Your daily veterans news update for Monday, August 18:
Vets seeking care died in VA limbo (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
The online system did the opposite of what it promised, an investigation has found. Instead of making it easier and faster to apply for benefits, the online system sent some veterans who used it into administrative limbo where their applications received no action, delaying their access to health care. As many as 47,786 veterans whose applications languished in the pending application pool had died, according to the VA’s own records of deceased servicemen and women.
New effort to offer veterans legal services under way (Associated Press)
Recent efforts to help veterans obtain benefits or gain access to other resources are underway at law schools, bar associations, community groups and even the VA itself.
Veterans look to farming to grow and heal (USA Today)
The transition from the battlefield to the farm field underscores a growing trend in America: as thousands of young military personnel leave the service many are finding themselves drawn to the prospect of jobs on farms and ranches scattered throughout the countryside. USDA data shows that even though rural America makes up 17 percent of the country’s population, it accounts for 44 percent of the men and women who served in the military. Iowa has nearly 234,000 veterans in the state.
App developers hope to help veterans battling mental issues (Los Angeles Times)
POS REP, short for Position Report, is a free iPhone app designed to help military veterans who are in distress or need help adjusting to civilian life. With military and veterans’ suicides near record levels in recent years, the app is designed to help vets find one another, as well as nearby health centers, emergency care and other critical services. Still in the testing mode, it chiefly focuses on Los Angeles for now.
Civilian networks will backstop VA primary care, too (Tacoma News-Tribune)
More than two decades ago, when a shrinking military health care system saw patient demand exceed its capacity to deliver timely care, particularly for a burgeoning retiree population, the Department of Defense contracted with the private sector to provide alternative networks of civilian physicians to deliver managed care to military beneficiaries. The VA is moving down a similar path of contracting for civilian provider networks.