NEWS ABOUT: Department of Veterans Affairs

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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 »

Vet Dies Waiting for Ambulance... in VA Hospital

He collapsed in Albuquerque VA center cafeteria

(Newser) - Another black eye for the Veterans Health Administration? A 71-year-old veteran died on Monday after waiting up to 30 minutes for an ambulance—while already at a Veteran Affairs hospital. Officials say the man collapsed in the Albuquerque hospital's cafeteria, which is around 1,500 feet from the emergency... More »

Ex-Proctor & Gamble Exec Tapped to Lead VA

Robert McDonald graduated near top of class at West Point

(Newser) - President Obama plans to nominate former Proctor & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, as the White House seeks to shore up an agency beset by treatment delays and struggling to deal with an influx of new veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An... More »

Whistleblower: VA Covered Up 7 Deaths

Scheduler steps forward in CNN interview

(Newser) - The woman who actually managed the Phoenix VA hospital's secret waiting list has come forward alleging that the facility has covered up the deaths of veterans who died awaiting care. In an interview with CNN , Pauline DeWenter says that in at least seven cases, someone else at the hospital... More »

Veteran Ignored for 8 Years in Psych Facility

Scathing letter reveals VA gets 25% of government's whistleblower complaints

(Newser) - The VA's Office of the Medical Inspector routinely dismisses the agency's deficiencies as harmless to patients' health—even though that is patently and obviously untrue, according to a new report from the Office of Special Counsel that turned up a host of disturbing new allegations against the VA.... More »

VA Manages to Treat Only Half of PTSD Sufferers

Report says military unprepared for coming 'wave' of mental illness

(Newser) - The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are ill-prepared to handle a looming PTSD epidemic—or even the cases they already have, according to a 300-page study released today. Experts from the Institute of Medicine, under direction from Congress, found that just 53% of veterans whose primary diagnosis was PTSD... More »

House Passes Bill 421-0 to Let Veterans Ditch VA

Unanimous vote a rarity for Congress

(Newser) - Are you sitting down? Good. Because the House just passed a high-profile bill unanimously. The bill allows veterans to seek treatment outside the Veterans Affairs system using government funds, Politico reports. It closely resembles a bipartisan Senate deal struck between Bernie Sanders and John McCain. The final vote tally was... More »

57K Veterans Still Waiting for Care, Audit Finds

And another 64K have never seen a doctor

(Newser) - The Department of Veterans Affairs' problems extend far beyond its much-maligned Phoenix facility, a new audit has confirmed. In a review of 731 hospitals, investigators found that more than 57,000 patients have been waiting up to 90 days for an appointment, and that another 64,000 had enrolled for... More »

Senators Strike Deal to Get Sick Vets Health Care

Those who have to wait too long could go outside system

(Newser) - Senior senators reached agreement today on the framework for a bipartisan bill that would help veterans' get health care outside the government's Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics. The bill would allow veterans who experience waits of 30 days or more for VA appointments or who live at least 40... More »

VA Accused of Retaliating Against Whistleblowers

Meanwhile, Obama's pick for health undersecretary backs out

(Newser) - As if the cloud over the Department of Veterans Affairs wasn't dark enough, the Office of Special Counsel has now launched an investigation into allegations that it retaliated against 37 whistleblowers—including some that tried to bring the waiting list scandal to light, the Washington Post reports. Employees in... More »

Obama: Shinseki Is Out at VA

Says embattled department chief offered his resignation

(Newser) - Eric Shinseki is out as leader of the VA. President Obama today said he accepted the Cabinet secretary's resignation "with regret" in the wake of the scandal over shoddy medical care for the nation's veterans, reports CNN . Obama said Shinseki told him he didn't want to... More »

Shinseki: VA Has 'Systemic' Problems

He moves to fire senior leaders of Phoenix hospital

(Newser) - Eric Shinseki has begun the process to fire the senior leaders of the infamous Phoenix VA medical center, he announced today, as he apologized for his department's lapses. When the crisis broke, Shinseki said he believed the problem was isolated. "I no longer believe that. It is systemic,... More »

VA Boss Writes Op-Ed Amidst Howls for His Head

Democrats join in bashing Shinseki

(Newser) - The calls for Eric Shinseki to resign are getting deafening, but the Veterans Affairs secretary doesn't sound like a man on the edge in an op-ed posted this morning at USA Today . Shinseki writes that yesterday's revelations "are reprehensible to me and to this department, and we... More »

VA Report: 1.7K Vets Left Off Hospital Waiting List

McCain calls for Shinseki ouster following damning report

(Newser) - At least 1,700 veterans awaiting treatment from the Department of Veteran Affairs' now-infamous Phoenix medical center were kept off of any official waiting list, putting them "at risk of being forgotten or lost," according to a damning initial report from the department's inspector general. What's... More »

Obama: 'I Will Not Tolerate' VA Abuse

Urges patience despite calls for 'swift reckoning'

(Newser) - President Obama's silence on the reported VA hospital scandal is over. Speaking today, he said he "will not stand for" alleged misconduct, including "cooking the books" to hide delays in care, some of which allegedly led to patient deaths. "If these allegations prove to be true,... More »

Obama's Mad About VA Scandal? Yeah, Right

This controversy isn't GOP-concocted: Ron Christie and Eugene Robinson

(Newser) - Columnists on both the right and left are fuming about reports of secret Veterans Affairs hospital delays said to have resulted in 40 deaths. Both Ron Christie and Eugene Robinson note that while issues like Benghazi and IRS targeting may have been "witch hunts," this is a genuine... More »

Adviser: Obama 'Madder Than Hell' Over VA Scandal

Denis McDonough says he's got the scars to prove it

(Newser) - White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough today summarized the commander-in-chief's feelings on the VA scandal pretty pointedly: "The president is madder than hell, and I’ve got the scars to prove it, given the briefings I’ve given the president. Nobody is more outraged about this problem,... More »

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal

Robert Petzel quits, though he was scheduled to leave this year anyway

(Newser) - The budding scandal at Veterans Affairs over the medical care that vets receive seems to have resulted in its first resignation. Robert Petzel, who was the department's top official in charge of health care, submitted his resignation to VA chief Eric Shinseki, reports Reuters . Shinseki not only accepted it,... More »

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