VA Stories of Note: August 20 – August 26
Stars and Stripes, Aug. 20: VA secretary reiterates need for coronavirus vaccines as veteran cases, deaths rise
VA Secretary Denis McDonough urged Americans this week to get vaccinated, arguing it was the only way to “finally return to normal.” He spoke Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., at the national convention of AMVETS, a veterans service organization.
FedScoop, Aug. 25: Telehealth rates won’t fade after pandemic, VA CIO says
After struggling for years with clinicians and patients reluctant to use virtual appointments in lieu of in-person medical visits, the Department of Veterans Affairs believes telehealth is finally starting to stick as an option for veterans seeking care.
Audacy (Connecting Vets), Aug. 24: Veterans set to compete in Paralympic Games
The 2020 Paralympic Summer Games are underway, with opening ceremonies taking place today in Tokyo, Japan. The competition begins Aug. 25 and concludes Sept. 6 and nearly 4,400 athletes, representing 100 countries, will compete in the games. […] VA supports many of the athletes through a monthly stipend for disabled veterans training in Paralympic sports. Many of these veterans have also participated in VA’s national rehabilitation events.
The Mon Valley Independent (Monessen, Pa.), Aug. 23: White Oak Vet Center appreciation picnic brings veterans together
The coronavirus pandemic has caused some changes to the way White Oak Vet Center provides counseling services to the region’s heroes who served or are actively serving in the U.S. military. While the staff hasn’t stopped offering services to veterans, active-duty troops and families of veterans and troops, the majority of services from White Oak Vet Center, which is in Oak Park Mall on Lincoln Way, have had to be provided via Zoom since spring 2020.
Hawaii Public Radio (The Conversation, Audio) (Honolulu, Hawaii), Aug. 20: Veteran Mental Health Resources Available Following Afghanistan Withdrawal
"You don't have to be a trained professional to ask a veteran if they're okay," said Justin Feinhold, suicide prevention coordinator for the VA Pacific Islands Health Care Systems. "We never want to talk a veteran out of what they're feeling or be judgmental of what they're going through, but just really validating what they're experiencing."
The American Legion, Aug. 19: Collaborative effort between VBA and VSOs improves claims process
A collaborative effort over the last six months between the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and veterans service organizations (VSOs) — including The American Legion — resulted in technology updates that will help streamline the VA claims process. These efforts resulted in the implementation of a program piloting an electronic notification feature within the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).
KSL (NBC-5) (Salt Lake City, Utah), Aug. 26: VA of Salt Lake City increasing outreach to vets in the wake of Afghanistan attack
Veterans’ advocates say the deadly attack in Afghanistan could trigger a lot of mental health issues for vets across Utah. Officials with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System say they’re stepping up their outreach efforts. They want veterans to know they can reach out for counseling if they need it.
WRIC (ABC-8, Video) (Richmond, Va.), Aug. 26: VA offering mortgage relief to thousands of veterans at risk of foreclosure
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is offering two new mortgage relief programs to help those impacted by the pandemic stay in their homes. Jeffrey London Executive Director of the Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Program said, “VA wanted to take additional measures to make sure no veteran slips through the cracks.”