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Morning Muster: 2/2/2015 Suicide bill to pass today; informal claims should remain; burn pit decision could help vets

U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force fast-rope from an MH-60R during maritime interoperability training off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., Jan. 16. MIT prepares the MRF for their upcoming deployment by enhancing their combat skills and teaching them techniques for boarding vessels. (U.S. Marine Corps /Sgt. Jamean Berry)

U.S. Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force fast-rope from an MH-60R during maritime interoperability training off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., Jan. 16. MIT prepares the MRF for their upcoming deployment by enhancing their combat skills and teaching them techniques for boarding vessels. (U.S. Marine Corps /Sgt. Jamean Berry)

Senate expected to pass Clay Hunt bill today; new report shows how many vets employed by feds; new report out about DoD mental health staffing; VA OIG’s monthly highlight report out; Burn Pit lawsuits could help vets; Denver VA admits to improper waitlist; paper traces history of Desert Storm War Memorial; American Legion argues for informal claims; LA says it will end vets’ homelessness; First Lady defends ‘Sniper’; should vets with PTSD be exempted from death penalty?; VA studies mental health service dogs; ‘Candyland’ official investigated; combat journalist looks at The Evil Hours; Can Google fix VA?

The Senate is expected to approve the Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention bill today, reports The Associated Press @AP’s Matthew Daly @MatthewDalyWDC.

VA has released a new report that shows how many vets are employed by the federal government. Looks like it’s 30 percent in Fiscal Year 2012—a 4 percent bump from Fiscal Year 2008.

If you missed it, a GAO report about Defense Department mental health staffing needs came out Friday.

The Supreme Court‘s decision to allow burn pit lawsuits to go forward could help veterans, Bergmann & Moore‘s Kelly Kennedy writes for the Daily Beast.

VA’s OIG has released its monthly highlights report: Ohio docs did not properly assess patients before prescribing opioids; homeless vets can’t reach VA’s call center; VA didn’t follow up on unresolved consults.

Denver Veterans Affairs’ officials say employees did keep an improper waitlist to hide the number of patients seeking care for sleep disorders, reports KUSA’s @9NEWS Melissa Blasius @MelissaBlasius.

The Houston Chronicle’s St. John Barned-Smith offers a look at the proposed Gulf War War Memorial, as well as a history of its progress.

The American Legion argues at Military.com that Veterans Affairs must keep its informal claims process, arguing that, rather than helping vets, “VA is sacrificing veterans’ choices and options in the interest of making the claims system easier for VA to work with.”

After settling a lawsuit with veterans who said a VA campus in Los Angeles should be used for veterans—not baseball stadiums—LA announced it would end vets’ homelessness by the end of the year, reports the Los Angeles Times@latimes Gale Holland @geholland.

First Lady Michelle Obama defended “American Sniper” at a Got Your Six event, saying it offered a good representation of what military families face, reports The Associated Press’s Mark Kennedy.

The Atlantic’s Julia Flip looks at whether vets with PTSD should be exempted from the death penalty.

The VA is studying the effectiveness of service dogs for veterans with PTSD, reports Stars and Stripes’s Matthew M. Burke.

A top official at the Tomah VA is being investigated for liberally prescribing pain medications, reports the Journal Sentinel’s Daniel Bice.

The Oregonian’s Mike Francis reviews The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by David J. Morris. Mike says it’s a good cultural and historical look, as well as a book that “spurs personal action,” therefore, I will read it.

The Motley Fool asks, after Jon Stewart laid out VA for inefficiency (to put it lightly), if Google can fix things?

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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