Veterans can get more VA disability from their TBI claims

By Douglas G. Jackson, Esq. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI as it is often called, is becoming more and more common, especially among veterans. There are several reasons for this. One of the biggest reasons is that military equipment, such as helmets, have significantly improved. This means, for example, that when a soldier is in the blast radius of an improvised explosive device, or IED, the soldier has a greater chance of surviving. However, this also means that this soldier will suffer fro ... More

Senate passes legislation passed to hold VA nursing homes accountable

Abbey Crain Alabama Media Group, Birmingham Following a series of reports about the poor state of the Veterans Affairs nursing homes in Alabama, the Senate has passed legislation introduced by Senator Doug Jones to increase transparency and accountability in the VA. On June 17, USA Today published the results of an investigation into the secret internal rating systems that Veterans Affairs uses to track quality statistics on its nursing homes, but keeps from the general public. "Nearly hal ... More

Sexual assault victims eligible for VA benefits

By Douglas G. Jackson, Esq. Military1 Columnist Sexual assault is a mortifying secret for far too many veterans. Although it is not often talked about, Military Sexual Trauma, or “MST” as it is often called, is a significant problem in the military. Some of this is due to hazing, dominance and other unexplained reasons. Regardless of the cause, individuals who are victims of MST can experience various mental health problems. According to Stephanie Cojocaru, Psy.D., a psychologist in Florida, scr ... More

VA reforms removed from massive spending bill

Nikki Wentling Stars and Stripes WASHINGTON — A deal collapsed Wednesday to include multiple Department of Veterans Affairs reforms in a spending bill that Congress formulated to prevent a government shutdown. Earlier this week, the bill was set to contain a measure to overhaul the VA Choice program, which veterans use to access private-sector medical care. A deal reached between key House and Senate lawmakers on VA oversight also included an expansion of benefits for veteran caregivers, as well as a ... More

VA centers begin using genetic testing to treat depression

Catherine Ho San Francisco Chronicle Kewchang Lee, a psychiatrist who oversees mental health consultations at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is not used to being studied. But in recent weeks, Lee signed up to be part of a first-of-its-kind experiment that is playing out in 21 VA health centers around the country, including San Francisco and Palo Alto. For the first time since he began practicing medicine in 1992, Lee is asking a small number of his patients to take a cheek swab for a ... More

4 VA employees accused in drug ring

James Halpin The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. PLAINS TWP. — Four Department of Veterans Affairs employees have been hit with drug charges following what police say was a “large-scale investigation” into drug possession and dealing at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Michael Patrick Appel, 37, of 78 Zerby Ave., Edwardsville; Brian Harris, 47, of 1202 Four Seasons Court, Hazle Twp.; Robert Taffaro, 41, of 164 Hillside St., Trucksville; and David James Koechel Jr., ... More