Showing posts with label Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Senate bill protects veterans in college during COVID-19 at home study

Senate passes emergency bill protecting GI Bill benefits as colleges go online

Stars and Stripes
Published: March 17, 2020
Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the ranking Republican of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced a bill last week that also would guarantee the housing stipends for student veterans remain unchanged during the outbreak.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., asks questions to witnesses during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Looking on at right is committee Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a measure late Monday that would ensure student veterans continue to receive full GI Bill benefits, even as colleges go online-only in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

GI Bill recipients rely on monthly stipends from the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay for housing, food and other bills. Those payments are higher for students who attend physical classes as opposed to online coursework. As classes began to move online last week to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, tens of thousands of student veterans faced the possibility of losing their benefits or seeing drastic cuts to their monthly checks.

The Senate approved an emergency fix by voice vote that would allow students to retain the amount of benefits they received when they started the semester. It gives the VA Secretary broad authority to ensure GI Bill benefits are distributed without interruption during national emergencies.
read it here

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Pre-9 11 disabled veteran families will have to keep waiting for Caregiver benefits?

Senators urge VA not to fumble expansion of caregiver benefits | Military update

Pensacola News Journal
Tom Philpott, Military Update
March 9, 2019

“At this point they have not responded to any of our inquiries,” said Murray in our interview. “They are not answering our questions. They are not telling us what they have in mind. So, we are doing everything we can to make this visible so they, if we have to, are embarrassed into it.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) says she is grateful to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on behalf of thousands of caregivers of veterans who suffered severe physical or mental injuries while in service since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

At Murray’s request, Wilkie last December ordered suspension of further downgrades or stoppage of caregiver benefits to current recipients until VA can attest that its health care facilities nationwide are running and resourcing the caregiver program consistently and as Congress intended.

On the other hand, Murray says, she and Democratic colleagues in the Senate are alarmed by other VA actions related to expansion of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) to older generations of severely injured veterans as Congress directed under last year’s VA Mission Act.

“VA continues to miss deadlines and not get it right,” Murray said in a phone interview Wednesday. “And we have got to make them step up to the plate and make this work.”

In a Feb. 28 letter to Wilkie, Murray and nine other Senate Democrats, including ranking members on veterans affairs and armed services, contend VA already is months behind in needed upgrades to information technology to begin to extend caregiver benefits to qualified veterans of the Vietnam and Korean War eras by Oct. 1, 2019, as Congress directed.

The letter also charges VA officials with a lack of transparency as they draft regulations to implement caregiver expansion, and criticizes some steps VA has said it wants to take to hold down future program costs, for example, by tightening access to caregiver benefits and changing methods for calculating caregiver stipends. The letter warns Wilkie that VA lacks authority to make some of the changes eyed without getting Congress to change in law.
read more here

Looks like our generation will have to keep waiting.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What would Joshua Omvig think of us now?

WTF then what the hell is all of this about?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 11, 2018

For all the time we have spent "raising awareness" that veterans and the troops are committing suicide, the result of all the "effort" and funding, speeches and stunts, prove it has been a miserable failure.

I've been tracking these reports for so long now, that it is hard to forget these men and women were never just numbers for someone to use, but people with families, friends and dedicated their lives to serving others.  

One of them has been on my mind a lot lately. His name was Joshua Omvig. He was the catalyst for the first Suicide Prevention Act.

What would Joshua Omvig think of us now? After all, the suicide prevention act in his name was signed by President Bush back in 2007.

Rep. Braley on Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide.

The bill follows hearings in the Oversight and Veterans Affairs committees seeking to address the tragic mental anguish experienced by many veterans, and is part of ongoing, comprehensive efforts by the new Congress to make veterans a top priority. Rep. Bruce Braley speaks in favor.

The response I get from people when I try to get them to stop using the number of "22 a day" is that they cannot defend themselves, so they snap back with "it's just a number" and it is important to get people aware veterans are committing suicide. One other statement that makes me clinch my fists is "it doesn't matter how many because one is too much."

Just a number? It doesn't matter how many? Seriously? Then what the hell is all the awareness for? If people are that clueless, that heartless, that ignorant, then losing veterans like Joshua Omvig meant nothing at all to them.

While the VA puts out extensive reports on the known suicides, reporters got lazy and grabbed a headline. They continue to use the number when all across the country they cover their feel good stories of groups pulling stunts to have fun while making people aware of a number.

While we lost about 5 million veterans since 1999 due to age and other factors, the VA puts the "number" as exactly what it was back then.

You know, back before all the awareness, bills, speeches, money, funding and everything else.
While the VA reports stopped at 2015 in the latest one, the DOD reports every Quarter. Those numbers should have stunned everyone, but no one is talking about them.

The first quarter of 2018, 121 Active and Reserve and National Guards members committed suicide. It has been repeated every year since 2012 averaging 500 per year. Care to guess how many died in combat this year?

According to ICasualties it is 14. But yet again, no one is talking about any of that.

The thing is, no one wants to cover the bad results when they can cover stunts and smiling people having fun.

Too bad though that they have not figured out their lack of attention has had such deadly results. Oh well, considering they people read about them as if they are nothing more than "an easy number to remember" they didn't matter anyway! Guess it has all been a oversight that Congress never really found what they were seeking. 

Anyone's guess why they stopped looking!

WTF then what the hell is all of this about?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Daniel Akaka, first Native Hawaiian in Congress passed away

Daniel Akaka, first Native Hawaiian in Congress, dies at 93 
Associated Press 
April 6, 2018
FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2011 file photo then-Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, the humble and gracious statesman who served in Washington with aloha for more than three and a half decades, died Thursday, April 5, 2018, at the age of 93, sources tell the Star-Advertiser. He had been hospitalized with an illness. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)
HONOLULU (AP) — Former Sen. Daniel Kahikina Akaka, the first Native Hawaiian elected to Congress who served for more than three decades, died Friday. He was 93.

Akaka died in Honolulu after being hospitalized for several months, said Jon Yoshimura, the senator’s former communications director.

The Democrat served 14 years in the U.S. House before he was appointed to replace Sen. Spark Matsunaga, who died of cancer in spring 1990. Akaka won election that fall for the rest of Matsunaga’s term, and voters sent him back for consecutive terms until 2012, when he chose not to seek re-election.

His legislative style was described as low-key, a characterization he embraced.

“I have a Hawaiian style of dealing with my colleagues,” he said.

Akaka developed a reputation as a congenial legislator who made many friends while making few waves in pressing the interests of the 50th state.
read more here

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Congress wants to know why 4 top VA jobs still open

Senators call out Shulkin on VA’s unfilled top jobs
Published: January 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — Why four top jobs within the Department of Veterans Affairs remain unfilled nearly one year after President Donald Trump took office drew the attention of members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday as they questioned VA Secretary David Shulkin about the state of the agency.
VA Secretary David Shulkin raises his hand to take an oath before the start of a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The VA, the second-largest federal department, is operating without permanent leaders for its benefits administration and large health care system. Also missing are its IT leader and the assistant secretary for the agency’s new accountability and whistleblower protection office. The leadership void came up at the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, where Shulkin gave testimony on the “State of the VA.”

“One thing that concerns me deeply is the four positions that remain unfilled in the department,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the committee chairman. “I know you’re trying, but this is one of those things where an ‘A’ for effort isn’t enough.”

The job of undersecretary for benefits has been vacant since October 2015, when then-undersecretary Allison Hickey resigned after being implicated in a government watchdog report for helping two VA employees manipulate the department hiring system.

The VA created a commission last spring to choose a new undersecretary. Shulkin told senators Wednesday that the commission sent three names to the White House. Their first choice for the job withdrew, Shulkin said, and Trump’s administration is now vetting the second choice.
read more here

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Homeless Veterans Faced Deeper Cuts Instead of Help

VA tried to reallocate $460 million earmarked for homeless veterans. Now it says that won’t happen.
The Washington Post
Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
December 6, 2017
“It’s just unconscionable to take this action without consulting HUD or the many mayors who have been working so hard on this. The former troops who used these vouchers are the most likely to die on American streets.”
Elisha Harig-Blaine 

Flags are hoisted at the Los Angeles encampment of homeless veteran Kendrick Bailey on Nov. 10, 2017. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
The Department of Veterans Affairs appears to be backtracking on its divisive plan to reallocate nearly a half-billion dollars from a successful program to reduce homelessness among former military personnel, bowing to pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups who criticized the effort as cruel and counterproductive.
The about-face, announced in a statement Wednesday night from VA Secretary David Shulkin, followed a Washington Post inquiry about the Trump administration’s effort to divert the funding — totaling $460 million — instead to local VA hospitals for discretionary use. As Politico first reported, that money had been set aside specifically for a voucher program, run by VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that provides long-term living accommodations for the country’s most vulnerable military veterans, many of whom suffer from mental illness.
read more here

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Company Overcharged VA $89 Million From 28 States

Reminder:Congress has had control over how our veterans are treated, or mistreated, since 1946. Ask them why they never fixed it instead of doing this to our veterans! BTW, veterans pre-paid for their healthcare the day they joined the military!

Arizona-based VA contractor collected 'tens of millions' in over payments, federal audit says
The Republic
Dennis Wagner
November 13, 2017

"Veterans Choice, which has already cost taxpayers more than $12 billion, was created as an emergency stopgap to serve patients who were waiting weeks or months to see doctors in a backlogged VA healthcare system."

A Phoenix-based company that oversees about half of the private medical care for America's veterans is looking to extend its contract even as documents reveal it overbilled the government by tens of millions of dollars.

In addition: It's the target of a federal grand jury investigation.

The company, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, has multi-billion-dollar contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer private health-care appointments for ex-military personnel in Arizona and 27 other states.

The VA Office of Inspector General recently reported to Congress that TriWest and another company, Health Net Federal Services — which oversees private VA care for the remainder of the nation — collected at least $89 million more than they should have, sometimes by billing the government at improper rates or collecting twice for the same treatment.

That, lawmakers allege, means money that could have been spent on veterans' health care was instead taken by the two companies.
read more here

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Senators Say Something Has To Be Done on Suicides, But Nothing New

When will these elected officials ever listen? Better yet, hold themselves accountable for what they've already failed to hear!

Senators: More Must Be Done to Reduce Vet Suicides

Stars and Stripes
by Claudia Grisales
28 Sep 2017

WASHINGTON -- A boost in medical providers and resources, greater awareness of mental illness within the military and improving the treatment of exiting service members could help combat a disturbing trend of increased suicides among veterans, lawmakers said Wednesday.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., asks a question concerning suicide data during a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 27, 2017. (Stars and Stripes/Carlos Bongioanni)
A detailed government report released earlier this month showed suicide risk is 22 percent higher among veterans compared to civilians. For female veterans, that risk was 2.5 times higher, while for male veterans the rate was 19 percent higher, according to a report released Sept. 15 by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
These findings, and others, show Congress and the VA must step up with new efforts to address the national epidemic, lawmakers and government officials said during a Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing held in the wake of the agency report.
"More needs to be done," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. "And more steps need to be taken to address suicide trends among veterans. ...What I am hearing again and again and again is the rates are increasing among vets who lack access."

Craig Bryan, executive director for the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, said about 70 percent of veterans who have attempted suicide were already diagnosed with a mental illness. 
Tester said more funding is needed to address the concerns.
"We need to do a better job of outreach," he said. "It's going to cost money to get health professionals on the ground in urban and rural areas."

Read more here if you want to read more the same we've read over the last decade!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

BOHICA Suicide Prevention Bill

I'm going to keep this short but far from sweet. There is yet another suicide prevention bill out of congress. Yep, those guys who did such marvelous work on all the others they decided to just do more of them.  As if that makes sense to anyone.

"According to Brown's office, an average of 18 to 22 veterans take their lives each day — a statistic that has largely remained unchanged for more than a decade."

If he's quoting those numbers while writing a bill for female veteran suicide prevention, we're all screwed! This one is out of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on the Veterans Affairs Committee. If he doesn't know where those numbers came from or what the real ones are, pretty much sums up lack of attention to all the hearings they've held IN THE LAST DECADE!

Monday, December 14, 2015

If Elected Sanders Will Do What He Didn't Do in the Senate?

This just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.

I don't care if they have a D or an R because they are all pretty much the same. None of them ever apologize for what they did that didn't work or what they didn't do because they just didn't listen.
MOUNT VERNON, Ia. — Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged that, if elected president, he would ensure all military veterans receive the mental and physical care they need.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, spoke to more than 1,100 supporters on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)
“People who could talk the language, who could walk the walk,” Sanders said. “And what we said is you go on out and knock on doors – don’t wait on somebody to walk into the VA – and you sit down and you talk to the veteran and or his wife and get a sense of what is going on."
Oh, so he means like when they did this back in 2008!

570,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets to get calls from VA
VA to call Iraq, Afghanistan veterans
The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Apr 24, 2008 14:22:55 EDT

WASHINGTON — Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: Get ready for a phone call.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that on May 1 it will start calling 570,000 recent combat veterans to make sure they know what services are available to them.

The first calls will go to about 17,000 veterans who were sick or injured while serving in the wars. If they don’t have a care manager, the VA says they will be given one.

The next round of calls will target 555,000 veterans from the wars who have been discharged from active duty, but have not reached out to the VA for services. For five years after their discharge from the military, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have access to health care at the VA.

The effort will cost about $2.7 million and will be handled by a government contractor.

The agency has faced complaints that a backlog in claims and bureaucratic hurdles have prevented some recent veterans from getting proper mental and physical care. Earlier this week, two Democratic senators accused the VA’s top mental health official of trying to cover up the number of veteran suicides and said he should resign.

They have been listening to the same problems over and over and over again!

And that is one of the biggest problems of all. They never do take responsibility for what they failed to do last year, the year before and decades before that. Frankly, they've had since 1946 to get it right and have done a hell of a lot of talking that never adds up to them having listened in the first place.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sanders "500,000" PTSD Veterans Only Part of Story

Bernie Sanders Forgot A Lot Of Veterans
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 15, 2015

I don't watch the political debates for a reason. They can say whatever they want when they want our votes but when we want answers, they never seem to have any.

There seems to be some controversy over a claim that Senator Bernie Sanders made about PTSD.
Politifact: Sanders claims 500,000 veterans have PTSD, brain injuries
“When you talk about the long-term consequences of war, let's talk about the men and women who came home from war,” Sanders said. “The 500,000 who came home with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. And I would hope that in the midst of all of this discussion, this country makes certain that we do not turn our backs on the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend us.”
Considering he was the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, that shouldn't have been questionable to anyone, especially given the fact that none of this is new.  So why didn't Sanders mention the other veterans his committee was supposed to be taking care of? We still have living veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the all too often forgotten Desert Storm/Gulf War.

As a matter of fact the simple fact that after decades of Congress doing something about Combat PTSD, it has all gotten worse.

Some want to pretend that PTSD is something new, but it isn't. Some want to pretend that what members of Congress have been doing to prevent suicides just needs time to work.

How long is anyones guess.

Most Vietnam veterans will read about the half a million with PTSD and their heads will explode because this is the same number of them found in a study in 1978 called the Forgotten Warrior Project.
None of this is new and won't improve as long as we fail to hold our politicians accountable for what they have failed to do. When the study was released, no one was really doing anything for veterans with PTSD. Vietnam veterans came home and fought for everything available for all veterans.

Congress had excuses back then claiming they just didn't know but the truth is, they should have known. Just like today, when they write more bills, spending more money on what has already failed, they should have known better. 

Frankly our veterans deserved better from all of them.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

VA Taking Care of Over 500,000 PTSD Veterans

While most folks seem only interested in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD, here are the real numbers. The VA says they are treating 119,000 OEF and OIF veterans for PTSD but they are treating 500,000 for it including the veterans no one wants to talk about.

The other factor to think about is with over 22 million veterans the VA has less than 4 million in their system. Now think about how many veterans do not go to the VA even though they really need to.
FactCheck: Bernie Sanders correct on veteran PTSD
Tucson Sentinel
Lori Robertson
Jul 28, 2015

"Right now, the VA is taking care of slightly over 500,000 people with posttraumatic stress disorder."VA Dr. Petzel

Sometimes politicians are right, but their campaigns can’t prove it. And we do.

That’s what happened when we decided to take a look at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ talking point that 500,000 veterans came back from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries. His campaign pointed us to a 2013 Senate hearing as its source — a hearing in which a Veterans Affairs official told Sanders that the number was less than half that.

But it wasn’t a case of Sanders exaggerating. We discovered more recent VA reports that put the number with PTSD at about 390,000, and that would only include veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that sought care at VA facilities. Not all veterans use VA care. Other estimates suggest the total number could be around the 500,000 figure Sanders has been using for the past year.

Sanders, who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination, repeated his claim at a July 2 town hall event in Rochester, Minnesota, (5:30 mark) when he said: “In Iraq and Afghanistan, and I will tell you that I voted against the war in Iraq … it was not just the 6,700 men and women who died in the war. 500,000 — 500,000 came home with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.”
Chairman Sanders, March 20, 2013: I mentioned in my opening remarks that as we end 10 years of war in Iraq and 11 in Afghanistan or so, the cost of war, I think, is a lot heavier and more tragic than many people realize. So, let me start off with a very simple question. I do not know if you have the answer in front of you. When we are talking about posttraumatic stress disorder and when we are talking about traumatic brain injury, how many human beings are we talking about who are suffering from these illnesses?

Dr. Petzel: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Right now, the VA is taking care of slightly over 500,000 people with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Sanders: Let us stop right there. 500,000 returning soldiers.

Petzel: Correct. Not just returning. This is our whole population, Mr. Chairman.

Sanders: This is not just Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petzel: I was about to get to Iraq.

Sanders: Okay.

Petzel: We have about 119,000 people from the present conflicts that carry the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Veterans Fueling Bernie Sanders Surge

Bernie Sanders’ surge is partly fueled by veterans
By Annie Linskey
JUNE 28, 2015
Veterans are a group long courted by politicians. In the early primary states, New Hampshire is home to 113,000 veterans, Iowa has 226,000, Nevada has 227,000 and South Carolina has 392,000 — according to US Census figures.
DES MOINES — Vermont’s Bernie Sanders railed against the Vietnam War. He voted against invading Iraq — both times. He wants to cut the defense budget.

He might not be a friend to the military, but many veterans believe he’s gone to war for them. And that’s why they’re out there cheering for a socialist as he launches a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There’s the former Marine who drove about six hours to hear Sanders speak in Des Moines. There’s another former Marine, this one a registered Republican, going door-to-door to collect signatures so Sanders’ name will appear on the ballot in Indiana. Entire Reddit threads are dedicated to how veterans can best pitch Sanders to other veterans.

“He is revered,” said Paul Loebe, a 31-year-old who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan during eight years of active duty and spends three hours a day updating a Facebook page promoting Sanders to veterans. “He’s very consistent with where he stands. He’s the first politician that I’ve believed in my life.”

Sanders battled over veterans issues as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee from 2013 until early this year, giving him an easy pitch to a crucial voting bloc of veterans, particularly in South Carolina where veterans make up more than 11 percent of the voting-aged population. There’s stiff competition for these voters, with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton wooing them this month during a round table in Nevada.
read more here

Friday, June 26, 2015

How Many Prevention Bills Does Donnelly Need That Don't Work?

Donnelly: ‘Combatting Stigma is Critical Step to Addressing Mental Health’
Supported resolution that passed Senate to designate June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly co-sponsored and the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution today to designate June 2015 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. The designation would increase awareness among the Armed Forces, veterans, military families, and the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Donnelly joined U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and 21 colleagues in introducing the resolution. This is the third consecutive year that the Senate has designated a full month for national PTSD awareness.

Donnelly, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “Combatting stigma is a critical step to addressing mental health challenges among troops and veterans. By designating June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, we continue to bring this and other mental health issues out of the shadows. Post-traumatic stress affects the best and bravest among us.

We need to let our Hoosier heroes know that they have our unwavering support and that seeking help is a sign of courage and strength.”

Donnelly has continuously worked to advance legislation to improve mental health care for servicemembers, veterans, and military families. In March, he introduced the “Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package” (“Care Package”), three bipartisan bills to help improve mental health services for troops and veterans. Military mental health provisions from the “Care Package” recently passed the Senate as part of the national defense bill.

The “Care Package” would help ensure there are a sufficient number of and the best trained mental health providers for servicemembers and veterans. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has committed to considering veterans-related provisions of Donnelly’s “Care Package” in the months ahead. This legislation would build on the progress made by Donnelly’s Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, which was signed into law late last year and requires an annual mental health assessment for all servicemembers—Active, Guard, and Reserve.
from Joe Donnelly

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Congress passes emergency funding, again right before mid-term elections

Bronx Cheer over this one,,,,they should have asked the horse if Congress will ever get fixing the VA right.
House passes $17 billion emergency funding bill for VA
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: July 30, 2014

WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly passed a $17 billion emergency bill Wednesday that brings comprehensive reform of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs health care system one step closer to reality.

The 420-5 vote shifted all attention toward the Senate, where a floor vote had yet to be scheduled with only days left before Congress leaves for its August recess.

Lawmakers struck a last-minute deal Monday that would inject $10 billion into expanding veteran access to outside health care providers and $5 billion into hiring new medical staff to ease long wait times at VA hospitals and clinics across the United States.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who negotiated the legislative deal for the House, said veterans are suffering – some dying – in a VA health care system rife with widespread corruption and delays in care. He said the bill is progress toward relieving their pain and straightening out institutional dysfunction.

“The passage of this [bill] will improve access to care and accountability in a desperately broken bureaucracy,” said Miller, who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

The legislation would create a $10-billion Veterans Choice Fund in the U.S. Treasury that could be tapped to fund private treatment when beneficiaries cannot get a VA health care appointment within two weeks or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.
read more here

Gloves came off a long time ago because it just got too sickening to listen to a bunch of politicians talk about what they were "fixing" while listening to veterans on how long they've been waiting for the "fix" to happen.

Think any of this is new? Ya right. If you do then you deserve a bronx cheer too. None of this is new! Members of congress knew it the beginning of this year, last year, the year before that and hell, decades before that but for all the talk and all the money spent, they still don't have a clue.

This did not just happen but it sound like it did given recent reports.
Executive director Hal Dulle of the state veterans commission says too many veterans have to wait too long to be accepted in the Veterans Administration system and then have to wait too long to get the medical help they need.

He says, his office works to get veterans to file for their benefits but the VA lacks the personnel to handle the paperwork efficiently. Dulle says the system isn't broken. He says it just doesn't have enough people to handle the increased number of veterans applying for services. The heavy burden is caused by an influx of Gulf war veterans seeking benefits at the same time many Vietnam veterans have decided after 40 years of not being sign up.

But once the paperwork is processed and the veteran is in the system----there's a lack of doctors. Dulle says part of that problem is that the VA has limited funds...and in a competitive world, the VA has trouble paying enough to keep the specialists the veterans want to see from going into private practice.

VA in crisis again as it was back in 2007 when that report came out.

Patients dying,,,not new either. It was happening after they turned to the VA for help with PTSD and ended up committing suicide. Much like what is still going on today with 57% of veterans committing suicide after they sought help.
Joseph Dalpiaz, director of the VA North Texas Health Care System, ordered the shutdown after a man hanged himself April 4. The hospital stopped admitting patients to its 51-bed psychiatric unit the next day; 10 previously admitted veterans are still being treated there.

Dalpiaz "decided he wanted to ... give us some time to assess the environment of care and make sure things were as safe as possible in our patient unit," said Dr. Catherine Orsak, head of mental health for the VA's North Texas health system.

She said the hospital has increased staffing and checks to ensure the safety of the patients still being treated.

In January, two men who met in the hospital's psychiatric ward committed suicide days after being released. In February, a veteran in the ward hanged himself on a frame attached to his wheelchair.

Orsak said the hospital has spent more than $250,000 the past six months to eliminate suicide risks. Door knobs were replaced, shower curtains and plumbing were retrofitted, and light fixtures were modified to remove rigid outcroppings veterans might use in hanging themselves.

That came out in 2008.

A VA doctor was the subject of lawsuits and hearings in 2008 when this came out about how many veterans were committing suicide.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director, deliberately withheld crucial information on the true suicide risk among veterans.

"Doctor Katz's irresponsible actions have been a disservice to our veterans, and it is time for him to go," said Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "The number one priority of the VA should be caring for our veterans, not covering up the truth."

Murray and other Democratic senators said they were appalled at e-mails showing Katz and other VA officials apparently trying to conceal the number of suicides by veterans. An e-mail message from Katz disclosed this week as part of a lawsuit that went to trial in San Francisco this week starts with "Shh!" and refers to the 12,000 veterans per year who attempt suicide while under department treatment.

This was out in 2011 when the VA was understaffed and not prepared to treat all the veterans for PTSD.
"Last year, more than 1.2 million veterans were treated by the VA for a mental health problem, including 408,000 with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. By comparison, 934,000 were treated for mental health problems four years earlier."

A survey of social workers, nurses and doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs finds that more than 70 percent of respondents think the department lacks the staff and space to meet the needs of growing numbers of veterans seeking mental health care.

More than 37 percent of the 272 respondents say they cannot schedule an appointment in their clinics for a new patient within the 14-day standard mandated by the department, according to the survey, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

The survey was requested by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs after a hearing this summer at which veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues described long waits for treatment that could raise the risk of suicide. On average, 18 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the VA.

Now maybe you know why were are not clapping with all fingers right now. Maybe now you know why the veterans community isn't doing much more than a Bronx cheer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Robert McDonald VA Secretary in 97-0 Senate Vote

Senate confirms Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON – Robert McDonald was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Tuesday as the new Department of Veterans Affairs secretary.

The former Army Ranger and CEO of Procter and Gamble was confirmed in a 97-0 vote by lawmakers who said his boardroom experience could be used to overhaul the nation’s troubled veteran health care system.

His predecessor Gen. Eric Shinseki stepped down in May amid a growing scandal over long patient wait times and manipulation of appointment data by VA staff. Numerous VA inspector general investigations and testimony on Capitol Hill over the past two months have revealed a deeply dysfunctional agency that often ignored or covered up dangerous shortcomings in care.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Tuesday that McDonald headed up one of the country’s leading corporations and has the experience need to deal with a “huge bureaucracy that needs significant improvement in accountability and management.”
read more here

New VA Secretary McDonald faced with firing VA management
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — Robert McDonald floated through his confirmation as the new Department of Veterans Affairs secretary, but he now faces the hard work of transforming a floundering bureaucracy — and the expectation he will begin by firing managers.

The former Army Ranger and CEO of Procter and Gamble was confirmed Tuesday in a 97-0 vote by lawmakers who believed his boardroom experience could be used to overhaul the nation’s troubled veteran health care system.

Lawmakers, veterans and observers have all said McDonald must begin by holding staff “accountable,” which has become a euphemism for termination.

Numerous VA inspector general investigations and testimony on Capitol Hill over the past two months has revealed a deeply dysfunctional agency that often ignored or covered up dangerous shortcomings in veteran health care. The bureaucracy bedeviled McDonald’s predecessor, former Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, who claimed the problems that led the White House to press for his resignation were systematically hidden from him.
read more here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Empty chairs at Veterans Affairs Committee Hearings

Take a look at all the empty chairs at this hearing.
JULY 27, 2011
Health Costs for Veterans The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing to assess the long-term financial costs of caring for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and wounded warriors. Witnesses said that while estimates are unclear, some projections ranged from $600 billion to $1 trillion. Several witnesses and members also talked about the ongoing federal debt limit debate and the potential impact on veterans of a credit default.

This was 3 years ago. They heard, or at least the few members of the Senate bothering to show up, the troubles veterans were facing. They had heard it all before. Nothing was new in this hearing. Senator Patty Murray talked about "new challenges these veterans were facing" however, the same thing has been said year, after year, war after war. We must do this followed by we must do that but the "smart decisions" were usually pretty stupid.

They talked about the needs of the "current" veterans but failed to mention veterans of the past had not been taken care of. They talked about the wounded, with scars you can see and most you cannot see with your eyes. Older veterans waited longer, fought harder and suffered more but that isn't the thing that pisses them off the most. It is the fact it was not fixed when congress claimed they were doing something when they came home and now, now it is worse for them as well as the newer veterans.

"With our country's financial crisis we need to make sure money is well spent." Yet no one seemed to mention the fact of how much was wasted on funding billions into programs that failed.

None of the problems they heard during this were new. So why did they do it?

It was a show no one wanted to go to. Watching these videos on CSPAN with so few showing up, it makes me wonder how those testifying felt. They traveled to Washington to sit in that hearing room with people elected to take care of veterans knowing those same people failed them. They knew there were others in those chairs telling the same stories far too many times before.

RAND Corp addressed the issues back in 2011.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Senate and House Shirking Responsibility to Veterans

When it comes to what is happening to our veterans, it seems as if everyone is suddenly upset. Why? It has all been going on for years and we've been upset before. Right now all fingers are pointing at President Obama. Honestly, they always do no matter how many of them sit in the chair, they get the blame. People forget that the Senate and the House are all responsible for what goes on. Why? Easier to blame one than so many.

The Senate and House have the power over the Armed Services and the Veterans Affairs but when things happen, they forget they had let it all happen because they didn't do their jobs. Why be on a committee and not pay attention? Isn't that why we have committees in the first place? No one person can pay attention to everything.

They have jobs to do but somehow have been left off the hook for what they have allowed to happen all these years. Do reporters even know what they are supposed to be doing?
Senate Armed Services Committee
Committee History
The Senate Committees on Military Affairs; on the Militia; and Naval Affairs were established on December 10, 1816. The Committee on the Militia was merged with the Committee on Military Affairs in 1858 to form the Military Affairs and Militia Committee. However, in 1872 the Committee dropped "Militia" from its name. The Military Affairs and Naval Affairs Committees existed until 1947 when they were combined by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 into a new standing committee, the current Committee on Armed Services.

Committee Jurisdiction
As specified in Rule XXV, 1(c)(1) of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee on Armed Services' has the following jurisdiction:

1. Aeronautical and space activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems or military operations.

2. Common defense.

3. Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force, generally.

4. Maintenance and operation of the Panama Canal, including administration, sanitation, and government of the Canal Zone.

5. Military research and development.

6. National security aspects of nuclear energy.

7. Naval petroleum reserves, except those in Alaska.

8. Pay, promotion, retirement, and other benefits and privileges of members of the Armed Forces, including overseas education of civilian and military dependents.

9. Selective service system.

10. Strategic and critical materials necessary for the common defense.

The Senate has also given the committee the authority to study and review, on a comprehensive basis, matters relating to the common defense policy of the United States, and report thereon from time to time.

Senate Armed Services Sub Committee

Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
Responsibilities: Policies and programs to counter emerging threats including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and illegal drugs; homeland defense; technology base programs; special operations programs; and emerging operational concepts.

Special additional areas: Foreign Military Sales; technology export policies; Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy (DOE) nonproliferation programs, including the Nunn-Lugar program; and nontraditional military operations, including peacekeeping and peace enforcement, low-intensity conflict, strategic communications and information operations, and building partner capacity.

Oversight of budget accounts: Technology base RDT and E; operational test and evaluation; RDT and E and procurement supporting special operations; counterdrug programs; RDT and E supporting low-intensity conflict, peacekeeping operations, and information warfare; combating terrorism; chemical and biological warfare defense; chemical demilitarization; train and equip programs; and DOD and DOE nonproliferation programs.

Oversight of DOD offices: Assistant Secretary of Defense (Homeland Defense); Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict); and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Oversight of DOD commands and agencies: Special Operations Command; Northern Command; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Subcommittee on Personnel
Responsibilities: Military and DOD civilian personnel policies; end strengths for military personnel; military personnel compensation and benefits; military health care; and military nominations.

Special additional areas: Professional Military Education; DOD schools; DOD child care and family assistance; Civil-military programs; POW/MIA issues; Armed Forces Retirement Home; Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and military commissaries and exchanges.

Oversight of budget accounts: Military personnel; military retirement; Defense Health Program; DOD Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund; and operation and maintenance for certain education and civil-military programs.

Oversight of DOD offices: Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness); Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs); Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs); and Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Office.

Oversight of DOD agencies: TRICARE Management Activity; Defense Commissary Agency; and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
Responsibilities: Military readiness including training, logistics, and maintenance; military construction; housing construction and privatization; contracting and acquisition policy; business and financial management; base realignment and closure; and defense environmental programs.

Special additional areas: Conventional ammunition procurement; RDT and E infrastructure policies and programs; National Defense Stockpile; defense industrial and technology base policies; facility and housing maintenance and repair; land and property management; information technology management policy; and industrial operations, including depots, shipyards, arsenals, and ammunition plants.

Oversight of budget accounts: Operations and maintenance; conventional ammunition procurement; military construction and family housing; base realignment and closure; working capital funds; the National Defense Stockpile Transaction Fund; and RDT and E support programs.

Oversight of DoD offices: Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics); Department of Defense Deputy Chief Management Officer; and the Chief Management Officers of the military departments.

Oversight of DOD agencies and commands: Defense Logistics Agency; Defense Finance and Accounting Service; Defense Investigative Service; Defense Contract Audit Agency; DOD Inspector General; and Joint Forces Command joint training and doctrine activities.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

House Veterans Affairs Committee

Subcommittee on Veterans Oversight and Investigations (O and I)

Welcome to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which has oversight and investigative jurisdiction over veterans’ matters generally and such other matters as may be referred to the Subcommittee by the Chairman of the full Committee. The Subcommittee provides oversight on programs and operations of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as those of other federal agencies that pertain to veterans. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Subcommittee conducts hearings, site visits, and investigations nationwide. The Subcommittee’s legislative jurisdiction is over such bills or resolutions as may be referred to it by the Chairman of the full Committee.

It is astonishing to be constantly reminded of how dumb we've been. How could we be so easily deluded into thinking there is accountability in our country?

Sure, we try to raise our kids to do the right thing. We try to do the right thing on our jobs. We're even nice to drivers acting like jerks. For the most part we're all trying to be the best person we can be. Maybe that is why we assume our elected officials are doing what we elected them to do but they don't. We end up shocked over the messes they let this country get into and they try to blame everyone else but themselves.

Veterans have always had to fight for benefits and compensation. Nothing new there. They have had to wait for appointments and yes, all too often, end up having to wait far too long. They have had to endure hardships and heartaches. This is far from recent news. All of it has been going on since we started to send the troops to fight wars.

The Senate and House have been shirking their duties to the troops and veterans and we let them do it.

We didn't hold any of them accountable since WWI! Every two years we elected members of the House to represent us. Every six years we elect members of the Senate to do the same. Every four years we elect a President or put one back into office.

The President is easy to blame because we figure he appoints cabinet members to head departments like the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. When these two mess up, we fail to notice that the Senate and the House are supposed to be checking what they do and not wait for something to go so horribly wrong lives are lost.

The House seems to care more about Benghazi with 13 hearings and over 50 briefings than they care about military and veterans suicides. Seems there have been a lot more lives lost by members of our military, current and past. The House committees are headed by Republicans and the Senate Committees are headed by Democrats, so it isn't about one doing the right thing since we've been down this road for far too long. They all play games.

Nothing will change until we decide that we can no more forget that our responsibility does not end after an election. It starts. It is up to us to make sure they do the right thing and as soon as we start to read reports on what goes wrong, we need to make sure reporters actually find out who knew what when, what they did about it and if they didn't know, hold them accountable for not doing their jobs checking up on the people they pay to do jobs.

Enough is enough! Too many died because no one did what they were elected to do!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Daily Show Jon Stewart credited for clueing in Congress?

Daily Show Jon Stewart credited for clueing in Congress?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 8, 2014

Senator Richard Burr, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee talked about how bad things are for our veterans. What is even more remarkable is that he pointed to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show instead of the work of the Veterans Affairs Committee not staying on top of everything going on so that a comedian wouldn't have to do it.

Stewart has been wonderful reporting on what they have been going thru and you can watch most of the clips on veterans here. The problem is Stewart reports on what his writers know and that, that is a problem. A bigger problem when a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee didn't know more.

Burr weekly GOP address focuses on needs of veterans
News and Observer
Posted by Renee Schoof
February 8, 2014

Sen. Richard Burr delivered the weekly Republican address on Saturday. As the most senior Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the Winston-Salem senator focused on the backlog of disability claims veterans still face.

The audio of the address is available here. The video will be available here and you may download the address here. Excerpts of his address follows:

“Thankfully, over the past five years, Congress has authorized over $600 billion to VA in robust and sustained increases of government funding for veterans’ programs designed to be part of a more responsive federal support for veterans outreach and care.”

“This unprecedented level of support has been especially evident in the area of veterans’ benefits, specifically disability payments. The surge in financial support has not been matched with an equivalent surge in responsiveness from the Veterans’ Administration.”

Burr said that “incremental progress” has been made to reduce a “now infamous” backlog of claims that existed last year. There are nearly 700,000 veterans and their families “waiting for answers,” Burr said. Claims often have errors, and so veterans have to file appeals.

“More than a quarter million appeals are waiting to be resolved and the time it takes VA to act on appeals is worsening,” Burr said. “As the nation’s military stands down from its war footing, veterans should not have to wage another battle here at home, this time against government bureaucracy.”

Burr said that some veterans also have to wait too long for mental health counseling and other health services. The VA is taking steps to improve its staffing and health care delivery, “but more remains to be done.”
read more here
Sounds like a really good speech. It made it seem like all of this is new. The problem is, it is far from new and because the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee along with the House, did not stay on top of any of this. They have been historically ignorant no matter which party was running the show.

In 2008, NPR reported that Fort Drum officials told the VA to stop helping soldiers with claims.
Morning Edition, January 29, 2008 · Army officials in upstate New York instructed representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs not to help disabled soldiers at Fort Drum Army base with their military disability paperwork last year. That paperwork can be crucial because it helps determine whether soldiers will get annual disability payments and health care after they're discharged.

The Army denied the charges so NPR had to back it up with facts. It was true.

One of the spots on the Daily Show pointed to how the DOD and the VA did not work well together however Stewart didn't know this had been going on since 2008 when Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake announced they were going to work together on claims. What followed was a report starting that "VBA's pending compensation and claims backlog stood at 816,211 as of January 2008, up 188,781 since 2004, said Kerry Baker, associate legislative director of the Disabled Veterans of America, during a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense."
"The fiscal 2009 IT budget request for the Veterans Benefits Administration is about 18 percent less than the fiscal 2008 proposal. The overall IT budget for the Veterans Affairs Department, VBA's parent agency, jumped 18 percent in President Bush's latest request."

All this didn't happen overnight. Gregg Carlstrom reported for Federal Times that "Poor planning by agency leaders and underfunding by Congress created these debilitating backlogs that may take years to resolve, according to federal officials, legislators and watchdog groups. At the start of the Bush administration in 2001, VA had more than 400,000 pending claims for disability ratings, which determine a service-disabled veteran’s employability and disability benefits. The department made progress reducing that number: By 2003, the backlog was down to around 250,000."

This was reported the same year.
“Since 2006, the number of claims has grown 15 percent. The amount of time it takes to make decisions on disability claims is two to three year. On an average, it takes four years to get an appeals decision.”

We have claims that have been pending for a decade, two decades and some that date back more than 50 years. We have appeals from World War II,” said David E. Autry, a spokesman for the Disabled American Veterans in Washington D.C., which represents veterans and advocates and helps them obtain their benefits."

Grover Cleveland Chapman, a WWII veteran went to the VA Outpatient Clinic in Greenville after having his claim denied yet again. He took a gun into his hand and shot himself at the age of 89. He had the letter with him when he shot himself, Harriett Chapman said.

That was also during the time when VA Doctor Ira Katz was being defended after withholding the fact the VA had 12,000 veterans a year attempting suicide. Yes, that means 1,000 a month tried to kill themselves but that was just part of the story since when you consider while there are 21,978,000 veterans the VA only has 3.7 million collecting compensation. How many veterans do you think are trying to take their own lives with that many in the VA system?

In 2008 the GAO found there was no accountability in the VA for claims processors.

"Lockheed Martin, the contractor hired in July 2006 to compute the complex retroactive pay awards, had difficulty making the computations fast enough to eliminate the backlog quickly. The complexity of the computations also hindered Lockheed Martin’s ability to develop software to automate the process." The result of this was that 8,763 veterans died before their cases could be reviewed.

It was the same year the VA announced online applications started.

The news reports tell a totally different story than what most reporters want to include in their articles. The truth is the truth no matter how much they want to forget about. The biggest issue is when members of the House and Senate on the committees controlling all of this want to forget about what they did not do.
UPDATE February 9, 2014

I was just reading an article on The Hill about this by Megan Wilson. It began with these words.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) took the Department of Veterans Affairs to task over the lengthy wait many veterans face for disability compensation.

In Saturday's weekly Republican address, Burr said the backlog of disability claims from wounded veterans began to improve only after frequent lambasting by The Daily Show.

I left this comment.
Burr is on the Veterans Affairs Committee and should have known that none of this is new. Clinton left 400,000 pending claims for 2001. In 2006 8,763 veterans died before their claims were approved and Lockheed Martin started working on claims. Bush left 816,211 for Obama in 2008. In 2008 the DAV stated they had claims going back 50 years they were still trying to get approved. A WWII veteran drove to VA hospital at the age of 86, pulled out a gun and shot himself with the denial letter in his hand. Burr should have known all of this and the fact that Jon Stewart had to clue him in isn't funny at all.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

House and Senate Committees Death Panels

House and Senate Committees Death Panels
Wounded Times Blog
Kathie Costos
June 26, 2013

My friends are in low places right now. They are not high and mighty. They don't have the money to hire anyone to fight for them. There was a time when members of Congress actually did but those days are long gone. The truth is pretty ugly but few know what is really going on. Now I am wondering if the high and mighty have any clue at all.

I am about as angry as I can be with good reasons. First the press has been sleeping on the job. They have failed to do basic research. They are the biggest reason why the American people have not held Congress accountable for anything.

Start with the reports on the VA backlogs. The truth is the majority of the claims are from Vietnam veterans, not Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The truth is, this problem is not new. The ugly truth is, we didn't take care of Vietnam veterans and we are still not taking care of our veterans from all of the wars they were sent to fight. The press didn't bother to look up the history of backlog claims. Members of Congress were too busy playing political games to remind them of what went on before.
In 2006 there were more than 500,000 veterans with pending claims and of those 100,000 were over a year old without resolution according to the VA. By March of 2007, the Boston Globe reported that the backlog of claims had gone from 69,000 in 2000 to 400,000 in 2007 taking 177 days to process an original claim and 657 days to process an appeal. The news got worse with a staggering 915,000 in 2009 with 803,000 with the Board of Appeals.

“Backlogs are at the point where veterans must wait an average of six months for a decision on benefits claims and some veterans are waiting as long as four years,” number of unprocessed veterans claims exceeds 915,000 — a 100,000 jump since the beginning of the year.” (Have VA Pay old claims automatically, Rick Maze, Marine Corps Times, June 30, 2009)

Congress knew what redeployments were doing to the troops back in 2006, but did not do anything to correct this.
“U.S. soldiers serving repeated Iraq deployments are 50 percent more likely than those with one tour to suffer from acute combat stress, raising their risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Army's first survey exploring how today's multiple war-zone rotations affect soldiers' mental health.” (Repeat Iraq Tours Risk of PTSD Army Finds, Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post, December 20, 2006)
The House Veterans Affairs Committee along with the Senate have spent billions on "prevention" but the result has been deadly.

"This 12,000 attempted suicides per year shows clearly, without a doubt, that there is an epidemic of suicide among veterans," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense.” (VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show, CBS and Associated Press, April 21, 2008)

In 2012 we were told by the DOD that most of the suicides were not tied to deployment. A year before, it was a different story.

DEPLOYMENT: The suicide rate was highest among those who are currently deployed (18.3 deaths per 100,000) and dropped after deployment (15.9 per 100,000). For the entire TAIHOD dataset (from 2004 through 2008), 23 percent of the soldiers studied were currently deployed, 42 percent had never been deployed and 35 percent had been previously deployed but were not currently deployed. (Army STARRS Preliminary Data Reveal Some Potential Predictive Factors for Suicide March 22, 2011)

That study didn't come from the DOD but came from the National Institute of Mental Health.

They went up for a reason and here they are.
2003 Army 79 26 while deployed
2004 Army 67 13 while deployed
2005 Army 87 25 while deployed
2006 Army 99 30 while deployed
(Army Suicide Prevention Program Fact Sheet, Army Public Affairs, August 17, 2007)
2007 Army 115 36 while deployed (50 deployed prior to suicide and 29 not deployed)

Those numbers came before all the "efforts" went into force.
The following is from the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report.
Air Force Suicides Confirmed and Pending (2011 page 93)
2008 45
2009 43
2010 60
2011 50
241 Airmen who attempted suicide in 251 separate incidents.

Army Confirmed and Pending Suicides (2011 page 128)
2008 140
Suicide attempts 570
Of the 140 suicides, 34 (24%) occurred in OIF-OEF. One hundred sixteen suicide attempts (12%) were reported to have occurred in OIF-OEF. Nineteen percent of Soldiers with completed suicides, and 14% of Soldiers with suicide attempts, had a history of multiple deployments to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Of suicide events reported as occurring in theater, the majority was reported to have occurred in Iraq.

2009 164
Army DoDSERs Submitted for Non-Fatal Events 2,047 Army DoDSERs for non-fatal events were submitted for 2009. Of these, 502 (25%) were submitted for suicide attempts, 347 (17%) for instances of self-harm without intent to die, and 1198 (59%) for suicidal ideation only.

2010 160
DoDSERs provide data on suicide attempts for 400 individuals. Two attempts were reported (DoDSERs submitted) for 11 (2.75%) individuals, and three for one individual (0.25%). Additionally, four Soldiers with a 2010 suicide attempt DoDSER subsequently died by suicide in 2010 and were also included in the preceding section.

2011 167
440 DoDSERs for 2011 Army suicide attempts. As indicated in Table 5.29, these DoDSERs provide data on suicide attempts for 432 individuals. Two suicide attempt DoDSERs were submitted for 8 (1.85%) individuals

2011 Army suicide attempts 432 individuals with 440 attempts

Marines Confirmed and Pending
2008 42
2009 52
2010 37
2011 32
2011 156 Marines who attempted suicide in 157 separate incidents

Navy Confirmed and Pending
2008 41
2009 47
2010 38
2011 52
2011 87 Navy suicide attempts

Department of Defense Suicide Event Report for 2011
For 2011 there were 935 attempted suicides in the military with 915 individuals trying to kill themselves. 896 tried once, 18 tried twice and 1 tried three times.
Before all the money was spent the number of attempted suicides was higher, so that is one good bright spot.
“In 2006, the Army documented 2,100 attempted suicides; an average of more than five per day. In comparison, there were 350 attempts in 2002, the year before the war in Iraq began. The method of choice was a firearm. There is no firm data on Soldiers who had thoughts of suicide.” (Suicide Gets Army’s Attention, Army, Debbie Sheehan, Fort Monmouth Public Affairs October 14, 2009)
Or at least it is easy to think it is until you think about the "personality disorder" discharges that were happening. They are still doing it. They don't have to count them once they are discharged.

It is important you know those numbers because of what is in this book. For 2012 it was reported that there were 179 attempted military suicides and the headlines all seemed to read the same way. 349 suicides were successful. The reporters broke down the numbers like this.

Marine Corps 48, Navy 60, Air Force 59 and Army 182 but what the reporters forgot about were the Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists the DOD did in fact include in the Army Suicide numbers. Army National Guards 96 and Army Reserves 47. That is where we are. That is about as telling as it can be because in 2008 the Department of Defense was telling the nation that they had a plan to prevent suicides.

The plan was to train the troops to become “resilient” and actually believe they could prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What we saw was an increase in the number of service men and women taking their own lives.
When they keep spending more and more money on what has failed, they have become death panels instead of really taking care of the troops and our veterans.

Every section of THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR has been sourced back to reporters as well as government reports.

The question is, since all this information has been there all along, why has the press been so reluctant to tell the truth? Why have members of Congress been able to just say whatever they want and spend whatever money they want without any accountability? Why has the DOD been able to just push through whatever they want without being held accountable?