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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

Veterans who are seeking care for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer may face even longer wait times in the coming years for help from the overburdened Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a highly critical 4,000 page VA-commissioned study of veterans health care.

The report finds that VA facilities cost twice the norm for public facilities, a claim that will likely re-launch a debate about moving towards privatizing some VA services. The findings also contradict the VA’s claims that the majority of patients are satisfied with the care they receive.

A Veteran of Desert storm,  who lives in Moorhead, says an added layer of Red Tape in the V-A System is creating headaches for her and fellow Veterans.

The "Veterans Choice Program" comes out of firestorm created when veterans had long wait lists and horrible customer service nationwide.

But with a private contractor running the program for the V-A there are kinks that are raising many people's blood pressure.

The Power of 1: Your actions could save a life

One small act can make a difference in the life of a Veteran in crisis.

This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reached a historic milestone in its efforts to improve
the delivery of benefits and services to America’s Veterans, their families, and Survivors. The backlog of
disability claims (claims pending more than 125 days) is now below 100,000 – an 84-percent reduction
from its peak of 611,000 claims in March 2013 and the lowest ever in our history since we started
measuring the backlog in 2007. This dramatic reduction was achieved through the dedicated efforts of

Two female soldiers will graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger School on Friday, becoming the first women to ever complete one of the U.S. military’s premier courses to develop elite fighters and leaders, Army officials said Monday night.

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has revised its regulation regarding the presence of animals on VA property. The updated regulation will ensure VA practices remain consistent with applicable federal law. It will also assist individuals entering VA facilities in developing a clear and consistent understanding of the criteria governing facility access for service animals.

A bill to allow post-9/11 vets to use their G.I. Bill benefits as collateral for business startups passed an important milestone in the Senate Wednesday with growing bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of major veteran organizations.

VA today launched two new no-cost training programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, to help transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from all eras learn skills, earn credentials and advance in civilian careers following separation from service.

Most people have never heard of Purple Heart Day, which takes place annually on August 7th to commemorate the medals origins and the more than 1.7 million combat-wounded Purple Heart recipients.   

WASHINGTON – As part of VA’s ongoing commitment to provide care to Veterans and their families, the Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that it will start the  process of amending its regulations to establish presumptions of service connection for certain conditions resulting from exposure to contaminated drinking water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The House voted Wednesday to cut workplace protections for Department of Veterans Affairs employees and extend their probationary period, making it easier to fire new staffers.

The “VA Accountability Act of 2015” was approved with a 256 – 170 vote, largely, though not strictly, along party lines, despite a White House veto threat.

The remains of three-dozen U.S. Marines missing in action during World War II were brought back to U.S. territory on Sunday in the largest single recovery of U.S. MIAs.

The 36 Marines were listed as missing in action at the World War II Battle of Tarawa and repatriated during Sunday’s ceremony, held at Pearl Harbor. Among them was 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., a recipient of the Medal of Honor, reports Hawaii news channel KHON2.

WASHINGTON — Veterans who suffered sexual assault or other sexual abuse while in uniform would get help more easily from the Department of Veterans Affairs under a bill approved Monday by the House.

The bill would allow a statement by a survivor of military sexual trauma to be considered sufficient proof that an assault occurred. The House approved the bill by voice vote Monday night.

Decades after the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam, more than one in 10 American veterans from the conflict still experience at least some symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study.

One third of veterans with PTSD also suffer from major depressive disorder, the research team reports in JAMA Psychiatry.

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs may have to shut down some hospitals next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year, VA officials warned Monday.

The VA told Congress that it needs to cover shortfalls caused by an increased demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for hepatitis C. The agency also is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other steps to close a funding gap for the budget year that ends Sept. 30.