Vet speaks out for VFW, Legion; Marine vet calls on lawmakers to address mental health issues; lawmaker asks for VA definition of ‘timely’; Guam last in VA spending
When Air Force veteran Mike Lermon saw a story in The Washington Times stating that veterans don’t feel comfortable going to old-school veteran service organizations, such as the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America or Veterans of Foreign Wars, he said it hit him hard that the new generation of vets should be working with previous generations, and that both groups have a lot to learn from each other. So he sat down and wrote a response, which ran in the Times.
A Marine who served in Afghanistan wrote a piece for the Raleigh News & Observer asking politicians to do more to address veterans’ suicide, saying that as 22 vets kill themselves every day, the phone calls to friends and family are becoming all too familiar. Former Capt. Patrick Nevins encourages Veterans Affairs administrators to use the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 to hire doctors who specialize in mental health issues so veterans don’t encounter long waits for the clinic even as they consider suicide.
But he also called on lawmakers to create legislation relevant to veterans: legislation that addresses substance abuse, depression, overdoses and suicide.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., wrote a letter to VA asking what exactly they mean by “timely” access to care, reports The Hill’s Christina Marcos. A new VA reform bill states that wait-time goals should be no more than 30 days after a vet asks for a medical appointment, but VA stated in a report to Congress this month the 30-day goal only applies after an appointment has been “deemed clinically appropriate” by a provider. Sinema said that sounds like more than 30 days.
The Washington Post’s Josh Hicks reports that vets in Guam have a high proportion of vets—with one in eight adults serving in the U.S. military—but the island is ranked last for per capita medical spending by VA, with each veteran averaging $822. A new documentary, “Island of Warriors,” by PBS, explores whether those veterans are getting what they need.
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