Veterans Health Administration Scandal
The VA scandle of 2014 brought a lot of attention to the systemic problems within the VA. However, years later the question remains as to whether those same issues still exist. The VA released its Quality of Care ratings for hospitals at the end of fiscal year 2017, and while those numbers claim improvement at 64% of hospitals over the past year, many of the worst hospitals remain low on the list. Read more
Meanwhile, a recent report from doctors and nurses within a VA facility in Oregon claims that the VA Hospital Ratings actually hurt veterans. They believe that the hospitals look to limit the number of patients admitted to lift quality of care ratings as fewer patients means fewer chances for bad outcomes. This means administrators cherry-pick cases against the decisions of doctors and nurses. So even though the outrage has died down and the VA claims improvement in the system, it is clear that major issues still exist. Read more
Veteran Defense Fund
Interest Group Vice Chair Paul Freese presented Brockton Hunter's remarkable tome on the link between combat PTS, TBI, and misconduct that leads to criminalization. The veterans defense project helps military and combat veterans charged with criminal offenses relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, TBI, substance-abuse.
DoD Releasing Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records
Over the past few years, DoD has issued guidance for consideration of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but there remained some questions about how the guidance applied to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or mental health conditions other than PTSD.
VA Attempts to Shift Resources From HUD-VASH Housing Program
Meeting with heavy criticism, VA Secretary Shulkin remains determined to shift priorities this year with a proposed reallocate up to 5% of the VA’s budget towards the issues of suicide prevention, modernization, and resources for veterans to pursue care outside the VA health system. Since the inception of the HUD-VASH program, veteran homelessness has dropped 45%. Click here for an Update
University of Miami Health Rights Clinic
The University of Miami Health Rights Clinic is planning to conduct observations and analysis at the Miami-Dade Veteran Treatment Court (VTC) to get an in-depth look at the policies and procedures being followed and compare those practices with other courts across the country and ultimately help determine best practices for the relatively new concept of veteran courts. By looking at the specific procedures and determining what is successful and what is not, the Clinic hopes their findings will result in the creation of a more standardized model that can be readily duplicated in other communities.