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Morning Muster: 10/27/2014

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22, known as an Osprey, lands near Buchanan, Liberia.  U.S. Africa Command is providing command and control, logistics, training and engineering assets to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in West African nations. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Pfc. Craig Philbrick)

A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22, known as an Osprey, lands near Buchanan, Liberia. U.S. Africa Command is providing command and control, logistics, training and engineering assets to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in West African nations. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Pfc. Craig Philbrick)

VA must do more for women, Texans may use VA IDs to vote, lawmakers receive no response to opioid concerns, Alabama VA director first to be fired under new law, ‘junk science’ behind attacks on veterans by radio host

Veterans Affairs needs to work harder to help female veterans, National Journal’s Jordain Carney reports. Women face higher rates of unemployment, and are less likely to be insured, and more likely to be divorced and have post-traumatic stress disorder, often because of sexual assault.

But one-third of VA clinics don’t have gynecologists. Critics say this must change because the number of female veterans is growing: By 2043, there will be 16% more female vets and 40% fewer male vets.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a correction at the Supreme Court that affects veterans, the Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin reports. Ginsburg dissented on an opinion after the majority of the court ruled that Texas could implement its voter-identification law, the strictest in the nation. It requires voters to have a photo ID to vote, and while a gun license is sufficient, a college ID is not. Bader said the law amounted to a “poll tax” because it costs money and time that thousands of people may not have.

But Ginsburg realized she had made an error in her dissent, and the court sent out an email to fix it: VA ID cards will be taken at the voting booths in Texas.

Three months after South Carolina’s congressional delegation told VA they were concerned about the increase of addictive painkillers prescribed to veterans, VA still has yet to respond, reports The Post and Courier’s Lauren Sausser. The representatives said opioid prescriptions increased by 270 percent between 2001 and 2012.

The director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System will be the first fired under a new law that gives VA more latitude in getting rid of top officials, reports the Montgomery Advertiser’s Kala Kachmar. The Central Alabama system had been under fire for poor care, long wait times and falsified records. And, more than 2,000 x-rays were not analyzed over the course of five years.

The idea that veterans with PTSD just need to think happy thoughts and that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are the first to encounter the disease–as espoused by radio host Michael Savage earlier this month–is simply wrong, reports Media Matters’ Lisa Reed. After a veteran with PTSD said he liked the idea of a bridge in San Francisco named after actor Robin Williams, Savage said he was “sick and tired” of people complaining about PTSD, calling it a sign of a “weak, broken nation.” VA has reported 5.2 million people have PTSD in any year, and that 20% of current vets it.

They are not, as Savage suggested, the only generation to face it: About 30 percent of Vietnam veterans also deal with it. And, while it wasn’t recognized as an official disease until 1980, previous generations suffered shell shock and battle fatigue.

Research has shown PTSD affects brain function, so while there are many treatments available, thinking happy thoughts is unlikely to, as Savage claimed, be enough.

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. For more information, contact Kelly Kennedy at kkennedy@vetlawyers.com.

 

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