Veterans Services

By Rebecca Kheel: A bipartisan group of nine lawmakers joined with leading veterans groups Tuesday to call for the final version of a defense policy bill to include language aimed at making it easier for veterans who were discharged for behavior related to mental health issues to upgrade their discharges.  Read more here:  http://thehill.com/policy/defense/29567

Today the House passed H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016, by a bipartisan vote of 310-116.  The bill would:

Shorten the firing/demotion/appeals process for rank-and-file VA employees from more than a year on average to no more than 77 days

Remove entirely the Merit Systems Protection Board from the firing/demotion/appeals process for VA senior executives

Standing with local leaders in Newburgh, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today toured the banks of Washington Lake, the site of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) contamination, which is believed to have originated at the Stewart Air National Guard base.

Military.com: The University of Michigan Health System and the Student Veterans of America have developed a peer-to-peer program to assist veterans with campus support. The Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) program was developed in Michigan and has been fully implemented at 12 schools across the country. This fall 30 more schools nationwide will be joining the program. PAVE has also partnered with the VA to expand VA's campus outreach and assistance programs.

by Judith Graham: Aided by new funds from Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is extending new antiviral treatments to all veterans with hepatitis C treated within its sprawling health care system—regardless of the stage of their illness and whether they contracted these infections during military service.  Read more:  http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2543889

By Meghann Myers: Following the Defense Department's lifting of the ban on transgender service members in June, the Navy Department is preparing to provide medical and administrative support for transitioning sailors and Marines, train personnel on the particulars of serving in a transgender-inclusive force and, by next summer, accept transgender recruits into boot camp.

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