed medical breakthroughs, and thus represents a dangerous policy change for America's war heroes.
WUOM (NPR-91.7, Audio): The VA, America’s largest integrated health system, turns 96 years old. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the country's largest integrated health system. Nearly nine million of America’s veterans get medical care from the VA. Ninety-six years ago today, the precursor to what we now know as the VA began with a stroke of President Warren G. Harding’s pen.
PBS: How the massive, pioneering and embattled VA health system was born. On this day in 1921, President Warren G. Harding cut short his summer vacation at Mount Prospect, New Hampshire, and returned to Washington to sign Public Law 67-47, an act that marked the most ambitious domestic program of his presidency. The flourish of his fountain pen created a Veterans Bureau meant to take care of and treat disabled war veterans.
CBS News (Video): Promise tracker: Is Trump keeping his word on opioids? I would also restore accountability to our Veterans Administration. Too many of our brave veterans have been prescribed these dangerous and addictive drugs by a VA that should have been paying them better attention. In late June, 2017 President Trump signed the bipartisan bill Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 that was supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
KPBS (PBS-15, Audio): VA Study Shows Yoga Can Lower Dependence On Pain Meds. The Veterans Health Administration is searching for ways to wean veterans off pain medication. A new study from the San Diego VA shows that the right kind of yoga can be a long term solution. “It’s an ongoing battle. A struggle. Sometimes I’ve had to call in sick because I can’t get out of bed,” said Matthew Castro, who works at the VA in San Diego. Lower back pain has haunted him since his time in the Navy.
Texas Public Radio (Audio): Poly-Trauma Rehab Helps Service Members and Veterans Heal in San Antonio. Treating American service members hurt in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts created a new military emphasis on polytrauma -- a medical term meaning more than one serious injury. The complex wounds of war also created a need for a new model of care that today is helping veterans and active duty military heal. Air force veteran William Geralds knows the meaning of the phrase hard work.
WFED (AM-1500): Solving VA’s problems, one innovative idea at a time. More than 4,000 miles separate Alaska and Louisiana, but the two states are working hand in hand to engage and retain Department of Veterans Affairs employees. Amy Thames of the Alexandria VA Health Care System in Louisiana, and Roxanne Nilsson of the Alaska VA Health System, are leading JumpStart onboarding efforts in their respective medical centers, and they came to Washington, D.C. to talk about their progress during the VA Innovation Demo Day.
WOAI (NBC-4): Vacant buildings at the VA costing taxpayers millions. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been trying to regain the trust of veterans after scandals involving long wait times and poor hospital conditions. Now a government report reveals another problem: vacant buildings costing millions to maintain. News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila toured some of them not so far from San Antonio.
ABC News (AP): Mortgage lender PHH agrees to pay $74 million settlement. Federal prosecutors in Minnesota say PHH Corp. and two subsidiaries have agreed to pay over $74 million to settle allegations they violated standards for underwriting government-backed mortgages. Acting U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Gregory Brooker said in a statement Tuesday that Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based PHH submitted defective loans for government insurance, and that homeowners and taxpayers paid the price.
Armenian Weekly: A Purposeful Visit to Great Lakes National Cemetery. Who better deserves top-notch medical attention than these men and women who served our country, putting life and limb on line to preserve freedom? Didn’t we always feel safe here in this country, even though we heard during World War II that the enemy had come dangerously close to our shores?
Federal Computer Week: VA’s legacy systems aren’t ready for the Data Act. A just-released oversight report reveals that legacy systems at the Department of Veterans Affairs aren't ready to support many Data Act requirements. According to the report, dated November 2016 but released on Aug. 8, there are serious limitations posed by the department's legacy systems that challenge financial reporting requirements mandated by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.
Washington Examiner (Video):Fire Alarm Ends VA Secretary’s Speech On Innovation. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Tuesday was forced to end his speech about VA innovations early because of a fire alarm. Shulkin was speaking at Georgetown University about innovative steps the VA is taking to improve healthcare access for veterans, when a fire alarm suddenly blared out. "Now, the question is, what do we do?" he said as the audience laughed. "Let's see if somebody comes and tells us"
Military.com: 1st Woman to Head DAV Will Focus On Female Vet, Caregiver Issues. The first female commander of a top veteran advocacy organization, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), credits a lifelong love of asking questions and a willingness to try new things with leading her to the new job. Retired Army reservist Delphine Metcalf-Foster was elected to the role Aug. 1 at the DAV's annual meeting in New Orleans.
Volunteers sought for reading of the names at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1982, a promise was made to never forget those who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Etched in its black granite walls are the names of 58,318 service members who were killed or remain missing. The Wall honors their courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country. Since its inception, The Wall has become a sacred place for loved ones and visitors to pay their respects. By separating the war from the warrior, The Wall began a process of national healing. This year marks the 35th Anniversary of The Wall. In commemoration of the Anniversary, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is honored to host the …
Duluth News-Tribune: Former brewing president not regretting decision to leave retirement, work in Trump administration. Jake Leinenkugel has no regrets about coming out of retirement to become a senior adviser to the White House for the Department of Veterans Affairs. "It's rewarding and challenging," Leinenkugel said. "I come into work, and I tell myself I try to make a difference to one veteran every day. And at the end of the day, 12 or 13 hours later, I wonder as I walk out, did I make a difference? I'm actually working as hard as I ever did."
Stars and Stripes: Report: Pentagon not providing adequate care to troops at risk of suicide. Defense Department health care providers do a good job of screening for suicide risk, but they fail to provide critical and effective follow-up treatment to servicemembers identified as suicidal, according to a Rand Corp. report released Monday. Rand researchers found appropriate follow-up care was given to only 30 percent of servicemembers with depression and 54 percent of servicemembers with post-traumatic stress disorder who were at risk of suicide.
Vietnam Veterans of AmericaVVA Slams DoD for Failing to Treat Troops with PTSD. “What is made clear in the RAND report released early this morning is that the Department of Defense is treating troops' health as a box-checking exercise," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America. "Why is it that once a service member is screened positively for depression or PTSD, that they aren't focusing on evidenced-based treatment and positive outcomes?" "The reports we have seen this year about how the military treats troops with PTSD are infuriating," continued Rowan. "In May, the Government Accountability Office released a report showing that tens of thousands of veterans with PTSD and related conditions were kicked out with bad paper and reduced access to GI Bill and health benefits. What was made clear in RAND's report today is that Congress needs to step in and hold people accountable for kicking out so many veterans with psychiatric conditions without ever giving them the tools they need to recover."
The Washington Post (Power Post): Veterans’ health-care gap creates ‘greater risk’ for opioid abuse. The information about the veteran is scant, clinical in tone, yet disturbing. “At the time of his death, the patient was a male in his forties with a past medical history significant for PTSD, chronic low back pain, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, and depression,” the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general reported.
The Hill: The need to reform compensation for Veterans with mental health disabilities. When wounded, ill, or injured service members are no longer able to perform their military duties, their medical conditions are evaluated to determine appropriate pay and benefits. This process is intended to fulfill the armed forces’ primary obligation to maintain combat readiness by removing unfit troops, while simultaneously ensuring fair compensation for veterans’ disabilities.
WFED (AM-1500): More funding, accountability for VA Choice program proposed, now what? Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin received his wish last week as the House passed a bill that will add an additional $2.1 billion for the Veterans Choice Program. The bill, also known as the Choice Act, was introduced just weeks before the current Choice program funding was set to expire, and passed as a last-minute decision before Congress left for the August recess.
The Eagle-Tribune: VA secretary responds to whistleblowers on NH hospital. In response to a major push led by a doctor from Newburyport, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin announced on Friday he would invest $30 million in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, to improve patient care and called for a national search to replace three hospital administrators.
Mississippi Today: Access to Health Care: Record-breaking waits at VA. Dr. David Walker, the medical center’s director, said resolving the issue has been his “number one priority.” He has the funding to hire 25 full-time doctors. What he doesn’t have, however, is a large pool of doctors either in Mississippi or willing to move here. “We are hurting because we don’t have enough primary care doctors. But it is hard to recruit doctors to Mississippi,” Walker said in a recent town hall meeting at the VA. “And if veterans don’t choose this VA, we won’t survive.”
Democrat & Chronicle: Schumer calls for Veteran’s compensation for Agent Orange-linked glioblastoma. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer stood alongside Lindsay Cray at the Veterans Outreach Center on Monday to urge action be taken to provide federal compensation for Cray's father Tom, a Rochester Vietnam veteran who founded the center and is now fighting glioblastoma. From 1962 to 1975, the U.S. military used Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide to eliminate forest cover and crops for their opponents.
WHEC (NBC-10, Video): Veteran says VA won’t recognize brain tumor could be linked to Agent Orange. A veteran who helped service members in our area for decades is facing a new battle. Tom Cray founded the Veterans Outreach Center and led the organization for years. He's battling a cancerous brain tumor, but can't get VA compensation. Cray served two tours of duty in Vietnam where he came in contact with Agent Orange.
McKnight’s: Improving end-of-life care begins with honoring patient preferences. When it comes to dying in the United States, the interests and inclinations of payers and providers often outweigh the needs of patients, especially when it comes to end-of-life care. Take hospice care for seniors. If Medicare beneficiaries choose hospice care, they lose Medicare coverage for disease modifying interventions, nursing home and hospital care. This isn't much of a choice for patients and certainly doesn't account for their preferences.
Military Times: Ashford University maintains GI Bill eligibility, blasts VA. An online university in danger of losing its eligibility to enroll GI Bill users, recently allowed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue such enrollments pending court appeals, is accusing the VA of disseminating bad information and wants students to go to the White House with complaints. The VA announced last month it was pulling Ashford University’s eligibility to accept GI Bill funds on Aug. 16…
Journal-Advocate: Local VA director receives DAV award, Roberts named Outstanding Employee of the Year. There are more than 350,000 full-time VA employees, but only three — one from each administration — were singled out to receive awards at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and DAV Auxiliary's 96th National Convention in New Orleans, on July 31. This year's National Commander's Award for Outstanding Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Employee of the Year went to Paul L. Roberts, director of the Cheyenne VA Medical Center.
Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) offering Relationship Building Course for Military/ Veteran couples, August 18 -20, 2017, Richmond, VA. Details here…..
American Legion will be hosting a Career Fair as well as an Employment Summit in conjunction with the American Legion Annual Convention in Reno, NV. Employment Summit is August 18 – 19, 2017. Details here… Veterans Employment Workshop and Veterans Career and Benefits Fair is August 22, 2017. Details here…
Objective Rally Point (ORP). Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 7:15 AM - 9:00 AM, Army-Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. You are invited to join us for our monthly Veteran networking breakfast on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. ORP is a forum for military Veterans in business and those who support them, or wish to team with them, to meet and connect. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to network with other Veterans committed to success in business. Although the focus of ORP is on the connections made between and with Veterans, we do have a presentation each month. This month we are very fortunate to have our annual panel of Federal Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Directors. Confirmed to participate on the panel are, Dr James Galvin, Deputy Director for Portfolio Management & Outreach, DoD Office of Small Business Programs, David Canada, Procurement Analyst/Program Manager, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Also invited to participate are Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security and OSDBUs from the military services. This is an incredible panel of government small business representatives and advocates who will provide information and perspective from several different agencies on how Veterans can be successful in marketing and winning contracts. Any Veteran interested in contracting with the government needs to attend and gain the benefit of decades of small business experience on the panel. Cost is $35.00. For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/objective-rally-point-august-2017-tickets-36778817433
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/