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  • VA releases plans for sweeping health care overhaul

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officials on Monday presented Congress with their formal plan to ease rules concerning veterans seeking medical appointments outside the VA system at government expense, potentially sending tens of thousands of new veterans into the private sector for care.

    The proposal once again raises questions about the long-term goals of the VA medical system and potential privatization of veterans care, issues that have already caused infighting among some veterans groups and Capitol Hill lawmakers.

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  • VA secretary promises in writing not to cut benefit program for disabled vets

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON – Months after President Donald Trump’s administration backed off a proposal to slash benefits for the country’s most disabled veterans, organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars were still receiving calls and emails from panicked vets.

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  • Lawmakers take first steps toward a BRAC for VA facilities

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — House lawmakers took the first steps Thursday toward shutting down hundreds of Veterans Affairs facilities through a process similar to military base closure rounds, saying the move is critical to keep the department from wasting millions of dollars on underused, aging buildings.

    But some of the largest veterans groups said they have serious concerns with the proposal, saying it’s ripe for abuse and could tempt VA officials to outsource more veterans’ medical care to private-sector physicians.

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  • Why so many veterans go hungry — and VA’s new plan to fix it

    Type of content: News

    When Greg Stegall left the Navy at 30 years old, he found himself utterly adrift: a single dad with no degree, no clear plans for the future and a short résumé in a down job market. Struggling to find work, Stegall put his son in a boarding school for poor children and asked his parents for money and food.

    Nearly 30 years later, Stegall — now 58 — oversees a program at a Pennsylvania food bank that delivers meals to hungry veterans. But he still regularly sees other vets in similar situations.

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  • Congress extends VA programs to year's end, avoiding budget fight complications

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Congress this week finalized legislation to extend a host of Veterans Affairs programs until the end of December, avoiding disruptions in the services while lawmakers sort out budget issues over the next two months.

    The measure was approved by the House on Monday and passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Wednesday night. It now heads to the White House, where President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure into law in coming days.

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    Legislation
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  • VA Studying Suicide Prevention In Veterans

    Type of content: News

    Suicide among veterans is 22 percent higher than for civilians of the same age. The VA and the Pentagon have been studying how to prevent suicides.

    Transcript (click the associated article URL to play the audio version of this article):

    DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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    Mental Health
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  • Don't abandon our female veterans to staggering risk of suicide

    Type of content: News

    Earlier this month, the Department of Veterans Affairs released an updated version of its “Veteran Suicide Statistics by State” report, the most comprehensive examination of veteran suicide in American history which analyzed over 55 million records from 1979 to 2014 from all 50 states and four territories.

    One of the most staggering public health statistics in this report was the rate of female veterans’ suicide rate: 250 percent higher than civilian women.

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    Mental Health
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    Women Veterans
  • VA's suicide prevention hotline expanding to third site

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officials will open a third call center for the Veterans Crisis Line in Kansas in coming weeks, a move that’s expected to add about 100 new personnel to the emergency response service.

    The new office will be located in Topeka on the campus of VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System. More than 500 staffers currently operate the around-the-clock hotline out of locations in New York and Georgia.

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    Mental Health
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  • Suicide among veterans highest in western U.S., rural areas

    Type of content: News

    Social isolation, gun ownership and access to health care may be factors

    WASHINGTON — Suicide among military veterans is especially high in the western U.S. and rural areas, according to new government data that show wide state-by-state disparities and suggest social isolation, gun ownership and access to health care may be factors.

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    Mental Health
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  • New VA claims process promises decisions within 30 days

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officials on Thursday unveiled a new disability claims process they promise will result in decisions within 30 days, potentially shaving months off some veterans’ current wait.

    But that timeline doesn’t factor in advance work veterans must do on their own to collect relevant medical tests and service documents. And for now, the new process is only open to veterans looking to upgrade existing disability claims, not new cases.

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    Benefits
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