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Morning Muster: 10/29/2014

Marine Corps and Royal Air Force helicopters fly in formation after departing Camp Bastion, Afghanistan Monday. The Marine Corps ended operations in Helmand province and transferred the base to the Afghan National Army. (U.S. Marine Corp photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson)

Marine Corps and Royal Air Force helicopters fly in formation after departing Camp Bastion, Afghanistan Monday. The Marine Corps ended operations in Helmand province and transferred the base to the Afghan National Army. (U.S. Marine Corp photo by Staff Sgt. John Jackson)

VA pays out for Legionairres’ disease, Augusta director resigns, private insurers offer vet mortgage protection, Sen. Hutchison recognized for Gulf War research, tips for hiring vets, Army Wounded Warrior director under fire

Veterans Affairs paid $125,000 to the son of a Marine Corps veteran to settle a Legionairres’ disease lawsuit, reports the Allegheny Tribune’s Brian Bowling. The veteran, Clark E. Compston, died after contracting the disease while at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s University Drive Hospital in 2011. VA settled 10 similar complaints after 22 people got sick and six of them died.

The director of the Augusta, Ga., VA hospital will resign, reports The Augusta Chronicle’s Wesley Brown. Robert Hamilton said he wanted to concentrate on personal goals, but the resignation follows accusations of delayed care for the more than 40,000 vets who use the hospital.

Insurers are considering guaranteeing mortgages for veterans and service members after being asked to by the federal government, reports Insurance Journal’s Jody Shen and Zachary Tracer. VA backs about 25 percent of VA loans, so the government asked private insurers to help. Because VA caps insurance at 25 percent, the additional insurance could help small lenders feel more confident about lending to vets, they report. Veterans can receive as a benefit for their service a no-down-payment VA loan, and they’re using it: In the second quarter of 2014, VA loans made up 9 percent of mortgages—up from about 7 percent in all of 2013. The insurers see the request as a “potential expansionary measure,” the story states.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has named a street after former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, in part for her support of research done at the center for 1991 Gulf War veterans, reports BioNews Texas’s Leonor Mateus Ferreira.   Hutchison supported the work of Robert Haley, U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair for Medical Research, when she chaired the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Sub-Committee and was a member of the Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee.

Haley’s research has shown that as many as 250,000 troops were hit by low doses of sarin after U. S. forces bombed Nasiriyah and Khamisiya during the Gulf War. He also showed that Gulf War Syndrome comes from damage to the autonomic nervous system and was able to categorize the symptoms to help explain that, while veterans from that era may not all have the same symptoms, they likely have the same disease. He also determined that the syndrome came after troops were exposed to neurotoxins during Desert Storm, such as anti-nerve agent pills, insect repellent and sarin. The toxins caused neurological changes to the brain, and the changes seem to correlate with different symptoms, he found.

The Phoenix Business Journal’s Shayna Balch offered tips to employers who hire veterans, including how to provide leaves of absence for training or deploying, how to accommodate disabilities and how to include military family caregivers in Family Medical Leave Act plans.

The former director of the Army’s Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Office broke the law by using a contractor as a golf caddy at a charity event, engaging in unsound leadership practices, attempting to influence a contract for the benefit of a subcontractor and misusing government resources, reports Military Times’ Karen Jowers. Burdette now serves as a special assistant and senior adviser to the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

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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