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Check back here daily for the latest news that matters to #veterans


Paralyzed Veterans is committed to sharing relevant and timely news and information that matters to #veterans, their families and caregivers. As we recognize the new year, we will be sharing the top stories of the day every morning. Make sure to check back in tomorrow for more! #1mission1pva


This Inspiring Organization Builds tiny Houses for Homeless Veterans.​
While veterans often put their lives on the line to serve their country and their fellow citizens while in service, it doesn’t mean that they don’t face challenges when they return to civilian life. Readjusting to society and being able to find the proper medical support and employment can prove to be a struggle for many veterans after leaving the service…

Here’s What the Services Want from Congress This Year​
After lawmakers pass the budget promised by February’s bipartisan deal, the three secretaries have other priorities for legislative action.

Opioids are addictive -  what alternatives are the VA offering and are they effective?
Wavey Walker Alston used to take morphine three times a day for chronic back pain. Now he is down to once a day, and, with the help of doctors at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System, plans to be off his pain medication soon. “We’re close, man. Next time, we were going to stop it,” said Ann Miller Maxwell in a recent session with Alston. “We’re going to see if everything is going fine,” said Miller Maxwell, a physician at the VA who treats chronic pain patients.


Trump and the Veterans Choice Program
Q: Did President Donald Trump sign an order allowing veterans to get full medical bills paid at hospitals outside the VA? A: No, but Trump has continued a program that allows some veterans to seek outside care.

There's a nationwide nursing shortage - including in Louisiana
Nursing students shouldn't have any trouble finding a job after they graduate. That's because nurses are in high demand right now across the nation. "It's projected that by 2024, we're going to need over another million nurses added to the work force," said LSU Health New Orleans Nursing Dean Demetrius Porche, DNS, Ph.D. Porche said in Louisiana, there's an increased request to produce more graduates in the schools of nursing because of the workforce need at nearby hospitals.

VA promises full review of all medical testing on dogs, with a goal of ending the practice
Veterans Affairs officials on Tuesday launched an internal review of all canine testing within the department with the goal of future reductions in the research, a reversal of the administration's strong stance defending the practice last fall. The "rapid, in-depth" review will look at the practices of and justification for existing medical research on dogs, which has come under fire from advocates and lawmakers in the past year.


VA unveils claims submission option that promises to complete claims within 30 days
As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) continued efforts to improve timeliness of services for veterans and their families, VA unveiled the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) initiative, a disability claims submission option with accredited Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) that promises to deliver faster claims decisions to veterans and their families.

Dedication of 'Helicopter War' memorial at Arlington set for April  Space is in short supply at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but officials have managed to carve out a few square feet for a special memorial to pay tribute to the nearly 5,000 American helicopter pilots who died in the Vietnam War.

VA official says it’s his mission to re-centralize HR officers
The Veterans Affairs Department has more than 170 human resources offices and more than 200 learning management systems. One VA official said that’s a bit excessive. He’s made it his goal to re-centralize the agency and whittle down the number of offices across the country performing the exact same functions, but differently.


Ways you can stamp out Veterans homelessness
While Veteran homelessness declined nationally by 46 percent since 2010, there was nearly a 2 percent increase in 2017. That has led VA leaders to call on Americans for help in ending veteran homelessness in their communities.  About 40,000 Veterans are homeless in the U.S. and any sign of an increase means the VA needs to rethink its approach to combating the problem, VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin told members of Congress last month. The key, he said, is getting veterans employed and into sustainable housing. 

Shulkin promises reorganization plan for VA central office after troubling IG report
A recent inspector general report on the Veterans Affairs Department's systematic failure to address problems at the Washington, D.C. medical center is prompting a broader reorganization at the agency. "The issues that have happened here in Washington and these systems failures are impacting other facilities across the country," Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday at a press conference on the findings of the VA IG report.

Don't let a few bad facilities lead to privatization of the VA system
Recent articles detailing the history of mismanagement at the Roseburg VA paint a sorry picture of our local facility. It's a story that must be told, but it's important to put the facts into context. Generalizing from the problems of individual facilities without providing context gives the impression that the system is broken, as some claim.


Groundbreaking blood study aims to detect PTSD, TBI Faster 
The Waco VA's Center of Excellence is working on groundbreaking research to help detect Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury faster, based on blood samples from veterans. Scientists at the facility said they are the only lab searching for more clues about a particular steroid produced naturally in the blood after a traumatic event and they are hoping it can save lives in the future.

Three-digit national suicide hotline moves a step closer  
The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to work with the Health and Human Services Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the existing system, suggest ways to improve it -- and recommend a new three-digit number. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in November, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering an identical bill with strong bipartisan support, according to its sponsors.

Washington State Attorney General: Housing Discrimination Against Veterans Is Evident
Homelessness among veterans rose slightly last year despite a nationwide effort to get them off the streets. One reason the problem is so hard to solve is the lack of affordable housing in many big cities. There was anecdotal evidence that landlords in tight markets were turning veterans away. Now there's solid proof of that, as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.


VA created the Women Veterans Health Care Program
In order to streamline services for this patient population and provide more cost-effective medical and psychosocial care. Back then, only 4.4% of U.S. Veterans were women. Now, nearly 10% are women, indicating an ever-increasing need for our support.

Half of Veterans Who Need Mental Health Care May Not Get It
About half of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who need mental health care don't get it, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Additionally, about half of veterans who need mental health care do not realize they need it. The report says veterans face many barriers to treatment.

Phoenix launching interagency initiative to prevent Veteran suicide
Phoenix officials are launching an interagency push to reduce suicide among military service personnel, veterans and their families. Mayor Greg Stanton's office said the initiative aims to increase support and develop a response plan for detection of warning signs and timely intervention.


Writing Women Back Into History​
March is National Women's History Month.  Meet the 2018 Honorees and discover the 2018 theme.

2 women commanding vets' groups say their historic roles haven't meant big challenges​
This week, for the first time ever, two women are testifying before Congress as the top officials at major veterans organizations, helping to set the national agenda on a host of care and program issues.

Pentagon's $1 Billion Cloud Deal May Signal New Era in Government Buying​
Congress wants the Defense Department to buy technology faster. Now it's beginning to do just that.


Vets Groups Want a Meeting with Trump to Sort Out VA Choice Impasse
An ongoing political fight over funding of the Veterans Choice Program drove the agenda Tuesday in the first of a series of congressional hearings with the major veterans service organizations. A joint session of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees, with testimony from the leadership of Disabled American Veterans, followed a meeting Monday at the White House with Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The Submarines of the Future Will Be Robotic
Imagine a future in which nuclear attack submarines - SSNs - can deploy undersea drones (UUVs) to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs. The U.S. Navy, at least, is taking steps to make this a reality. What impact could this have?

Choice Program Expansion Jeopardizes high-Quality VHA Mental Health Services
Last summer, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) published the most comprehensive analysis of veteran suicide in our nation's history. That study examined 55 million records from every state and revealed that in 2014, an average of 20 veterans died by suicide each day.1 Six of the 20 were recent users of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services; the other 14 had not used VHA services in the prior 2 years.


VA shifts its policy regarding dog research
8News has uncovered a shift in policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs when it comes to canine research. For the first time since 8News broke the story of deadly dog experiments at McGuire, it appears the VA is taking a closer look it use of dogs in research. In addition, Secretary David Shulkin is admitting that he is not a supporter of the research.

Op-Ed; The Time For Caregiver Expansion Is Now
Linda Bailey is wife and caregiver to a disabled Air Force veteran of Desert Storm, a current DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Department Service Officer and a DAV Auxiliary Past Department Commander for Tennessee. In 1991, my husband Albert suffered several massive strokes while serving in the Air Force. Although I was just shy of crossing the 20-year mark with my employer and qualifying for retirement benefits...

VA taps Google's DeepMind to predict patient deterioration
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a partnership with Google's DeepMind to analyze patient records and build a model that can predict when a patient is deteriorating. The VA said it will allow DeepMind's algorithm to parse through 700,000 depersonalized health records, allowing the company's algorithm to initially focus on predicting the onset of acute kidney injuries.


New initiative aims to raise awareness of women as Veterans
In March — Women’s History Month — 10 VA medical centers around the country will display an exhibit featuring 10 women Veteran athletes, with an expanded exhibit also available online.

VA privatization 'is a very real issue right now,' American Legion says 
Recent reports of internal squabbles between top leaders at the Veterans Affairs Department and White House appointees have the nation's largest veterans service organization actively reinforcing its message about the Veterans Choice Program.

Congressman on VA caregiver benefits: 'We can do this right'
Congress is now working on a way to give more help to caregivers of veterans injured before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It took seven years of pressure from advocates to get to this point. Groups pushing lawmakers to end what they call an unfair discrepancy between veterans injured before and after 9/11 contend negotiations - stalled for years because of the high cost of expanding benefits to more families - are coming to a critical point.


VA launches Concierge for Care program to connect with recently separated service members​
"Our goal is to give transitioning service members one less thing to worry about," said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. "We know that more than a third of Veterans who haven't yet visited our facilities indicated they are not aware of VA health care benefits, while a quarter reported they do not know how to apply."

Trump plans to nominate Army Veteran Paul Lawrence as Under Secretary for VA Benefits
President Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday night to nominate a longtime management consultant to fill a top spot at the Department of Veterans Affairs that's remained unfilled for nearly three years. Paul Lawrence, vice president of the consulting firm Kaiser Associates in Washington, will be the VA's new undersecretary for benefits if he's confirmed by the Senate.

VA, Roe Tie Caregiver Benefit Expansion to Tightened Eligibility
In drafting legislation that would expand comprehensive caregiver benefits to severely injured veterans of all past wars, Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, directed staff this month to start with the proposal announced by VA Secretary David Shulkin at a Feb. 6 committee hearing.
Read more about how Paralyzed Veterans' helps veterans and their families receive the caregiver benefits they are entitled to:


Tom Hanks signs on to produce, act in veteran-supported D-Day film
An Oscar-winning actor is giving a major boost to a former Marine's efforts to make a film about a World War II infantry battle that's been called one of the bloodiest in modern history.

Everything You Need to Know About Trump's 2019 Budget Request

President Donald Trump on Monday released his budget request for fiscal 2019, marking the first step in a months-long process in which lawmakers from both chambers of Congress debate and ultimately decide on its funding levels and policy provisions.

Leading veterans groups commend President’s VA budget submission, highlighting critical boosts for health care, construction and IT funding
Read the full release at 


VA study shows that rocking chairs can help Veterans overcome addiction:<>  Who says therapy has to be complicated? Perhaps an effective tool for treatment and recovery could be something as simple as, say ... a rocking chair.  Just ask a Marine Veteran who participated in a rocking chair study through the Robley Rex VA Medical Center<> in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time, he was in recovery from a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs, including recreational and pain-killing substances. "If it was a pill, I was popping it," he says.  Plus, he had been homeless for about a year, "bouncing around from home to home, couch to couch," as he put it. 

'We are women, but we are Marines for life,' say veterans now in their 90s
Three female veterans, now in their 90s, were honored Tuesday as part of a celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps Women's Reserve's 75th anniversary at the Armed Forces Retirement home in Washington, D.C.

White House budget director: Military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million
President Donald Trump's military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Wednesday, during questioning at the House Budget Committee.


How the VA is improving patient care through connected tech, telehealth
Since his appointment in early 2017, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, has made modernizing the agency a top priority. Shulkin has taken a number of steps to accomplish this, including the launch of the Anywhere to Anywhere initiative with President Trump in August 2017. The VA aims to use the program to allow agency medical providers to practice telehealth across state lines, regardless of their location.

New app will target Veterans in cardiac rehab​

Trump earmarks $1.2 billion for VA-Cerner EHR project in proposed budget
<>.  In the proposed budget from the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs would get 11.7 percent more in funding or $4.2 billion -- including $1.2 billion for the first year of its Cerner EHR project. Calling the $1.2 billion "substantive investment for this critical initiative," the administration said the funds would help to "facilitate a seamless transition for service members as they leave the armed forces."


President Trump Seeks $12B Increase in FY2019 VA Budget to Support Nation’s Veterans

In the fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget, President Trump is proposing a total of $198.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This request, an increase of $12.1 billion over 2018, will ensure the nation’s Veterans receive high-quality health care and timely access to benefits and services. Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans' no cost benefits provided to veterans and their families at

VA Careers Facebook Chat:  Mental Health
<>:   On Valentine's Day, we're hosting a Facebook Chat<> for mental health professionals interested in caring for America's Veterans. It's another part of our Mental Health Hiring Initiative<>, which aims to add 1,000 new providers to our team this year, including psychologists, psychiatrists and more.

Teaching Veterans Kindness: VA Embraces Mindfulness, Whole Health
The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and other alternative mental health therapies. Seated on a garden bench next to a gurgling fountain in the warm Southern California sunshine, Greg Serpa leads a mindfulness meditation, encouraging his audience to focus solely on breathing.


Stars and Stripes:  Navy Program Aiming For Intelligence In Prosthetics<>.  Two years ago, two Iraq War amputees received the first implantable prosthetic legs through a Food and Drug Administration trial at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Salt Lake City. The trial is ongoing and has been expanded to include more veteran amputees.

Secretary Shulkin and three other VA employees named to HillVets 100 List<>:   HillVets released their list for HillVets 100 2017<> Friday morning that included Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin, Senior White House Adviser Jake Leinenkugel,  Relationship Manager Theodore Wong of the Veterans Experience Office and Vantage Point's own Timothy Lawson, host of VA's Borne the Battle podcast. The list also included Paralyzed Veterans' Executive Director, Carl Blake

Stars and Stripes  Trump administration wants to turn International Space Station into commercially run venture<>.  The White House plans to stop funding for the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory, and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector.


Feud over service dog ends after American Airlines settles lawsuit with Army veteran
<>. American Airlines has settled a 2016 lawsuit filed by an Army veteran who complained that the company had mistreated her because of her service dog. 

Paralyzed Veterans advocates for the rights of air travelers with disabilities. See more at

Common drug for PTSD doesn't stem nightmares, sleep problems in Veterans
<>.  The blood pressure drug prazosin, widely prescribed to relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has failed to show it can reduce distressing dreams or improve sleep quality in a trial of 304 military veterans at 13 Veterans Affairs medical centers. After 10 weeks of therapy with the generic drug, which costs about a nickel per pill, recipients had no significant reduction in recurrent nightmares or easier sleep compared to veterans receiving placebo.

African American History Month and the Bonds of Patriotism​
The special focus of this year’s African American History Month on military contributions is a solemn reminder of the bonds of patriotism. 


VA considers restricting eligibility for caregivers program
<>.  Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is considering new restrictions to a program that provides monthly stipends and other assistance to family caregivers of post-9/11 veterans. Testifying before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on Tuesday, Shulkin said he wanted to limit eligibility for the program to the most severely injured and ill veterans in order to expand benefits to veterans of all eras without inflating costs.

More firing may not lead to better results
During the president's State of the Union address last week he said: "I call on the Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers - and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people." Reactions to the president's remarks ranged from high praise to condemnation. Either he wants to politicize the federal workforce or he wants to "drain the swamp."


VA Leadership change a necessary step to improve Veteran care
Doug Paxton's stepping down as director of the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a step "aimed at improving care for veterans," according to the VA. The official announcement came Thursday afternoon, a few hours after The News-Review first reported on Paxton's reassignment to a West Virginia VA.

Veteran unemployment hit record low in 2017
Veteran unemployment hit a record low in 2017, creeping below 4 percent for the first time on record, federal statistics show.

Heart Health Month: Stopping the number-one killer
As a cardiologist, the overall health of my patients is my priority and heart health a major focus. Cardiovascular disease, commonly known as heart disease, is often misunderstood to be a disease that only affects those in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. The alarming truth is it can also impact fit and healthy service members in their 30s and 40s. When I treated a young service member for chest discomfort after he had passed physical tests with ease, I witnessed his dismay as he was told he'd have to have a stent placed in an artery.

VA Dietitian Offers Five Super Bowl Party Eating Tips
The Super Bowl is almost here, but what does the big game mean for our health?  We can't let a single event derail our healthy eating habits and lifestyle of the new year, but we can still enjoy ourselves. Luckily, it is possible to have a good time and stay on track to achieve our health goals. 

Are you a paralyzed veteran or caregiver with a health-related question about spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D)? Paralyzed Veterans has a team of experienced registered nurses, physicians, and support staff are available to monitor and respond to all of your questions via our Healthcare Helpline: 1-800-232-1782.

Senate approves VA doctors working in outside hospitals
The New Hampshire Senate has passed legislation allowing physicians from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to continue treating patients at outside facilities while the flood-damaged VA hospital is being renovated. Other hospitals agreed to let VA providers use their facilities after a burst pipe in July caused severe flooding at the VA hospital in Manchester. But under New Hampshire licensing rules, doctors with out-of-state medical licenses can only practice at the VA hospital.

Congress must act to bring civil legal aid to every homeless and struggling Veteran who needs it in 2018
President Trump recently signed an executive order designed to ease military service members' transition to civilian life, including automatic enrollment to receive Department of Veterans Affairs medical and mental health care. While the executive branch figures out how to implement this plan, another opportunity to help veterans is lying dormant in Congress, awaiting a vote.

Half of Post-9/11 Vets Aren't Getting Mental Health Care, Report Says
About half of U.S. veterans who served during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq don't get the mental health care they need, according to a new report that recommends changes to improve the care delivered by the Veterans Affairs health system. While many veterans receive good mental health care through the VA, it's inconsistent across the system, according to the report from the National Academies of Sciences...

February is National Recreation Therapy Recreation Month.
Recreation therapy and creative arts therapy provide a spectrum of services, opportunities, and choice for Veterans across the continuum of care to maximize their rehabilitation potential, increase independence, and sustain a healthy and meaningful leisure lifestyle.<>.

VA Now Offers Rural Veterans' More Local ICU Services

More than 133,000 Vets may qualify for this tax refund windfall
More than 133,000 veterans may qualify for a refund of federal taxes they paid on disability severance pay dating back to 1991 — taxes that shouldn't have been collected in the first place. Within the next month, Defense Department officials will send notification letters to veterans that they may be eligible for the refund, said Army Lt. Col. David Dulaney, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council.

Trump wants to give every cabinet secretary authority to remove employees
President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to expand the Veterans Affairs Department Accountability Act to all of the government and end the Defense sequester. In his first State of the Union, Trump said he wants to make agencies and the government more accountable to the taxpayers.

Fact-checking Trump's first State of the Union Address
"Last year, Congress also passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve. And we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do."

Brain resetting treatment shows promise with Veterans experiencing PTSD
An acoustic brain-resetting therapy demonstrating success with helping student athletes recover from a concussion is also showing promise with military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Wake Forest School of Medicine researchers say a pilot study is significantly reducing PTSD symptoms.

VA Expands Program to Target Suicide
The Veterans Health Administration has tried a number of ideas to drive down the suicide rate among veterans. The VA is about to start automatically enrolling most new veterans in mental health care, starting in March. People who work with veterans say the program, mandated by an executive order from the White House, is a great idea, but they worry about the impact on an already strained system.

VA Proposed Rule Aims to Improve Health Data Exchange Consent
A new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeks to streamline health data exchange of veterans' medical records by enabling health information exchanges (HIEs) to more easily obtain patient consent. The proposed rule would allow VA to amend current consent regulations so that partnering HIEs can obtain permission to share EHRs without a hardcopy of a patient's written consent form.

VA's National Veterans Small Business Engagement
<>:   For the seventh year, VA hosted the National Veterans Small Business Engagement, the largest procurement event for the Veteran small business community. The event was held from Dec. 5-7 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The engagement is VA's signature event where Veteran-owned and other small businesses have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with government and commercial acquisitions professionals during three full days of learning, networking, and matchmaking sessions as well as plenary luncheons, executive round tables and other scheduled activities.

Trump's State of the Union speech will reiterate promises to 'rebuild the military'
<>.  President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday will repeat his promises to "rebuild our military" and defeat terrorism around the globe, with specific reprimands directed at North Korea for aggressive military moves in recent months.

Isakson: Shulkin 'catalytic force for more accountability' at VA
<>.  Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has been on a mission to reform the VA. His efforts range from increasing accountability and authority to fire bad actors and poor performers to moving toward interoperability of health care records with the Defense Department, among various other initiatives. But he wouldn't be able to get near as much done without some key allies in Congress.

Wide-Ranging Changes to VA Could Reach Senate Vote Soon
The Senate could vote at any time on a committee-passed bill (S-2193) to make wide-ranging changes in VA operations and personnel policies, including authority for more treatment of veterans by outside providers and higher pay in high-demand medical care positions. The measure would increase the use of community health care and long-term care by broadening eligibility for such care and giving VA more leeway to enter into agreements with health care providers in the private sector.

VA Secretary, other federal officials participate in national homeless count
For Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, practicing medicine gives him a better understanding about the health care needs of the veterans he serves. On Wednesday, he tried that same hands-on approach for another daunting problem facing the VA -- veteran homelessness.

Congress wants reports. But Congress's own budget challenges means they can't get them.<>   
Congress's use of repeated continuing resolutions rather than a full budget authorization to fund the government damages the Congressional Budget Office's ability to effectively produce reports, director Keith Hall told members of the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Military Times:  White House wants clearer rules, no caregiver benefits expansion in VA medical overhaul plan
White House officials want Senate lawmakers to set clearer eligibility guidelines for veterans considering private-sector care and to drop their current plans for an expansion of veteran caregiver benefits, according to a memos sent to congressional leaders this week. They also want a plan to pay for the massive health care overhaul.

Bloomberg:  Disabled Veterans Deserve Richer, More Productive Lives - The system should do more to help wounded warriors integrate into the workforce and society
About 20 U.S. military veterans kill themselves each day. It's an alarming statistic -- the military suicide rate is 22 percent higher than among civilians -- and President Donald Trump deserves credit for addressing it. But his administration needs to do more. Trump signed an executive order earlier this month aimed at giving veterans better access to mental-health care by plugging a gap in coverage that affected those newly released from service. The larger problem is how to better integrate veterans with impairments...

Tribune-Review:  Female Veterans being recruited to donate brains for injury research
Female military veterans are being encouraged to donate their brains for research, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday in a collaborative effort. The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and nonprofit PINK Concussions are partnering to research the effects of traumatic brain injury and PTSD on female brains.

Military, Veterans issues in spotlight with State of the Union looming
American security and security for our veterans are two priorities highlighted by the Trump administration throughout its first year in the White House. President Trump has promised he will rebuild our military and improve services for veterans. Coming up on his first State of the Union Address, how well has he kept these promises?

Transcendental Meditation eases Veterans' PTSD symptoms<>.  
Research published in Military Medicine demonstrated that practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique helped relieve symptoms of PTSD among veterans. "Recent reports on PTSD have suggested that additional research is needed to identify more effective methods for treating this disorder," Robert E. Herron, PhD, from the Center for Health Systems Analysis, and Col. Brian Rees...

VA announces 'Tele-Benefits' program to assist local Veterans
Local veterans with questions about their benefits can now have face-to-face meetings with experts without having to travel all the way to St. Louis. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) St. Louis Regional Office and John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff announced Tuesday a new "telebenefits" partnership. Learn more about how Paralyzed Veterans works helps veterans with benefits here: 

Senate reaches deal to end government shutdown
<>.  The new deal keeps the government funded through Feb. 8, and ends the federal shutdown after three contentious days.
After impasse, senators to restart negotiations on VA Choice reform
<>.  With an assist from the White House, senators are expected to restart negotiations about how to overhaul the flawed program veterans use to receive medical care in the private sector. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said President Donald Trump and White House officials would soon send guidance to the committee on what they wanted in a reform bill...
VA Releases Data Visualization of Opioid Prescribing Rates
<>.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is allowing public access to data on opioid prescribing rates at each of its facilities through on an online data visualization. The interactive map provides comparisons between prescribing rates in 2012 and 2017, allowing users to explore improvements in the distribution of opioid medications.

How a Government Shutdown Would Impact Pay, Benefits

<>.  If Congress does not pass a spending bill by midnight Friday, the U.S. government will once again shut down until a deal is reached. President Donald Trump has expressed support for a Republican-backed continuing resolution that would extend government funding through Feb. 16, but it hasn't passed yet.

Paralyzed Veterans helps veterans and their family members who are seeking benefits from the VA. Find out more here:

VA Secretary David Shulkin says he's committed to filling top vacancies at the agency

<>.  Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Thursday that while he's concerned about some of the vacancies in his department, he wants to make sure the right people fill the jobs. "Getting the right leadership in place is one of our most important tasks right now," Mr. Shulkin said on Fox News. "We know what it takes, in terms of the amount the time and energy, to do public service jobs," he added.

Written exposure therapy non-inferior to cognitive processing therapy for PTSD

<>.  Written exposure therapy showed noninferiority to the more time-intensive cognitive processing therapy in reducing PTSD symptoms, according to findings published in JAMA Psychiatry. "Prior research has shown [written exposure therapy] to significantly reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms in a variety of trauma survivors, with effect sizes similar to those associated with [cognitive processing therapy] and prolonged exposure, and to have substantially fewer treatment dropouts than these other treatments," Denise M. Sloan...

Stars and Stripes: Former senator, WWII veteran Bob Dole gets Congressional Gold Medal <> .  
Read about how Bob Dole was also awarded Paralyzed Veterans’ prestigious Speedy award here:
ABC News (AP):   AP Explains: What happens when the government shuts down<>.  The rules for who works and who doesn't date back to the early 1980s and haven't been significantly modified since. The Trump administration is relying mostly on guidance left over from Obama. The air traffic control system, food inspection, Medicare, veterans' health care and many other essential government programs would run as usual.
Military Times: VA promises faster action on unpaid bills from outside health providers
Veterans Affairs officials are promising a host of reforms in coming months to more quickly pay community providers for care they deliver to veterans.


Lowering the suicide rates of those who serve

President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order which seeks to lower suicides rates among our nation's veterans. The order, which would take effect in March, expands mental health services for transitioning veterans upon their return home to civilian life. Mr. Trump hailed the order as a "historic step to make sure that our incredible veterans are taken care of in a proper manner."

It's Unclear Whether New Law and Push from Trump Have Increased VA Firings

In June, President Trump said a new measure to ease the firing of employees at the Veterans Affairs Department that he was signing into law marked a "transformative change." One year into his presidency, however, and six months after the enactment of the law, the administration that made firing more employees at VA a cornerstone of its veterans policy agenda has yet to fully realize Trump's promise.

Cold and influenza season is underway - and it's nothing to 'shake off

The holiday season is a wrap, but cold and influenza season is well underway. These viral illnesses can be picked up anywhere, anytime. Military Health System experts work hard to help prevent them - especially during the critical winter months.

Servicemembers should start navigating new tax law now
<>.  The new U.S. tax law is not even a month old, but financial experts say it's not too soon for military servicemembers, veterans and retirees to dig into how the massive policy change will impact their pocketbooks for years to come.

Veterans Journal: Recipients of US benefits get 2% increase this year <>. COLA adjustments will go to retired military veterans, disabled veterans, veterans' pension benefits, survivor benefit annuitants and surviving families of veterans and all others receiving Social Security benefits. The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is 2 percent in 2018, the first substantial increase in years.

The Hill: Reforming Veterans health care for all generations of Veterans
<>.  Among the New Year's resolutions Congress most needs to fulfill early in 2018 is reform of the VA health care system, including the Veterans Choice Program, to ensure that the men and women who wore our nation's uniform get the care they need and have earned. Fortunately, both the Senate and House made major strides last year moving legislation to expand access, coordination and quality of care for America's veterans...

mHealth Intelligence:   VA Puts Telehealth to Work in 'Anywhere to Anywhere' Care <>.  With Congressional approval in hand, the Department of Veterans Affairs is moving forward with plans for a national telehealth network for veterans. The VA recently awarded a $260 million contract to 1Vision LLC, a subsidiary of HMS Technologies, to deliver home-based telehealth solutions to veterans.

MedPage Today:  Tobacco Use Common in U.S. Vets - Smoking rate among younger double that of older Veterans
<>.  Tobacco use among veterans of the U.S. military remains higher than among the general adult population, with three in 10 veterans using some form of tobacco product, according to CDC researchers. In an analysis of National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data from 2010-2015, 29.2% of military veterans reported current tobacco use, Satomi Odani, MPH, of the CDC, and colleagues reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

VA Secretary David Shulkin: We've reduced opioid use by 36% since 2010.
FOX Business (Video): VA Secretary David Shulkin: We've reduced opioid use by 36% since 2010<>. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday said the VA is taking actions to reduce the rates of suicides and opioid use among veterans. "Since 2010, we've reduced the opioid use rates by 36%," he told FOX Business' Charles Payne on "Making Money with Charles Payne." Shulkin explained how the VA has been able to make strides in reducing opioid use rates with veterans.

"So Many Of Us Come Back Broken" - Homeless Veterans talk About Why This Happens. 
NET News (Audio): "So Many Of Us Come Back Broken" - Homeless Veterans talk About Why This Happens<>. On a Friday before Thanksgiving a large gym at a small college in Omaha is loud and crowded. There are men and women, 30-year-olds and 60-year-olds. Black and white. Some with little education, some with college degrees. About a hundred people who don't have a lot in common, except they served in our military. And they've been homeless.

Paralyzed Veterans offers employment placement services free of charge to all veterans who may be facing homelessness. To learn more please visit

VA offers higher quality end-of-life care than Medicare: 5 things to know.
Patient EngagementHIT: VA Delivers Positive Patient Experience with End-of-Life Care<>. The patient experience for end-of-life care may be better for veterans treated by the VA rather than for patients covered by fee-for-service Medicare, according to a group of researchers from Stanford Medicine. The study, published recently in Health Affairs, investigated the quality of end-of-life care delivered in VA healthcare facilities and by Medicare providers.

Reuters: Trump orders mental health aid for military Veterans to prevent suicide. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order directing government departments to try to prevent suicide among military veterans by treating mental health problems before they become more serious.

HealthPayer Intelligence: IT Investment to Help VA Speed Claims Administration, Payments<>. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced new goals for claims administration and a significant investment in health IT tools that will help coordinate payment for community providers. The VA has set the goal of increasing the number of claims processed by 300 percent in January of 2018, and aims to double that number to 600 percent by April.

VA dieticians are here to make your resolutions stick<>: If you're interested in improving the health of Veterans all year long, VA has several career opportunities to help you give back. VA's Nutrition and Food Services (NFS) delivers safe and high quality patient food services to our Veterans and their families. Nutrition professionals promote wellness and disease prevention by ensuring effective nutrition education and counseling.