SFTT Highlights: Week of March 27, 2016

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Found below are a few news items that caught my attention this past week. I am hopeful that the titles and short commentary will encourage our readers to click on the embedded links to read more on subjects that may be of interest to them.

Drop me an email at info@sftt.org if you believe that there are other subjects that are newsworthy.

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Should Women Register for the Draft?
Two of the U.S. military service chiefs believe women should now be required to register for the draft after the Defense Department opened up all combat jobs to women.   Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley agreed that the current policy, which requires only males register for the Selective Service System, should be changed after restrictions that barred women from trying out for combat jobs were lifted last year.   Read more . . .

Mindfulness Training for Veterans with PTSD
Like an endlessly repeating video loop, horrible memories plague people with post-traumatic stress disorder. But a new study in veterans shows the promise of mindfulness training for enhancing the ability to manage those thoughts if they come up, and not get ‘stuck’. It also shows the veterans’ brains changed in ways that may help them find their own off switch for that endless loop.   Read more . . .

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Reforming the VA:  What do you think?
As the congressionally mandated Commission on Care moves closer to issuing its recommendations for VA reform, due in June, DAV has launched a nationwide campaign to set the record straight about some of the bad proposals that have emerged for changing veterans health care.
Specifically, some politicians, political and veterans groups have supported five changes to the VA health care system that may look good on the surface but could actually harm veterans in the long term: limiting the VA’s full-service health system to only a few “Centers of Excellence” focusing on things like post-traumatic stress disorder, burns and amputations; restricting the VA to treating only combat or service-related injuries; turning the VA health care system into merely an insurance company; letting the money follow the veteran using health care cards or vouchers; and privatizing the VA health care system.  Read more . . .

Home Schooling for Military Dependents?
Military families in the US frequently have to contend with relocating from time to time because of deployments. One of the most pressing concerns of frequently moving around is the constant disturbance in children’s educations. In recent years, military families are turning to home schooling for its schedule flexibility. However, there may be more to it than just convenience that parents need to be prepared for.  Read more . . .

36 Questions Which Lead Leaders
Leadership is not about having the right answers, it is the ability to ask the correct questions. It is a compilation of lived and learned experiences, the experiential education which bounds your way of thinking and does not define a rulebook.  Read more . . .

West Point and American Exceptionalism
There was a lot of fuss a few years ago when President Obama said he believed in American exceptionalism, just as he was sure “the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” But for all the fuss, the president’s remarks were symptomatic of a broader dissonance in our society about America’s role in the world.
Consider American presidential politics today. On the right, we see an impulse among some candidates to close our doors and leave the world to fend for itself. On the left, we see an appeal by some to utopian notions of what America is or should be that will end where all utopian notions end. This has happened before. It is what happens when faith in America and its mission in the world begins to wane.   Read more . . .

Chime in if you have a subject you would like to appear on SFTT’s news summary!

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Veterans Turn to Pot to Treat PTSD

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According to various press releases, Veterans are turning to pot or marijuana or cannabis to self-medicate against the symptoms of PTSD.   According to Ben Finley of the Associated Press and published recently on ABC:

While the research has been contradictory and limited, some former members of the military say pot helps them manage their anxiety, insomnia and nightmares. Prescription drugs such as Klonopin and Zoloft weren’t effective or left them feeling like zombies, some say.

Indeed, the use of cannabis by Veterans has increased despite the fact that it “remains illegal in most states and is unapproved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) because major studies have yet to show it is effective against PTSD.”

cannabis to treat ptsd

Image Source: https://cannabisincanada.ca/

Indeed, SFTT has been reporting for months that the VA seems to have lost its way in providing meaningful therapy for Veterans with PTSD.   The cocktail of prescription drugs continues to be the standard treatment recommended by the VA in treating PTSD, despite overwhelming evidence that Veterans mistrust these prescription drugs.   Furthermore, even the FDA and DoD believe that these prescription drugs are toxic.

Is Cannabis to Treat PTSD Effective?

There are many conflicting reports on whether or not “pot” is effective in treating the symptoms of PTSD.  Anecdotal evidence, as argued in the video below, suggests that cannabis or medicianl marijuana allows Veterans a few moments of peace or the ability to cope with their PTSD symptoms better than the psychotic drugs often prescribed by the VA.  Perhaps, alcohol or other recreational or “hard” drugs may provide the same benefits in treating they symptoms of PTSD as pot.

Treating the symptoms of PTSD and providing long-term solutions to help Veterans reclaim their lives are two very different goals.  Sure, any number of forms of self-medication or prescription drugs can mask the symptoms of PTSD temporarily, but this chemically-induced temporary “release from pain” hardly allows the Veteran – or any other person – to recover from a traumatic event.

In the opinion of SFTT, meaningful solutions are needed to allow Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war to reclaim their lives without the dependency of drugs or other prescription pharmaceuticals.  In fact, our dependency on drugs has become a national epidemic.

Earlier this week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued guidelines to curb the use of prescription drugs.    Why?   As Lloyd Sederer of US News and World Report suggests:

The CDC guidelines are a needed and valuable public health step towards changing the deadly opioid epidemic in this country. We can prevent addiction for many, reduce overdoses and death for tens of thousands each year, improve functioning in countless people and introduce means other than pills to manage the inescapable pains of living.

Indeed, whether it is marijuana or prescribed opioids, as individuals and as a society, we need to ask whether it is better to seek solutions to materially improve the quality of our life or are we simply prepared to continue to live a life in a haze of smoke that simply masks the symptoms of the pains we have acquired through life’s journey.  This is the question that each Veteran must ask themselves.   There is no easy answer.

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Military News Highlights – Week of March 20, 2016

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Found below are several news items that caught my attention this past week. I am hopeful that the titles and short commentary will encourage our readers to click on the embedded links to read more on subjects that may be of interest to them.

Drop me an email at info@sftt.org if you believe that there are other subjects that are newsworthy.

Better than a War on Drugs
Pendulums are made to swing from one side to the other. So it is for the prescribing pendulum for narcotic analgesics in the U.S. today. For decades, until the 1990s, doctors were closed fisted about prescribing pain medications, with little basis for that approach other than an American tendency to puritanical attitudes towards drugs. The result was that far too many people, including those with severe, intractable pain, suffered needlessly.   Read more . . .

Prescription Drugs Targeted by PTSD

Is the Glock Pistol the Next Military Sidearm?
The U.S. Army‘s chief of staff is searching for alternatives to the multi-year Modular Handgun System effort, to include piggy-backing on Army Special Operations Command’s current pistol contract.  Gen. Mark Milley has used recent public appearances to criticize federal acquisition guidelines that all services must follow when choosing and purchasing weapons and equipment.  Read more . . .

The Military is from Mars, Civilians are from Venus
We’ve attended many meetings where it felt like the military personnel were from Mars and the civilians were from Venus: part of the same solar system, but from planets with vastly different landscapes and languages. And we knew many of our friends and colleagues who had also shared this far-too-common experience.   Read more . .  .

LZ Grace:  A Place to Heal
Lynnette Bukowski discusses LZ Grace Warriors Retreat.  Lynnette, and many volunteers, have transformed a 38 acre farm in Virginia Beach into a place for members of the special operations community and first responders to decompress and recharge. Lynnette shares the story of her husband, a Navy SEAL, and discusses some of the unique challenges the she faces in supporting who are accustomed to serving, and often suffering, in silence.   Read more . . .


VA Programs Caregivers May Not Know About
Roughly 5.5 million people serve as caregivers for veteran family members. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a lesser known benefit for these family members. Known as Caregiver Support Services, these benefits aim to help family members who are tasked with the primary care of a disabled veteran. The services available include access to a caregiver support line, support coordinator, peer support for caregivers, adult day health care centers, and home care, among other things.  Read more . . .

A War Correspondent’s Trouble with PTSD
The war was changing me, hardening me. I felt flashes of pure rage when someone ran into me on the basketball court or cut me off on the road. I chose tables at restaurants that were as far from the front doors and windows as possible, in case a bomb went off outside. I would wake up whenever there was a sound in my bedroom and then be unable to fall back asleep. In some of my dreams, loved ones died. In some, I did. I had full-blown PTSD.   Read more . . .

Join SFTT in helping get our Veterans the support they deserve.

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Wounded Warriors Project: Mea culpa? Not really!

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Wounded Warriors Project -  Con Game with Veterans

In yet another chapter of supreme arrogance and/or delusional behavior, Wounded Warriors Project (“WWP”) is issuing the following note to “dedicated supporters” – excerpts of which are quoted below:

The Board of WWP has received the results of a review about allegations raised in the news about WWP.  In connection with this independent and objective review, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has been serving as the Board’s legal counsel and FTI Consulting has been providing forensic accounting services.

The review found that 80.6 percent of the donations given to WWP go to support warriors’ and their families’ participation in our 20 free, direct programs and services. The organization’s commitment to injured service members, their caregivers and family members remains steadfast.

However, the review also found that some policies, procedures and controls at WWP have not kept pace with the organization’s rapid growth over the last few years and are in need of strengthening.

To put these changes into effect and help restore the trust in the organization among all of the constituencies WWP serves, the Board determined the organization would benefit from new leadership.  As such, effectively immediately, CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano are no longer with the organization.

What remains undisputed is that WWP has helped and continues to help thousands of wounded veterans on a daily basis, and we remain extremely grateful to people like you whose extraordinary generosity makes that work possible.

Now, if you sincerely believe this self-serving nonsense, I have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn that I will sell you quite cheaply.

Clearly, this is a desperate appeal to donors who have been fleeced by an organization which – at best – has “lost its way,” or – in my opinion – cynically used the tragic plight of Veterans to line the pockets of WWP’s organizers and administrators.

WWP - Meetings

Source: www.actionnewsjax.com

 

Pardon me, but you don’t need “forensic accounting services” to tell you that fund-raising has always been a more important priority to its organizers than helping Veterans recover their lives.  Most of WWP’s expenditures for the 20 or so WWP programs to aid Veterans can be classified as “feel good” programs with little tangible long term benefits for either the Veteran or their loved ones.

Nevertheless, these “feel good” programs are great fund-raisers, which simply exploits Veterans for the benefit of their organizers.  Such hypocrisy!

The New York Times reports today that Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican and a member of the Senate Finance committee “is asking for a detailed accounting by the country’s largest veterans’ charity.”   Senator Grassley correctly argues that:

“If true, these allegations are a breach of faith with donors, taxpayers, and, more importantly, veterans,”

As a “dedicated supporter” of Veteran causes, WWP has lost my trust and I believe that this self-serving apology is simply an indication of WWP’s continued arrogance and insincerity.

If WWP wants to regain my support and the support of other genuinely concerned donors, then the Board of Directors and current executive leadership should resign immediately.   Furthermore, any existing monies or new contributions should be placed in an escrow account and disbursed only through a court-appointed Trustee.

This Trustee should appoint an independent third-party to administer existing programs, review all personnel practices and funding decisions and make recommendations as to which of the 20 or so programs should be allowed to continue, scrapped or modified.

Anything short of getting rid of the current crop of “bad apples,” who are currently running or overseeing WWP, is simply a slap-in-the-face to this organization’s donors, Veterans and their loved ones.

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Military News – Week of March 13, 2016

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Found below are few military news items that surfaced during the last week that caught my attention. I am hopeful that the titles and short commentary will encourage our readers to click on the embedded links to read more on subjects that interest them.

Drop me an email at info@sftt.org if you believe that there are other subjects that are newsworthy.

Wounded Warrior Project (“WWP”) attracts Congressional Scrutiny
A week after the top executives of the Wounded Warrior Project were fired amid accusations of lavish spending, an influential senator on a committee that oversees nonprofit organizations is asking for a detailed accounting by the country’s largest veterans’ charity.   Read more . . .

Ben Weller - Reuters

PAWS: Republican lawmakers’ bill would give veterans puppies for PTSD
Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would create a five-year pilot program pairing veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with a service dog.  Read more . . .

Veteran Unemployment hits 7-year low in October
Unemployment among all veterans reached a seven-year low last month, and the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans set a new record low in October, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.  Read more . . .

US Military is looking at Cyborg Soldiers
War may be as old as time itself, but the technology behind it seems to be developing at a breakneck speed. And in the United States, cyborg soldiers are inching closer and closer to reality, as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks to develop an implantable brain chip that would create a direct connection between a human and a computer.   Read more . . .

VA Roles Out Plan to Reduce Veteran Suicides
The Department of Veteran Affairs is rolling out new initiatives to help reduce veteran suicides.  The new plan is the result of a summit that took place in February with VA leaders, health care professionals and veteran organizations. The VA undersecretary for health, Dr. David Shulkin, said roughly 8,000 veterans commit suicide a year.  Read more . . .

Image from Film Full Metal Jacket

Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders
Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced publicly that they have a problem: They have too many “toxic leaders” — the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable. Many corporations share a similar problem, but in the Army’s case, destructive leadership can potentially have life or death consequences. So, some Army researchers are wondering if toxic officers have contributed to soldiers’ mental health problems.  Read more . . .

Join SFTT in helping get our Veterans the support they deserve.

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Management Firings at Wounded Warrior Project

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In a not too surprising announcement, Wounded Warrior Project’s (“WWP“) Chief Executive Officer, Steven Nardizzi, and Chief Operating Officer, Al Giordano, were fired after a meeting Thursday afternoon in New York.

Steven Nardizzi, former WWP CEO

Steven Nardizzi, former WWP CEO

The firing stems from investigations into this charitable organization that led investigators and the Board to conclude that WWP’s administrators appeared to benefit more financially than the “wounded warriors” the organization was designed to support.

The New York Times reported yesterday that:

In reports by CBS News and The New York Times in January, current and former employees described the organization’s spending millions on employee retreats and first-class airfare while building programs for veterans that were useful for marketing but did little to serve veterans’ needs. The group spent 40 percent of donations on overhead, according to charity watchdog groups.

As scrutiny of the group’s spending grew in recent years, the Wounded Warrior Project spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on public relations and lobbying campaigns to deflect criticism of its spending and to fight legislative efforts to restrict how much nonprofits spend on overhead.

Quoting from a press release issued by WWP,  the New York Times reports that Board Chairman, Anthony Odierno, will temporarily take control of the charity. according to the release. “Mr. Odierno, a retired Army captain who was wounded in Iraq, is the son of Gen. Raymond Odierno, a former chief of staff of the Army.”

The crucial issue is this:  Can the culture at WWP be changed from that of focus on PR-driven, feel-good events to one of support for live-changing therapies – expensive, long-term and with probable less-than-desired successes?

Based on the previous dismal record of WWP, and the reality that outside pressure was required to force firing the executive duo, what is the likelihood that truly meaningful change will happen? Can the same Board that finally did the right thing (and only after a huge spotlight forced their hand), be counted on to transform the organization?

We wish them every success, but history tells us that the odds are not good for such cultural change when the same Board was complicit for years of ongoing corporate misfeasance yet continues to control the organization.

Hopefully, new administrators will right the ship, but many other charitable organizations that genuinely want to help Veterans have greatly suffered over these years by the dreadful improprieties of WWP.  Such a shame.

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The VA and Veteran Suicides: Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up

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Only a cynical person could look with amusement on the recent self-serving announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) that it is taking “additional steps” to address Veteran suicides.   I realize that it is somewhat difficult to get a $180 billion a year bureaucratic behemoth to focus on an issue that has been front-page of every major media outlet, the DoD and even the VA for well over 10 years.

In fact, many legislators and many grieving families are simply scratching their heads and asking the question that most any sane American would ask:   Hasn’t the VA been focused on Veteran suicides all along?   I guess the simple conclusion is this:  Yes, the VA is aware that approximately 22 Veterans commit suicide each day, but our management believes that these “additional steps” will help stem the tide:

Several changes and initiatives are being announced that strengthen VA’s approach to Suicide Prevention. They include:

  • Elevating VA’s Suicide Prevention Program with additional resources to manage and strengthen current programs and initiatives;
  • Meeting urgent mental health needs by providing Veterans with the goal of  same-day evaluations and access by the end of calendar year 2016;
  • Establishing a new standard of care by using measures of Veteran-reported symptoms to tailor mental health treatments to individual needs;
  • Launching a new study, “Coming Home from Afghanistan and Iraq,” to look at the impact of deployment and combat as it relates to suicide, mental health and well-being;
  • Using predictive modeling to guide early interventions for suicide prevention;
  • Using data on suicide attempts and overdoses for surveillance to guide strategies to prevent suicide;
  • Increasing the availability of naloxone rescue kits throughout VA to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses;
  • Enhancing Veteran Mental Health access by establishing three regional tele-mental health hubs; and
  • Continuing to partner with the Department of Defense on suicide prevention and other efforts for a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.

Veteran Suicides

While I guess we should all take some solace from the fact that these “additional steps” may help reduce suicides among Veterans, many of us wonder why it has taken so long for the VA to recognize that its current treatment process has proved to be inadequate.  Indeed, the VA seems more intent on throwing cold water on alternative therapy programs than doing much at all to help get Veterans in help they need for PTSD and TBI.   More prescription drugs is not the answer according to the F.D.A., but I suppose it will be difficult for the VA to radically change its modus operandi.

Having been in business for many years, I am suspect when people tell me they are “taking steps.”   To paraphrase the late British columnist Bernard Levin, I have no idea whether these are “fast steps,” “double-time steps,” or as is often the case for bloated government bureaucracies: “marching in place and hoping for a better outcome.”

Judging from the VA’s record, I am not at all convinced that these “additional steps” – even if implemented – will improved the outcome so fervently desired by Veterans and their loved ones.  For the most part, these “additional steps” seem more like a public relations initiative rather than something will bring about a major change in the way PTSD and TBI are diagnosed and treated by the VA.  I hope I am wrong.

Accountability and responsibility is a theme well understood by the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces.  Sadly, accountability and responsibility seem to be in short supply at the VA.  We should all be outraged!

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News Highlights – Week of March 6, 2016

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Found below are few military news items that surfaced during the last week that caught my attention. I am hopeful that the titles and short commentary will encourage our readers to click on the embedded links to read more on subjects that interest them.

Drop me an email at info@sftt.org if you believe that there are other subjects that are newsworthy.

Wounded Warrior Project (“WWP”) attracts attention of Doonesbury
It was only a matter of time before the scathing humor of Gary Trudeau captured the tragedy unfolding with Wounded Warrior Project which appears to place the financial interests of its administrators in front of the needs of Veterans.  Such a shame!   Read more . . .

Veterans with PTSD

Legislation would halt bad military discharges due to PTSD, TBI
Last week, a coalition of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan introduced legislation to ensure that military discharge review boards must consider troops’ mental health issues, and must accept a PTSD or TBI diagnosis from a professional as an acceptable rebuttal to a dismissal.   Read more . . .

House approves bill to consider PTSD as circumstance when sentencing veterans
The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a bill that will “expand current law to enable judges to consider a diagnosis of PTSD as a mitigating circumstance when sentencing veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD, prior to being charged with a crime”.  Would be nice to see this type of legislation in all states.  Read more . . .

Veterans with PTSD

Service dogs aid veterans with PTSD
The service dog is trained to wake Sergeant Petz from his nightmares. Bosko is the first service dog provided by the Paws Forces, a new program of the Maumee-based the Arms Forces that helps veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries get services.  Read more . . .

Veterans Aware: PTSD primer
I work for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Readjustment Counseling Service at the St. George Vet Center. I work with veterans who have been deployed in areas of active American combat operations, veterans who have traumatic brain injuries, or TBI, people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and folks who have experienced any variety of service-connected traumatic experience that has left them disabled emotionally or physically.  Read more  . . .

Buprenorphine May Beat Opioids for Triad of Pain, PTSD, SUDs
In a retrospective cohort study, investigators found that twice as many veterans treated with the partial nociceptin opioid receptor agonist experienced improvement in PTSD symptoms, beginning at 8 months and increasing over time. In contrast, those treated with opioids experienced a worsening of symptoms.   SFTT is not a big fan of prescription drugs – be careful!  Read more . . .

Join SFTT in helping get our Veterans the support they deserve.

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The Case for Hyperbaric Oxygen

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In normal circumstances, one would simply scratch their head and wonder what all the fuss is about treating Veterans with PTSD and/or TBI with hyperbaric oxygen or HBOT.   Countries all over the world have been using this relatively inexpensive form of therapy to treat their own military, but the Department of Veteran Affairs (“VA”) continues to insist that there is not sufficient scientific evidence to support the benefits of HBOT.

hyperbaric oxygen chamber

In the February, 2016 edition of Veterans of Foreign Wars (“VFW”), author Janie Blankenship rekindles the debate with a provocative article entitled “Alternative Treatment for PTSD, TBI Stirs Debate.”    SFTT strongly believes that many Veterans receiving HBOT have shown dramatic improvement in brain activity and their ability to return to a “normal” life without the side affects of many potent prescription drugs.

In any event, the VFW article suggests that there is enough evidence – both scientific and anecdotal – to refute VA claims that it is simply “black magic.”  In fact, Dr. Charles Hoge with the Center of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research claims that tests for HBOT were “disappointing” and goes on to say in the article that:

Factors such as enhanced expectancy, conditioning, the authoritative context of care and social reinforcement likely contributed as well, perhaps as the prolonged break from the stresses of work.  Hyperbaric Oxygen does not work, but the ritual of the intervention does.”

Indeed, it is quite remarkable that Dr. Hoge could claim that “Hyperbaric Oxygen does not work, but the ritual of the intervention does.”     If I were a Veteran in urgent need of therapy, I would welcome the “intervention” process as much as the treatment.  If the process works but we don’t know why, please sign me up!  Have the often lethal cocktail of prescription drugs prescribed by the VA proved any better?  I think not.

Dr. Paul Harch, who is quoted frequently by SFTT, notes in the article that “my generation of doctors thinks this (sic HBOT) is a fraudulent theory.”   Indeed, Dr. Xavier Figueroa, a recent convert, claims that there is “extreme bias against HBOT in the medical field.”

While the VA, DoD and many in the medical profession continue to try to validate the obvious, many States are taking action into their own hands and approving HBOT treatments for Veterans.

The two-month treatment costs around $4,400, according to the VFW article and States, Insurance companies and charitable organizations are taking action into their own hands to help Veterans.  Found below are some of the recent initiatives:

– At Hyperbaric of Sun Valley in Hailey, Idaho, veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD receive free treatment;

– At Patriot Clinics, Inc. in Oklahoma City, veterans receive HBOT for free;

– Healing Arizona Veterans, based in Tucson, has paid for 20 veterans in that state to receive HBOT;

– Lawmakers in Oklahoma have recognized the benefits of HBOT and signed a treatment and recovery act into law in May, 2014;

– Similar bills (like Oklahoma) are being considered in Indiana, Texas, Kentucky and Arkansas.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the VA would play ball and help States establish effective HBOT programs for Veterans.  I guess that is far too much to expect.

Thank you VFA and Janie Blankenship for this useful article.

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News Highlights – Week of Feb 22, 2016

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Found below are few news items that caught my attention the past week. I trust that some of our readers will click on the embedded links to read more on subjects that interest them.

Is the VA on Automatic Pilot?
The video included in this news clip shows Army veteran Dennis Magnasco trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment at his local VA hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. But a nearly five-minute phone call became a maddening stream of automated audio messages.  Read more . . .

Crisis over the VA Crisis Line
In a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald on Monday, Kirk, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Veteran Affairs Department spending, said Dr. Mary Schohn should lose her job over problems at the Veterans Crisis Line, which include veterans being placed on hold or sent to voicemail.  Read more . . .

Ben Carson on Reforming the VA
The VA is supposed to be the vehicle through which we uphold our promise to our veterans. Providing timely, accessible and high quality support and care isn’t a goal, it’s an obligation, which deplorably, our current VA is unable to meet. That is why I have put forth a plan to reform the VA and its associated health care system to better provide for those who pledged to defend our nation.  Read more . . .

Veteran with PTSD reunited with Military Dog
He endured the trauma of war with man’s best friend. Now a young veteran is hoping a reunion with his canine comrade will finally bring him peace of mind.  Read more . . .

Is President Obama handing Guantanamo back to Cuba?
President Obama wants to finally make good on one of his signature campaign promises: closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Republican-controlled Congress is unlikely to go along, but the debate has raised another question: If the prison closes, what would happen to the naval base itself?   Read more . . .

More Problems for the VA:  Louisiana this time
The former head of Louisiana’s Veterans Affairs Department mismanaged money, covered up crimes at veterans’ homes and lied about his military background, according to a scathing report released Monday (Feb. 1) by the state’s legislative auditor and inspector general.  Read more . . .

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