Veterans

August 29, 2012

Shinseki notes strides in serving nation’s veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made great strides in meeting the challenges posed by a decade of war, and cooperation with the Defense Department is crucial to continued progress, VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said Aug. 28.

In a speech at the American Legion convention in Indianapolis, Shinseki said repeated deployments over the last decade have created “issues that don’t show up right away.”

“More [service members] are surviving catastrophic injuries, but higher survival rates also mean complex casualties,” he said. Post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, [and] amputations, blindness, deafness and other injuries can have compounding effects, he explained.

“It takes a superb, disciplined fighting force to handle this kind of strain for this long.”

By next summer, Shinseki said, VA will have increased funding for treatment of veterans with spinal cord injuries by 28 percent since 2009. He added that funding for traumatic brain injury treatment will have increased by 38 percent, mental health funding by 39 percent, long-term care funding by 39 percent and prosthetics funding by 58 percent. Funding for female veterans’ health issues will have increased by 123 percent, with a potential total increase of 158 percent by 2014.

In the face of these challenges, he said, VA has decided the compensation claims of 2.9 million veterans in the past three and a half years. In 2012, he expects that for the third straight year, VA will decide 1 million.

The secretary acknowledged that a backlog of claims exists, but added that “no one is standing at parade rest.”

“This is a dynamic process. When you push 2.9 million claims out the door and 3.5 million come in, … we have to find ways to dominate those numbers.”

VA also is working with Pentagon officials to establish a single, common integrated electronic health record by 2014, Shinseki said. “Seamless transition of service members departing the military and joining VA is crucial.”

Both departments, he noted, are reaching out to veterans and service members in crisis, who now can make a phone call any time for the help they need.

“One of our most successful outreach efforts is our Veterans Crisis Line,” Shinseki said. “DOD knows it as the Military Crisis Line. Same number, same trained VA mental health professionals answering the phone.” Service members and veterans can reach the crisis line at 800-273-8255 or send a text message to 838225.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
WWII-MIA

Missing World War II Soldier accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today that the remains of a missing World War II U.S. serviceman have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, acco...
 
 
stamps2

New stamp folio to honor Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the U.S. Postal Service dedicate a limited-edition stamp folio honoring them and other Vietnam heroes on Memorial Day. The “Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 
Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold

Soldiers participate during Flags In at Arlington Cemetery

Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold Old Guard and other ceremonial units place more than 228,000 miniature flags throughout Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 21, 2015, in advance of Memorial Day, May 25. The Flags In mission has...
 
 

In memoriam

Remembering TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13 in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>