» Veterans Law

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 15, 2017 – Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced that the agency is considering a plan to close more than 1,100 facilities across the country as it moves toward allowing a larger number of veterans to access private sector health care. Shulkin told a House hearing that the department has identified 735 underused facilities. There are also 430 empty buildings, most of which were constructed around 90 years ago. The VA secretary told lawmakers that closing them would save the government around $25 million annually. However, he did not specify which […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 8, 2017 – President Trump signed an executive order to create a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The office will be dedicated to shielding whistleblowers from retaliation and holding VA employees accountable for misconduct. Trump promised that the office will protect employees who report problems at the VA. He emphasized that, “we will never, ever tolerate substandard care for our great veterans.” Along with investigating reports of retaliation against whistleblowing employees, the new office will look into allegations of misconduct at the VA. It will […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) May 10, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responded to a recent critical internal watchdog report by insisting it has made significant progress in fixing long-running problems with its suicide hotline. However, lawmakers and veterans groups say the improvements are not enough. The VA inspector general released a scathing audit in March that revealed a large number of rollover calls, inadequate data to determine call quality and other issues at the troubled Veterans Crisis Line. As recently as November, around one-third of calls went to voicemail or backup call centers operated by outside […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 13, 2017 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee approved legislation on March 8 to extend the Veterans Choice Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program allows veterans to seek private care when they are unable to get an appointment at a VA facility. The committee’s unanimous vote followed a hearing featuring the testimonies of VA Secretary David Shulkin and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain is a member of a bipartisan Senate group supporting the Choice Program’s expansion. They urged lawmakers to eliminate the program’s current August 7 expiration date in order to provide […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 6, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will soon offer urgent mental health care to thousands of veterans with less-than-honorable discharges. The services are part of the agency’s expanded efforts to reduce high suicide rates among former service members. VA Secretary David Shulkin emphasized the need to act as soon as possible rather than wait for legislation to pass Congress. Speaking to members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he noted that most of the veterans who have committed suicide did not have access to VA care. “Far too many veterans are […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 24, 2017 – Florida legislators have introduced two bills that would facilitate veterans’ access to alternative treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other injuries. Among the treatments are acupuncture, equine therapy, music therapy and meditation. Many veterans are deriving great benefits from these types of treatments. One such individual is Army veteran Chad Childers, who was medically discharged following deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He said he tried to deal with his problems by drinking, and eventually found himself on the streets. Childers later discovered the Five Star Veterans Center where he engaged […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 21, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is struggling to deal with the aftermath of a nationwide hiring freeze announced by President Donald Trump. The VA has thousands of open positions that are likely to remain vacant until the freeze is over. Veterans’ advocates and lawmakers launched a protest arguing that the hiring freeze would cripple the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). “The new hiring restrictions could be detrimental to our veterans,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “The VHA is already facing a staffing crisis that affects the delivery of important […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 14, 2017 – Newly appointed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin said he is against the full privatization of veterans care under his leadership. The Senate unanimously confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the agency on February 13. “New leadership is vital to improving the VA and its services,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “The new VA secretary will have to make sure that the reforms he pursues are in the best interests of our veterans. The ultimate goal is to have a system that makes health care and […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 14, 2017 – President Donald Trump announced the selection of David Shulkin as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in January. The decision ended a lengthy search for a qualified individual to lead the sprawling federal agency that comprises a nationwide network of 1,700 medical facilities. Trump said he and his transition team interviewed “at least 100 people” to find the right person to take on the responsibility of improving veterans care. They ultimately decided to look for someone inside the VA. The decision means Shulkin, 57, would be the first serving […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 7, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must tackle a long list of decisions about the effects of Agent Orange and veterans’ eligibility for benefits. A key issue is whether the department will add new conditions to its list of diseases and health problems presumed to be linked to the pesticide. Agent Orange was sprayed to destroy vegetation used as cover by Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War. ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have joined forces to investigate the toxic chemical’s effects on Vietnam veterans and their families, as well as their struggles […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 26, 2017 – Many veterans who were diagnosed with mental problems or traumatic brain injury have received less-than-honorable discharges. But such a discharge can result in the denial of veterans’ benefits, thereby causing these veterans to become homeless, imprisoned, develop substance abuse or commit suicide. In an effort to assist these veterans, the Vietnam Veterans Association of America wrote President Obama asking him to pardon all post-9/11 veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges without the due process of a court-martial. They are making the same request of President-elect Donald Trump. Prominent Tampa, Florida veterans lawyer […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 11, 2017 – Leaked internal documents published for the first time by USA Today reveal that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a secret ratings system to evaluate its medical facilities. The VA has never released the ratings for public viewing, claiming they are only for the agency’s internal use. They show dozens of VA medical centers are performing at below-average levels. For years, the VA has assigned between one to five star ratings to hospitals, with five being the best. The ratings depend on factors such as the quality of care provided, […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 4, 2017 – Congress passed the Fairness for Veterans Act within a larger defense budget bill in December. The legislation is an effort to help tens of thousands of veterans with less than honorable discharges gain access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. The bill requires the military to consider mental health conditions of service members when conducting discharge reviews. Boards must take into account claims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury when troops display behavior the military considers undesirable. “Receiving a less than honorable discharge can have serious […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 13, 2016 – Hundreds of Vietnam veterans are suffering from a rare bile duct cancer that may be connected to their wartime service. The former service members are urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to acknowledge their condition is service-related so that they can be eligible for benefits. The cancer, called cholangiocarcinoma, can be caused by liver flukes present in raw or poorly cooked freshwater fish. Vietnam War veterans may have been infected by liver flukes after eating such fish when their rations ran out. The parasites are commonly found in certain areas […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 6, 2016 – An Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sued American Airlines after she was humiliated multiple times and prevented from boarding a flight with her service dog. Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Lisa McCombs was trying to fly home to Gulfport, Mississippi, from Kansas on October 25, 2015. According to the complaint, airline agents refused to let McCombs pass through security with Jake, her certified service dog, despite having valid documentation. The Labrador retriever was also harnessed and wearing his service vest as per airline requirements. “It is disappointing that a veteran endured such […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 7, 2016 – Frontline staff are failing to answer more than one-third of calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) suicide hotline. Former hotline director Greg Hughes pointed out that poor work habits, low productivity and other departmental issues were to blame. Several weeks prior to leaving his job in June, Hughes sent an internal email saying workers “spend very little time on the phone or engaged in assigned productive activity.” Some Veterans Crisis Line employees answer under five calls per day. They also end their shifts early despite the sharp rise in […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) November 1, 2016 – A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog report released in October has revealed persistent problems at the Phoenix VA hospital. The VA Office of Inspector General documented scheduling errors, canceled appointments, delays in care and other mismanagement issues at the Phoenix VA. Some veterans are forced to wait nearly a year for care, and others are dying while awaiting appointments. The problems have not been fixed since the scandal over patient wait times emerged at the facility more than two years ago. “The fact is many of the original issues still […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 17, 2016 – During the summer the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stopped reporting data on health care standards at its hospitals. The agency made the move despite a two-year-old law that requires the statistics to be shared with a national consumer database. For several years the VA submitted performance data to the Hospital Compare website managed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The data comprised several criteria for measuring quality at private and public hospitals nationwide, including death and readmission rates. According to a […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 13, 2016 – The Army Surgeon General expressed doubts about endorsing the first ever government-approved clinical trials for marijuana as treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Marijuana has long been considered a controversial treatment,” commented Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “However, it could potentially be beneficial in treating serious cases of PTSD and other conditions among veterans. Increased research into medical marijuana can lead to more understanding about its effects and open up a new realm of possibilities for treatment.” During a meeting with reporters, Lieutenant General Nadya West pointed out […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 20, 2016 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet unanimously appointed Glenn Sutphin as executive director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs on August 2. His appointment is subject to Senate approval. Sutphin’s appointment was expected as he was the top choice for the post. The retired Army lieutenant colonel was the sole candidate interviewed out of 310 applicants. Sutphin, 67, has served as the department’s interim executive director since April. Mike Prendergast, the previous head, resigned to run for Citrus County sheriff. “The appointment of a permanent executive director will provide […]


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