Thursday, June 21, 2018

US Navy is bombing Ocala?

US Navy drops live bombs in Ocala National Forest
WFTV 9 News
By: Elyna Niles-Carnes
Updated: Jun 21, 2018

OCALA, Fla. - Residents in southern Marion, northern Lake or west Volusia counties should not be alarmed if they hear loud booms near their neighborhoods.
The US Navy began bomb training exercises this week at the Pine Castle Range Complex in the Ocala National Forest, officials said in a news release.
read more here

VA Suicide report shows need for change!

VA Suicide report screams need for change
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 21, 2018

It looks like the more people talk about "raising awareness" on veterans committing suicide, the more they lose hope. The more people talk about "PTSD Awareness" the less veterans end up hearing.

It is time to stop talking about them and start learning how to actually help them!

VA Releases National Suicide Data Report
Analysis Part of VA’s Comprehensive Examination of More Than 55 Million Death Records

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This report yields several important insights:
Suicide rates increased for both Veterans and non-Veterans, underscoring the fact that suicide is a national public health concern that affects people everywhere.
The average number of Veterans who died by suicide each day remained unchanged at 20.
The suicide rate increased faster among Veterans who had not recently used Veterans Health Administration health care than among those who had.
Here is a link to the report itself.

The report covers up to 2015.

Out of 20 million veterans the VA has about 9 million in their system.

The report shows that veterans over the age of 50 are still over half of the known suicides, 58.1% down from 65%.

The number of living veterans dropped 15.2% between 2005 and 2015.

The report also includes something that is stunning. The numbers include active duty, National Guard and Reservists.

While the DOD releases quarterly reports on suicides, with an average of 500 a year, this leaves many of us wondering exactly how many veterans are in the data the VA released.

Veterans going to the VA are still less likely to commit suicide.

While it does show that the number of known suicides has remained an average of 20 a day, the number of veterans has dropped 15.2% and that jumped out because there is much more the report does not show.

Start with who did not count.

While the VA said the report is from 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, it turns out that actually that cannot be true.

In 2017, California with the largest veterans population, passed legislation to add military service to the death certificates. Illinois, with over 700,000 veterans, also took a step to began to track veterans. That means, the veterans, not in the VA system, would not have been counted by the VA or the CDC, since the CDC would not know their status as "veterans" and would not be able to include them.

Discharges that were not "honorable" would not be counted as veteran. That number is in the hundreds of thousands.

In some states, National Guard and Reservists are not counted as "veterans" unless they were deployed. 

Veterans who live in other countries, apparently, are not counted. 

Questions remain as to veterans shot by police after a crisis, "suicide by cop" and "murder suicides" along with accidents, drug overdoses and if homeless veterans are counted, since many of them are not in anyone's system. It is hard enough for advocates to figure out how many homeless veterans there are.

The other thing we do know is that for all the "awareness" that has been going on since the original report put the known number at "22" a day, it got worse. 

Isn't it about time it dawned on everyone that we need to change the conversation? Change the "awareness" from how many someone thinks committed suicide into how they can find hope again? 

There is a great article on how data was collected in the original report from the Washington Post 
The missing context behind the widely cited statistic that there are 22 veteran suicides a day

Among the findings;
They cautioned against the use of the 22-deaths figure more than once in the study: “It is recommended that the estimated number of veterans be interpreted with caution due to the use of data from a sample of states and existing evidence of uncertainty in veteran identifiers on U.S. death certificates.”

To account for uncertainties, researchers gave a range of 18 to 22 veteran suicides a day, which is consistent with previous VA estimates using CDC data. The report does not include some states with the largest veteran population (including California, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina), so it is unclear how this would affect the rate.

This was the first time the VA used death certificates from states to study the veteran population beyond those who receive services through the Veterans Health Administration.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kokomo VA Clinic designed to fail?

Sen. Donnelly asks VA to investigate new Kokomo clinic
Kokomo Tribune
By Carson Gerber
June 19, 2018

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly is asking Veterans Affairs officials to investigate the new outpatient clinic in Kokomo after local veterans expressed concerns about access to care and problems scheduling appointments.
Donnelly recently sent a letter to VA Northern Indiana Health Care System Director Michael Hershman, whose office runs the Kokomo clinic, asking him to “investigate and address these issues, consistent with U.S. law and agency policy.”

The letter comes after the clinic, which is a first-of-its-kind pilot program established by the VA, came under fire from local veterans during last month’s meeting of the Howard County Military Foundation.

Veterans said the clinic isn’t providing enough services and patients are being discouraged from going there when calling to schedule appointments.

Jimmy Shaw, a guide for UAW Local 685, said during the meeting that veterans in his union have reported the nurse practitioners and clinicians there can’t provide the kinds of services they need.

“We’ve got a lot of irate veterans,” he said. “I’m hearing that the clinic can’t do anything for them once they get in there.”
read more here

Sarges Grill Closed, Employees Not Paid

Veteran-owned restaurant closes; employees say they haven't been paid
KKTV 11 News
By Danielle Kreutter
Jun 19, 2018

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KKTV) - Dozens of employees are out hundreds of dollars after the restaurant they worked at suddenly closed without notice. This happened at both locations of Sarges' Grill.
The restaurant is veteran-owned and aimed at serving veterans, active duty military members, first responders and law enforcement at their locations in Fountain and Colorado Springs.

Over the weekend, customers hoping to eat at Sarges' were met with locked doors and signs saying the business had closed.

It was a surprise to regulars. Several employees told 11 News they didn't get much notice either.

"I was supposed to get paid Wednesday and [a co-worker] was supposed to get paid Thursday, but nothing," said Michael Yamoaah, a former cook at the restaurant.

Yamoaah and the former kitchen manager, Nathan Mayfield, told 11 News the sudden closure happening so soon before rent and bills are due has left dozens of employees in a bad spot.

"[There's] 30-40 employees at least. He owes us each three weeks' pay. I know for me it's 120 hours, about $1,500. It doesn't seem like a lot but for people like us, we live check to check. I've got bills to pay right now," Mayfield said.
read more here

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

VA Contractor charged with sexually assaulting 4 female patients

Prosecutor: Doc hired by VA sexually assaulted four female patients
San Diego Union Tribune
Carl Prine
June 18, 2018
Manzanera’s arrest came two days before one of his former patients filed a series of lawsuits in state and federal courts against the doctor, the VA and his former employer, QTC Medical Services.

Four female patients from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were sexually assaulted by an Oceanside physician who was arrested on Wednesday, authorities say.

Out on a $150,000 bond, Dr. Edgar Manzanera is slated to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon in California Superior Court’s North County Regional Center in Vista on four separate felony counts of sexually penetrating the women with a foreign object.

A physician contracted by VA to review pension disability claims, Manzanera also is accused of violating the state’s professional code for health providers by allegedly making sexual contact with his patients.

“If there are any other potential victims, please contact the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office,” said deputy prosecutor Dan Owens during a telephone interview on Monday.

Manzanera did not return a Union-Tribune message left with a woman at his home on Monday.
read more here

And about QTC Medical
DIAMOND BAR, Calif., Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- QTC Medical Services, Inc. (QTC), a Leidos (NYSE: LDOS) company, was awarded its second prime contract by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue to provide medical disability examinations for the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). The contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract ceiling of $6.8 billion, if all options are exercised. This second award follows the initial award of VBA's only nationwide contract supporting disability examinations for separating and retiring Department of Defense servicemembers.

VA pathologist was found to be "impaired" and misdiagnosed patients

Fayetteville VA Medical Center Pathologist Fired, Nearly 20,000 Local Veterans At Risk
5 News Online
Melissa Jones
June 18, 2018
Parks said the pathologist saw 19,794 patients. Letters are being sent out to all of them, or to their family members. The hospital is responsible for 53,000 patients each year, he said. Of the more than 19,000 patients involved, 5,250 have died since 2005, and those deaths are under review. He said they did not know if any of the deaths was related to the pathologist's review.
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Officials with the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced an investigation Monday after a pathologist was found to be "impaired" and misdiagnosed patients, resulting in at least one death.

Dr. Skye McDougall, the Network Director and CEO of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, began the announcement on Monday.
read more here

Marine tattoo of Titan 2 caused viral lie

Reminder: It is not true just because you read it on social media!

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded Pasco veteran

Tampa Bay Times
Howard Altman
June 19, 2018

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.

Justin Gaertner of New Port Richey, who lost his legs to an explosion in Afghanistan, trained as a forensic analyst to fight online pedophiles through the Department of Homeland Security. [CHRIS URSO | Staff (2015)]
In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the veteran is associated with Nazis. It quotes Justin Gaertner, a Marine who lost both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, saying that the tattoo is not an Iron Cross but a "Titan 2" design, the symbol of his platoon.
Gaertner has been featured in news stories about a public-private program to investigate pedophiles, called the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative Child-Rescue Corps or HERO. Created by U.S. Special Operations Command, Homeland Security Investigations and the National Association to Protect Children, the program trains wounded, ill and injured commandos in computer forensics and law enforcement skills to help in the fight against online child sexual exploitation.
read more here

Vietnam Veteran left Leavenworth VA Hospital with gun in parking lot

Veteran found shot in VA parking lot
Leavenworth Times
June 19, 2018

A Vietnam War era veteran died from an apparent suicide last week on the grounds of Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth, according to a statement released by a hospital spokesman.

A Vietnam War era veteran died from an apparent suicide last week on the grounds of Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth, according to a statement released by a hospital spokesman.

The veteran, who was identified as Michael Douglas, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the emergency department parking lot of the Eisenhower VA Medical Center, according to a statement issued by Joseph Burks, public affairs officer for VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.
read more here

And how many more to the uncounted?
How many more of these older veterans will keep being left off the list of veterans who matter?

Miss America from tiara to tarmac?

Miss America Joins the Air Force
Under The Radar
June 19, 2018

Scanlan is now an Airman First Class in the Air National Guard. She's also a law student at UC Berkley.
Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, speaks to the crew of the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George during a replenishment at sea. (Christopher Johnson/U.S. Navy)

During her term as Miss America, Scanlan participated in USO tours, visited Walter Reed and Bethesda military hospitals and toured several military installations.
read more here

Monday, June 18, 2018

Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die by suicide

Please pay attention to this, since too many fall into the easy stuff of "raising awareness" that robs veterans of hope they can heal and #TakeBackYourLife instead of taking it.

Veterans more likely than civilians to die by suicide, VA study finds
NBC News
by Maggie Fox
While the trend hasn’t changed since 2014, deaths by suicide are increasing among veterans just as they are in the general population.
James Kohr places an American flag at a veteran's grave at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Odessa, Texas, on May 28.Jacob Ford / Odessa American via AP file

Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die by suicide, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday in its latest report on suicide.

Veterans make up more than 14 percent of all suicides, although they account for only 8 percent of the total population, the VA report said.

While the trend hasn’t changed since 2014, deaths by suicide are increasing among veterans just as they are in the general population, the VA found. Data for the study was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Death Index.

“After adjusting for differences in age, the rate of suicide in 2015 was 2.1 times higher among veterans compared with non-veteran adults,” the report reads. Data for 2015 was the latest complete set of numbers available.

The rate was 1.3 times higher for male veterans compared with civilians and twice as high for female vets, the report found.

“In 2015, an average of 20.6 active-duty service members, non-activated Guard or Reserve members, and other veterans died by suicide each day,” it said.
read more here