Veterans news update for Sept. 24

Veterans news update for Sept. 24

Veterans news updateVA finally acts for dependents on Camp Lejeune toxic water (VetsHQ)
Finally, two years after Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced it will begin to cover out-of-pocket costs for dependents of Marines affected by the Camp Lejeune toxic water contamination at the base.

Female veterans feel left behind (Wall Street Journal)
When Devon Reyes returned from her first deployment to Afghanistan in 2009, she withdrew from family and friends. “No amount of pamphlets or brochures would have enticed me to come out of my shell,” said the Army veteran and mother of two, now 29 years old. She said she longed for camaraderie, but there was little opportunity to meet other female soldiers with similar experiences. That isolation and lack of support is shared by many other women vets, even as their numbers have surged, according to a report released by the Disabled American Veterans. The report highlights ways that military women differ from male counterparts both during and after their service.

Ex-Augusta VA director paid $76,000, retired after investigation into preventable veteran deaths (Augusta Chronicle)
Rebecca Wiley, the former director of the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was paid more than $75,000 when she retired last October, one week after Congress began investigating her administration for its role in nine preventable patient deaths in Augusta, Ga., and Columbia, S.C.

VA to investigate whether veteran’s appointment data was doctored after death (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
The Department of Veterans Affairs said it will investigate allegations that the appointment records of a retired Marine who died after having seizures were falsified to cover up delays in patient care at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. The announcement followed calls from Minnesota’s congressional delegation for an investigation, one day after KARE-TV reported that VA records showed that a neurology exam for Jordan Buisman was rescheduled four days after his death. His family believes the record was falsified and has filed a wrongful death claim against the VA.

Vietnam veteran gets high school diploma 48 years after being drafted (Flint Journal)
Sixty-six year-old Richard Vanderkarr was awarded his high school diploma from the Carman-Ainsworth School District through Public Act 181 of 2001, which authorizes school districts to award high school diplomas to veterans who enlisted or were drafted while in high school and never graduated during WWII, the Korean conflict or Vietnam War. Vanderkarr, who spent 28 years in the service, with 26 years in the reserves, was in Vietnam for 18 months after being drafted in the Army. He now serves as a member of the Burton Glen Charter Academy School Board. He was 18 when he was drafted and had recently completed high school and began working at General Motors, although he didn’t receive his diploma, he said.

Madison VA director: ‘Perfect Storm’ of Obamacare implementation, departing doctors caused wait times backlog (WISC-TV)
Madison’s VA hospital director Judy McKee told an emotional, mostly military crowd of about 120 at a town hall meeting Tuesday that a number of factors caused wait times for veterans to see a doctor to grow dramatically earlier this year. The combination of nearly double the amount of patients wanting services as a result of the Obamacare implementation, mixed with one-fourth of their doctors leaving, caused sick Wisconsin veterans to wait about two months to see a provider at the hospital. To deal with the nearly 300 patients suddenly demanding daily services back in May, McKee said the hospital has since hired more than 16 new employees, increasing the Madison VA’s total number of primary care doctors to 25.

Couple pays $60,000 to pay for veterans’ honor flight (Associated Press)
Dennis Covert will be making his 10th trip aboard an Honor Flight next week. He goes as a companion for World War II veterans from northeast Indiana who visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Veterans ride for free. Companions, formally known as guardians, pay $400 each to help cover flight expenses. Corporate and individual donors, of which Covert is one, also pitch in. Covert decided to pay more than his share this time. Much more. He and his wife, Charline, are paying everybody’s shares. The Fort Wayne residents are contributing $60,000, the total cost for chartering a jet for 150 people plus ground transportation and meals in the nation’s capital.

From War to Work (GovExec)
In 2011, Lauren Augustine was an Army specialist operating RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles from Camp Taji in Iraq. She knew that at the end of her deployment, the skills she’d learned wouldn’t translate directly to civilian employment. Enter the revamped Transition Assistance Program, designed to ease service members’ transition from structured uniformed duty to life as working civilians. It included a course on resume writing that Augustine, a Virginia Tech graduate raised in Woodbridge, Va., says “instilled some confidence in how to look for jobs and the need to tailor my resume for the jobs I was applying for.”