Iraq War Vet to Lead House Armed Services Committee Personnel Panel

A leadership round of musical chairs has put an Iraq War veteran in charge of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel for the first time.  The move puts a lawmaker with recent, firsthand military experience in the lead oversight role of military and veteran compensation and benefits.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1uuEoaQ

Read More »

Gulf War Syndrome Treatment Research

More than 20 years after Operation Desert Storm, at least 175,000 U.S. military veterans claim a broad range of mysterious symptoms known as Gulf War Syndrome. Gulf War Syndrome is the term for illnesses reported by many troops returning from the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. Over time, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has acknowledged Gulf War illnesses with disability benefits.

A UC San Diego medical researcher believes the root of the problem is troops’ exposure to particular chemicals in the Gulf region.  The doctor has done research partially funded by the …

Read More »

Spending Bill Includes Major Win

In a major win, an omnibus budget proposal includes two year advanced appropriations for VA beneft programs through FY 2016.

These accounts include VA compensation and pensions, readjustment benefits such as the GI bill, and insurance and indemnities for survivors.  This comes in addition to advance funding for VA health care.

With House passage late Thursday, the bill is expected to clear the Senate in the next few days

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1xax6QD

Read More »

VA Telehealth Services Served Over 690,000 Vets In Fiscal Year 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that its national telehealth programs served more than 690,000 Veterans during fiscal year 2014. That total represents approximately 12 percent of the overall Veteran population enrolled for VA healthcare, and accounted for more than 2 million telehealth visits. Of that number, approximately 55 percent were Veterans living in rural areas with limited access to VA healthcare. With more Veterans seeking health care, telehealth is rapidly becoming an attractive option, especially for those Veterans who don’t have a VA …

Read More »

VA Updates Vietnam Ship List

The Veterans Administration has updated the list of ships that operated in Vietnam to add new ships, expand dates for ships already on the list, and add a new category of small vessels that operated on Vietnam’s Inland waterways.  The list can help Vietnam vets find out if they qualify for presumption of Agent Orange exposure when seeking disability compensation for related diseases

Read more at: http://1.usa.gov/1GjRzSC

Read More »

Landmark meeting on Agent Orange held at Oregon VA hospital

Vietnam War veterans called for more research into the health effects of U.S. service members’ exposure to Agent Orange in an open meeting at a VA hospital.  About 130 veterans attended the meeting at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland.  It was the first time the VA allowed the nonprofit Vietnam Veterans of America to hold an Agent Orange town hall at one of its hospitals.

Read More at: http://yhoo.it/1vBtEfH

Read More »

Congressional Defense Budget Deal Calls For Reduced Benefits Next Year

Troops will see smaller pay raises and housing and health care benefits next year under a defense budget agreement unveiled Tuesday in Congress. Lawmakers agreed to White House and Pentagon requests to reduce personnel and equipment costs by capping pay raises at 1 percent, slowing housing allowance increases, and ratcheting up Tricare prescription copays.

Read more at: http://1.usa.gov/1vnxysS

Read More »

Senator Proposes Extended Medical Benefits for Post-9/11 Vets

In one of his final acts as a U.S. senator, Iraq War veteran and Montana Democrat John Walsh implored the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to double the period of automatic medical benefits for post-9/11 combat veterans.  Speaking before the committee Nov. 20, Walsh asked members to increase the automatic eligibility for veterans to get medical care at Veterans Affairs facilities to a full decade from the current five years.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1FHG86V

Read More »

Lawsuit on Iraq/Afghanistan Burn Pits reaches Supreme Court

Throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, all kinds of things — batteries, paint, plastic, electronics, even whole vehicles — were disposed of in so-called “burn pits” by the U.S. military.  Some veterans have filed a class action lawsuit against a defense contractor claiming toxic smoke from burning waste caused lung disease and cancer.

See the PBS NEWSHOUR video and transcript at: http://to.pbs.org/1qkAohL

Read More »

Defense Agencies Work to Lower Pharmaceutical Costs

The Defense Health Agency is working with the Defense Logistics Agency and the pharmaceutical industry to streamline logistics and better manage medications in the face of spiraling drug costs. In today’s pharmaceutical environment, better medicine comes with higher prices.  The agencies aim to save $3.5 billion on pharmaceutical expenses by fiscal 2024.

Read More at: http://bit.ly/1x5rxgP

 

Read More »