This next few days are going to be busy. I’ll be headed to the expo in Detroit for the small business expo and the veteran job convention. Aside from those adventures, here is a list of what’s going on.
We have had some progress on our investigation of the 5 veterans that died while in care at the Marion VA Medical Center. We have identified the doctor who is likely linked to the deaths and will be releasing information over the coming weeks.
I also want to comment on the Camp Lejeune veterans issue. Congress finally compromised on a solution that will allow veterans and affected family members to get care from the VA. I’ll touch on that below as well.
Last, while in Detroit, I will attempt to meet with Secretary Shinseki. Everyone reading this, please keep your fingers crossed. It would be nice to have a direct line into the Secretary for some of the issues we are investigating.
Detroit Veteran-Owned Business Expo
[box_light] The National Veterans Small Business Conference, the government’s premier event for Veteran-owned small businesses, is coming to Detroit’s Cobo Center June 25-29, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced today.
VA also announced that a “VA for Vets” Hiring Fair will be held during the conference for Veterans looking for careers in the public and private sectors. The conference is expected to attract thousands of Veterans, business owners and federal employees, and bring an estimated $3 million in direct spending to the city.
“VA is committed to bringing more Veteran-owned businesses into the public-private partnership,” said VA Chief of Staff John Gingrich. “In addition to the National Veterans Small Business Conference, our Detroit Hiring Fair will provide Veterans with on-the-spot job opportunities and interviews, while also offering career search classes and one-on-one counseling.”
Last year’s National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo in New Orleans drew almost 5,000 attendees, and more than 6,000 participants are expected this year.
The Detroit Hiring Fair builds upon VA’s success Jan. 18 in Washington at which a partnership of federal agencies and private industry attracted over 4,100 Veterans and resulted in over 2,600 on-the-spot interviews and more than 500 tentative job offers.
“These events are part of Secretary Shinseki’s ongoing efforts to help Veterans find employment in both the public and private sectors,” said Gingrich. “As the President said in yesterday’s State of the Union address, Veterans are crucial to our economy, and we need to find them jobs.”
This year’s conference will include an open house that gives Veterans the chance to learn the wide range of resources available to help them with their own businesses. Also available will be the VetGovPartner online platform, which enables networking, viewing the business profiles of all participants, and identifying business opportunities with more than 400 government procurement decision makers in attendance.” [/box_light]
One comment on the VetGovPartner website, it does not work yet. The conference starts on Tuesday. I am personally frustrated by this since it does not allow me to plan ahead of time – tickets are $450 each just for the expo, much less airfare and hotel. Maybe next year the VA should hire a different team to fix the websites.
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs
Legislative Issues Affecting Veterans
Camp Lejeune Veterans & Family Members
Last week, Congress approved providing care for up to 750,000 veterans and family members affected by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, according to the Army Times.
For years, Camp Lejeune victims have been dying from rare forms of cancer linked to toxins in the water. The VA and DoD were debating who would pay for the care since the issue arose. The new legislation will cover individuals living there, from 1957 to 1987, and the VA will provide the care.
This is a big win for Senator Richard Burr, who has long fought against the DoD bureaucracy that tried to cover up critical inspections. The inspections indicated that harmful toxins were in the water since the late 1970’s.
[box_light] “I am pleased this legislation has moved further than ever before, and I am hopeful it will receive the attention of the full Senate very soon,” Burr said. “The Marines, sailors, and their families who were affected by exposures to toxic water at Camp Lejeune deserve this care, and I hope this bill will finally pass so we can provide it for them.” [/box_light]
Veterans Legislative Markup
This week will be interesting for Markup. We will especially be watching the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigation. Both markups will be interesting.
June 27: Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations – Markup of Pending Legislation. 10 a.m., Room 334, Cannon House Office Building. June 27: Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs – Markup of Pending Legislation. 2 p.m., Room 334, Cannon House Office Building.
DoD to review all mental health diagnosis
Secretary Panetta told the Senate Appropriations Committee that DoD will reevaluate all mental health diagnosis dating back to 2001. The stated goal of the evaluation is to ensure all veterans and active duty personnel were properly treated and will receive proper benefits.
This article in Army Times is curious because the writer, Patricia Kime, claims that treatment for PTSD costs between $750,000 to $1.5 million. She sites “Madigan physicians” as her source for the data.
Those are the same a-holes who denied treatment for PTSD military personnel because they were trying to “save taxpayers” the cost of treatment. Even if the data is sound, relying on unqualified statements from Madigan psychiatrists inappropriate.