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James A. Haley VA Hospital

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Veterans and their family members in the Tampa Bay region have an opportunity to help guide VA research at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

The Haley VA is looking for 10 volunteers to serve on a Veteran Engagement Council. The council will bring a veterans’ perspective and help shape VA research that studies things like the effectiveness of new technologies on veterans’ care.

The head of the Veterans Administration is in Orlando today to dedicate the new VA hospital in Lake Nona. VA Secretary Bob McDonald will be the keynote speaker at an event, which will include elected officials.

The $620 million dollar facility broke ground seven years ago, and has been plagued with delays. The clinic began seeing patients in February, and the hospital will continue opening in phases through the rest of 2015.

Navy veteran Tom Pokorski said the new facility is an improvement over the VA clinic at Lake Baldwin, which is old and over-crowded.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Medical Center will soon have a new director. Marjorie Hedstrom, the medical center director at the VA in Popular Bluff, Mo., will take over in just over a week.

The current director, Kathleen Fogarty, is leaving Haley by choice.

She’s taken the same position at a smaller, less hectic VA hospital in Kansas City. That’s after almost four years at one of the nation’s busiest veteran medical centers serving some 200,000 veterans living in the Tampa Bay region.

Tessa Wiseman

Tampa's VA hospital director Kathleen Fogarty is leaving her post permanently to take a similar position with the Kansas City VA Medical Center.

She made the announcement, she said, so that VA could begin hunting for Haley's new leader.

Fogarty has been absent from James A. Haley VA Medical Center since November. That's when she was tapped to temporarily take over as the acting network director responsible for the Phoenix VA which had documented cases of delayed veterans care and long claims waiting lists. That assignment was going to last at least three months.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Veteran suicide is a real and present problem in the community. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that on average 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

That’s a straightforward statistic for a very complex problem.

Calling it a growing and troublesome trend, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor of Tampa organized a roundtable to discuss what is being done in the Tampa Bay area to prevent veteran suicide.

VA.gov / Department of Veterans Affairs

Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center, 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., is inviting veterans and their families to voice their concerns about service and share their ideas on how to improve at a town hall today, Sept. 4, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.

It is the second such veterans' town hall held in as many days in the Tampa Bay region.

Tessa Wiseman / WUSF Public Media

When teachers ask this fall, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”  nearly four dozen Tampa teenagers will answer, “I spent it at the James A. Haley VA Hospital.”

For more than a decade, Haley has been operating a summer Youth Volunteer program that gives teenagers insight into health care careers while at the same time helping veterans.

USO Day Room Opens at Haley VA Hospital

Jul 1, 2014
WUSF

Tampa's James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital officially opened a USO Day Room today, located next to the Spinal Cord Injury Center where there are many long-term patients.

This is the first time a USO center has been built inside of a veterans' hospital. Senior Vice President of the USO John Hanson said that although the 1,900-square foot space is not the largest USO center, its impact will be "profound."

Latest Research Showcased at Haley VA Hospital

Jun 19, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

A few dozen researchers were abuzz showing off their projects under way at the James A. Haley VA Hospital. The public showcase held Thursday is a part of National VA Research Week. Projects varied from genetics to obesity.

Carl Hayward, a physical therapist with the VA, has invented the stand bar, which attaches to motorized wheelchairs to help people get off their seat and stand. Hayward said it goes beyond helping improve posture.

Gov. Rick Scott has rejected a request from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater to consider a search for a new head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Scott wants the cabinet to consider changes at the departments of insurance regulation, financial regulation, and revenue. The exchange comes as Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into the ouster of former FDLE head Gerald Bailey.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Rick Scott, a Navy veteran and son of a veteran, convinced Congress to hold a field hearing to delve further into care being provided at Florida’s VA hospitals.

All this came after state regulators spent most of April conducting unannounced visits to Florida’s VA hospitals, and were denied access to their federal records.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It’s not your father’s VA anymore as evidenced by just one look inside the Department of Veterans’ Affairs new Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center at James A. Haley VA Hospital at 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa.

There’s a putting green, a two-story climbing wall, and an aquatic center for recreational therapy. Each of the 56 new private rooms has large windows for natural light, lush wood paneling, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, a desk and a large-screen TV so veterans and active duty personnel have direct access to education programs and entertainment.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

State health care regulators showed up unannounced for a third time at a federal Veterans Administration Hospital in Florida and asked to view patient records.

That visit to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa Wednesday appears to be part of a tug-of-war between Gov. Rick Scott and federal VA hospitals.

Sgt. Fredrick Coleman, USMC / U.S. Central Command Communication Integration

How do parents of adult children deal with the stress and uncertainty when their child volunteers to go off to war?

Jean Cicero is married to a police officer, now retired. She said it was no surprise that her son, Rick,  joined the Army and served in the first Gulf War or that he became a police officer when he returned home.

“It was kind of hard to decide which was more difficult, which made me crazier,” Jean said. “I would talk to him and he’d go ‘Mom, you’ve got to be brave because if you’re brave then I’m brave.’”

Terri Thompson

Amateur athletes compete for the personal satisfaction of accomplishment. They don't do it for the money or for fame. It's purely for the love of the sport.

During the week of July 13th, Tampa will show some love to a group of amateur athletes who will arrive from around the nation for the 33rd Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

In just a few weeks, Tampa will host more than 500 veterans in town to compete in the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

And 3,000 volunteers are needed to help with setting up equipment at the venues, serving meals, monitoring buses and to cheer on the athletes as “Fans in the Stands.”

Tampa VA Doctor Wins Award for Type 2 Diabetes Research

May 24, 2013
va.gov

The top medical researcher in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs works at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital.

Dr. Robert Farese won the 2012 William Middleton Award, which is given for outstanding biomedical research, for his investigation into the causes and possible cure of Type 2 diabetes.

Farese’s “breakthrough” work is important to veterans because 25 percent of all vets discharged from the VA have a diabetes diagnosis, usually Type 2 diabetes.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The hospitalized veterans at Tampa's James A. Haley VA, like many Americans on this Memorial Day, will be able to munch on burgers and hotdogs  at a good old-fashioned barbecue thanks to members of the Tampa law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP.

Upon learning that the Haley VA had to cancel the barbecue for about 150 veterans because their sponsor dropped out, the firm agreed to step up and cover the cost.

The discovery of a hidden camera in the room of a brain-damaged veteran at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center last year has led to new legislation in Congress filed Thursday.

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Jeff Miller of Florida, introduced the Veterans’ Privacy Act. 

Bobbie O'Brien

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are encountering a different mindset at area VA hospitals. The younger, post-9/11 veterans are used to X-Games and high-velocity sports.

So, therapists and doctors are adapting. One wet and wild example was sponsored recently by the James A. Haley VA Hospital.

A Veterans Adaptive Water Skiing Expo showed veterans the ropes recently at Seminole Lake Park in Pinellas County.

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