NEWS ABOUT: Department of Veterans Affairs

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VA Hospital Delays Are Killing Veterans

Report obtained by CNN shows at least 19 dead due to lengthy waits

(Newser) - Some pretty grim news courtesy of a Veterans Affairs internal report on patients diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and 2011 that CNN obtained: Delays at VA hospitals are killing veterans. At least 19 have died because of delays in medical screenings; they're part of a group of 82 vets... More »

Why the USDA Hastily Spent $144K on Toner Cartridges

Government agencies have to 'use it or lose it' by tomorrow

(Newser) - Congress is still squabbling over next year's federal budget, but government agencies only have until tomorrow to spend as much of this year's budget as possible before that money disappears. And so they are. Yep, it's "use it or lose it" season in DC, reports the... More »

Minneapolis Mayor to Gay Chicagoans: We'll Marry You

Meanwhile, the VA changes tune on benefits, and Texas GOP fights anti-discrimination law

(Newser) - Gay marriage still isn't legal in Illinois, and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak is making a boldfaced attempt to take advantage of that. Rybak is headed to Chicago today to announce a new ad campaign urging gay Windy City residents to cross the border and get hitched. Rybak will hold... More »

Workload at Costly VA Call Centers: 2 Calls a Day they decided to go 24/7

(Newser) - The Veterans Affairs Department has spent millions on employment call centers so overstaffed that workers only handle a call or two per day, inspectors have discovered. The two centers—operated by a private contractor—handled an average of 2.4 calls per operator daily between December 2011 and December 2012,... More »

85K Vets Treated for Sex Abuse in 2012

PTSD, depression among common long-term effects

(Newser) - An AP report reveals the stunning scope of the sexual assault crisis rocking the military: Last year, more than 85,000 veterans received treatment for sex abuse, while 4,000 applied for disability benefits; 40% of those treated were men. The cases run as far back as the Vietnam War,... More »

US Is Still Paying for Civil War

Other wars cost $40B a year in compensation: report

(Newser) - It's been 148 years, and the US is still paying relatives of Civil War veterans every month. Two surviving children of veterans receive $876 annually, and while that may amount to a paltry sum, the AP's analysis of the continuing costs of US wars turns up much heftier... More »

VA Fudges Vets' Health Data to Duck Costs

Former staffer says VA seeks to avoid expensive care

(Newser) - The Department of Veterans Affairs keeps some health data quiet to avoid the financial burden of expensive care, according to a former VA staffer set to testify today before a House subcommittee. If "studies produce results that do not support the office of public health's unwritten policy, they... More »

Same-Sex Couple Set for National Cemetery Burial

First-time event follows VA waiver

(Newser) - For the first time, a veteran's same-sex partner is due for burial in a national cemetery. Nancy Lynchild, who died in December, will be buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon; her partner, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Linda Campbell, will someday have her ashes buried alongside Lynchild's.... More »

Bin Laden Killer's Plight Not So Desperate: Report

The government does cover 'the Shooter's' health care: 'Stars and Stripes'

(Newser) - Yesterday's Esquire opus on the SEAL Team 6 shooter who killed Osama bin Laden, left the Navy after 16 years, and now finds himself unemployed with no pension or health coverage, made waves. And it continues to today, thanks to the assertion by Stars and Stripes that the piece,... More »

22 Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day

Rate up 20% from 2007 study

(Newser) - Some 22 US veterans commit suicide on a daily basis, a new VA study finds, marking a jump of about 20% from a 2007 study. And it's unlikely that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are the key factor in the increase: More than two-thirds of the suicide victims are... More »

700 Possibly Exposed to HIV at Buffalo VA

Insulin pens were accidentally reused at hospital

(Newser) - More than 700 patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C because of accidental reuse of insulin pens, says the Veterans Administration. Authorities said there is a "very small risk" for the diabetic patients who may have been exposed... More »

23% of Female Troops Suffer Sex Assaults in War Zones

And about half report sex harassment, survey finds

(Newser) - Nearly half of US women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan say they've suffered sexual harassment, and almost a quarter say they've been sexually assaulted, a Department of Veterans Affairs study finds. But far less than that gets reported: Just 115 assaults were reported last year, though as of... More »

Barefoot NYC Man Isn't Homeless

Veterans program secured housing for Jeffrey Hillman since 2009

(Newser) - Looks like Jeffrey Hillman's problems are a lot more complicated than mere shoelessness: The 54-year-old panhandler given new shoes by an NYPD officer and seen barefoot again days later used to be homeless, but has had an apartment in the Bronx secured by Veterans Affairs since 2009, officials tell... More »

Number of Homeless Vets Down Sharply

But can administration make it zero by 2015?

(Newser) - The Obama administration has vowed to end homelessness among military veterans by 2015 and while some advocates call that pledge unrealistic, there has been undeniable progress made over the last few years, the AP finds. Veterans Affairs officials estimate the number of homeless vets has dropped by 15,000 since... More »

20K Troops, Vets Lost Their Homes Last Year

But VA says that number could have been much worse

(Newser) - Last year saw the most military foreclosures since 2003, despite efforts from Veterans Affairs to counsel and assist floundering servicemen. More than 20,000 active-duty troops, reservists, and veterans who’d taken out special government-backed mortgages lost their homes last year, the USA Today reports, and foreclosure filings in the... More »

Ex-Soldier Takes Hostages at Army Hospital

Demands treatment for behavioral problems

(Newser) - A former Army soldier demanding behavioral treatment at a Georgia military hospital took three workers hostage at gunpoint today before authorities persuaded him to surrender peacefully. No one was hurt and no shots were fired in the short standoff at Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, according to a... More »

What the Iraq War Cost Us

It's too soon to tell how the war went

(Newser) - Anne Applebaum was an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq. Yet as Barack Obama prepares to announce the official end of combat operations tomorrow, she has mixed feelings. “Even if violence abates, even if all American troops go home, we have still paid a very high price for... More »

Rules Eased for Vet PTSD Disability

Conservatives wary of $5 billion plan

(Newser) - A new rule will make it easier for American veterans to get disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD . The $5 billion plan erases the need for warriors to document the specific horror, be it bomb blast or raid, that made them sick. That's especially good news for those... More »

VA Doctors Can't Prescribe Medical Pot

New Mexico allows it for PTSD, but veterans can't get it there

(Newser) - New Mexico is the only state that explicitly allows people with PTSD to smoke pot under its medical marijuana law—and that's created a conundrum for the VA, which does not allow its doctors to prescribe pot because the drug is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. If... More »

Palin Charges Obamacare Hurts Soldiers

But 'shocking new questions' she raises are bogus, says VA

(Newser) - After scoring big with her “death panels” whopper, Sarah Palin tried to tweet another monkey wrench into the works yesterday, posting on Twitter: “Shocking new questions re:whether military healthcare plans r protected under Obamacare. How will underpaid troops afford their own purchase?” Palin was apparently unaware that... More »

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