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.


 
 

 

Hagel orders overhaul of POW/MIA identification agencies

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced March 31 that he’s ordered an overhaul of the Pentagon agencies responsible for recovering and identifying the remains of America’s war dead. The reorganization seeks to consolidate the mission, improve efficiency and increase the number of remains identified by the two key agencies charged with POW-MIA accounting efforts — the...
 
 

Half of vets on G.I. Bill graduate, report estimates

A little more than half of the veterans who got college money under the GI Bill since 2009 eventually graduated, though many took longer to do it, a new study estimates. The report released March 214 estimated that 51.7 percent of student veterans earned a degree or certificate for some kind of higher education. That’s...
 
 

Veterans unemployment rate dropped in 2013

The unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans dropped in 2013, according to Labor Department statistics announced March 20. The unemployment rate fell to 9 percent last year for veterans who served on active duty since September 2001. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez...
 

 

Soldier missing from Vietnam War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced March 18 that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, were recently accounted for and will be buried in a group burial ceremony. Army SSgt. Lawrence Woods of Clarksville, Tenn., will be buried as part of group on March 21, at Arlington National...
 
 

Care, benefits for vets strengthened by $164 billion VA budget

Continuing the transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs into a 21st century organization, the president has proposed a $163.9 billion budget, a 6.5 percent increase over fiscal year 2014, that will support VAís goals to expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among veterans. The...
 
 

Upcoming reunions

April 2-6 15th Med Bn 1st Cav Div. Orlando, Fla. For more information about this reunion, contact Leo Williams at (407) 277-5763 or email dragin52@hotmail.com.   April 3-5 4th Bn 39th Inf Rgt 9th Inf Div (Vietnam, 1966-1969) San Antonio, Texas For more information about this reunion, contact Jim Haines at (303) 809-1815 or email...
 




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>