Department of Veterans Affairs

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Opioid Theft Still Rampant at VA Centers: Report

New AP investigation shows that rate more than double private sector despite crackdown

(Newser) - Feds have launched dozens of new criminal investigations into possible opioid and other drug theft by workers at Veterans Affairs hospitals, a sign the problem isn't going away despite new efforts. Data obtained by the AP show 36 cases opened by the VA inspector general's office from Oct.... More »

Trump Signs Executive Order to Protect VA Whistleblowers

President says people 'who fail our veterans' will now be held accountable

(Newser) - President Trump says he sent a "strong message" Thursday by signing an executive order that creates an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the Department of Veterans Affairs, the AP reports. Trump says through the new office people "who fail our veterans" will be held accountable for... More »

US Will Pay $2.2B to Marines Sickened by Toxic Water

900K were exposed over more than 30 years

(Newser) - The Obama administration has agreed to provide disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion to veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being... More »

Vet's Body Left in Shower 9 Hours, Inquiry Says

Florida VA employees accused of trying to cover up incident

(Newser) - Following a death in the hospice unit of Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Florida in February, a veteran's body was moved to a hallway, and then to a shower room. There it sat unattended for nine hours before hospice officials realized and attempted to hide their mistake, a... More »

VA Dentist Put 592 Vets at Risk of HIV, Hepatitis

'He knew exactly what he was doing'

(Newser) - The VA is offering free testing to nearly 600 veterans in Wisconsin who may have been infected with hepatitis or HIV by a rogue dentist, Law Newz reports. The dentist providing care at the VA in Tomah was using his own dental instruments. And while the dentist sterilized the tools... More »

Sarah Palin to Run the Biggest Government Agency?

Sources say Donald Trump is considering her for VA secretary

(Newser) - Does Donald Trump have a big job lined up for loyal supporter Sarah Palin? The former Alaska governor is a candidate to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, a Palin aide and a Trump transition team official tell ABC News , which notes that the VA is the largest government agency,... More »

'I Dodged All Those Bullets, Then Get Killed by a Fish': Vietnam Vet

Veterans afflicted with rare cancer brought on by fish-borne parasite

(Newser) - They were the lucky ones who managed to make it home from Vietnam. Now, a half-century later, some veterans are finding out they, too, are victims of the war. The enemy is a known killer in parts of Asia: parasites ingested in raw or poorly cooked river fish, the AP... More »

20 Veterans Commit Suicide Every Day: VA

Most are over 50, according to 2014 data

(Newser) - The first official count of suicides among veterans is grim: 7,403 veterans committed suicide in 2014, or an average of 20 per day, according to Veterans Affairs, which reviewed data from every state. The group estimated there were 22 veteran suicides per day in 2010, but had never taken... More »

IBM Supercomputer to Help 10K Veterans Beat Cancer

First Watson competed on 'Jeopardy!'; now it's being brought into VA facilities

(Newser) - In January, President Obama handed the reins to Joe Biden to head a "moonshot" initiative to cure cancer , and a major step toward that end has just been made. Per Fortune , IBM will donate its Watson supercomputer technology—the same technology that beat humans on Jeopardy!, CNET notes—to... More »

Bill Would Give $20K to Vets With Infertility, Groin Injuries

Money could help start family, or be 'used at the veteran's discretion'

(Newser) - Veterans unable to have children because of a service-related injury would receive $20,000 under a bill introduced to the House of Representatives on Monday. Rep. Jeff Miller, who proposed the bill, says the funds would help compensate nearly 1,400 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who suffered... More »

US Veteran Sets Self on Fire Outside VA Clinic

Charles Richard Ingram III died that day

(Newser) - A veteran of the US Navy walked nine miles to a Veterans Affairs clinic in New Jersey earlier this month, poured gasoline on himself, and set himself ablaze. Charles Richard Ingram III, 51, died later on March 19 at a burn center in Philadelphia. "Gasoline burns extremely hot, so... More »

Calls to VA Suicide Line Went to Voicemail

In-crisis veterans put on hold, sent to voicemail, with calls never returned: report

(Newser) - The Oscar-winning film Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 documents the counselors who man the phones for the 24-hour service, but it never mentions the suicidal veterans who are put on hold or sent to voicemail, with calls never returned—a fact made public last week in a report from the... More »

Veterans' Health-Care Delays Get Even Worse

The VA is also facing a $3B shortfall

(Newser) - The number of veterans seeking health care but ending up on waiting lists of one month or more is 50% higher now than it was a year ago when a scandal over false records and long wait times wracked the Department of Veterans Affairs, the New York Times reports. The... More »

Feds to Help Vets Exposed to Contaminated Planes

They'll provide disability benefits for those exposed to Agent Orange residue

(Newser) - Ending years of wait, the government has agreed to provide disability benefits to as many as 2,100 Air Force reservists and active-duty forces exposed to Agent Orange residue on airplanes used in the Vietnam War. The new federal rule, approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget,... More »

Bomb Blasts May Be Aging Soldiers' Brains

Even if they were far from the blasts

(Newser) - American soldiers exposed to bomb blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering early brain degeneration and aging—even if they were far from detonation, USA Today reports. In all, 256 veterans and service members between the ages of 19 and 62 were analyzed in a study published today in Brain:... More »

VA Chief Lied, Said He Was in Special Forces

Robert McDonald apologizes for remark: 'I have no excuse'

(Newser) - Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald last year took over a department facing no small amount of scandal—and now he's stirred up controversy of his own. It started when he was being taped by CBS while speaking with a homeless veteran in Los Angeles, the Huffington Post reports. The... More »

Gunman Kills Doctor, Self at VA Hospital

FBI investigating El Paso shooting

(Newser) - A gunman opened fire at the El Paso VA Health Care System in Texas yesterday afternoon, with a Pentagon official telling CNN that he killed a doctor and then himself. Authorities confirmed that the shooter and one other person were dead, but they provided no details, nor did they speculate... More »

Vietnam Vets Still Battle PTSD Decades Later

New VA study shows it can last a lifetime

(Newser) - Post-traumatic stress doesn't fizzle away after a few years—or perhaps even a lifetime. About 11% of Vietnam War veterans still suffer from the disorder today, according to a new VA study, reports USA Today . It builds off landmark PTSD research conducted in the 1980s and finds that about... More »

Lawmakers Strike Deal to Overhaul VA

Announcement today comes ahead of recess

(Newser) - Congressional negotiators have hit on a deal to address the serious issues reportedly plaguing Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. The agreement in negotiations led by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Rep. Jeff Miller comes in the wake of disagreements over dueling Senate and House plans, the Washington Post notes.... More »

Lowe's Workers Fix Vet's Wheelchair (After VA Wouldn't)

It broke down in store, and 3 employees stayed late to repair

(Newser) - A public thank-you by a Vietnam vet to three workers at Lowe's is providing yet more ammo for critics of the VA . As he explains in a letter to the Staten Island Advance , Michael Sulsona lost both his legs to a landmine during the war. He'd been trying... More »

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