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Federal officials are reviewing allegations of mistreatment at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Wednesday that will give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the troubled Veterans Affairs system, a major shift aimed at reducing wait times and improving care by steering more patients to the private sector.

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A key program being expanded by the Trump administration to give veterans greater access to private doctors has failed to provide care within 30 days as promised due to faulty data and poor record-keeping that could take years to remedy, according to a government investigation released Monday.

U.S. Department of Defense

In a surprise announcement that caught the candidate off-guard, President Donald Trump said he'll nominate acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to permanently lead the beleaguered department.

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President Donald Trump is considering Rep. Brain Mast of Florida for the position of Veterans Affairs secretary, part of a lengthening search for a nominee following the abrupt firing of David Shulkin in March.

WMFE

White House doctor Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration as Veterans Affairs secretary on Thursday, saying "false allegations" against him have become a distraction.

His nomination in peril, Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson fought to convince lawmakers of his leadership abilities as more details of accusations against him emerged, ranging from repeated drunkenness to a toxic work environment as he served as a top White House doctor.

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As President Donald Trump's pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to clean up the mess.

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Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was tending to grievously injured military personnel in Iraq when he was summoned to Washington to interview for a job he barely knew existed. He didn't see a way to get there.

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A White House spokesman says the president still has confidence in embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

Department of Energy

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he had no interest in becoming the next head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, flatly rejecting speculation that he would soon take over the position amid rapidly eroding White House support for embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin.

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

President Donald Trump is considering ousting embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who has faced an insurgency within his department and fresh allegations that he used a member of his security detail to run personal errands.

Department of Veterans Affairs

"Failed leadership" at the Department of Veterans Affairs during the Obama years put patients at a major hospital at risk, an internal probe finds — another blow to Secretary David Shulkin, who served at the VA then and is fighting to keep his job.

Veterans’ issues were among the few things Congress agreed upon – before taking their August recess. That included senators confirming three new judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to reduce the massive backlog of disputed veterans’ claims.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says lawmakers have authorized seven new medical facilities for veterans in Florida.

This week the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded emergency mental health care to vets with other-than-honorable discharges. It's part of an effort to curb the recent increase in veteran suicide.


Congressional Democrats on Thursday sharply criticized President Donald Trump's proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying it would harm veterans by rapidly expanding private care while neglecting core VA hospitals and programs.

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And this is the Call-In. Today we're talking about veterans' health care. In recent years, the VA has developed a reputation for red tape, long wait times and lapses in care. So we asked you to share your stories about getting the care you need from the VA.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin says the Department of Veterans Affairs "is on a path toward recovery."

"We have a clear mandate to do better, [and] to make sure that we're honoring our mission to serve our veterans," Shulkin told NPR's Morning Edition.

As promised, President Trump has moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It's a concern for those who might be left without health insurance — and especially for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may have to pick up some of the slack.

Carrie Farmer, a health policy researcher at the Rand Corp., says 3 million vets who are enrolled in the VA usually get their health care elsewhere — from their employer, or maybe from Obamacare exchanges. If those options go away, she has no idea just how many of those 3 million veterans will move over to the VA.

A new, more in-depth analysis of veteran records from all states from 1979 to 2014  indicates “that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.”

An estimated 22 veterans a day – on average – committed suicide according to a Department of Veterans Affairs report in 2010. But that analysis was limited to data from only 20 states.

CVS MinuteClinics: A Cure For Long Wait Times At Veterans Affairs?

May 25, 2016

Struggling with long wait times, the Veterans Affairs Health Care System is trying something new: a partnership with the CVS Pharmacy chain to offer urgent care services to more than 65,000 veterans.

Many veterans are still waiting to see a doctor.

It's been nearly two years since the Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire for the amount of time veterans had to wait to see a doctor. The agency scrambled to find a fix, including allowing vets the option of seeing a private doctor via a program they call Veterans Choice.

VA Watchdog Releases Report On Florida Facilities

Mar 2, 2016
VA.gov

Reports documenting scheduling problems and wait-time manipulation at the Department of Veterans Affairs are being made public, as the agency’s internal watchdog bows to pressure from members of Congress and others to improve transparency.

The VA’s Office of Inspector General released 11 reports Monday outlining problems at VA hospitals and clinics in Florida. The reports are the first of 77 investigations to be made public over the next few months.

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The federal government has acknowledged that it wrongly declared more than 100 veterans dead and suspended their benefit payments, and says it is changing its policy of confirming deaths.

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Paralyzed Army veteran Gene Laureano cried when he first walked again with robotic legs at a New York clinic as part of research sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But when the study ended, so did his ability to walk.

AP

Researchers studying a degenerative disease in former athletes say 11 of 12 brains of deceased former NFL players tested over the past year showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, continuing a trend they've been tracking.

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