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Morning Muster: 10/31/2014

U.S. Soldiers with the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade transport a simulated casualty while conducting a react to contact training scenario during exercise Combined Resolve III at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Tuesday. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carol A. Lehman)

U.S. Soldiers with the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade transport a simulated casualty while conducting a react to contact training scenario during exercise Combined Resolve III at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Tuesday. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carol A. Lehman)

VA docs say canceled appointments led to deaths; new report says VA staff is overworked; Congress to vote on bill that provides year’s funding for VA; AAFES to allow all vets to shop online; vets protest VA emergency room closure

An Atlanta doctor told WRDW’s Jerome Collins that after making referrals for colonoscopies, doctors at the Augusta, Ga., Veterans Affairs hospital would learn six months later that their requests had not been processed.

“They would literally cancel them, saying this consult is being canceled because of age,” Raymond Kostromin said. Some patients were scheduled for tests of stool samples instead. Reporters found a backlog of 4,500 patients waiting for cancer screenings.

A recent Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General report may shed some light on the situation when it is released, Collins reported.

A new report finds VA’s overworked staff and inadequate technology contribute to wait lists and bad scheduling—and the same findings were made in a 2008 report, but never acted upon, Stars & Stripes’ Heath Druzin reports.

The Northern Virginia Technology Council found problems in both “work culture” and scheduling practices, and that those problems are causing excessive staff turnover. A 2008 Booz Allen Hamilton report found the same problems.

The Senate plans to vote next month on a bill that would provide VA funding a year in advance, ensuring that a potential government shutdown does not affect veterans’ benefits, reports Military Times’ Leo Shane. The House has drafted a similar bill, and both would provide funds for discretionary accounts, such as general operating expenses and the VA’s inspector general’s office.

In 2013, VA officials said they almost had to stop sending out veterans’ benefits checks during the government shutdown.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service plans to allow all honorably discharged veterans to shop online, Military Times’ Karen Jowers reports. The move would allow AAFES to extend its customer base, as well as to offer an additional benefit to veterans, many of whom served several combat tours in recent years.

Protesters gathered in Fayetteville, N.C., to demand that VA open its emergency room there, reports ABC 11’s Andrea Blanford. VA officials said they closed the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in September because contractors did not provide enough ER doctors to properly staff the emergency department.

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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