LISTEN LIVE

Department of Veterans Affairs

House Committee on Veterans Affairs

A bill aimed at improving veteran accessibility to mental  health care has passed the US Senate and now only needs President Obama's signature to become law.

The US House passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on January 12, 2015 for a second time.

House Committee on Veterans Affairs

It’s been a transformative year for veterans and those serving in the military. We’ve seen the resignations of both the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Department of Defense.

And there have been changes at the state and local levels too. Here are some of the major stories from 2014:

Lottie Watts / WUSF

The transition from military service to civilian life can be full of challenges.

As part of our Veterans Coming Home project -- made possible in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- we gathered a panel to talk about this transition at the Veterans Legacy Summit hosted by The Patterson Foundation on Nov. 15 at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. 

Help for VA Health Patients Likely

Jun 13, 2014
Office of U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller

After two overwhelming votes in two days, a Florida Congressman and chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee says he is optimistic lawmakers can agree on a bill to improve veterans' health care and send it to the president's desk by the end of the month.

The Senate easily approved a bill Wednesday to help shorten wait times for thousands of military veterans seeking medical care, a day after the House unanimously adopted a similar measure.

Department of Veterans Affairs

An internal audit of the 731 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers nationwide was released today and four Florida facilities made the list requiring further review.

The site team assessments in Florida found that the larger VA medical centers in Gainesville, Bay Pines and Lake City need follow up audits based on responses from front-line staff. The Community Based Outpatient Clinic at Eglin, FL also made the list for “further review.”

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.

FloridaVets.org

Today, the state will reveal the top five communities that may get a new, state-run nursing home for veterans.

Florida currently operates six veterans’ nursing homes that are at 99 percent occupancy, while many others have a waiting list. So there is great interest in the results of a study that identified the veterans’ needs.

Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, will present study results at today’s cabinet meeting at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

Hal Faulkner, a gay man whose last wish came true earlier this month when his discharge from the U.S. Marines was changed from "undesirable" to "honorable," has died.

NPR's Quil Lawrence, who told Morning Edition listeners about Faulkner last week, says that the 79-year-old Faulkner died Tuesday in Florida.

VA.gov

Veterans in Florida can now get a flu shot at any of more than 800 Walgreens locations and the drug store will electronically forward their immunization record to the VA.

It's a pilot program being tried out in the Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (VISN8) which includes all of Florida, southern Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It requires no paper record, no remembering at your next VA health care appointment.

Florida Women Veterans Will Gain Advocate

Nov 5, 2013
Photo courtesy of Kiersten Downs member of the USF Student Veterans Association.

The fourth annual USF Veterans Day Ceremony came with some good news for women veterans in Florida.

Mike Prendergast, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, announced the appointment of Cynthia Brown to a newly-made position within the department, which will start in January.

Department of Veterans Affairs

There will be little or no impact at least on the largest part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the health care administration which runs VA clinics and hospitals.

The health care administration is on a two-year budget cycle, so it already has advanced appropriates for 2014 fiscal year according to Karen Collins, public affairs officer for James A. Haley Veterans Hospitals and Clinics.

"So, this means that a majority of our employees will continue to provide health care services to our veterans and active-duty service members here at James A. Haley," Collins said.

Pages