Veterans

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 An investigation has found the Beckley VA Medical Center improperly substituted mental health treatments with older drugs to save money.

In a Wednesday news release, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel says it informed the White House and Congress that the hospital put patients at risk and violated VA policy.

A whistleblower reported issues, and the VA Office of Medical Inspector investigated.

Dept. of Defense

Princeton will soon be home to a permanent VA clinic.

According to a release from Senator Joe Manchin’s office, Mercer County’s mobile health clinic, which served as an extension of the Beckley VA Medical Center, will become a permanent VA clinic.

The release says an increased number of veterans in need of healthcare in the area, called for a more permanent solution.

The Princeton VA will be able to serve a total of 1,200 eligible veterans.

Senator Manchin currently serves as a member on the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee.

On West Virginia Morning on this Veterans Day, Beth Vorhees talks with two students at West Virginia State University about their film that chronicles the lives and service of 37 West Virginians who died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And Suzanne Higgins sits down with U. S. Senator Jay Rockefeller as prepares to retire from public service. 

On West Virginia Morning, if you’re waiting to cast your ballot on Election Day tomorrow, Ashton Marra reports on some on line resources that may assist you.  And, from Shepherdstown, Liz McCormick reports on a program to assist wounded veterans. 

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There are many organizations and programs across the country that seek to help wounded veterans. Some of those programs, like the Wounded Warrior Project, have received criticism recently from media outlets like the Daily Beast and Veterans Today, questioning the program’s agenda. But a program at Shepherd University that’s in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project seems to be thriving.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of impassioned veterans showed up to a town hall meeting at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center last week to voice a litany of complaints. But for the most part, they did NOT echo the national outrage about wait times for doctors' appointments. Instead, the veterans raised issues ranging from homelessness to hospital food.

On West Virginia Morning, Glynis Board reports on an on line map compiled by the state Department of Environmental Protection showing where horizontal gas well are located.  And Liz McCormick attended a town hall meeting where veterans told officials from the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center what they really need.

West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility

The secretary of the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance says the state needs to chip in about $25 million to build a 120-bed veterans nursing home in Raleigh County.
 
     A law passed last legislative session authorized the new facility in Beckley. Secretary Rick Thompson told a state legislative panel this week the law didn't provide the money to build it.
 

West Virginia Department of Veterans Assisstance

  More than $2.6 million in federal funding has been approved to help homeless military veterans and their families in West Virginia.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall announced the funding Monday from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The program will provide outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other public benefits. It also will provide rental, utility and moving assistance.

Connecting Veterans and Their Benefits: One On One

Aug 6, 2014
The V.A.'s Mobile Unit outside American Legion Post 31 in Shinnston, West Virginia
Sarah Lowther Hensley

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been rocked by scandal in recent months, with reports of long wait times and rigged wait lists. But the American Legion has stepped up to say the V.A. is a “system worth saving.” As part of that effort, the Legion has launched a series of town hall meetings and set up temporary command centers around the country to help answer questions veterans have about their benefits. The Legion set up shop this week in north central West Virginia.

American Legion Emblem
http://www.legion.org/

  The American Legion is sending a team of experts to West Virginia this week to help veterans access their Veterans Administration health care benefits and services. The group is holding a town hall meeting in Shinnston Monday evening and setting up a “Veterans Crisis Command Center” there Tuesday and Wednesday.

Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs / http://www.clarksburg.va.gov/

The long delays for veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals have prompted The American Legion to plan a short-term crisis center in Clarksburg.

The veterans' organization will open a "crisis command center" at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center on Aug. 5 and 6. A town hall meeting is set for Aug. 4 at American Legion Post 31 in Shinnston.

Part two of our report on the Veterans to Agriculture Program, giving returning soldiers a chance for therapeutic work.  Public policy workshops give citizens a chance to voice concerns about legislative issues. Marshall University's Forensic Science program gets a high national ranking and in Princeton, cruising is making a comeback as a way of revitalizing the downtown area.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the country continues to struggle to help its military members returning from war, one fledgling program in West Virginia isn’t wasting any time tackling the issues veterans face. 

From transitional job training to psychological therapy, members of the Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Program say they’re discovering they can help West Virginia veterans in more ways than they ever anticipated.

Some returning war veterans are becoming farmers and beekeepers thanks to a state program.  More about the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Floyd County, Virginia.  The center is working with local farmers to raise certified Chinese herbs. The Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival kicks off in Wheeling on Friday. 


RayNata / wikimedia

  A Bridgeport man has been charged with falsifying documents to inflate his Veterans Administration disability benefits and with fraudulently obtaining drugs from the VA.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced the 10-count indictment against 65-year-old Thomas Cueto on Tuesday. If convicted, Cueto faces up to 10 years in prison on one count and four years each on the remaining nine charges. Federal prosecutors are also seeking to recover $480,000 in VA benefits they claim Cueto has collected since 1999.

Dept. of Defense

While Senator Jay Rockefeller is standing by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Congressman Nick Rahall and Congresswoman Shelly Capito are calling for his resignation amid the scandal that has embroiled the Veterans Administration for weeks.

Rahall added his name Friday to the growing list of Democrats joining Republicans calling for Shinseki to step down, signaling mounting pressure on the Secretary.

Courtesy of Powderhouse

Coming Back With Wes Moore begins Tuesday, May 13 at 8 p.m. on West Virginia PBS. This new three-episode series executive produced by best-selling author and U.S. army veteran Wes Moore, tells the story of his search for answers to some of the most difficult questions facing veterans returning from war. Moore’s journey, spurred by the suicide of one of his oldest friends and a fellow officer, takes himinto the personal lives of different soldiers as they attempt to reintegrate into society, establish new identities and – for many – find a new mission. Each episode focuses on a different stage of coming home: “Coming Back” (May 13), “Fitting In” (May 20) and “Moving Forward” (May 27).

West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility

  West Virginia's only state-run nursing home for veterans has slashed its admission wait list by more than half.

Department of Veterans Assistance public affairs coordinator Heather Miles says 55 people currently are waiting to be admitted to the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility. That's down from 166 in 2013.

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