U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

1:37pm

Thu May 8, 2014
National

Congress Votes To Subpoena VA Chief Shinseki

A House committee on Thursday voted to issue a subpoena to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki over allegations of delays at VA hospitals that may have caused as many as 40 deaths of patients waiting for care.

In addition to calling Shinseki to testify, lawmakers also subpoenaed records from a Phoenix VA hospital that allegedly maintained an alternate wait list showing that patients waited only a few weeks for treatment when in fact some waited more than a year.

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2:26pm

Wed May 7, 2014
National

Shinseki: Swift Action If Problems At VA Hospital Are True

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 6:54 pm

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, flanked by President Obama and Vice President Biden, at the White House last month.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki tells NPR that he's determined to get to the bottom of allegations that veterans may have died at a Phoenix VA hospital while waiting for care.

The accusations of extended delays in providing health care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system surfaced last month. The facility reportedly kept two lists of veterans waiting for care, one it shared with Washington and another, secret list of wait times that sometimes lasted more than a year.

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4:56am

Wed December 11, 2013
Other-Than-Honorable Discharges

Path To Reclaiming Identity Steep For Vets With 'Bad Paper'

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:19 am

Michael Hartnett was a Marine during the Gulf War and served in Somalia. He received a bad conduct discharge for abusing drugs and alcohol. His wife, Molly, helped him turn his life around.
Quil Lawrence NPR

When Michael Hartnett was getting kicked out of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was too deep into post-traumatic stress disorder, drugs and alcohol to care as his battalion commander explained to the young man that his career was ending, and ending badly.

"Do you understand what I'm saying to you, son? It's going to be six and a kick," Hartnett recalls the commander telling him.

The "six" was an expected six months of hard labor in the brig. The kick happened at Hartnett's court-martial, and finally woke him up out of the haze.

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4:06am

Mon December 9, 2013
NPR Story

Other-Than-Honorable Discharge Burdens Like A Scarlet Letter

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:21 am

Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the States — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.

None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."

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1:16pm

Wed September 4, 2013
The Two-Way

U.S. Won't Enforce Laws Banning VA Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:03 pm

The Obama administration will stop enforcing two sections of a law that lays out benefits for U.S. veterans. The sections define marriage as between a man and woman and deny legally married same-sex couples Veterans Affairs benefits like health care and disability payments.

The Justice Department had in 2012 decided not to defend the statute in court. On Wednesday, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, Attorney General Eric Holder explained the executive branch was going a step further.

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