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In This Issue April 11, 2014
Faces of Agent Orange Holds Briefing for S.1602

Mortality Risks for Women Vietnam Veterans

Problems at Miami VA Drug Rehab Program

Sexting and Drunk Driving Lead to Job Security at VA

A Legacy of Pain and Pride

GAO Says VA, CMS and Other Agencies Need Better Data Protection

April is Alcohol Awareness Month


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Faces of Agent Orange Holds Briefing for S.1602

Drinking IQ

Watch the testimony on YouTube

Three women, with their fathers who served in Vietnam, gave brave and heartfelt testimony on Capitol Hill about why they, and their children, need S.1602 to become a law.

Find your representatives on Facebook, tweet them or call them and tell them that you want the Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act of 2013 (S.1602).It's being sponsored by Sen. Blumenthal (D - CT) and co-sponsored by Sen. Begich (D - AK).

Click here to tell your representatives you want them to support S.1602!

For more on Amy King-Applewhite's story:

For more on the legacy of Agent Orange:

Excerpted from the HEALTHVIEWS

Mortality Risks for Women Vietnam Veterans

Women Vietnam Veterans

Excerpted from the HEALTHVIEWS: Mortality Study of Female US Vietnam Era Veterans, 1965-2010, as published in the January 30, 2014, issue of The American Journal of Epidemiology Advance Access, “…there was excess mortality risk for several conditions associated with Vietnam service. Specifically, the risks for pancreatic cancer and brain cancer were higher among nurses in the Vietnam cohort. Deaths from external causes and from motor vehicle accidents specifically, were higher among female Vietnam veterans, compared with the general population of US women or female veterans who served in the United States, a finding that is consistent with patterns of postwar injury deaths among male Vietnam veterans and veterans of other wars. The finding of increased risk of death from 2 types of cancer among nurses who served in Vietnam needs further follow-up for replication.”

View the abstract

As Reported in the Miami Herald

Problems at Miami VA Drug Rehab Program

According to an April 1 article in the Miami Herald by Daniel Chang, investigators in the VA’s Office of Inspector General found a drug-abuse rehabilitation program at Miami’s Veterans Affairs hospital failed to monitor patients, provide sufficient staff, control access to the facility, or even curb illicit drug use among patients — culminating with the death of a combat veteran in his 20s who overdosed on cocaine and heroin. 

Read more here

As Reported byYahoo Finance/The Fiscal Times

Sexting and Drunk Driving Lead to
Job Security at VA

VA Emblem

According to an April 6 Yahoo Finance/The Fiscal Times story by Timothy R. Homan, lawmakers are fed up with a string of reports that detail workplace misbehavior by VA employees that more often than not would result in swift dismissal from a private employer or even jail time. Instead, the government workers in question have been promoted or rehired, and their supervisors have not faced disciplinary action. 

Read complete story here

As Reported by The Washington Post

A Legacy of Pain and Pride

A compelling article with video from the March 29 edition of The Washington Post that focuses on the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation nationwide poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that reveals the profound and enduring effects of war on the 2.6 million who have served.

Read More

GAO Press Release

GAO Says VA, CMS and Other Agencies Need Better Data Protection

From an April 4 GAO press release: Federal agencies continue to struggle with information security and need to improve their response to data breaches, the Government Accountability Office says in a new report. "The federal government collects large amounts of PII [personally identifiable information] from the public, including taxpayer data, Social Security information, and patient health information. It is critical that federal agencies ensure that this information is adequately protected from data breaches, and that they respond swiftly and appropriately when breaches occur," the report states.  As an example, it points to loss of information on about 26.5 million veterans in the 2006 theft of computer equipment from the home of a Veterans Affairs employee.

Check Your Drinking IQ

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Drinking IQ

18 million Americans have an alcohol-use disorder. Alcohol-use disorders, like any other medical condition, deserve to be recognized and treated. Fortunately, there is a free and anonymous way that service members, veterans, and their families can find out, in just a few minutes, if they need to address their alcohol use, by visiting www.DrinkingIQ.org.  Individuals answer a simple set of questions about their drinking habits, and then receive feedback as to whether their symptoms are consistent with alcohol misuse. If needed, they are provided with resources on how and where to get further evaluation. “Many people erroneously believe that if they don’t ‘drink every day,’ they don’t have an alcohol problem. However, determining if one has an alcohol problem is more than just the number of days he or she drinks,” said Robert Ciulla, Ph.D., mobile health director for the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology. “The anonymous self-assessments at the Drinking IQ website give individuals the opportunity to check and see if their drinking is a problem and how to get help or cut back.”

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