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  • Trump Promises Huge Increase in Private Sector Care for Veterans

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice” in coming months as part of an ongoing, ambitious reform plan at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The comments, which came at a veterans rally in Ohio, are likely to again stoke concerns among administration critics of large-scale privatization of VA responsibilities.

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  • PTSD Disability Claims by Vets Tripled in the Last Decade

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — More than one in five veterans receiving federal disability payouts suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a figure that has spiked in the last decade.

    Veterans Affairs officials told lawmakers Tuesday that the number of disability cases related to PTSD has nearly tripled in that time, from around 345,000 cases in fiscal 2008 to more than 940,000 cases today.

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  • Despite promises, VA Secretary can't shake privatization concerns

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Nearly half a year into his job, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is still trying to convince critics that his efforts to improve the department won’t lead to privatizing care and support programs for veterans.

    In an editorial in USA Today Monday morning, Shulkin — the only holdover of former President Barack Obama’s administration to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet — called lingering fears of VA privatization “unfounded” and stated again that “we will not allow VA to be privatized on our watch.”

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  • Plan to overhaul GI Bill moves through House, on to Senate

    Type of content: News

    Major reforms to veterans’ education benefits are one step closer to becoming law after the House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of the legislation Monday.

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  • Congressman wants 'second chance' for veterans facing deportation

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON – One Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is seeking a second chance for veterans who were convicted of crimes and face the possibility of deportation.

    Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced legislation late Thursday to have the Department of Homeland Security consider a veteran’s moral character and honorable service above a criminal conviction when reviewing naturalization applications.

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  • PAWS Act Could Be a Big Help to Veterans

    Type of content: News

    My HABRI Weekly Brief recently featured articles that I think you might find interesting. One was on a study to quantify the effects of service dogs for veterans with PTSD and a companion article was on the PAWS Act, which is under consideration on Capitol Hill.

    The acronym HABRI stands for Human Animal Bond Research Initiative, a non-profit research and education organization that gathers, funds and shares scientific research to demonstrate the positive health effects of companion animals. You can log on to habri.org for more information on the group.

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  • Using Veterans' Health Data, Oak Ridge National Lab Takes On Massive Medical Research Project

    Type of content: News

    What might be the most ambitious health care data analysis to date is happening in East Tennessee.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory is working through a massive batch of records from the Department of Veterans Affairs — the records that VA doctors keep on their more than 22 million patients. About a quarter of a million veterans have also donated their genome sequence — basically, their DNA — to the VA, which has been handed over to the national lab.

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  • Gulf War Veterans Face More, Longer Delays at VA, Government Report Says

    Type of content: News

    Gulf War veterans often wait four times longer for care and their claims at the VA are three times more likely to be denied, according to a report released Monday by the Government Accountability Office.

    The GAO report is the most recent indication that the VA itself acknowledges some of its own shortcomings in training, knowledge of medical conditions and the inner workings for which veterans across the country continually blast the VA.

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  • Veterans' Health Care Data Could Lead to Rapid Medical Breakthroughs

    Type of content: News

    Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a secure platform for researchers to access the healthcare data of 22.5 million military veterans, accelerating the timeline for medical research breakthroughs.

    Scientists from ORNL's Computational Sciences and Engineering Division started building the platform as part of the laboratory's involvement in a national partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Energy Department.

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  • Lawmakers to take on veterans issues after weeklong recess

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — As they return this week from a July Fourth break, lawmakers are set to discuss Department of Veterans Affairs health care, its 2018 budget, how veterans are affected by the opioid crisis and how the VA handles claims for Gulf War Illness – all while facing a short timeframe to do something about quickly diminishing funds in the VA Choice program.

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