Latest Happenings

Second Secret VA Wait Time Scheme Exposed This Month

Oct 18 – Another secret VA wait time scheme has emerged from within the Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System obstructing access to mental health.

VA Office of Inspector General Podcasts Now Available

Oct 18 – The OIG is now podcasting. Why read when you can listen to an OIG report in the comfort of your car or while jogging? To receive email notifications when the OIG publishes a new podcast, you need to update your subscription preferences in govdelivery.

True North Outpatient Behavorioral Services for Veterans & Families of Morris & Sussex

Oct 17 – Having trouble adjusting to civilian life? Feeling alone, isolated? Feeling irritable, frustrated or angry? Could your family benefit from support? True North can help!

VA General Counsel James Byrne – Lockheed Counterintelligence Expert Is New VA General Counsel

Oct 12 – The selection of James Byrne, former Associate General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at Lockheed Martin, flew under the radar and did not even get a VA press release.

Lawmakers Debate Bringing BRAC to VA Health Care Facilities

Oct 12 – House lawmakers are pushing for the Veterans Affairs Department to go through a process to close down or realign underutilized medical facilities, similar to the Base Realignment and Closure process at the Defense Department.

Call In Alert: Supporting Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans

Oct 12 – CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS TODAY asking their support for passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 at 1-202-224-3121
H.R. 299 Cosponsors (PDF)
H.R. 299 Non-cosponsors (PDF)
S.422 Cosponsors (PDF)
S.422 Non-cosponsors (PDF)
H.R.299/S.422 Telephone Call-in Script (PDF)
If you cannot call please go to http://www.capwiz.com/vva/home/ and send the prepared message in support of H.R. 299 and S.422, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017.

Cyber Seminars Developed from the 2017 National Women Veterans Summit Coming Oct. 23

Oct 11 – The 2017 National Women Veterans Summit was scheduled for August 25-26 in Houston, Texas, but unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey forced us to end early so participants could safely evacuate. During and after the devastating storm, VA employees on the ground in Houston worked tirelessly to delivering services to Veterans – and we at the Center for Women Veterans have been developing ways to deliver information from the summit.

Female Veterans Serve with Grace and Poise in Ms. Veteran America

Oct 11 – For women in the military, sometimes life can feel like choosing between combat boots and heels, but the Ms. Veteran America competition has made it so female veterans no longer have to make that choice.

Veterans Affairs Fails to Sterilize Surgical Equipment Properly, Again

Oct 10 – A routine inspection at Fayetteville VA revealed VA failed to follow manufacturer standards when it did not properly sterilize surgical equipment. The medical center, called Veterans Health System of the Ozarks, failed to update its standards for eye instrumentation sterilization for surgeries on cataracts. The danger in using improperly cleaned eye surgical instruments is the risk of infection in the eye or elsewhere that can lead to blindness or worse.

Marine Todd: I AM the American Flag, and You’re Disrespecting Me, AMerica

Oct 9 – “It wasn’t till after the DFAC ceremony for my meritorious promotion to 2cond Lieutenant, The Seal Team’s (honorary), that I was shocked to learn from the TV that football players are refusing to stand for the National Anthem on Sunday, GOD’S day, before they do their jobs for this country.”

VA Staffers Create ‘Unofficial’ Secret Clinics to Manipulate Wait Times

Oct 9 – A staffers at one VA medical center were caught creating secret emergency department clinics to manipulate wait times according to the Office of Special Counsel.

Breaking Now

Oct 9 – Veterans Choice Program Almost Out of Money, Again, After a Couple Weeks?

Oct 9 – Agency Spins Growing Pattern of Non-VA Emergency Room Bill Denials

Oct 9 – Veteran Forced to Pay for Own Surgery Despite Choice Program Approval Due to Healthnet Hangups

Oct 9 – Former VA Surgeon says Agency Refuses Care for High-Risk Patients

Oct 9 – Invisible Wounds: The VA & TBI (YouTube)

Oct 9 – VA Proposes Employees Can Profit from For-Profit Colleges

Oct 9 – Data Suggests Veterans at Much Higher Risk of Rare Eye Cancer than Public

Oct 9 – Guilty: VA Clinician Sodomized, Molested Veteran Patients

Oct 9 – Trump Signs Veterans Appeals Reform Act to Speed Up Appeals While Removing Due Process Rights

Oct 9 – Two Companies Defrauding Veterans in Benefits Swindle Get Sued

Serving Those Who Served Us!

A Day to Honor Our Veterans! Saturday, October 28 1:30pm to 4pm Dorothy B. Kraft Center 15 Essex Road Paramus, NJ

VA About to Scrap Ethics Law that Helps Safeguards Veterans from Predatory For-Profit Colleges

Oct 2 – An ethics law that prohibits VA employees from receiving money or owning a stake in for-profit colleges that rake in millions in G.I. Bill tuition has “illogical and unintended consequences” according to VA, which is pushing to suspend the 50-year-old statute.

Las Vegas Shooting: Navy War Veteran, Special Ed Teacher, Nurse Who Shielded Wife Among Those Killed

Oct 3 – Seventeen of the victims who died in a mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night have been identified. Among the at least 59 dead in the attack include a registered nurse from Tennessee, a school worker in New Mexico and at least nine victims from California, among them a war veteran, school workers, a special education teacher, a police records technician and a woman who graduated high school in 2015.

Veterans Sickened by Plutonium After Hydrogen Bombs Dropped at Palomares, Spain, Sue Pentagon for Records

Oct 3 – Today, Vietnam Veterans of America and the VVA Connecticut State Council filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to compel the Department of Defense to release records related to U.S. airmen’s exposure to ionizing radiation while responding to a January 17, 1966, hydrogen bomb accident near Palomares, Spain.

Major Changes Coming to DoD’s TRICARE System Jan. 1

Sep 29 – The Defense Department published new rules Friday that will make significant changes to the health insurance system that serves military family members and retirees on Jan. 1, altering the structure and fees of benefit plans, and, according to Defense health officials, making care more accessible.

H.R. 918, Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act

Sep 28 – H.R. 918 would change the fees charged to veterans who obtain loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase direct spending by $688 million over the 2026-2027 period. Because enacting the bill would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.

Special Counsel Office Touts Settlements in Pregnancy Discrimination, Veterans Preference Cases

Sep 28 – Acting leaders at the Office of Special Counsel have pressed on with settlements in a variety of cases involving violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Shulkin’s No.1 Headache? Combating the Pesky Federal Hiring System

Sep 27 – Ask VA Secretary David Shulkin what his biggest challenge is and his answer might not be immediately obvious. It’s not improving wait times. It’s not closing, disposing or selling more than 1,100 vacant, underused or outdated facilities. It’s not finding a permanent fix for the Veterans Choice Program. It's hiring.

VA says Money for Private Health Care May Run Out by Year’s End

Sep 26 – Weeks after a veterans’ health initiative received $2.1 billion in emergency funding, the Trump administration says the private-sector Veterans Choice health care program may need additional money as early as December to avoid a disruption of care for hundreds of thousands of veterans.

Employees Worried VA Used Veterans as ‘Cash Cow’ to Boost Funding

Sep 26 – Some Department of Veterans Affairs employees in New York were worried in 2016 that the VA was rushing to reconnect with thousands of veterans who had not visited the clinic in the past year, in order to ensure the clinic would maintain a certain level of funding, according to internal emails and other documents provided by VA whistleblowers.

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses; Notice of Meeting

Sep 26 – VA gives notice that the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses will meet on Oct 30, 2017 in Room 230 at 810 Vermont Avenue NW Washington, DC from 8:00am until 3:30pm. All sessions will be open to the public and for interested parties who cannot attend in person there is a toll-free telephone number 1-800-767-1750 access code #56978.

Legislation to Eliminate Copayment Requirements for Essential Preventive Medications and Medical Services for Veterans Using VA Health Care

Representative Lee Zeldin (NY) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) introduced the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act (H.R. 1100 and S. 1161), legislation that would eliminate requirements for veterans to make copayments for medical care and medications related to preventive health services delivered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Special Forces Veteran to Receive Medal of Honor for Vietnam War Service

Sep 21 – A Vietnam veteran who served with the then-Fort Bragg-based 5th Special Forces Group will receive the nation’s highest military award for valor, the White House announced on Sept. 20.

Marine Corps to Have 1st Female Infantry Officer

Sep 21 – For the first time in its nearly 250-year history, the United States Marine Corps will have a female infantry officer after she graduates from an infantry officer course on Monday, a U.S. official confirmed.

Veterans Who Drank Poison in Oscoda are Getting a Second Look

Sep 20 – Feds reopen a 16-year-old health report on the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda at the urging of legislators and veterans seeking coverage for illnesses they contend were caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.

David Ball Riding with Private Malone – Music Video (YouTube)

RAND Study Finds ACA Repeal Will Strain VA; Any ACA Repeal Must Invest in VA Infrastructure

Sep 19 – Last week, RAND Corporation, a widely respected, nonpartisa n research institution, released the report, “Veterans Health Insurance Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act and Implications of Repeal for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said John Rowan, President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Your Participation Can Make A Difference (PDF)

Sep 18 – You can make a difference by joining our team as a without compensation employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) NJ Health Care System East Orange, Lyons, and James J. Howard (Brick) Campuses.

VA Throws Suicide Stats Out the Back Door on Friday at 5:00pm

Sep 18 – Veterans are about 20 percent more likely than nonveterans to kill themselves, according to a Veterans Affairs press release issued on Friday afternoon at the close of business. (Traditionally, that’s when Washington public affairs types put out bad news they don’t wish to discuss. Mainly they hope to see it tucked into Saturday newspapers that no one reads.)

The Vietnam War

Premieres Sep 17, 2017 – A film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick on PBS, check your local channels

VA Plans to Open Third Veterans Crisis Line Call Center

Sep 16 – The Department of Veterans Affairs will open a third call center in the fall to handle an anticipated increase in calls to the veterans crisis hotline. The call center will be located on the VA campus in Topeka, Kansas, the VA said late Wednesday. The announcement comes just nine months after a second call center was opened in Atlanta.

Deployment Technician (IT) Wanted (PDF)

Sep 16 – Apex Systems has career openings that they would like to give the first opportunity to Veterans and are willing to train qualified people. Veteran should email their resume to ggilbert@apexsystemsinc.com at Apex Systems, Inc. ASAP and email Ruth Patterson, Administrator at Passaic County One Stop Business Resource Center at rpatterson@pcwdc.org to let her know so she can follow-up with the employer.

VVA Chapter 327's Annual Observance of POW/MIA Day on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 7:00pm

Service will be held, rain or shine, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Route 15, south in Lafayette, NJ. There will be a reading of names of the 166 Vietnam Veterans from northwest NJ who were killed or missing in action. For additional information, contact Michael Eckstein at 201-874-1664 or email him at me1065@msn.com

White House Seeks to Legalize Payoffs to VA Officials by For-Profit Schools

Sep 14 – The Trump administration is seeking to waive a 50-year-old anti-corruption law that prevents officials who administer the GI Bill from accepting money from for-profit schools backed by taxpayer subsidies.

13 Years Later, A Marine’s Silver Star is Getting Upgraded to a Navy Cross. Here’s Why

Sep 14 – An infantry Marine’s combat heroism in Iraq is getting an upgrade this afternoon.

Another Round in the Battle Over Vietnam

Sep 10 – There are two Vietnam wars, and the second is still going 40 years after the first ended. The United States fought the first one from 1959 to 1975 in the jungles, villages and airspace of Indochina. The second is the war over how that war, the first lost war in America’s national history, is remembered.

Privatization is Not the Way to Strengthen Veterans Care

Sep 9 – US hospitals stand to benefit financially from the privatization of the VHA and are no fans of the nation’s largest and only publicly funded health care system. Many of their top executives and physicians want our tax dollars diverted to them, instead of paying for the dedicated, salaried caregivers who specialize in veterans care at the VHA.

Share These Resources to Help Veterans, Service Members in the Wake of Natural Disasters

Sep 9 – In the wake of disaster or tragedy, the process of healing and rebuilding is often complicated by guilt, depression, or anger. While the event itself may be over, the subsequent financial and personal challenges can take time to address and the feelings of stress or anxiety may linger.

The Suicide Contagion: How The Effort To Combat Veterans’ Suicide May Be Making It Worse

Sep 6 – In May 2011, the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division began leaving Afghanistan after a grueling year-long tour. By the end of the summer, the entire division had returned home to Fort Campbell, greeted by a succession of parades and award ceremonies honoring the 101st’s sacrifice in some of Afghanistan’s most volatile regions, where a total of 131 Screaming Eagles lost their lives and many more were wounded.

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