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Monthly Archives: September 2010

VA Publishes Final Regulation on "Presumptive" Illnesses For Gulf War .

Where is IBS ,Immune System Diseases, ALS, Fibmyalgia, to name a few ?

 I think it falls short but its a step in right direction. Here is press release from VA


VA Publishes Final Regulation on "Presumptive" Illnesses

for Gulf War and Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

WASHINGTON (September 28, 2010) – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki today announced the publication of a final regulation in the
Federal Register that makes it easier for Veterans to obtain Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation for
certain diseases associated with service in Southwest Asia (including
Iraq) or Afghanistan.

"This is part of historic changes in how VA considers Gulf War Veterans'
illnesses," said Secretary Shinseki. "By setting up scientifically based
presumptions of service connection, we give these deserving Veterans a
simple way to obtain the medical and compensation benefits they earned
in service to our country."

The final regulation establishes new presumptions of service connection
for nine specific infectious diseases associated with military service
in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War
on Aug. 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after Sept. 19,
2001, in Afghanistan.

The final regulation reflects a determination of a positive association
between service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and nine diseases and
includes information about the long-term health effects potentially
associated with these diseases: Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni,
Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis,
Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile
virus.

With the final rule, a Veteran will only have to show service in
Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and that he or she had one of the nine
diseases within a certain time after service and has a current
disability as a result of that disease, subject to certain time limits
for seven of the diseases.  Most of these diseases would be diagnosed
within one year of return from service, through some conditions may
manifest at a later time.

 For non-presumptive conditions, a Veteran is required to provide
medical evidence to establish an actual connection between military
service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and a specific disease.

The decision to add these presumptives was made after reviewing the 2006
report of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine
(NASIOM), titled, "Gulf War and Health Volume 5: Infectious Diseases."

The 2006 report differed from the four prior reports by looking at the
long-term health effects of certain diseases determined to be pertinent
to Gulf War Veterans.  Secretary Shinseki decided to include Afghanistan
Veterans in these presumptions because NAS found that the nine diseases
are also prevalent in that country.

The 1998 Persian Gulf War Veterans Act requires the Secretary to review
NAS reports that study scientific information and possible associations
between illnesses and exposure to toxic agents by Veterans who served in
the Persian Gulf War.

While the decision to add the nine new presumptives predates VA's Gulf
War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force (GWVI-TF), the overarching
responsibility of the GWVI-TF is to regain Gulf War Veterans' confidence
in VA's health care, benefits, and services and reconfirm VA is 100
percent committed to Veterans of all eras.  The GWVI-TF began in fall
2009 and is not a static, one-time initiative but will continue to build
on its work with annual reports issued every August.  The group's focus
centers on unanswered Gulf War Veterans' health issues, improving access
to benefits, ensuring cutting edge research into treatments, and to make
sure Veterans' concerns are heard and addressed.  This includes
continuing to solicit Veterans, experts, advocates and stakeholders to
share their views to better inform the important work of the GWVI-TF.
The GWVI-TF Report can be found at www.VA.gov.

Disability compensation is a non-taxable monetary benefit paid to
Veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was
incurred or aggravated during active military service.

Last year, VA received more than one million claims for disability
compensation and pension.  VA provides compensation and pension benefits
to over 3.8 million Veterans and beneficiaries.

Currently, the basic monthly rate of compensation ranges from $123 to
$2,673 for Veterans without any dependents.

For information about health problems associated with military service
in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan, and related VA programs, go to
www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/ and
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/oefoif/index.asp.

Banner - 90th

Dear Sean,

See firsthand the amazing work DAV is accomplishing with support from HP!

Support DAV today!

Learn more about Harley’s Heroes and its service to veterans.

The DAV’s Mobile Service Offices (MSOs) are taking vital assistance on the road for disabled vets! In 2009, we traveled over 114,056 miles to reach out to over 18,647 vets all over the country.

Harley-Davidson and Hewlett Packard (HP) are showing the same inspiring drive you show each time you make a gift to the DAV.

Harley-Davidson Foundation’s million-dollar gift continues its loyal support of the DAV MSO program, which carries critical education and claims assistance to disabled vets across the country.

HP’s generosity outfits these mobile offices with wireless notebooks, making it possible for DAV National Service Officers to help those veterans who may not otherwise have the opportunity to seek assistance.

So we invite you to invest in the future of our nation’s disabled veterans, along with Harley-Davidson and HP and keep our programs running year after year.

The DAV’s Mobile Service Offices travel hundreds of thousands of miles each year to reach out to tens of thousands of vets all over the country.

Like Harley-Davidson and HP, will you continue to be a partner to these veterans and give $45 … $60 … $75 or more to DAV now?

With gratitude,
DAV-AWilson (SIGNATURE)
Arthur H. Wilson, National Adjutant
Disabled American Veterans

VA Extends Coverage for Gulf War Veterans


VA Extends Coverage for Gulf War Veterans

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2010 – Veterans of the first Gulf War as well as current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan now have a smoother path toward receiving health-care benefits and disability compensation for nine diseases associated with their military service, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today.

A final regulation published in today’s Federal Register relieves veterans of the burden of proving these diseases are service-related: Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus.

Shinseki added the new presumptions after reviewing a 2006 National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine report on the long-term health effects of certain diseases suffered among Gulf War veterans.

He also extended the presumptions to veterans of Afghanistan, based on NAS findings that the nine diseases are prevalent there as well.

The new presumptions apply to veterans who served in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of Operation Desert Shield on Aug. 2, 1990, through Operation Desert Storm to the present, including the current conflict in Iraq. Veterans who served in Afghanistan on or after Sept. 19, 2001, also qualify.

For Shinseki, who pledged to honor the 20th anniversary of the Gulf War by improving health-care access and benefits for its 697,000 veterans, the new presumptions represent a long-overdue step in addressing the medical challenges many face.
“This is part of historic changes in how VA considers Gulf War veterans’ illnesses,” he said. “By setting up scientifically based presumptions of service connection, we give these deserving veterans a simple way to obtain the benefits they earned in service to our country.”

The new presumptions initially are expected to affect just under 2,000 veterans who have been diagnosed with the nine specified diseases, John Gingrich, VA’s chief of staff, told American Forces Press Service. He acknowledged that the numbers are likely to climb as more cases are identified.

With the final rule, a veteran needs only to show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan during the specified time periods to receive disability compensation, subject to certain time limits based on incubation periods for seven of the diseases.

“It gives them easier access to quality health care and compensation benefits,” Gingrich said. “The message behind that is that the VA is striving to make access to health care easier for our veterans who have served in our combat zones.”

He expressed hope that by providing quick, easy access, VA will help veterans get the care they need early on, without having to fight the bureaucracy.

“When we find these presumptions and we reach out and get the veterans into our system, we can help them and give them the proper medical care they need, and maybe keep their disease from getting worse or getting it to go away altogether,” he said.

It also will help eliminate the piles of paperwork and long claims adjudication process veterans had to go through to prove their cases to receive care and benefits. “This will help break the back of the backlog in the long run, while sending a reassuring message to veterans that the VA is there for them,” Gingrich said.

He called the new presumptions part of Shinseki’s effort to “create a culture of advocacy” within VA that builds trust as it reaches out to veterans.

For Gingrich, a Gulf War veteran himself, the effort is very personal. He remembers being deployed as a 1st Infantry Division field artillery battalion commander during Operation Desert Storm, when one of his officers became very sick with an illness nobody could diagnose.

“The medics couldn’t diagnose it. We called in the doctors and they couldn’t diagnose it. And eventually, he had to be medevaced back,” he recalled. “And now here we are, 20 years later, and I saw him in Dallas in August, and he is still sick. You can’t identify all the reasons and symptoms, but he is sick.”

Veterans deserve better, Gingrich insisted. “I believe that our veterans that served in uniform for our country deserve the absolute best care and benefits that we can provide,” he said.

VA provides compensation and pension benefits to more than 3.8 million veterans and beneficiaries, and received more than 1 million claims last year alone, VA officials reported. Veterans without dependents receive a basic monthly compensation ranging from $123 to $2,673.

Related Sites:
Department of Veterans Affairs

Rep. Filner Calls for a 21st Century Veterans trust fund!

I participated in this call in this morning and I have to say kudos to Rep. Bob Filner for being a realist on what it will take care of our Veterans in the coming decades.
The VAC committees set for tomorrow will lay out the truecosts of taking care of our veterans after war. I will blog more on this soon
Sean
 
 
 
*** Press Call 12:15pm ET Wednesday: 800-862-9098 code: Vets ***
Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Stiglitz and Dr. Linda Bilmes to Announce New Numbers on the Rising Cost of Veteran Spending Due to Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman and Leading Veterans Advocate to Call for a Veterans’ Trust Fund to Meet Exploding Demand

New Data and Proposed Reforms Subject of House Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing Thursday

Washington, DC:  Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Stiglitz and Dr. Linda Bilmes of Harvard University will join House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), and the Executive Director of Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW) Don Overton in a press conference call Wednesday at 12:15pm ET. They will announce new figures and analysis on the impact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having on the cost of caring for veterans and will urge Congress to account for this full cost of war. Rep. Filner is calling for fundamental reform to the way Congress funds war spending. The press conference call will be a preview to testimony that Drs. Stiglitz and Bilmes will provide to the House Veterans Affairs Committee in a hearing on Thursday, September 30 at 10:00 am.

On the call, Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University and Dr. Linda Bilmes of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War, will discuss their latest findings on the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on costs for caring for veterans. Their latest figures far exceed their previous projections.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner will call for the creation of a Veterans’ Trust Fund to meet this growing demand. The proposal will require Congress to account for the true costs of war, including the cost of serving injured and disabled veterans, as part of its appropriation for warfare. 
 
 

Date/Time:                12:15 pm ET, Wednesday, September 29
 
Call In Info:              800-862-9098 Code: Vets

Speakers:
· Joseph Stiglitz, professor at Columbia University, former chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2000. Co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict
· Linda Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard University. Co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict
· Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs
· Donald Overton, Executive Director of Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW)

# # #

LETTER: Straightening out dates for the official Cold War

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/fdcp/?1285477154998

I am a proud veteran of the Army. Although I served during a time of peace, I did serve in the Berlin Brigade while the wall still divided East and West Berlin.

To me the POW/MIA flag is second in my heart, only one step behind the U.S. flag. Our government set aside one day a year to remember our POWs/MIAs, and this is wonderful.

Personally, I look at my own POW/MIA flag every day and pray for all missing.

In a Veterans Voice column, there were some numbers given for MIAs from different wars. The dates for the Cold War were listed as 1950s and 1960s.

The actual dates of the Cold War are Sept. 2, 1948 to Dec. 26, 1991. The reason I know this is because I received a letter of recognition several years ago from the secretary of defense for serving during this time period.

Just thought his was some useful information for veterans who served during this time frame.

JAMES R. TUCK

CLARKSVILLE 37043

IAVA Update

Dear Sean,
Together, we made it down to the ten-yard line.
Because of your support, over 10,000 Americans signed our letter to Senator Harry Reid, calling for a vote on critical upgrades to the New GI Bill. This change will expand educational benefits for thousands of new veterans who are currently shut out.
Yesterday, I visited Senator Reid's office on Capitol Hill to deliver your signatures. Click here to watch a quick video of what happened.
 
The clock is ticking, and now that you've done your part, it's time for Congress to make a play and punch it in.
Next week will be crucial. Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated on the score as we move closer to an historic touchdown.
Thank you for continuing to have our backs.
Tim
Tim Embree
Legislative Associate
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

 

U.S., South Korea Plan Anti-submarine Exercise

 
From a U.S. Forces Korea News Release
 
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, Sept. 24, 2010 – South Korean and U.S. forces will conduct an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the waters west of the Korean peninsula Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.
The exercise is part of a series of combined naval training events that are defensive in nature and enhance interoperability, officials said. The exercises also are designed to send a clear message of deterrence to North Korea, they added, while improving the overall anti-submarine warfare capabilities of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.
Participating units from the U.S. Navy include the guided missile destroyers USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald and the ocean surveillance ship USNS Victorious. Assets also include a fast attack submarine and P-3C Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron 9. The USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald are forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and Patrol Squadron 9 is home-ported at Kaneohoe Marine Corps Base, Hawaii.
Participating units from the South Korean navy include two destroyers, a fast frigate, a patrol craft, P-3C aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 6 and a submarine.
The exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare tactics, techniques, and procedures, officials said. The first exercise in this series, Combined Naval and Air Readiness Exercise Invincible Spirit, was conducted in the seas east of the Korean peninsula in July.
This exercise was originally scheduled to occur Sept. 5-9, officials said, but was delayed for safety reasons related to Typhoon Malou arriving in Korean waters.
 
Related Sites:
U.S. Forces Korea

Vermont Avenue Blocked by VA Emergency Response Vehicles

Vermont Avenue Blocked by VA Emergency Response Vehicles

VA Displays Preparedness Efforts

WASHINGTON (Sept. 24, 2010) – Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) is showcasing state-of-the-art emergency mobile facilities as part
of National Preparedness Month (NPM). The mobile facilities-an
ambulance/bus, pharmacy, Vet Center, and Emergency Nutrition Unit-are on
display in front of VA headquarters on Vermont Avenue, which has been
blocked off for the event. Tours of the mobile facilities are available
for reporters.

Additionally, preparedness information will be shared with employees,
contractors and visitors. These activities offer and encourage specific
steps for individual, neighborhood, and community preparedness.

What:     Learn about VA's emergency mobile facilities and VA's role in
Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Who:      VA leadership and employees & the public

When:     Sept. 24, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where:    Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20420

Background: National Preparedness Month (NPM) is sponsored by the Ready
Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Advertising Council.
NPM is held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps
to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.
September 2010 is the seventh annual NPM.

Contacts: Katie Roberts, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

katie.roberts@va.gov or 202-461-4982

Drew Brookie, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

drew.brookie@va.gov or 202-461-5133

Dear Uncle Sam,

Military Wife Writes a Letter of Complaint

by Military with PTSD on Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 9:56am

Dear Uncle Sam,

 

Thank you for keeping my husband alive during war and for that I am grateful. I stood by him through 15 months with a heavy heart, spent sleepless nights worrying about him, and prayed that another day would bring some type of communication. I proudly showed our country's flag and my blue star banner, and literally bled, red, white and blue when was asked of me. You made sure he was fed, showered, clothed, had ammunition when he needed it, and Medical care when he was injured. He fought, and fought hard never questioning his duty, because like many of our brave men and women….your orders are all that mattered and they had a job to do. They did it. Not once did my husband ever complain, because again, it was his duty and he was proud to serve you.

 

While being grateful, I would like to file a complaint against the United States Military, United States Government and for all those parties that had anything to do with this Middle Eastern War. You sent me back the wrong man. A man, who as I casually watch outside sitting in a chair, no longer communicates with the world, expresses any emotions, and who's family he has left a long time ago all while remaining under the same roof. A man who can't go into public without freaking out, and who's anger and frustrations roll upon his family like a deadly Tsunami. Somewhere over Ramadi, Iraq and back through Afghanistan to come home, my husband must have been switched with someone else. I sent you my husband over there with good faith in you that he would return, and you have let me down.

 

Military Wife gives Uncle Sam a much needed ass kicking…You gave me all the promises and education I needed for insurance, reintegration, what to do "if this happens" scenarios….but you never told me about this. You said some of our guys might come home with sleep problems or some emotional issues those first few months home. You told us that this is simply a readjustment period and those too shall pass. Uncle Sam, it's been three years. PTSD/TBI never goes away, nor does it simply involve a sleepless night. You failed to mention all the horrors, the struggles, and let downs in between. You didn't tell me that I would be raising a family by myself and taking care of my husband, and you also failed to mention that I would be alone in my marriage with no one to talk to about it or having to deal with my own personal demons alone. You sent him home and left us here.

 

Your Veteran's Administration is ok. Not too impressed with appointments twice a year to see a psychiatrist. Not impressed at all with a psychiatrist who simply wants to know about any side effects from the meds and then dismisses your soldier with no advice or comments. It took us six months to get us in to begin with and we were treated with total disregard; almost like we were dog poop accidentally stepped in and bothersome to a new pair of expensive shoes. Twice a year is what my husband and our family is worth right? His primary physician I am highly disappointed in because her concerns with my husband's daily bowel movements is more priority than dealing with his PTSD. Fish oil tablets, Vitamin E, D, and all the ABCs do not make a difference in his PTSD I can assure you. He has no problems with his bowel movements, and would love to actually collect it one day and drop it in on your desk and say "HERE IT IS-Now what's next?". We now have a TBI diagnosis in which both of us are still not sure what to do or where to begin, but in six months…we should have an appointment for someone to treat us like crap again. Looking forward to it.

 

As far as my family is concerned, I would like to file a complaint not just for me but for all spouses. You didn't tell us you would send us home our soldiers so mentally messed up they could not function. You didn't tell us that all of this would fall on our shoulders alone without any help or resources. The ones you did provide us "no longer had volunteers so therefore we are unable to help you". You failed to disclose all the problems our families would face and how hard it would be to struggle each and every day. You failed to provide any type of help at the Veteran's Administration for us spouses dealing with your mistakes. You did provide a once a month meeting in which the "therapist" constantly regarded her watch more than the spouses. You provided us one hour, in which it took 30 minutes of that waiting for the counselor to get there. Thirty minutes a month was all we were worth to the VA. I could not unload a .0005 section of our family problems in that time allotted.

 

What happened to the resources you promised? If you are heavily depending on volunteers to "give an hour" and they are no longer doing that program, did you just give up? What, we could not take a little bit off each bill or new legislation to pay a professional their time to help us? You also failed in finding volunteers, because of the 20 I called and spoke to….the reason they quit was because no one had told them that they would be dealing with PTSD/TBI/Reintegration issues because guess what? They have no clue what those are nor did they have any experience with working with the military.

 

My husband along with many deserve more than that. As families, we stayed strong and held down the forts while they were gone. You basically used, abused and then shoved them aside with no second thoughts. Now the families are left trying to hold our family together, keeping our insanity together, and getting all the crap that rolls downhill. Spouses desperately are seeking help all over the United States, seeking some answers and just a knowledge that someone else knows what they are going through. They are seeking because so many of us don't know where to go and the government has failed us, our children, and our soldiers. I want you to stop what you are doing and take a look at the suicide rates among returning US soldiers. Five minutes is all I am asking. Unless they walk in and shoot themselves in the head as in recently, or on a military installation, nothing is ever done or accomplished.

 

You write pamphlets on all these subjects, but they are just that…paper. It reads like stereo instructions rehashing jargon no one can understand. What we do understand is that you sent us home monsters and left us alone to deal with it. As you looking through those suicide rates, cross reference that with spouse suicides. Then if you have a minute or two to spare, look at the children who went through hell and now have lost either if not both parents. Just because it doesn't make national news or headlines doesn't mean it just went away. As a supporter of our military, I will still always wave my flag and be proud of our country. Not because of the ones who hold government offices, but because we have so many good people in our country. I will always be the first to yell "Hoo-ah", and help any of our fellow military men and women…but don't expect me to say I am proud of you, Uncle Sam. On behalf of all of us spouses you gave the shaft to, and on behalf of all our military you shoved to the side when you no longer had use for them….I file this complaint.

 

Sincerely,

 

The Military Wife

News:Mark Glaser and Walk to Help Find a Cure for PKD

Many of you may already know Mark Glaser.  He’s a columnist and freelance writer for Mediashift @ PBS.org. 

Mark has written several prominent stories about the military and the milblogging community including Your Guide to Soldier Videos from Iraq, `War Tapes` Film Lets Soldiers Tell Their Stories from Iraq, and Milbloggers Upset with Restrictions, But Won`t Stop Blogging.

Over the years, Mark has raised money to help cure polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a hereditary disease that is one of the most common life-threatening genetic diseases, affecting 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million people worldwide.

Mark also has PKD, and he’s currently in search of a live kidney donor.

There’s a way you can help.

This year, there will be a Walk for PKD in San Francisco, happening a t Crissy Fields on Oct. 23 at 9 am. Mark will be walking and he’s hoping you can join or help.

To keep up with Mark’s search for a kidney, please visit him on Facebook.