American Veteran News 04.06.16

TERMINALLY ILL ARMY VETERAN ABANDONED BY VA DIES OF CANCER — WFB — A decorated Army combat veteran who accused the Department of Veterans’ Affairs of abandoning him in his battle against terminal cancer died last week.

The family of former Army Sgt. John Marshall announced his death in a statement Monday, Fox News reported. The veteran, who died last Thursday, is survived by his wife and two small children.

“John was the type of guy who touched people even if he didn’t know them that long,” Marshall’s wife Ashley, who is also a veteran, said in a statement. “The amount of people that have come from all over to offer condolences has been amazing and overwhelming. I knew John was a great person, but it shouldn’t have amazed me as it did that so many other people thought so, too.”

VA SUPERVISORS INTIMIDATING EMPLOYEES INTO LYING ABOUT WAIT TIMES — INDEPENDENT WOMENS FORUM — Local Departments of Veterans Affairs are still not doing a good job of serving our veterans and, sadly, it reportedly is the supervisors who are leading the staff to provide bad service and then refuse to tell the truth afterwards.

Investigations into management at VA medical centers in California found that supervisors coached employees on what to tell investigators about wait time manipulation. Staff, according to the findings of the investigation, had been directed to report untrue wait times or suffer consequences and then told to lie about it to investigators. In some instances, supervisors reportedly sat in on the interviews between staff and investigators to ensure staff said what they had been told to say.

The VA is rife with mismanagement and misconduct when it comes to their treatment of veterans. By manipulating recorded wait times for veterans to receive appointments, they appeared to be efficient, while the men and women who served this country languished with sickness leading to the deaths of a few dozen former service members.

PITUITARY INSUFFICIENCY IS PREVALENT AFTER BLAST CONCUSSION IN MILITARY VETERANS — MEDICAL EXPRESS — A study in military veterans finds that explosive blast-related concussions frequently result in hormone changes leading to problems such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression and poor quality of life. The research, to be presented Saturday at the Endocrine Society’s 98th annual meeting in Boston, evaluated hormone levels in 41 male veterans who had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Some of these hormone deficiencies, which mimic some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, may be treated successfully with hormone replacement if correctly diagnosed,” said the study’s leader, Charles Wilkinson, PhD, a researcher with the Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle.

Wilkinson wants to raise awareness of this hormonal problem in light of the high frequency of head injuries from improvised explosive devices in modern warfare. Concussion, also called mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), represents 80 percent of TBI diagnoses among U.S. military service members, according to government estimates in 2010.

CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST: AMPUTEES HOPE TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR SOLDIER PTSD — INQUISITOR — Two military veterans, Thomas “Charlie” Linville and Chad Jukes, are attempting to become the first combat amputees to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Both of the men are raising money and awareness for different veterans support organizations.

Linville and Jukes each lost a leg while serving in the Armed Forces in the Middle East. The two men have never met and though each is determined to be the first combat amputee to successfully reach the top of Everest, they have different motivations for pushing them to the top.

“My message is anything is possible. It is just not me being an amputee, but anyone sitting on the couch around the world that has problems — you can overcome life, it is just how determined you are, ” Linville said.

VA TO BUILD NEW PRIMARY CARE FACILITY IN MEMPHIS — WREG — MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Changes are coming as to where Mid-South veterans can get their medical care.

A new facility is set to open in the Nonconnah Commercial Park on Nonconnah Boulevard near the airport.

An empty building will be renovated into a primary care facility.

“They say I got diabetes now. They checking up on me,” said Sam Taylor Jr., a Marine who served in Vietnam.

Taylor is one of the thousands who visit the Veterans Affairs main campus on Jefferson, and he said changes make him uneasy.

VA REPORT CONFIRMS CHEYENNE STAFF MANIPULATED WAIT TIMES — WYOMING TRIBUNE EAGLE — CHEYENNE – A new report has concluded that Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center employees manipulated appointment scheduling to reduce reported wait times for veterans.

The report, dated April 1 and released by the VA Office of the Inspector General, concluded that a manager in the business office at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center engaged in a practice of canceling veterans’ medical appointments and rescheduling them, thereby making their reported wait times appear shorter than they actually were.

This manipulation went on from 2011 to mid-2013, and coincided with a policy mandate that established a 14-day maximum wait time for veterans seeking appointments.

Samuel House, a spokesman for the Cheyenne VA Medical Center, said the report had long been anticipated. Not long after the initial investigation into the wait-time manipulation began, he said, both the Cheyenne center and the VA as a whole began work to reform the entire scheduling system to avoid a repeat of the misconduct.

BILL AIMS TO GIVE VETERANS CREDIT FOR EXPERIENCE IN THE MILITARY — WCTV — TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With around 1.5 million veterans calling the sunshine state home, Florida continues to make its claim as the most veteran friendly state in the country. Now, Governor Scott has signed a bill that aims to help expand college opportunities for military men and women in the state.

It started at sea. Veteran Adam Cerullo found his love for helping others while working as a physical therapy assistant while in the Navy.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the programs that the military has for training do not roll into the civilian sector equally as far as licensures,” said Cerullo.

ONE YEAR LATER: VETERAN RECOVERS FROM CANCER — KSPR — SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Missouri veteran is back on his feet, one year after his cancer treatment. Roger Blanchard of Christian County is a U.S. Army veteran. He was stationed in Germany, and served from 1961 to 1964. “We had a lot to do when Kennedy was in office with the Bay of Pigs. A lot of it I’d rather not discuss,” Blanchard said. He faced many battles in his life, including a battle with the Veterans Affairs Administration for proper health care. “I served my time. I wasn’t the greatest soldier in the world but I did serve my time,” Blanchard said.

VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA) COMMISSION DIVIDED ON PRIVATIZATION PROPOSAL — MICROCAP MAGAZINE — Nearly two years after the beginning of a scandal that rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a panel is considering a proposal that would turn veterans’ care over to the private sector.

Last week, seven members of the 15-person VA Commission on Care floated a 34-page preliminary “strawman document” recommending granting all VA beneficiaries immediate access to private care services while gradually closing all VA facilities, beginning with those that are obsolete or little-used, according to the Military Times. The department itself would eventually become a Medicare-like payer entity.

Numerous veterans’ groups, however, have denounced the proposal, according to the article, writing in a letter to Commission Chairwoman Nancy Schlichting that not only did the drafting process lack transparency, the proposal demonstrated an “utter lack of consideration that veterans would want to improve and expand the VA healthcare system.”

STRICKEN VETS WHO CLEANED UP 1950’S NUKE TEST SITES SEEK HELP FROM LAWMAKERS — FOX NEWS — The only protective gear Paul Laird wore when the U.S. Army sent him to help scrub a remote South Pacific atoll of nuclear waste was a T-shirt he wrapped around his head.

Laird was 20, and one of thousands of soldiers sent in the late 1970s to help remediate damage to the Marshall Islands property from nuclear testing a generation earlier. Now he, and hundreds of others, have cancer that they trace to their non-wartime service.

“I begged the first two weeks I was there for a dust mask,” Laird, 59, of Otisfield, Maine, told “I took my T-shirt off and wrapped it around my head to get a little bit of protection.”

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BILL 3016 PROPOSES CUTS TO THE POST-9/11 GI BILL — CALAVERES ENTERPRISE — A bill now being considered in Congress would cut funding for housing for veterans’ family members.

Rep. Brad Wenstruyp, R-Ohio, introduced House of Representatives Bill 3016 on July 9, 2015. The bill proposes cuts to veteran dependents’ housing and cuts to veteran cost of living while creating transition administrations and longitudinal mental health studies, improved medical care to newborns, as well as adding podiatry to VA health care.

The bill is meeting with resistance within the veteran community, yet support from Rep. Tom McClintock’s office. McClintock represents Calaveras County.


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