Skip to main content

I placed this lead off, just below, in the open thread along with a few other, related to the Veterans Admin and Congressional Legislation as to in posts as well. As there's once again an awful lot of talk about privatizing this and that in Government Agencies, worked well with their private merc army and billions lost with their no bid war prifitteering contractors, didn't it, I figure what the hell let me post up a diary of some recent reports etc. related to just the VA.

And of course our, us Vietnam Veterans, favorite butt cyst chimes in as to Veterans, you know, us folks who've Actually served the Country, something these little 'chickenhawks' should stay extremely far away from even thinking about mentioning when mouth opens!!!

Rush: "What is wrong with privatizing the VA?"

From the October 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:



I had to start a site just so I can personally keep up with all that's being done, while ignored up till the 110th Congress and then the change in Administrations and the Administration of the VA, these last years and especially the past two years.

This type of reporting, especially on the popular blog sites of this new technology, should be what more of the posts are about, especially leading into an Election cycle. As to Congress, and especially the Veterans Administration but also all others, these types of advances, and much of what has been done since the 110th Congress, who have been finally holding hearings and over site into what wasn't done during the 108th and 109th Congress, as War was waged, will come to a screeching halt if republicans are once again given the reigns to do more damage, or actually nothing at all!

111th Congress Achieves Banner Year on Veterans Legislation

13 October 2010 - Congress may be receiving low approval ratings from the general voting population, but The American Legion says lawmakers have done quite well on veterans issues this year.

"The 111th Congress may be remembered for banner legislation such as health-care reform, financial regulation and the recovery act," said Jimmie Foster, national commander of the Legion. "But, in our view, the real successes were the passage of bills that affected nearly every veteran in America."

Chief among the pieces of veteran-related legislation was the "Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009", which guarantees appropriations for VA health care one full year in advance.

Another significant milestone for the 111th Congress was the "Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010". The bill included substantially increased VA funding for fiscal 2010 – the agency's first budget to exceed $100 billion.

More recently enacted laws affecting veterans include the "Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010", which created a pilot program of comprehensive assistance for family caregivers, and also addressed a number of issues important to women veterans and those residing in rural areas.

A bill signed in July provided $13.4 billion to compensate Vietnam veterans who have suffered ill effects from exposure to the toxic herbicide, Agent Orange.

Within the past month, bills have been passed that provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for veterans receiving VA benefits, and expand state veterans nursing-home care to include parents whose children have died on active duty.

Snip

Despite the work yet to be done, the Legion's national commander reiterated his praise for the 111th Congress. Reflecting upon his visit to Washington last month, Foster said, "I came to town to deliver my testimony on the needs of our nation's veterans. Before I left, Congress had passed half of our legislative agenda." {read rest}

This Reflecting upon his visit to Washington last month, Foster said, "I came to town to deliver my testimony on the needs of our nation's veterans. Before I left, Congress had passed half of our legislative agenda." comes from a spokesperson of an always right leaning veterans org., reason many of us veterans, especially Vietnam vets never joined, that is more reactive and not pro active.

Not just Congress and Veterans Issues but also the Veterans Administration, playing catchup at a rapid pace! I've used this a few times before.

VA Obligates Last of its Recovery Act Funds to Help Veterans

$1.8 Billion Investment Improves Care and Services for Veterans

And just how were the American Public finally 'Sacrificing' without even knowing it nor caring once again as to veterans issues but had already been condemning and continue to do, as this Rossi his breatheran and those who not only speak for them but their so called base who worship them, Well this is just a quick run down:

Health Care Services Enhanced

VA obligated $1 billion to improve VA medical care facilities across the country through building renovations, roadway and walkway repairs, high cost equipment replacement, security improvements, new construction, replacement of steam lines and boiler plants, upgrades in emergency power distribution, and purchases of additional emergency generators among others.

To help Veterans access care, Recovery Act projects in VA medical facilities will add or improve more than 26,000 parking spaces and 39 elevator banks are being built or upgraded. VA will upgrade nearly 14,000 inpatient bed spaces, while 16 pharmacy renovation projects will help Veterans get medicines quicker and more efficiently.  More than 14,400 clinical improvement projects, some with multiple exam rooms, will be undertaken.  

Funds are also helping ensure VA health care facilities function more efficiently (by reducing annual recurring maintenance and upkeep cost) and are equipped to provide world-class care to Veterans.

Specific projects include:

·         Bedford, Mass., VA Medical Center (VAMC) mental health unit renovation, $7.165 million;

·         Philadelphia VAMC emergency room renovations, $4.74 million;

·         Cleveland VAMC surgical suite refurbishment, $8.5 million;

·         New Haven, Conn., VAMC private and semi-private inpatient units, $7.743 million;

·         Hines, Ill., VAMC electrical distribution infrastructure upgrade, $8 million.

VA serves 5.5 million Veterans annually in its hospitals, outpatient clinics and rural health programs.

Energy Conservation

VA is promoting energy conservation and reducing its environmental footprint by investing $200 million in Recovery Act funds for renewable energy generation technologies, metering systems, and energy conservation and water-saving measures.  In total, the renewable energy systems awarded represent more than 9 megawatts of planned power generating capacity from solar, wind, and cogeneration technologies.  

Two national cemeteries, in Bourne, Mass., and San Joaquin, Calif., anticipate producing enough electricity to supply nearly all of their energy needs.

VA is installing solar photovoltaic systems at facilities in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; Dublin, Ga.; Calverton, N.Y.; San Joaquin, Calif., and Riverside, Calif.

VA is erecting a wind turbine in Bourne, Mass., and is constructing a geothermal system at its medical center in St. Cloud, Minn.

In addition, VA is building renewably fueled cogeneration systems at five medical facilities:  Togus, Maine; White River Junction, Vt.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Canandaigua, N.Y.

VA is installing metering systems at all VA-owned facilities to monitor energy utilities, including electricity, water, chilled water, steam, and natural gas consumption.

VA is also investing $197 million in energy and water infrastructure improvements.  VA facilities across the country are upgrading their facilities to reduce energy consumption and water usage and better manage related costs.  

Claims Processing Improvements

VA is working to improve the systems for processing claims to more quickly and efficiently deliver benefits to Veterans.  VA has obligated $150 million to hire, train and equip new employees to improve claims processing and speed the delivery of benefits to Veterans.  VA has hired approximately 2,700 temporary and permanent employees to assist with processing Veterans' claims for VA benefits.

National Cemeteries Revitalized

Throughout VA’s system of 131 national cemeteries, 391 improvement projects are underway using $50 million in Recovery Act funding.   VA is restoring and preserving 49 historic monuments and memorials, becoming more energy efficient by investing in renewable energy sources (solar and wind), moving forward on nine energy conservation projects, and improving access and visitor safety with 49 road, paving and grounds improvement projects.  

Recovery Act funds are also being used to raise, realign, and clean approximately 200,000 headstones and markers, repair sunken graves, and renovate turf at 22 VA national cemeteries.

One-time Benefit Payments

The Recovery Act provided one-time $250 economic recovery payments to eligible Veterans, their survivors, and dependents to help mitigate the effects of the current economy.  $7.1 million were intended for administrative support of the one-time benefit payments.  VA was able to successfully administer the program with a savings of approximately $6.1 million, and may return the remaining funds to the US Treasury. {Press Release}

As to the VA one can just follow the VA's press releases

You can also get same from the other Agencies not to mention all the Congressional Committee's and Sub Committee's, not what the mainstream media are feeding but the reality.

And add this:

Indian Veterans Housing Act Signed Into Law

13 October 2010 - Representative Ann Kirkpatrick announced today that her Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act has been signed into law.  This major success on behalf of tribal communities will prevent Native American Veterans, their families and survivors from being denied low-income housing assistance through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) due to their military service.  The law takes effect immediately.

Congress passed NAHASDA in 1996 to allow tribal communities to more easily access housing grants. The program provides support to families who make less than 80 percent of the median income of their area. While it has helped folks in Indian Country, an oversight has allowed Veterans disability and survivor benefits to count as income, causing some former service members to be made ineligible for much-needed housing assistance.

H.R. 3553 fixes this flaw by specifically excluding Veterans benefits from the definition of income, finally correcting a problem that has disadvantaged thousands.  Over 20 percent of folks in Indian Country have served in the military.

"For over a decade, Native Americans who fought for this Nation watched as their Veterans’ benefits actually created new burdens for them, and that’s unacceptable," said Congresswoman Kirkpatrick. "This outrageous defect in the law demanded action, and I am grateful that the Navajo Housing Authority brought it to my attention. {read rest}

All of this, much needed in many area's, Stimulus monies spent by the VA have created jobs on the front end, long term employment in a number of area's where spent and needed, boosted the local economies short and long term and thus helped small businesses in the local communities and beyond! And this is just one agency, though always under funded, and one recipient of some of the Stimulus monies!

Upgrades Include Energy Projects, Medical Facility Upgrades, Cemetery Improvements

WASHINGTON – October 15, 2010 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has distributed more than $1 billion in funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, agency officials have announced.  Recovery Act funding is being used to modernize and replace existing VA medical facilities, make improvements at national cemeteries and award grants to states for Veterans homes.

"America’s Veterans are getting more modern, efficient and greener facilities that are better suited to provide them the comprehensive care and service they have earned," VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said.  "These upgrades are possible through Recovery Act funds that are not only revitalizing VA’s extensive infrastructure, but also moving needed money into the economy," he said.

The funding is part of President Obama’s economic recovery plan to improve services to America’s Veterans.  VA committed its total Recovery Act funds of $1.8 billion by July.  

To help Veterans access their care, Recovery Act projects at VA medical facilities are adding or improving more than 26,000 parking spaces. VA is also upgrading nearly 14,000 inpatient bed spaces and 16 pharmacy renovation projects will help Veterans get medicines quicker and more efficiently.  More than 14,400 clinical improvement projects, some with multiple exam rooms, are being undertaken.

Physical improvements to VA medical facilities include investments in energy efficiency projects; almost $400 million overall is targeted for energy projects and some $90 million for renewable energy studies and projects.

VA is installing solar photovoltaic systems at facilities in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; Dublin, Ga.; Calverton, N.Y.; and San Joaquin and Riverside, Calif.

The department is erecting a wind turbine in Bourne, Mass., and constructing a geothermal system at its medical center in St. Cloud, Minn. Additionally, VA is building renewably fueled co-generation systems at five medical facilities:  Togus, Maine; White River Junction, Vt.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Canandaigua, N.Y.  It is also installing metering systems at all VA-owned facilities to monitor energy utilities, including electricity, water, chilled water, steam and natural gas consumption.

VA is investing $197 million in energy and water infrastructure improvements.  Its facilities across the country are upgrading properties and structures to reduce energy consumption and water usage and better manage related costs.

Throughout VA’s system of 131 national cemeteries, 392 improvement projects are underway using $50 million in Recovery Act funding.   VA is restoring and preserving 47 historic monuments and memorials, becoming more energy efficient by investing in renewable energy sources (solar and wind), implementing nine energy conservation projects, and improving access and visitor safety with 44 road, paving and grounds improvement projects.  

Funds are also being used to raise, realign and clean approximately 200,000 headstones and markers, repair sunken graves, and renovate turf at 24 VA national cemeteries.

VA Recovery Act grants totaling $150 million are also assisting states to construct, improve, or acquire nursing home, domiciliary or adult day health care facilities.  

#  #  #

Now if the Veterans Administration, without the ever present obstruction from the right, so called fiscal conservatives, over all these years, had been kept up to date and probably leading in advancements to technology etc., it would be cheaper to run and much more efficient as well as the best in the World as to care, research, and advances which would produce capital for the treasury thus lowering taxes for the population and that goes for all the agencies, it cost heavily when there's constant catch up going on!

And after some forty plus years and sadly two more wars of choice we get this finally:

National PTSD headquarters opens in White River Jct.

October 15, 2010 - The Department of Veterans Administration dedicated the new headquarters for the National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic in White River Junction on Oct. 12.

Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., were on hand for the ribbon cutting

The center is located on the campus of the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

The new Headquarters Building is the hub of what has become an extensive VA-wide PTSD research and education network -- parallel to the direct care that veterans receive in VA medical facilities -- which acts on the nation's long-term commitment to look after those who have served once they return home, said both Leahy and Sanders during the ceremony.

"We used to think of PTSD as something faced only by Vietnam veterans," said Leahy. "So many of our troops coming home today also suffer from PTSD. It is more important than ever for us to look after those who have done and given so much for their fellow citizens and who now suffer from the invisible wounds of war."

Leahy, who, as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has championed investments in the Center to address PTSD cases among troops returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, also thanked the staff at the center for their hard work in addressing issues related to PTSD. {read rest}

Which will finally not only advance the understand and treatment for Combat PTSD but Civilian PTSD as well!

Here's a few more:

DOMA Awarded Veterans Affairs Pilot Study

15 October 2010 - The Department of Veterans Affairs through the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has awarded DOMA Technologies  (DOMA) the contract for a Pilot Study into the Centralized Retrieval, Assembly, and Secure Transmission of Private Medical Records to expedite claims processes.

The determination of eligibility for disability compensation and disability pension are currently made by the VBA utilizing evidence contained in the patient's medical record. The entire process for retrieving the medical records from private healthcare providers currently takes on average 40 days. "Through the award of this Pilot Study DOMA's goal is to reduce the retrieval of medical records from an average of 40 days down to 7 days" says DOMA Sr. Vice President Wayne DeAtley. "The accelerated retrieval of records will lead to faster adjudication of the disability claim for the veteran which helps the VBA as well as the patients and their families" continues DeAtley. "Our goal is to support our veterans by ensuring the disability claims are processed and adjudicated timely and with the appropriate medical evidence".

The Pilot Study is expected to be completed within six months and will be conducted in six (6) VBA regional offices with an estimated 9,000 claims per month.  {read rest}

Veterans bill improves benefits, protections

Oct 15, 2010 - An omnibus veterans benefits bill signed into law on Wednesday holds the promise of big changes for disabled veterans and their families, according to the two committee chairmen responsible for passing the compromise bill.

One example is an expansion of employment and re-employment legal protections and more financial protections for deployed and mobilized service members, including the opportunity for service members to sue people or businesses who violate the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act.

The bill, the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010, was passed by Congress before lawmakers took an election break and was signed by President Obama on Wednesday.

Snip

Until now, violations of the legal or financial protections under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act did not include penalties. Now, violators would face fines of up to $55,000 for a first offense and up to $110,000 for subsequent violations, and individuals whose rights are violated also may sue for civil damages and attorney fees.

Additionally, the law expands termination rights for residential and motor vehicle leases and for telephone service contracts. {read rest}

Minneapolis vets home turns a corner

After years of turmoil and dozens of violations related to care, the Minneapolis Veterans Home seems to be back on track with reports of improvements.

October 14, 2010 - Life has turned around at the long-troubled Minneapolis Veterans Home.

After decades of poor leadership, poor care and mistakes that led to state and federal investigations and at least a handful of deaths, the signs of change are strong.

A new Legislative Auditor's financial report says the 112-year-old nursing home has cleaned up some of its sloppy accounting. A Health Department annual inspection report due in a few days will say that care is far better than a few years ago, when the home racked up 99 citations between 2005 and 2008. {read rest}

ASTC Jax now solar powered

October 13, 2010 - To help achieve the Secretary of the Navy’s goal of producing at least half of shore-based energy requirements from renewable sources by 2015, leaders from naval medicine and facilities took part in the Oct. 7 ribbon cutting at Aviation Survival Training Center (ASTC) Jacksonville to celebrate one of the Navy’s largest alternative energy projects.

The project was funded by Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) and administered by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast, Public Works Department Jacksonville.

NAS Jacksonville Resource Efficiency Manager Cliff Plante briefed guests on the project benefits. "This $1,079,000 system not only heats the survival training pool, it also provides hot water for the building’s showers and rest rooms. On a cloudless day like today, the solar panels produce one million BTUs of energy per hour – enough to heat the center’s 270,000-gal. pool by one degree every two hours."

He added, "The technology in this project goes a long way in meeting SECNAV mandates to utilize renewable energy sources. {read rest}

They have been fighting for this for years, now it's a reality for the Veterans of West Virginia and a Community boost for the small businesses and people of that community.

Final Resting Place For West Virginia Veterans

October 14, 2010 - Groundbreaking starts beginning of first state veterans cemetery

A final resting place of honor for West Virginia's veterans is now becoming a reality.

Dignitaries from around the state were on hand for the groundbreaking of West Virginia's first state veterans cemetery.

It was all made possible through a $14.1 million grant from the U.S. Veterans Administration.

A 25-acre site above the State Police Academy in Institute will be home to the Donel Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery.

"This whole thing has been very exciting...very emotional also. Just a great dream has become a reality," says Rebecca Kinnard.

The first state veterans cemetery is named after Rebecca Kinnard's husband, who died last February at the age of 72. She says he's looking down with a smile on his face.

"All of his men and women are being taken care of...and will be taken care of. And that meant everything to him,": says Rebecca.

Donel Kinnard was awarded the Navy Cross along with seven Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He saw the need for a final resting place for his brothers years ago and enlisted the help of Senator Jay Rockefeller.

"You started in 2006, but anything worth doing usually takes that long," says Se. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. {read rest}

The Green House Concept

VA housing project breaks ground

Photo by: Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette, Seth Malley, president of Blue Yonder Inc., and his wife, Reyna, help their kids Lincoln, 3, left, Bennet, 5, Eloise, 3, and Oliver, 1, shovel some dirt during a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday at Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System in Danville, to mark the start of construction of two homes for veterans.

10/13/2010 - On the rolling fairways of the former Back Nine golf course, the old greens are making way for "green" houses and making history in the nation's Veteran Affairs system at the same time.

More than 100 people gathered Tuesday at the Danville campus of the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System to celebrate the start of construction on a $4 million initiative to build two Green Project homes, which will house up to 10 veterans each and feature an innovative approach to long-term skilled nursing care.

The homes, which are being built on a portion of the VA-owned former Back Nine golf course, are the first of their kind in Illinois and in the VA's nationwide system, according to Michael Hamilton, director of the VA's Danville campus, 1900 E. Main St., Danville.

Snip

The Green House concept, according to VA officials, offers the personal care and clinical services of high-quality nursing homes but emphasizes quality of life for veterans, providing a "real home" setting.

The Green House approach has 42 projects either functioning or under construction in 27 states, and a team of VA officials had been working for years to bring the concept to Danville and the VA system. The Green House initiative as a whole has received support through a special grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hamilton said Tuesday that local long-term plans call for more Green House homes on the VA campus, for 10 altogether. He said the VA staff take pride in serving veterans, because the project is about them. {read rest}

Again, these are but a few and the most recent of All that's been happening in just this one Agency, one extremely important Agency especially as Wars are cheered on by the majority then quickly placed out of mind: For Midterm Voters, War Is Off the Radar, and so, once again, are the Veterans of as well as the Families of the Soldiers, especially in this phony and highly hyped TEA party crowd, heard any Demand 'Sacrifice', me neither and they certainly didn't when the cabal started these wars of choice, they rubber stamped like their (R) representatives, while laughing about their 'purple heart bandages'!!

You remember those don't you, used and had a great time in doing so, allot of laughs and jokes, as they Spit on us In-Country Vietnam Navy Vets and Especially any soldier who's ever been wounded and maimed and been awarded the medal:

If you were a republican than or still call yourselves one now, 'teabbagers' that includes you as well, haven't heard a peep about Demanding 'Sacrifice', didn't the whole previous administration neither, you showed clearly what many, especially us veterans, already knew, your true feelings as to those who serve and that includes those who have among you as there's never been an apology and I'll bet most of you still have them stored away for a time to be reused and laughed about!!!

Originally posted to jimstaro on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 07:14 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site