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Morning Muster: 1/27/2015 Gulf War illness committee gutted; VA announces big changes; sex-assault prosecutor found guilty

U.S. Air Force Capt. Shayne Carroll, 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot, examines his gear prior to climbing into the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon in preparation for a mission Jan. 9 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. The F-16 is a multi-role fighter aircraft that provides air superiority enabling freedom of movement for troops on the ground as well as close air support for troops engaged in combat. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Shayne Carroll, 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot, examines his gear prior to climbing into the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon in preparation for a mission Jan. 9 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. The F-16 is a multi-role fighter aircraft that provides air superiority enabling freedom of movement for troops on the ground as well as close air support for troops engaged in combat. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

Gutted Gulf War committee meets today; VA announces organizational changes; VA seeks survey about mental health care; VA secretary calls for review of ‘Candyland’; senator fires staffer who flubbed OIG report; former Army sexual-assault prosecutor found guilty of rape

A committee created by Congress to provide independent oversight for Veterans Affairs’ Gulf War illness research will appear at its first meeting this afternoon since VA gutted it and appointed members of its own choosing. This comes after VA forbid the committee to release any documents without VA’s permission, including to VA’s secretary. The changes come after VA ignored a House vote last year to give back the committee’s autonomy on a bill sponsored by Representatives Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, and Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Arizona. Bergmann & Moore reports.

VA announced organizational changes yesterday meant to streamline how it operates, reports Stars and StripesHeath Druzin. No word yet on how much it will cost or how it will affect care.

There’s a notice in today’s Federal Register seeking comments for a questionnaire for an “accurate and comprehensive assessment of patients who receive mental health care services” from VA.

VA Sec. Robert McDonald called for a review of medication practices at Tomah’s VA center after reports that vets call it “Candyland” because so many opioids are prescribed.

And, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, has fired one of her top staffers after her team mishandled an Office of the Inspector General report last year about the Tomah VA center, reports the Journal Sentinel’s Daniel Bice.

A former Army sexual-assaults prosecutor has been found guilty of rape, reports The Associated Press’s Michael Biesecker.

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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