American Veteran News 04.21.16

THREE MORE PHOENIX VA PATIENTS DIED AFTER NOT RECEIVING CARE — DAILY CALLER — Three patients at the Phoenix VA medical center recently died after not receiving the care that could have prolonged their lives, according to emails obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Internal Phoenix VA emails indicate a medical review of about 40 deceased patients showed that if three patients on the list had received the care they needed, they might still be alive today.

While the analysis was only preliminary, the physician who examined delays in the three cases found them serious enough to forward along to quality management for further inspection. Without this particular whistleblower’s analysis, these three patients may have been forgotten forever.

Hospital management is not checking on why patients are dying, except for the few staff who go out of their way to double-check and review medical records, according to one whistleblower who spoke with TheDCNF.

DYING VETERAN DENIED VA PRESCRIPTION FOR MARIJUANA USE — TASK & PURPOSE — Many veterans are forced to choose between marijuana and VA prescriptions.

Vietnam veteran Gary Dixon was denied prescription medication by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The reason: they found marijuana in his bloodstream.

“I went in to get a refill on my pain medication and they refused to let me have it because I have marijuana in my blood,” he told KSNT news station.

Dixon is suffering from terminal lung cancer, stage four. As a result, his wife Debbie takes him to the Topeka, Kansas VA for stroke treatment and medication refills.

On Sept. 8, 2015, instead refilling his prescriptions however, the VA had him fill out an opiate consent form and take a urine test, which showed he had marijuana in his bloodstream.

Exposed to Agent Orange during his time in the service, Dixon admits to smoking marijuana to combat the physical pain and emotional trauma of the Vietnam War. The 65-year old added that he has been using marijuana since 1972.

“I have always had marijuana in my blood and will continue to have it in my blood,” Dixon said.

CEREMONY HONORS AMERICAN AIRMEN WHO FOUGHT FOR FRANCE IN WWI — MILCOM — MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, France — A parade of jets and vintage aircraft roared across the sky outside Paris on Wednesday, honoring the American fighter pilots who flew for France during World War I.

The commemoration marked the centenary of the formation of the Lafayette Escadrille on April 20, 1916, by a group of American airmen who — almost a full year before the U.S. entered the war — decided to join the fight against the Germans.

“We are gathered here today to remind ourselves that, 100 years ago, France and the United States stood together against the enemies of the free world,” French lawmaker Jean-Marc Todeschini told a crowd of airmen and dignitaries gathered at Marnes-la-Coquette , where the group was first formed.

“A century later, the conflicts have changed, and our enemies have a new face, but we still defend the same values — that of justice and democracy,” he said.

DESPITE WHAT THE VA SAYS, VETERANS STILL WAIT WEEKS TO SEE A DOCTOR — MILITARY TIMES — Military veterans continue to wait several weeks for medical care, according to a new watchdog report, contradicting assertions from top Veterans Affairs officials that most patients see a doctor within six days.

Released Monday, the Government Accountability Office’s review of appointment wait times for patients new to VA health care found that veterans wait three to eight weeks for medical appointments. Others could not see a primary care doctor at all because VA staff did not handle the appointments correctly, the report GAO report says.

On Monday, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said 97 percent of VA appointments are completed within 30 days, with the average wait time from three to six days.

FEDERAL JURY FINDS KENTUCKY VETERAN GUILTY OF DEFRAUDING THE VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION — DOJ — HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto announced that a federal jury sitting in Huntington returned a guilty verdict yesterday in the trial of a Kentucky veteran for defrauding the Veterans Health Administration. Phillip M. Henderson, 50, of Olive Hill, Kentucky, was convicted following a five-day jury trial. The jury required only an hour of deliberations before finding Henderson guilty.

Henderson served in the United States Army from 1983 to 1986. After he was discharged, Henderson filed multiple claims for benefits with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In 1995, Henderson received a diagnosis from the VA of Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited and degenerative eye disease which can lead to total blindness. After this diagnosis, Henderson continued to undergo VA eye examinations through 2013, during which time VA medical staff continued to conduct tests to determine the extent of his vision loss. The results of these tests relied significantly, if not completely, on Henderson’s cooperation and accurate reporting of his vision levels.

VETERANS STRUGGLE TO FIND COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT UPON RETURNING TO AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES — BLUE BANNER — The UNC Asheville chapter of the Student Veterans of America met on campus two weeks ago to find solutions for communication failures within their ranks. The officers gave out mission details, and the group adjourned — not to prepare for war, but to make it to their next classes on time.

“We’re already fighting an uphill battle, being veterans at a public liberal arts campus,” said Andrew Scott, a former Marine. “We are a growing student organization, and it’s always difficult, especially as veterans at this campus. We get a lot of crap, whether it be in class, or passive-aggressive bullshit with the administration.”

Veteran students in SVA chapters across the country depend on the initiative for support, funding, and advocacy.

“The Veteran’s Alliance was small and kind of dying out. Last year, me and Mike, we told the old leaders that we wanted to get more involved, and ended up sort of taking the reigns. Last semester, we became a Student Veterans of America chapter, and we’ve just been trying to build back up,” said Ryan Crostic, a junior at UNC Asheville and former Navy corpsman.

ISAKSON, BLUMENTHAL STATEMENT ON CONFIRMATION OF VA INSPECTOR GENERAL — U.S. SENATE — WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, respectively, today released the following statement after the Senate confirmed the nomination of Michael J. Missal to be Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“The key to true reform at the VA is critical oversight from both the Inspector General and Congress,” said Isakson. “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I look forward to working with Mr. Missal as we root out the problems and hold bad actors at the VA accountable. With veterans still waiting too long to receive their care and benefits, now is the time for strong oversight and a cultural change at the VA.”

“I welcome the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Michael Missal – a son of Bristol, Connecticut – to serve as Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Blumenthal. “He will be a key leader in our ongoing accountability efforts to ensure the VA honors and helps our country’s heroes, like his own father, a decorated World War II veteran who served in the Army’s 286th engineer combat battalion. I look forward to working with Mr. Missal to ensure there is stronger oversight and enforcement to prevent unethical behavior at VA, as well as to rebuild America’s trust in the department tasked with serving the men and women who bravely wore our uniform.”

HASTINGS INTRODUCES THE VETERANS PENSIONS PROTECTION ACT OF 2016 — HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES — “I am pleased to again introduce the Veterans Pensions Protection Act. By closing a loophole in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), this legislation will protect our nation’s most vulnerable veterans from unfairly losing their pensions.”

The Veterans Pensions Protection Act of 2016 exempts reimbursements for medical expenses and pain and suffering from the VA’s calculation of income when determining pension eligibility. Under current law, these forms of compensation are considered income and count against a veteran’s pension.

“A few years ago, a constituent of mine was confronted with this terrible situation. A disabled veteran, he was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in his wheelchair. After he received an insurance settlement to cover the damages and his medical expenses, his pension was abruptly cut off. Without it, he could not cover his daily expenses or his mortgage. Luckily, he did not lose his home, but the fact that such a situation is even permissible is totally unacceptable. This oversight needs to be addressed.”

RAND PAUL SEEKS TO ESTABLISH PROTECTIONS FOR VETS, SENIORS ON NICS LIST — GUNS.COM — The Kentucky Republican has introduced legislation to allow more due process for those reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administrations.

Paul’s bill, the Protecting Gun Rights and Due Process Act, was filed in the Senate last week and aims to take the White House to task for a series of administrative decisions that have upped the number of prohibited firearms possessors added to the FBI’s database in recent years.

“The Obama administration is at it again, and this time they are unilaterally stripping gun rights from our nation’s veterans and seniors,” Paul said in a statement. “The Protecting Gun Rights and Due Process Act will provide necessary protection for gun-owning Americans, and ultimately ensure that the Second Amendment is not infringed upon.”

IT TOOK 70 YEARS, BUT WORLD WAR II VETERAN GETS HIS AWARDS — SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE — It was one of those dwindling opportunities to recognize someone who fought in World War II.

Daniel Schwob, 90, of Mishawaka, was presented with seven World War II medals on Tuesday, 70 years after he was discharged from the Army Air Corps.

The veteran was honored at the South Bend office of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly after a brief ceremony during which Donnelly’s staff and Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood thanked him for his service.

A lifelong Mishawaka resident, Schwob was happy to meet his city’s mayor.

CONGRESSMAN’S STAFF HELPS VETERANS CUT THROUGH VA RED TAPE — WBTV — CHARLOTTE, NC – There are so many boxes and stacks of files in Bob Becker’s office, it’s hard to step inside. Becker has a carefully cleared patch from the door to his desk chair.

There’s a few empty chairs just inside the door. The rest of the space is covered in manila folders filled with details of the hundreds of veterans he’s helped in the last three years.

Becker is the District Director for Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-09). Officially, he’s responsible for operating Pittenger’s district offices in Charlotte and Mooresville. But his real passion – that comes through in the photos that dot his office and the passion in his voice – is helping veterans navigate the bureaucratic red tape they encounter at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Sometimes we can bring light on a subject where maybe the case has gotten over to the side and sits there,” Becker said, explaining his role in the greater VA machinery that churns out healthcare, disability pay and countless other benefits to millions of military veterans each year.

WANT TO WORK IN FINANCE? CHECK OUT THESE 5 COMPANIES — TASK & PURPOSE — These five Hirepurpose partner companies have openings for veterans looking to work in finance.

We all know that money is an important part of what makes the world go “round.” Finance companies and professionals make sure that money is managed, secured, accessible, moved, saved, invested, donated and more. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics, business and financial occupations are expected to add 632,400 jobs between 2014 and 2024, and have a higher median annual salary than other occupational areas.


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