Latest Articles


  • VA Announces $3.4 Million in Funding to Help the Homeless

    Helping Homless VeteransWASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald announced the award of $3.4 million in grant funding offered through the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program to 16 community agencies that provide enhanced services for homeless Veterans with special needs.

    The GPD Program promotes the development and provision of supportive housing and services to help homeless Veterans to have stable residences, increase their skills and income, and achieve independence.  Specifically, GPD special need grant funding assists with additional operating costs of transitional housing and services for special need groups such as women, chronically mental ill, frail elderly, terminally ill, and those with minor dependents.

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  • VA Announces Several Caregiver Partnerships

    Veterans assistance WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced several new and expanded partnerships to support the VA Caregiver Support Program. The VA Caregiver Support Program supports the-often unsung heroes of wounded or ill Veterans – the ones who take care of them. Announcement of the partnerships, made during a summit co-hosted by VA and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The daylong event, Empowering Hidden Heroes: Pathways to InnoVAtion, attracted 400 leaders from government, the non-profit sector, private industry, academic and stakeholders from the Veteran and caregiver community. 

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  • VA Awards $6.8 Billion for Medical Disability Examinations

    Veterans assistance VA Awards $6.8 Billion for Medical Disability Examinations

     WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the awarding of 12 contracts between 5 firms totaling $6.8 billion to improve the Medical Disability Examination process (Compensation and Pension or Comp and Pen Examinations) for Veterans.  The awards are intended to reduce Veterans’ wait times for examinations for service-connected benefits, thereby providing faster claims decisions in a more efficient and streamlined way. 

     

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  • VA Partners with Richmond International Raceway

    Veterans
    RICHMOND – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has partnered with Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for the second year in a row to promote greater access and awareness to VA benefits and services at NASCAR weekend -- today and tomorrow in Richmond. 

    “From our ongoing experience, innovative partnerships like this with NASCAR and RIR create important new access points to vital VA benefits and services,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  “We value this opportunity to reach Veterans and their families who may not realize they are eligible for VA benefits and services or those who may not know where to go to access this support.”

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  • Veterans Who Need Routine Audiology and Optometry Appointments Will Soon Be Able to Directly Schedule

    Veterans assistance WASHINGTON – Veterans receiving care at Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Medical Centers will now be able to schedule routine ear and eye appointments at local VA Audiology and Optometry clinics without a primary care referral – a move that eliminates multiple steps and gets Veterans into appointments quicker.

    Before now, Veterans seeking appointments with audiologists or optometrists had to first make an appointment with a primary care physician for a referral for a routine clinic consult visit. A clinic representative would contact the patient to set up the consult appointment, which could result in a several weeks’-long lag between the appointment and when the Veteran was actually seen. The new process, the Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative, which began as a successful pilot at three sites in 2015, is being expanded to all VA Medical Centers.

    “The Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative allows Veterans who need eye and ear care to be seen sooner,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “It also has the benefit of freeing up primary care physicians so access to primary care improves for other Veterans as well. This kind of process improvement is exactly the type of innovation we expected when we launched MyVA in 2014. In the end, we changed a VA process by considering the needs of our Veterans, a change that allows for more timely care and an improved Veteran experience.”

    The Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative is one of a number of efforts underway at VA to improve Veterans’ access to care and wait times. Among those recent accomplishments:

    • VA and Choice contractors created more than 3.1 million authorizations for Veterans to receive care in the private sector from May 1, 2015 through Apr. 30, 2016. This represents an 8-percent increase in authorizations when compared to the same period in 2014/2015.
    • In FY 2015, 12 percent of all Veterans enrolled for VA care received telehealth-based care. This includes more than 2 million telehealth visits touching 677,000 Veterans; 45 percent of these Veterans live in rural areas.
    • In FY 2015, more than 6,300 Veterans accessed VA care through live interactive video telehealth from home.
    • VA has activated over 3.9 million square feet of space in the past two years.
    • We’ve increased authorizations for care in the community 46% in the past two years.
    • Clinic production is up 10 percent as measured by the same productivity standard used by many private-sector healthcare systems. This increase translates into roughly 20 million additional hours of care for Veterans.
    • As we improve access to care, more and more Veterans are choosing VA care — for the quality, for the convenience, or for the cost-savings so even though we’re completing millions more appointments, we continue to have more work to do.
    • VA has increased salaries for physicians and dentists to close the pay gap with the private sector and to make VA an employer of choice. With more competitive salaries, VA will be better positioned to retain and hire more health care providers to care for Veterans.

    “We want our Veterans and those who care for them to know that we are doing everything that we can to improve their experience with VA and to provide the care our Veterans deserve in a thoughtful and timely way,” said VA Under Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin.“We have made progress, but know there is more work to be done.  This Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative is one of many initiatives underway to improve Veterans access to care.”

    The Audiology and Optometry Direct Scheduling Initiative is expected to be fully operational within all VA Medical Centers by the end of 2016.

    Editors Note: Be sure to check out my new news website.. News Center

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  • VA Adaptive Sports Program

    Veterans assistance Mission Redefined
    Your courage, your determination and your drive all led you to serve America proudly. Those same characteristics will also lead to satisfaction and success in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans who are physically active simply have more fun! To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team and checking out this website.

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  • VA Awards $7.8 Million in Adaptive Sport Grants to Aid Disabled Veterans

    VA NewsWASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today announced the awarding of up to $7.8 million in grants for adaptive sports programs for disabled Veterans and disabled Servicemembers of the Armed Forces. The grant recipients may use these funds for planning, developing, managing and implementing these adaptive sports programs.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is awarding the grants to national governing bodies, which prepare high-level athletes for Paralympic competition; Veterans service organizations; city and regional municipalities; and other community groups to provide a wide range of adaptive sports opportunities for eligible Veterans and Servicemembers.  The grants will support activities ranging from rowing, cycling, skiing, equestrian sports and Tai Chi.

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  • President Obama’s Final Assessment of the Commission on Care

    VA NewsWASHINGTON – Today, consistent with the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, the President’s formal response to the Commission on Care was transmitted to Congress. As the President has said, “a sacred covenant exists between Veterans and this nation: servicemen and servicewomen take an oath to protect our country, and in turn, our nation pledges to take care of them when they leave the service. The Commission’s work to evaluate the Veterans Affairs health care system is important in ensuring we keep our promise to our Veterans.”

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  • State of Women Veterans Social Media Campaign Launched

    VA NewsWASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with Women Veterans Interactive (WVI) to launch a State of Women Veterans’ social media campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of women Veterans’ military and societal contributions and provide an avenue for informing women Veterans about the VA benefits they have earned.

     

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  • Service Dogs in Training Help PTSD, TBI Patients Heal

    You’re stressed, your thoughts aren’t straight, and you’re tapping your leg anxiously. But suddenly there’s a little furry head sitting on your lap, reminding you to calm down.  You start petting that furry little head, and next thing you know, you’re feeling a lot better.

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  • Captain America Rescues Motorists From Fiery Crash

    FORT BRAGG, N.C., June 4, 2015 – Army Capt. Steve Voglezon can only laugh when asked how he feels about the nickname that he received when he risked his personal safety on May 17 to help rescue three badly injured motorists from a terrifying car crash and fire.

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  • Carter Salutes Service Members During Africom Visit

    WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – The people of the U.S. military are what make it the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a troop talk at U.S. Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, today.

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  • DoD Notified of OPM Cybersecurity Incident

    WASHINGTON, June 4, 2015 – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced today a recent cybersecurity incident affecting its systems and data may have exposed the personal information of current and former federal civilian employees.

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  • DARPA Aims to Accelerate Memory Function for Skill Learning

    Research may accelerate rehabilitation post trauma or memory impairment, enable warfighter training

    A new DARPA program aims to investigate the role of neural “replay” in the formation and recall of memory, with the goal of helping individuals better remember specific episodic events and learned skills. The 24-month fundamental research program, Restoring Active Memory Replay or RAM Replay, is designed to develop novel and rigorous computational methods to help investigators determine not only which brain components matter in memory formation and recall but also how much they matter.

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  • VA Launches Innovation Creation Series to Improve Quality of Life for Veterans

    WASHINGTON D.C. – Can you imagine losing the ability to use everyday objects like your phone, typing on a computer or even enjoying a beloved hobby like photography?  These are a just a few of the challenges that Veterans and civilians with disabilities such as amputations and tremors face every day – and these are the challenges the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wants to help solve. Through the launch of VA’s Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technologies, VA invites all designers, engineers, and problem solvers alike, to help us find creative ways to solve these challenges.

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  • VA Secretary Waives Resident-Rate Requirements of the Choice Act through December, 2015

    Ensures Continued GI Bill Benefits for Students While States Work to Comply with New Law 

    WASHINGTON – In order to make it easier for Veterans and their families to receive their GI Bill benefits where they choose, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has used his authority to waive the provisions of Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act). This action will ensure all GI Bill® students are able to continue training at their chosen institutions.  Under Section 702, VA must disapprove education programs at public institutions for Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) benefits if a school charges certain individuals tuition and fees in excess of the resident rate for terms beginning after July 1, 2015. 

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  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month

    New VA Website Encourages Veterans to Tell Their Stories of Hope

    WASHINGTON – May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To commemorate the month, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraging Veterans, along with their families and friends, to visit and view recovery journey stories on the website, MakeTheConnection.net.

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  • VA Expands Choice Program Eligibility, Effective Immediately

    VA Will Now Determine Eligibility Using Driving Distance

    WASHINGTON  – In order to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program based on the distance between a Veteran’s place of residence and the nearest VA medical facility using driving distance rather than straight-line distance. This change has been published in the Federal Register and is effective immediately.

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  • Group of Respected Medical Experts to Advise VA on Health Care for 9 Million Veterans

    Special Medical Advisory Group Led by Dr. Jonathan Perlin of Hospital Corporation of America

    WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a new 11-member Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG) composed of leading medical experts to assist the Department in delivering health care to the 9 million Veterans enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration.

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  • VA Extends Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury

    Contracts Awarded to Assisted Living Providers

    WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the award of 20 contracts for the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI). Originally slated to end in 2014, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (“VACAA”) extended this program through October 2017.

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  • New Members Appointed to VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans

    Committee Makes Recommendation to VA Secretary

    WASHINGTON – Four new members have been appointed to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises the Secretary on issues and programs affecting women Veterans. Established in 1983, the Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary for administrative and legislative changes. 

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  • VA Announces New Grants to Help End Veteran Homelessness

    Initiative Targets 45,000 Homeless and At-Risk Vets and Families in High Need Communities

    WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald today announced the award of nearly $93 million in Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) 3-year grants that will help approximately 45,000 homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 24 non-profit agencies in 15 communities, with $30 million in awards being distributed to the Los Angeles area.

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  • Requirement of Standardized Claim, Appeal Forms

    Requirement of Standardized Claim, Appeal Forms
    Simplifies Application Process for Veterans

     Washington – With the goal of making the application process easier and more efficient for our Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now requires Veterans seeking disability benefits to use standardized claim and appeal forms. These standardized forms guide Veterans to clearly state the symptoms or conditions for which they are seeking benefits and provide the information necessary for VA to start processing their claims and appeals. 

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  • VA Works to Expand Choice Program Eligibility

    Eligibility criteria for 40 miles calculation would change to driving distance

    Washington -- In order to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will change the calculation used to determine the distance between a Veteran’s residence and the nearest VA medical facility from a straight line distance to driving distance. The policy change will be made through regulatory action in the coming weeks. The Veterans Choice Program was authorized by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA).

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  • DoD ‘Heavy With Grief’ After Helo Crash in Nepal

    WASHINGTON, May 15, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter today expressed his anguish after the U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey helicopter reported missing in Nepal May 12 was found to have crashed in the mountains. Joint Task Force 505 personnel today identified the wreckage of the missing helicopter.

     
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