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Veterans Helping Veterans, US Vets Infromation and Benefits,

Month: January 2018

Statement by Vet Affairs Secretary David Shulkin — State of the Union

Statement by VA Secretary David Shulkin — State of the Union
January 30, 2018, 10:31:00 PM
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 Statement by Vet Affairs Secretary David Shulkin —  State of the Union
                Under President Trump’s leadership, VA.Gov is engaged in the largest transformation and modernization effort in decades. As part of this effort, the Dept. is tackling head-on issues that have lingered for years, including accountability, whistleblower protection, improving transparency and customer service for Washington Veterans and expanding suicide prevention and mental health care services.
                 As outlined in tonight’s address, US VA.Gov will have another groundbreaking year in expanding and improving our services for Veterans, particularly when it comes giving them more choices over their health care decisions, and improving yet again on the timeliness of our decisions on Veterans’ benefits.
                 The whole country was moved when President Trump recognized young Preston Sharp for his dedication and leadership in planting over 40,000 flags at our nation’s cemeteries to recognize America’s heroes. He has inspired hundreds of volunteers across the country who are looking to expand his effort to all 50 states. Well done, Preston — you’re an example to all Americans and everyone who works at VA.
People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to theVeterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs Distribution List[3].
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February is Heart Month – A US Veterans Nurse's Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s StoryBy Hans Petersen
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Vet.
Here is one Veteran’s story…..
Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968
Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.
“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Vets returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”
She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”
Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”
She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the Washington.”
First Signs of Heart Problems
Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, Washington Veterans Affairs cardiologist.”
She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.
Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such…

New Online Tool Will Provide Vet With Customized Instructions for Discharge Upgrade Process

New Online Tool Will Provide Vets With Customized Instructions for Discharge Upgrade Process
January 25, 2018, 03:51:00 PM
Printable VersionNeed Viewer Software?[2][1] Unites States — The Dept. of Defense (DOD), through a joint initiative with the U.S. Dept. of US VA (VA.Gov), has launched a new web-based tool[3] that will provide customized guidance to Veteran who desire to upgrade or change the conditions of their military discharge.
By answering a few short questions, Veterans will receive information on the specific armed services board to contact, the form/s to fill out, special guidance applicable to their case, where to send their application and helpful tips for appealing their discharge.
“This new tool and partnership with DOD is one of many Veterans Affairs initiatives offered to Veteran who believe they may have been unfairly discharged or received an unfair discharge characterization,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Veterans who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous or warrants an upgrade are encouraged to use the tool and then apply for review.”
DOD officials also praised the new innovative tool.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of US Vets Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily accessible tool,” said Mr. Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “We support our Veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge.”
The military has estimated that tens of thousands of Veteran with less than honorable discharges are especially likely to have unjust discharges deserving of upgrades. These are Unites States Veterans who were discharged due to incidents relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or sexual orientation. Fragmented and confusing information has historically deterred Veteran from obtaining crucial information and — in many cases — necessary…

USAGov’s Apps to Download in 2018

USAGov’s Apps to Download in 2018 | USAGov

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January 5, 2018

cell telephone with application.

Ordering food, shopping, reviews and buying movie tickets, there’s an app for everything. Did you know the Government has apps available that make some tasks easier to handle? Others provide easier ways to contact or get information about certain programs.

Check out USAGov[2]’s apps to download in 2018:

For children:

  • NASA – An app for space enthusiasts. This app is home to all things NASA, including images, videos on-demand, mission information, ISS sighting opportunities, satellite tracking, and more. (iOS[3], Android[4])
  • Aesop for Children – This interactive novel app is designed for readers of every age. The app contains more than 140 classic fables which remain popular for moral education of children. (Android[5], iOS[6])

For families:

  • HUD Resource Locator – This is an easy to use app that helps users discover commonly requested federal housing resources within their community. Get information on many housing HUD programs, directly contact specific resource providers, and more. (iOS[7], Android[8])
  • USPS – Access tools on the go with the USPS Mobile® app. Calculate shipping prices, find a Post Office™, look up a ZIP Code™, schedule a next-day pickup, request USPS to hold your mail, and more. (iOS[9], Android[10])
  • Safer Ride – the simplest possible way to get home safe and only has three self-explanatory buttons on the Home screen. (IOS[11], Android[12])

For emergencies:

  • FEMA app – This app is your one-stop-shop with tools and tips to keep you safe before, during, and after disasters. Get tips on what to do before, during, and after for more 20 types of disasters. Locate shelters and find out where to contact FEMA at disaster recovery centers. (iOS[13], Android[14])

For travelers:

  • MyTSA – The MyTSA app provides airline passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information. Save time and money with helpful tips for preparing for security.  (iOS[15] only)

  • Smart Traveler– The official State Dept. app for U.S. travelers invites you to see the world with easy access to frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more. (iOS[16], Android[17])

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Kids and Depression

Kids and Depression | USAGov

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January 18, 2018

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Recognize The Signs of Suicide and Find Help and Hope

person sitting on a boardwalk

Every 13 minutes, someone commits suicide in the U.S. In fact, suicide is the second-highest leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year-olds. It’s a serious public health issue that affects families and communities across the nation.

Its causes can be complex and involve many factors, from mental illness and abuse to violence and social isolation.

Be Aware; Listen

Service Members and Veterans

  • US Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online[1], or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support.

  • Find support[2] and help for military members before, during, or after service.  

  • Take the Self-Check Quiz[3] to learn whether stress and depression might be affecting you.

Find Help

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline[4] at 1 800-273-TALK (8255) or through chat[5] eligible 24/7. You can also text a professional for help with the Crisis Text Line at 741741[6].

If you believe someone is in immediate danger, do not leave the person alone and call 911. Know and share these resources–it could save a life.

Find help 24/7 in Spanish[7] at 1-888-628-9454.

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VA's National PTSD Brain Bank Collaborates With PINK Concussions Group: Women Veterans Urged to Donate Brains for Research

VA’s National PTSD Brain Bank Collaborates With PINK Concussions Group: Women Veterans Urged to Donate Brains for Research
January 24, 2018, 10:03:00 AM
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Women Government Veterans Urged to Donate Brains for Research 
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Dept. of Vet Affairs (Unites States VA) announced a collaboration between its National Center for PTSD and the nonprofit organization PINK Concussions[3], encouraging women to donate their brains for the purpose of research of the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“In the past, the focus of TBI and PTSD brain research has primarily been based on male brains — without any active recruitment for women,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, executive in charge of VA’s Veterans Health Administration. “We have a lot to learn about how the female brain deals with TBI and PTSD, which makes this effort long overdue.”
Katherine Snedaker, founder and executive director of PINK Concussions, and a brain injury survivor, also applauded the collaboration.
“We are so grateful to partner with VA to launch the first active recruitment of female Vets, as well as active-duty members and civilian women to be a part of brain injury and PTSD research,” Snedaker said. “VA continues year after year to be one of our most valued partners in our ongoing mission to improve pre-injury education and post-injury care for women with brain injury.”
While there is postmortem brain tissue available for study of injury in men, there has been almost none for women. There is also a lack of research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as CTE, in women. In all published literature on CTE, only two peer-reviewed journal articles (both published in the early 1990s) have focused on women.
Women Vet interested in participating in the brain bank may take the PINK Concussions pledge[4]. Though tissue donation may occur many years or decades from…

Telehealth Revolutionizing Veterans Health Care

Telehealth Revolutionizing Veterans’ Health CareBy Melanie L. Thomas, MBA – Public Affairs Specialist, Bay Pines Vets Affairs Healthcare System
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
The Dept. of Veteran Affairs is revolutionizing the use of new health care technology to deliver convenient, accessible health care to Veterans. VA’s TeleHealth service is mission critical to the future direction of VA, and utilizes health informatics, disease management and telehealth technologies to care for and provide case management. More importantly, it helps Vet to continue to live independently; in their own homes, local communities and stay out of the hospital.

“I’ve had nothing but the best experience. I think they saved my life.”

“Technology is the tool the Vets utilizes through TeleHealth Service to interact with their care coordinator, but the real key component to the success of the program is case management and personal connection,” says Catherine Buck, National Home Telehealth Lead and Clinical Nurse Analyst. “The US Vets establishes a relationship with a go-to person that is essential for the Veteran’s overall health care plan and personal health goals.”
Ultimately, telehealth changes the relationship between patients and their health care team. Higher levels of patient satisfaction and positive clinical outcomes can attest to this.
“VA providers and patients discuss and decide together which telehealth care services are eligible in their location and clinically appropriate for the patient, said Bay Pines Vets Affairs Healthcare System’s Virtual Care Program Coordinator,” Rod Miles.
Telehealth practitioner Dr. Paul Maas (foreground) is joined via video by Rod Miles, facility telehealth coordinator at Bay Pines VA.Gov Healthcare System.
There are many telehealth resources that are used to deliver care to a patient. However, VA’s Video on Demand has been an important resource for providers and patients at the Bay Pines US VA Healthcare System for the past three years.
“Veterans don’t need to be at a clinic to speak with their…

VA.Gov, Health and Human Services Announce Partnership to Strengthen Prevention of Fraud, Waste and Abuse Efforts

Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services Announce Partnership to Strengthen Prevention of Fraud, Waste and Abuse Efforts
January 23, 2018, 09:57:00 AM
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WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of VA (VA.Gov) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a partnership to share data, data analytics tools and best practices for identifying and preventing fraud, waste and abuse.
This newest partnership enhances ongoing efforts between the country’s two largest public-private health-care payment organizations to help America’s Veteran by leveraging the gains made by CMS.  
“The VA-HHS alliance represents the latest example of VA’s commitment to find partners to assist with identifying new and innovative ways to seek out fraud, waste and abuse and ensure every tax dollar given to US Veterans Affairs supports US Veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “This effort marks another step toward achieving President Trump’s 10-point plan to reform the VA.Gov by collaborating with our federal partners to improve VA’s ability to investigate fraud and wrongdoing in USA Vets Affairs programs.” 
CMS continues to focus on reducing and eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare, and in 2010, it established the Center for Program Integrity to help with this work. CMS estimates that its program integrity activities saved Medicare operations $17 billion in fiscal 2015. Other HHS combined efforts — including law enforcement — contributed to greater program savings. 
VA plans to capitalize on the advancements in analytics CMS has made by concentrating on its use of advanced technology, statistics and data analytics to improve fraud detection and prevention efforts. Additionally, in November 2017, Vets Affairs invited industry experts to provide information on the latest commercial sector tools and techniques to enhance VA’s fraud detection capabilities. In April, Vets Affairs will invite these industry experts to demonstrate their capabilities for detecting and preventing…

Bay Pines Veterans Affairs in Florida Modernizing for Vets

New Mental Health Center at the C.W. Bill Young Vets Affairs Medical CenterBy Jason Dangel and Melanie Thomas, Bay Pines Veteran Affairs Healthcare System, Office of Public Affairs.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The Bay Pines US Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Florida is modernizing and improving its facilities, programs, and services for the more than 108,000 Vets it serves.
Across the system, several key projects and initiatives have been completed or are underway. The improvement efforts are the result of intensive strategic planning undertaken by the healthcare system’s leaders, and frontline employees with input from Veterans and other external stakeholder groups.
Physical and Technological Changes at the Medical Center
The most substantial and visible change on the C.W. Bill Young VA.Gov Medical Center campus is the new 155,000-square-foot Mental Health Center pictured above. The new facility features a wide array of inpatient, outpatient, and residential services for US Veterans seeking mental health care. The facility opened to serve US Vets in September 2017.

“Acting in the best interests of Vet is at the forefront of our efforts.”

Space that was previously used to house mental health staff, services, and equipment will be renovated and converted into new primary care clinics. The new primary care clinics will be designed to meet VA’s Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) construction requirements which call for “onstage” and “offstage” areas. Government Veterans will receive care in exam rooms located in onstage areas.
Onstage areas are designed to allow teams of multidisciplinary health care professionals to deliver services to Veteran in one location versus moving patients from clinic to clinic or from provider to provider. Clinical and administrative work requirements will take place in areas designated for employees, also called offstage areas.

Heather Brauer, Assistant Chief of Engineering, at the site of the new Cancer Infusion Center
Other noticeable upgrades at the medical center campus include the renovation of inpatient units…

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