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  • Lawmaker blasts budget plan to trim VA Choice Program

    Leo Shane III | Military Times

    Veterans Affairs officials don't know how many veterans are using the new "choice card" program, but it's a small enough total that they want to start taking money out of the program.

    The move is likely to ignite a lengthy fight on Capitol Hill with lawmakers who created the program last summer following the department's patient-wait-time scandal and who doubt VA's ability to serve veterans in a timely and effective manner.

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    Legislation
    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • VA lays out 2016 health care budget priorities

    Patricia Kime | Military Times

    The Veterans Affairs Department's budget plan for health care next year would boost spending on mental health treatment and services, caregiver programs and health care for female veterans.

    The budget request for fiscal 2016, which starts Oct. 1, includes $56 billion in spending for veterans health care as well as $63.3 billion in advance funding for 2017. That advance funding is included each year in the VA spending plan to protect the health budget in the event of a government shutdown.

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    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • VA Announces Single Regional Framework under MyVA Initiative

    VA

    VA Announces Single Regional Framework under MyVA Initiative
    Internal Organizations to Realign Their Existing Structures

    Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. 

    The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into a single regional framework to enhance internal coordination. 

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    VA
  • Labor Department takes data-driven approach to veteran hiring

    Now Hiring

    By Amrita Jayakumar | The Washington Post

    Contractors will have to start collecting annual data on their veteran hiring practices in 2015, according to an updated Labor Department regulation.

    The rule, released last fall, is a significant modification to a 1974 rule related to the hiring of veterans after the Vietnam War and an example of the government’s push to use data to study industry trends.

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    Employment
  • Study: Rapid HIV testing in shelters is affordable, effective way to reach homeless Veterans

    VA

    Rapid HIV testing could have a dramatic effect on treating Veterans who are both homeless and HIV-positive, according to a VA study appearing in the January 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

    While Veterans only make up around 11 percent of the U.S. population, they continue to be overrepresented among the U.S. homeless population. On any given night, Veterans make up some 26 percent of the nation's homeless population of nearly 610,000, putting them at a higher risk for a myriad of other conditions —among them, HIV.

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    Homelessness
    Physical Well-Being
    VA
  • Best for Vets: Colleges 2015

    George Altman | Military Times

    The students who walk into the veterans office at the University of Nebraska Omaha find several university staffers who can assist with school matters, a full-time Veterans Affairs Department employee who can help with benefits questions and other resources.

    The problem: Not everyone walks into the veterans office.

    "We have a big self-sorting issue, where the people who need our services probably the most don't use those resources," said Mike Connolly, director of the school's Office of Military and Veteran Services.

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    Education
  • State of Nebraska issues nearly 2,700 special veterans driver's licenses

    Omaha World Herald

    LINCOLN — Nearly 2,700 Nebraska military veterans have obtained special driver's licenses available through a new state program.

    “I'm proud Nebraska continues to find unique ways to recognize our veterans,” Gov. Dave Heineman said during a press conference called Wednesday to promote the service.

    A law that took effect this summer allows Nebraska veterans to have the word “veteran” printed in bold letters at the bottom of their driver’s licenses or state identification cards. Heineman, a U.S. Army veteran, said he has a special operator’s license.

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    Benefits
    Legislation
  • Veterans can apply to upgrade discharge for PTSD

    Military Times

    A special web page has been launched to assist veterans seeking to upgrade punitive discharges related to behavior problems caused by post-traumatic stress.

    The web page provides information and applications to seek an upgrade to discharge from service. The page can be found at http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/adrb-ptsd.cfm.

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    Benefits
    Mental Health
  • Suicide prevention bill likely sidelined until 2015

    Tom Coburn

    by Leo Shane III | Military Times

    Supporters of a sweeping veterans suicide prevention bill suffered a major setback Monday when retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocked the measure in the waning hours of the year's legislative session.

    The move likely means the end of the effort for this year, and potentially months of rebuilding work for advocates who championed the bill as a critical step forward in veterans mental health care.

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    Benefits
    Legal
    Mental Health
  • V.A. enlists IBM's Watson to help veterans suffering from PTSD

    VA Hospital

    by Lance Ulanoff | Mashable

    IBM's Watson beat the odds on Jeopardy! Now the big question: is it smart enough to help solve what ails the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs?

    The past couple of years have been pretty rough for the V.A.. In June of this year, it got blasted for underreporting veteran complaints, which ran the gamut from slow response time to poor care. Eventually the Secretary of the V.A., Eric Shineski, resigned.

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    Topics
    Benefits
    Legal
    Mental Health

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