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Morning Muster: 3/9/2015 VA manager makes fun of suicidal vets, VA withholds investigation findings, lawmakers say no time to sort through vet bills

VA manager uses toy elf to portray vets begging for Xanax, hanging themselves from electrical cord; Army loosens rules for transgender soldiers; Army vet races in Iditarod, scales Mount Everest; Indy lawmakers say there’s no time to look at vet bills; Vietnam vets remember friends on 50th anniversary of ground campaign; Vietnam vets describe what they consider their “anniversaries”; vets discuss how Agent Orange affects them; Give an Hour expands resources with technology; VA withholds findings from 140 investigations, in one case, to protect ‘candy man’ doc; A.F. colonel who saved Korean War orphans dies; VA study shows prediabetic men lose good gut bacteria; VFW offers solutions for Choice Card problems; Iowa professor heads up VA mental health investigation; VA warns of healthcare scam; advanced breast-cancer rate higher in transgender vets; new conference seeks Florida’s female vets

An Indiana VA manager apparently sent an email to her staff with veterans portrayed as a toy elf begging for Xanax and hanging himself with an electrical cord, reports the Indianapolis Star’s Tony Cook.

The Army issued a directive Friday preventing mid-level managers from firing transgender soldiers, reports USA TODAY’s Tom Vanden Brook.

Army veteran Steve Watkins addresses the “addiction” to the adrenaline of war by entering the Iditarod and attempting to scale Mount Everest, reports the Washington Post’s Rick Maese.

All but two of 48 bills penned to help Indiana’s veterans have already died, including one designed to help vets with traumatic brain injuries, reports The Associated Press. Lawmakers say there are simply too many bills to manage.

On the 50th anniversary of the ground campaign, Vietnam War veterans have spent some time remembering the friends they lost, reports MassLive.com’s Carolyn Robbins.

The Gazette’s Tom Roeder talks to Vietnam War vets about what they consider their actual anniversaries, sparking conversations about arrivals and departures from the war zone.

Vietnam veterans also gathered this weekend to talk about what they’ve experienced since being exposed to Agent Orange, reports the Quad City Times’ Tara Becker.

Give an Hour started by pairing vets with therapists who volunteered their services; now they’re using technology to try to expand their services—including to physicians—through telehealth, reports the Washington Post’s Amrita Jayakumar.

VA hasn’t released the findings of 140 health care investigations since 2006, reports USA TODAY’s Donovan Slack.

And, Slack reported, the report was withheld to protect a doctor at the Tomah VA facility who is known as “candy man” by vets because he offers so many opioid prescriptions.

An Air Force colonel who helped rescue hundreds of orphans during the Korean War, inspiring the Rock Hudson movie “Battle Hymn,” has died, reports The Associated Press’s Lisa Cornwell.

A VA-funded study found that gut bacteria changes in prediabetic African-American men, which means doctors may better be able to tell who is at risk for Type 2 diabetes, as well as cut risk for it by adding good bacteria, reports Science Codex.

As veterans describe their difficulties obtaining private care through the new Veterans Choice Card program, the Veterans of Foreign Wars offer up some solutions. VFW says Congress must change the way distance is calculated, and VA must work to better train its people so they understand the program.

An Iowa State University professor is in charge of the Institute of Medicine’s committee tasked with seeing how VA handles mental health services, reports the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune.

VA is warning vets not to give out their Medicare details or Social Security numbers to scammers who call and claim the veteran’s prescription medication is being changed, reports TV6’s Nick Brennan.

A new study may show that while the rate of breast cancer in transgender veterans is similar to the national rate, it’s not being caught as early, reports News Medical. This may be because of sensitivity to screening methods.

A new conference in Florida seeks to bring in the state’s 160,000 female veterans, reports the Bradenton Herald’s James A. Jones Jr (who’s a Vietnam War vet). The conference is being organized in part by Florida Veterans for Common Sense.

Bergmann & Moore, LLC, is a national law firm dedicated to serving the needs of veterans in compensation claims before and against the Department of Veterans Affairs. The firm’s partners are former VA attorneys who are very familiar with the VA system. Bergmann & Moore handles all kinds of cases, but has a concentration in claims involving PTSD, military sexual trauma, Gulf War illness and complex medical issues, such as brain cancer or degenerative issues, veterans exposed to Agent Orange often face. For more information, to submit news or to sign up for an email version of this blog, contact Kelly Kennedy at kkennedy@vetlawyers.com.

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