"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
President George Washington
VA delays rollout of electronic medical records system again, citing pandemic:
VA officials told congressional leaders last month that the system's initial rollout, already delayed once this year, will be suspended indefinitely during the pandemic to let health care professionals focus on patient care
According to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, work will continue behind the scenes on the $16 billion project, but the department won't burden staff members with a new system during the national emergency.
In February, the VA announced a delay in initial deployment of the system, created by Cerner Corp., scheduled for March at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. Officials said the wait was necessary to make sure the system works within the VA's information technology framework and employees were trained to use it.
Wilkie told lawmakers that the system is at "99% completion" at Mann-Grandstaff, with the core software and clinician training nearly complete, as well as nearly all the elements needed for the system to go live.
Homeless Vets: COVID-19 Aid bill creates tent cities in VA parking lots:
Tent cities for homeless veterans would go up in Department of Veterans Affairs hospital parking lots under a proposal included in a massive COVID-19 aid bill offered up this week by House Democrats. The proposal by Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) would authorize the VA "to set up temporary encampments on the grounds of [VA Medical Centers] to allow homeless veterans to stay temporarily in VA parking lots," according to a release 12 MAY from the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Although the tent city plan may seem far-fetched, it has precedent. Last month, the VA's Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System set up temporary pup tents for homeless veterans at the West Los Angeles VAMC at the urging of veterans advocates and local city and county officials. The proposal by Levin, head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee subcommittee on economic opportunity, was included in legislation offered up by Rep. Mark Takano, the committee chairman, to aid veterans during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Takano's proposals were part of a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill shaped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that is expected to be voted on as early as 15 MAY. Pelosi, who has a track record of never sending a bill to the floor for which she doesn't have the votes, said 12 MAY, "We must think big for the people now, because if we don't it will cost more in lives and livelihood later." She told reporters in the Capitol, "We're presenting a plan to do what is necessary to deal with a chronic crisis and make sure we can get the country back to work and school safely."
Personal comment: With all of the milk, beef, and vegetables we hear about that are being thrown away, why not give them to the homeless?
Burn Pit Toxic Exposure: Airborne hazards and open burn pit registry update:
More than 204,000 veterans and service members have signed on to the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, VA announced 5 MAY. The registry was established in June 2014 and allows current and former service members to self-report toxic exposures and health concerns using an online questionnaire. That registry and their responses can be used to discuss health issues with doctors and other providers. “Concerns about the long-term effects of exposure to burn pits remain a priority,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “By joining the registry, veterans, service members and the department will further understand the impact of deploymentrelated exposures on health.”
Agent Orange exposure locations update: White paper identifies Guam 13 year exposure period:
Veterans who served in Guam from 1962 to 1975 were likely exposed to toxins including Agent Orange and should receive Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, according to a new report released this week. The white paper from the National Veterans Legal Services Program and Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School shows that those veterans satisfy the VA's legal standard for exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. "The conclusion is based on an exhaustive review conducted over nearly two years of government, private, archival and oral history evidence of herbicide use in Guam during the Vietnam era," the groups said 11 MAY in a news release accompanying the report. “This white paper confirms the reports of countless veterans who served in Guam but whose claims the VA has wrongly rejected,” said Bart Stichman, executive director of NVLSP. “It is time that the VA acknowledge the strong evidence of toxic herbicide exposure in Guam and care for veterans exposed.”
Navy will restart selection, promotion, and continuation boards in July:
The Navy will restart selection, promotion, and continuation boards July 1 after they were halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the service announced.
“Our overriding commitment is that no sailor will be disadvantaged by the delay in boards,” Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, the commander of Navy Personnel Command, said in a statement. “Although the boards were postponed, those who are selected for promotion can expect to be assigned the original date of rank and receive any back pay and allowances they’re warranted.”
The decision to postpone them was meant to prevent sailors from having to travel to Millington, Tenn., to sit on these boards, and to limit the number of sailors who would be working closely to one another, according to the Navy.
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