(Please Note: The Veterans News compiled and transmitted by Wayne M. Gatewood, Jr., USMC (Ret), does not endorse the views and/or facts presented, or any commercial products that may be advertised or available on external links. The presence of a link to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of that site, or the views or privacy policies contained therein).
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, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis. https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-15-00509-301.pdf
A Variety of Veterans News from Variety of Sources
Shulkin to VFW: We want Veterans to get the right care at the right place: On Monday, July 24, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin addressed an audience of VFW and Auxiliary members at the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) 118th National Convention in New Orleans. In his remarks, Shulkin spoke on the five key priorities he has identified to transform VA. The first of those five priorities is to give Veterans greater choice. “When I talk about greater choice, right now we have a system that I would call a rules-based system,” Shulkin said, highlighting how administrative rules, such as how far a Veteran lives from a VA, dictates whether that person can get care in their local community. “I believe we need a system that’s not based on rules, but is based on your clinical needs.”
Stars and Stripes Pentagon: Chinese fighters intercepted US Navy spy plane. Two Chinese fighter jets performed a dangerous intercept of an American spy plane Sunday over the East China Sea, forcing the Navy EP-3 reconnaissance jet to maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
Marine Corps Times Marine’s 4-year-old son melts hearts across the country. Marine Sgt. Joshua Newville and Senior Airman Emily Leehan exchanged wedding vows in front of their closest friends and family over the weekend, but it was Leehan’s vows to Newville’s 4-year-old son Gage that captured hearts across the country.
Stars and Stripes Changes to Air Force PME program prove popular with airmen. Recent changes to the Air Force’s professional military education program for enlisted airmen were met with enthusiastic praise in work centers, dining facilities, online communities, and pretty much anywhere airmen talk.
Military Times Bringing back the draft. Restarting the military draft after more than four decades of an all-volunteer force would be complicated. But it could be done.
Military Times: House Veterans Affairs Chairman Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer. The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, but does not expect it to interfere with his legislative schedule. In a statement, staffers said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., received the news following a recent routine physical and will undergo treatment in Tennessee during the August work period.
Military Times: Trump promises huge increase in private sector care for Veterans. President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice” in coming months as part of an ongoing, ambitious reform plan at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The comments, which came at a veterans rally in Ohio, are likely to again stoke concerns among administration critics of large-scale privatization of VA responsibilities.
The Vindicator: Trump rubs shoulders, lauds Veterans during Struthers stop. President Donald Trump stopped by Struthers to rub shoulders with a small group of veterans before his big rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. He spoke to an audience of about 150 at Struthers AMVETS Post 44, 305 Elm St., arriving at 6:26 p.m. and accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.
WKBN (CBS-27, Video): Trump spoke to Veterans AMVES Post 44. Prior to his rally at Covelli Centre Tuesday night, President Donald Trump spoke at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers. He said he is committed to helping veterans and — while not getting into specifics — hinted that a new VA healthcare facility could be coming to the area. “In my administration, we will always protect those who protect us,” he said.
The Pavlovic Today (Video): Remarks By President Trump Saluting American Heroes. Read the full remarks by President Trump saluting American Veterans […] Now, I went all over Ohio, but I went all over almost every state, and the veterans were a very, very big topic for me. You know that. And I think what we’re doing, it’s never been done before. We just had a bill — the VA Accountability bill. They’ve been trying to get it for many, many decades.
The New York Times: Future Unclear for Veterans Choice Program After House Bull Falters. Congressional lawmakers struggled on Tuesday to reach an agreement to prop up a popular multibillion-dollar health care program that allows veterans to see a private doctor at government expense. This was supposed to be a relatively easy task, meant to buy lawmakers time as they debated the future of the program.
The Washington Times: House GOP leaders go back to drawing board on VA ‘choice’ measure. House Republican leaders were working Tuesday on a plan B to fund the popular “Veterans Choice” health care plan after the full House rejected a bill Monday night. House Veterans Affairs’ Committee Chairman David P. Roe, Tennessee Republican, is talking with senators and Democratic lawmakers “about the path forward,” said committee spokeswoman Tiffany Haverly.
Healthcare IT News: House passes VA medical scribes bull to reduce wait times, improve care. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would provide medical scribes to 10 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers for the next two years. The pilot program, proposed by Reps. Phil Roe, MD, R-Tennessee, and Greg Walden, R-Oregon, is designed to help unburden VA doctors to increase the number of patients seen.
The Washington Post: New GI Bill unanimously passes House, heads to Senate. The House voted unanimously late Monday to approve a new GI Bill that would expand access to higher education for veterans, those wounded on the battlefield and the surviving family members of troops killed in combat. The new bill, called the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, received broad bipartisan support and was passed 405 to 0, with 28 House members not voting.
Stars and Stripes: Let GI Bill meet 21st-century academic needs. App developer, robotics technician, digital animator and advanced manufacturer — what do all of these careers have in common? They didn’t exist 73 years ago when the GI Bill was signed into law. When our fighting forces shipped out to the Pacific and to the battlefields of Europe, near a fourth of Americans were farmers. Today, that number is around 0.01 percent.
Rose Unplugged (Audio): Rose speaks with Secretary David Shulkin. In this eight-minute interview, Secretary David Shulkin speaks with Rose Tennett about the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, modernizing IT, President Trump’s commitment to improving VA, the unanimous House vote to expand the GI Bill, and increasing Choice.
The Boston Globe: VA Secretary expands probe of embattled Manchester, NY hospital. The top Veterans Affairs official on Tuesday expanded the agency’s investigation of the Manchester VA Medical Center, ordering the VA’s inspector general to launch its own “separate, wholly independent review” of conditions at New Hampshire’s only hospital for veterans.
NH1 News (TV-1): Manchester VA Medical Center to host town hall following poor care allegations. The Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center is holding a veteran town hall and listening session following allegations of poor conditions and patient care. The session will be held at Manchester Community College on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to hear concerns from veterans and interested stakeholders and to provide an update on progress at the medical center.
Military Times: PTSD disability claims by Vets tripled in the last decade. More than one in five veterans receiving federal disability payouts suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a figure that has spiked in the last decade. Veterans Affairs officials told lawmakers Tuesday that the number of disability cases related to PTSD has nearly tripled in that time, from around 345,000 cases in fiscal 2008 to more than 940,000 cases today.
The Huffington Post: Shortchanging Gulf Vets. The federal government has been using the delayed onset of undiagnosed illnesses in Gulf War veterans to cast doubt on some battlefield cause and effect justifications for benefit claims. It is reminiscent of the government in the 1990s’ trying to cut costs by initially rejecting Vietnam veterans’ illness claims. Those vets sought compensation for sicknesses alleged to have resulted from exposure years earlier to the toxic battlefield defoliant, Agent Orange.
KCEN (NBC-9, Video): Waco VA responds to Gulf War illness claims. According to a recentmystatesman.com article, the Waco VA has denied 92 percent of claims related to Gulf War illness. Channel 6 investigated the incident Monday. The VA estimates 44 percent of veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 have medical issues. In order to qualify for compensation, the veterans must have a diagnosable condition or an undiagnosed illness such as abnormal weight loss, fatigue, psychological problems, etc.
NPR (All Things Considered, Audio): Study: CE Found In Nearly All Donated NFL Player Brains. As the country starts to get back into its most popular professional team sport, there is a reminder of how dangerous football can be. An updated study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on football players and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy reveals a striking result among NFL players.
The American Prospect: Trump’s Budget Would Eliminate Agency Tasked with Ending Homelessness. Included in President Donald Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the elimination of a small but vital program that has been a crucial force in driving down the U.S. homeless population. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has a scheduled sunset date of October 2017 and, for the first time since the Clinton administration, it may not be reauthorized.
Stars and Stripes Medal of Honor Theater opens at Marine Museum. The National Museum of the Marine Corps celebrated the newly-opened Medal of Honor Theater Sunday with showings of “We, The Marines,” narrated by Academy Award-winning actor and Marine Gene Hackman.
Washington Post Cooperation with Russia becomes central to Trump strategy in Syria. Cooperation with Russia is becoming a central part of the Trump administration’s counter-Islamic State strategy in Syria, with U.S. military planners counting on Moscow to try to prevent Syrian government forces and their allies on the ground from interfering in coalition-backed operations against the militants.
McClatchy Trump's immigration crackdown is stressing out deployed US troops. President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigrants is having the dangerous, unanticipated effect of putting additional stress on U.S. troops who have relied on a little-known program to protect their undocumented family members from deportation while the military personnel are deployed to war zones.
Politico Dunford: Military option for North Korea not 'unimaginable'. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested Saturday that Americans must be prepared for the possibility of a military confrontation with North Korea, whose nuclear program he deemed an urgent threat.
Defense News US Army Europe commander defends need for airborne forces. Minutes before hundreds of paratroopers landed in a drop zone at Bezmer Air Base in Bulgaria as part of a U.S. annual exercise called Swift Response, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the outgoing U.S. Army Europe commander, defended the need for airborne forces.
Air Force Times Afghan JTACs in high demand. Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators — or ATACs — are proving to be increasingly vital as Taliban forces engage in another brutal fighting season across Afghanistan.
The Detroit News (AP): VFW slams House plan to fix VA budget. The Republican-led House is moving to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to shift $2 billion from other programs to cover a sudden budget shortfall in its Choice program of private-sector care, a plan drawing stiff protests from veterans’ groups. Lawmakers are expected to vote Monday to provide a six-month funding fix to Choice, which offers veterans federally paid medical care outside the VA and is a priority of President Donald Trump.
ABC News (AP): House rejects bill to fix VA’s budget gap after Vets protest. The House rejected Monday a plan to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to shift $2 billion from other programs to cover a sudden budget shortfall in its Choice program of private-sector care following opposition from veterans' groups. The vote was 219-186 on a bill to provide a six-month funding fix, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
FOX Business: Trump in cross hairs as Veterans’ group slams VA Choice funding plan. An emergency funding measure to fill a budget shortfall at the Department of Veterans Affairs – proposed by lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives last week – is being deemed a violation of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises by one veterans' group.
Military Times Proposed VA Choice funding fix fails in House vote. House Republicans suffered a surprising setback during a full chamber vote on veterans funding Monday which put in doubt the future of the controversial Veterans Affairs Choice Program, with just days left to find another solution.
Stars and Stripes: House rejects funding bill for nearly bankrupt VA Choice program. House lawmakers rejected legislation Monday that would provide $2 billion in emergency funding for the Veterans Choice Program by taking money from other VA programs, after hearing outcry from veterans groups that viewed it as prioritizing private-sector health care while neglecting VA services. Lawmakers voted along party lines, 219 in favor of the bill and 186 against it.
The Wall Street Journal: House Democrats Help Defeat VA Funding Measure. House Democrats successfully led an effort Monday night to strike down a controversial funding proposal for the Department of Veterans Affairs after major veterans advocacy groups lobbied to defeat the measure, the latest battle in the debate about privatization’s role in the department.
Military Times: Despite promises, VA Secretary can’t shake privatization concerns. Nearly half a year into his job, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is still trying to convince critics that his efforts to improve the department won’t lead to privatizing care and support programs for veterans. In an editorial in USA Today Monday morning, Shulkin — the only holdover of former President Barack Obama’s administration to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet — called lingering fears of VA privatization “unfounded”…
USA Today: Veterans Affairs Secretary: VA Health Care Will Not Be Privatized On Our Watch. As a physician, my professional assessment is that the Department of Veterans Affairs has made significant progress over the past six months — but it still requires intensive care. In order to restore the VA’s health, we must strengthen its ability to provide timely and high quality medical care while improving experiences and outcomes for veterans.
Military.com: House Passes new ‘Forever’ GI Bill. Without a single vote in opposition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Monday night to expand the post-9/11 GI Bill and eliminate the 15-year time limit on the use of education benefits for new recruits. The vote was 405-0 in a rare display of bipartisanship in Congress on behalf of veterans seeking higher education after active duty service
Stars and Stripes: House passes large GI Bill expansion 9 days after it was introduced. House lawmakers on Monday unanimously passed a host of changes to veterans’ education benefits that aim to boost aid, expand who’s eligible for benefits and eliminate the expiration date for veterans to use them. The 405-0 vote came just nine days after Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and a bipartisan group of cosponsors introduced the bill.
The Hill: House passes bill to expand Veterans’ GI benefits. The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Monday to give veterans more flexibility in using their GI benefits to pay for school tuition. Lawmakers passed the bill with a 405-0 vote that will now await Senate action before reaching President Trump’s desk. The bill removes the current restriction that veterans use their GI benefits within a 15-year timeframe.
WISH (CBS-8): GI Bill reform to help Veterans after ITT Tech shutdown. A bipartisan proposal to help veterans impacted by school closures unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday as part of a landmark GI Bill reform package. U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican from Indiana, and U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, spearheaded the proposal.
Healthline: Did Agent Orange Cause John McCain’s Cancer? When the news broke last week that Sen. John McCain has glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly brain cancer, the nation quickly rallied around the 80-year-old politician and Vietnam War veteran. Joy Patterson was deeply saddened by the news. Her husband, Kenneth Patterson, also served in Vietnam and was also diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM).
The Daily Caller: VA Secretary: My Only Clinical Priority Is Decreasing Vet Suicides. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said in an address Monday morning that his only clinical priority at the moment is making sure the veteran suicide rate drops. “The last priority and really my only clinical priority that I talk about right now is suicide and veteran suicide,” Shulkin said Monday at the 118th Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Fast Company: This App Connects Veterans In Crisis With Other Veterans Who Are Willing To Talk. That conversation sparked the idea for Objective Zero, a foundation and mobile application launching later this summer that will connect veterans experiencing mental distress with other veterans who can talk them through it. Every day, around 20 veterans and one active service member take their own lives.
Task and PurposeDunkirk: Everything You Need To Know Before You See The Movie. Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk inspired new attention to the famous evacuation by sea, in 1940, of four hundred thousand British troops under harrowing air attack. Had that evacuation failed, the United Kingdom would have been deprived of a land army to oppose Nazi Germany. But before Dunkirk, British and French troops fought desperate last stands in the channel ports of Calais and Boulogne that bought vital time for the evacuation in the Belgian Port. The situation grew so desperate at Boulogne that Allied destroyers were forced to blast their way into and back out of the harbor, using naval guns to duel with tanks, field guns and even snipers while evacuating panicky mobs of British soldiers.
Upcoming Veteran Events
American Legion Post 328, Southfield, Michigan Listing of Current Events in and around the Metro Detroit Area for and about Veterans, for the period July 20 - August 2, 2017.
JobZone's August 2017 Job Fair events. August 2- Herndon VA ... August 15 - Patuxent River MD ... August 17 Joint Base Andrews AFB MD. Go here for details and to sign up! https://www.jobzoneonline.com/default.aspx
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=
2017 College Acceleration Summit - A virtual summit. August 8, 2017. No cost. Take the first step to accelerate your professional growth by registering for the 2017 College Acceleration Summit, a free virtual conference on August 8. This conference will help adults access the knowledge and skills they need for success in the working world. It will feature over 20 world-class education experts, including Military Warriors Support Foundation CEO Leroy Sisco, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Perry Tarrant, healthcare education leaders and many more, who will lead sessions that share insights, strategies, and tactics to give you a clear plan to advance your careers. For attending, you will be eligible to win one of three $500 scholarships. The event is completely free to the general public. Register now at www.collegeaccelerationsummit.com Please pass it along.
GovConectx Federal Government Small Business Procurement Event - August 10, 2017. Falls Church, VA. Details here…
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/