An Army vet falsely claimed he was paralyzed. He got $1 million in payouts - and spent some on a BMW, feds say.
In 2007, two years after William Rich was wounded by an explosion in Iraq, federal investigators say the U.S. Army veteran wheeled himself into an appointment with a Veterans Affairs physician for a checkup on his injuries. Rich, according to the doctor, was a paraplegic. "Since his accident, he has been paralyzed in both lower extremities; has been confined to a wheelchair and has no control of bowel, or bladder," the doctor allegedly wrote, adding that he did not order an X-ray because he "didnews.yahoo.com
American Rescue Plan will reduce backlog of compensation and pension claims "by more than half," Veterans Affairs secretary says
American Rescue Plan will reduce backlog of compensation and pension claims "by more than half," Veterans Affairs secretary says The United States Department of Veterans Affairs saw its backlog of compensation and pension claims rise from 76,000 in March 2020 to more than 200,000 this month. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough joins CBSN's "Red & Blue" anchor Elaine Quijano with more on how President Biden's American Rescue Plan will help reduce the backlog, and how the department is preparing for a surge of requests for medical care from veterans who may have postponed treatment during the pandemic.cbsnews.com
GOP Sen. Thom Tillis diagnosed with prostate cancer, will have surgery next week
Sen. Thom Tillis has prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next week to treat it, he announced Monday. "I am in the hands of outstanding medical professionals and expect to make a full recovery," the North Carolina Republican said in a statement. Tillis traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border last week with a group of Republican senators. It is unclear whether Tillis will miss any votes in the Senate, where each major party holds 50 seats. Before winning election to the Senate in 2014, Tillis served as speaker in the North Carolina state House.cnbc.com
1,900 COVID vaccine doses ruined at Boston VA hospital after freezer accidentally unplugged
Nearly 2,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Boston after a contractor accidentally unplugged a freezer, hospital officials announced Thursday. Staff at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center discovered on Tuesday that a freezer had failed, compromising 1,900 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. More doses are on the way, Toto said, and officials "do not foresee disruption" of the system's vaccination effort. Nearly 12,000 Moderna doses that were being shipped to Michigan on Sunday were spoiled after getting too cold. The Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at regular freezer temperatures, but not the ultra-cold required for Pfizer-BioNTech's shot.cbsnews.com
In last hours of presidency, Trump signs executive order for veterans who served at toxic base after 9/11
President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that recognizes veterans who served at a toxic military base in Uzbekistan and mandates a comprehensive study of any health consequences related to toxic exposure at the base. The account was backed up to CBS News by a second Defense Department employee who witnessed the discoveries. And for the first time, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense sent witnesses to answer lawmakers' questions on the record. Mark Jackson, of the Stronghold Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that tracks cases of sick K2 veterans, said he was in "disbelief" when he learned the executive order was signed late Tuesday. President Biden has been vocal about his commitment to post-9/11 veterans' health issues in the past, but has not directly addressed K2 in public remarks.cbsnews.com
Biggest vets groups step up pressure on Trump to fire Wilkie
FILE - In this July 7, 2020 file photo, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Richard Wilkie speaks at the National Press Club in Washington. Confronted with a sexual assault allegation at a veterans hospital, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie repeatedly sought to discredit the female congressional staffer who made the complaint. The groups pressed Trump to act in the last weeks of his administration since Wilkie had refused to accept responsibility and was refusing to resign. Wilkie and other senior officials had declined to fully cooperate with the investigation by VA Inspector General Michael Missal. Wilkie is Trump’s second VA secretary after David Shulkin was fired in 2018.
Department of Justice Announces Joint Final Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations in Department-Supported Social Service Programs
This rule ensures that religious and non-religious organizations are treated equally in DOJ-supported programs, and it clarifies that religious organizations do not lose their legal protections and rights just because they participate in federal programs and activities. “This joint final rule is another in a long line of steps this Administration has taken to restore and protect religious liberty and ensure equal treatment for people of faith.”This final rule ensures equal treatment for faith-based organizations, consistent with the Constitution and other federal law. It removes requirements in prior regulations that placed unequal burdens on religious organizations, cast unwarranted suspicion on them, and were in tension with their religious liberty rights. The final rule was drafted in response to Executive Order 13831, issued in May 2018. The Agencies considered those comments, modified their regulations to address concerns raised in the comments, and drafted responses included in the final rule.justice.gov
American Legion, Pelosi joining calls for VA chief's ouster
“It is unfair to expect accountability from the nearly 400,000 VA employees and not demand the same from its top executive. Wilkie and other senior officials had declined to fully cooperate with the investigation by VA Inspector General Michael Missal. Wilkie is Trump’s second VA secretary after David Shulkin was fired in 2018. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rebuild trust in the VA when he takes office on Jan. 20. He has selected Denis McDonough, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, to be VA secretary.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie tried to discredit House aide who alleged sexual assault, watchdog finds
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie attempted to discredit a House aide who alleged she was sexually assaulted inside a VA hospital, the department's Office of the Inspector General found. Six of these witnesses in sworn testimony attributed the remarks to Secretary Wilkie himself," the report states. "In this shocking abuse of power, Secretary Wilkie publicly revictimized the very people that the agency that he leads is supposed to serve." According to the report, VA officials investigating the assault did not consider past complaints about the alleged perpetrator, a VA contractor. "VA officials did not examine this information, readily available in VA's files."cbsnews.com
Vets groups demand Wilkie's dismissal after scathing audit
“The accountability, professionalism and respect that our veterans have earned, and quite frankly deserve, is completely lost in this current VA leadership team,” said B.J. Wilkie and other senior officials had declined to fully cooperate with the investigation by VA Inspector General Michael Missal. Wilkie is President Donald Trump’s second VA secretary after David Shulkin was fired in 2018. “VA can and must do better,” said Randy Reese, executive director of Disabled American Veterans’ Washington headquarters. He has selected Denis McDonough, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, to be VA secretary.
Biden introduces picks to run Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs
Biden introduces picks to run Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs President-elect Joe Biden introduced his nominees to head the departments of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs as well as the incoming director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Mr. Biden highlighted how important it will be for them to contribute to relief from the coronavirus pandemic in the new administration. Watch his remarks.cbsnews.com
Watchdog faults VA chief over handling of sex assault report
“The response of Secretary Wilkie and senior VA officials to the veteran’s complaint of sexual assault was troubling,” Missal said in a statement. “The tone set by Secretary Wilkie appears to have influenced aspects of the initial VA police investigation and the conduct of other VA employees,” the report said. On Thursday, Biden said he will nominate Denis McDonough, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, to be VA secretary. VA officials did not examine the information, the report said. A study released by the VA last year found 1 in 4 female veterans using VA health care reported inappropriate comments by male veterans on VA grounds.
Biden picks more Obama veterans for key roles: Denis McDonough at VA and Susan Rice as domestic advisor
McDonough's selection was unveiled amid the latest batch of new additions to key posts in the upcoming Biden administration, which will also include former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. McDonough, 51, had served as Obama's chief of staff for the entirety of the former president's second term in office. McDonough had previously been Obama's deputy national security advisor, as well as the chief of staff of the National Security Council. Rice, 56, an alumna of the administrations of Obama and former President Bill Clinton, will not require confirmation by the Senate to serve as domestic policy director in Biden's White House. She served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. from 2009 until 2013, when she was selected as Obama's national security advisor.cnbc.com
Explosion kills 2 steam pipe workers at veterans hospital
WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Two workers were killed in an explosion Friday while repairing a steam pipe in a maintenance building at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut, officials said. Alfred Montoya Jr., director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, said the men were in the basement of the small outer building and had just finished routine maintenance on a leaky pipe. He said the explosion occurred just after 8 a.m. as the pipe was being refilled with steam. “Our prayers are with the families of the victims of this explosion," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. The explosion occurred in a building that houses the hospital’s labor shops, such as carpentry and plumbing, a spokesperson for the hospital said.
2 killed in explosion at VA hospital in West Haven, Connecticut
An apparent steam explosion Friday in a maintenance building at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut killed a VA employee and a contractor and left a third person missing, officials said. "We received a report this morning that an explosion occurred at the West Haven campus of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System that resulted in two deaths in a non-patient care area," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. Firefighters respond after an explosion at a Veterans Affairs hospital in West Haven, Connecticut, Nov. 13, 2020. West Haven firefighters described it as a "steam explosion" at a facilities building a short distance from the hospital, their union said in a Facebook post. One of the people who died was a VA employee and the other was a contractor, said Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat.cbsnews.com
Bill calling for sweeping VA mental health care changes heading to president’s desk
Statistics like these prompted a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to draft a bill that would bring sweeping changes to the Department of Veteran Affairs' mental health services. Senate Bill 785, also known as the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, has now passed the Senate and House and is headed to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval. The bill does the following:establishes increased accountability over the department’s mental health and suicide prevention programs;expands VA tele-health capabilities to better serve rural veterans;bolsters and expedites federal research capabilities;directs the VA to embark on a precision medicine initiative that will improve how mental health conditions are diagnosed and treated;makes necessary improvements to the VA mental health workforce. “Mental health is widely misunderstood, and there’s a negative culture associated with it, especially in the military. “Not everyone that they see will fit the parameters they need to see or allow them into a mental health provider.
Former Veterans Affairs Doctor Pleads Guilty to Three Civil Rights Offenses
A doctor of osteopathic medicine who formerly worked at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia, pleaded guilty today to three counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law by sexually abusing them. According to the plea documents, the veterans had sought treatment from Yates to manage chronic pain through osteopathic manipulative therapy. “This doctor abused his position of trust by preying on veterans who came to him for medical treatment,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. The case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the VA Police Department. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at http://www.wvsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.wvsd.uscourts.gov/justice.gov
How millions of veterans could miss out on coronavirus stimulus checks
As many as 2 million veterans could miss out on the federal stimulus payments that started arriving in Americans' bank accounts this week, prompting outcries from advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. But many veterans and their survivors who rely solely on government benefits, such as disability payments from Veterans Affairs, do not typically have to submit a return. Veterans groups estimate roughly 1.9 million veterans and their survivors could be in this category, based on the number who were in a similar situation during the Great Recession. Advocates argue that the federal government already has bank account information for those households since they receive veteran's benefits. And they're calling on the VA, IRS and Treasury Department to work together to waive the filing requirement.cnbc.com
To attract workers to veterans' hospitals and clinics, one bill proposes a 'shadowing' program
Seamus Caragher, a Harvard Medical School student, feels passionately about the responsibility of caring for the nation's veterans. In order to attract more interest in caring for our nation's veterans, Caragher and two of his pre-med classmates at Georgetown University envisioned a "shadowing" program for aspiring doctors at Veterans Affairs medical centers. The bill would also create a three-year pilot program at no less than five VA hospitals or clinics, prioritizing students in health professional shortage areas, first-generation college students, students referred by minority-serving institutions, and veterans. Those who feel the pull to work with and care for veterans are in high demand across the country. ... By integrating the VA into the wider American health-care system, we hedge possibilities that we don't have the right services and the right numbers.cnbc.com
Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary James Byrne fired amid controversy over department's handling of sex assault allegation
Veterans Affairs Department Deputy Secretary James Byrne was fired Monday, amid controversy over how the department handled a sexual assault allegation by a House staffer visiting a VA facility last year. Wilkie gave no further details of why ousted he Byrne, a 55-year-old Naval Academy graduate and former Marine infantry officer. Before being confirmed in a 88-11 Senate vote, Byrne served since August 2018 as acting deputy secretary of the VA. VA Inspector General Michael Missal, who investigated Goldstein's claims, last month wrote Wilkie to dispute the idea that her allegations were "unsubstantiated." "I am aghast that Secretary Wilkie would think it appropriate to call into question allegations of sexual assault raised by one of our nation's veterans," Takano wrote.cnbc.com
I Care San Antonio Launches Impactful Program for Veterans, Their Families
Sponsored byBexar County is the most densely populated veteran community in Texas, with 153,000 veterans calling San Antonio home. To bridge the gap between the medical services they deserve and what they receive, I Care San Antonio, a local eye care program dedicated to providing complete vision care for those who cant afford it, is rolling out an expanded initiative called All Star Eye Care for Veterans and Their Families. I Care San Antonio was founded in 1992. We have specialists in their field top-notch San Antonio doctors with some of the highest-level equipment youll find in San Antonio or even Texas.I Care San Antonio has over 40 volunteer doctors that do everything from routine eye exams to complex sight-saving procedures like detached retina surgeries. On Friday, Nov. 22, I Care SA will host the ODark Thirty Breakfast to roll out the All Star Eye Care program.therivardreport.com
Alphabet's Verily partners with two health systems to experiment with ways to improve patient outcomes
Alphabet's life sciences group Verily is signing on big partners as it moves into one of the fastest-growing areas of the health industry. On Thursday, the company announced it's working with the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs health-care system and Atrius Health, a nonprofit health-care organization in eastern Massachusetts. Both groups are focused on improving outcomes for patients and keeping them from getting expensive and unnecessary care, falling in line with recent federal reforms. The so-called population health market is large and crowded, but it's an area where Verily has long had a rumored interest. For Atrius, Verily is looking to analyze patient health information to better understand the interventions that might work for heart failure patients.cnbc.com
Bernie Sanders: GOP not dealing in "good faith" on VA reform
Bernie Sanders: GOP not dealing in "good faith" on VA reform Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says Republicans are adopting a "take it or leave it" approach in their proposals to reform the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system.cbsnews.com
VA scandal: Report cites “poor management” and “corrosive culture”
VA scandal: Report cites “poor management” and “corrosive culture” A newly-released report finds that Veterans Affairs leadership is not prepared to deliver effective day-to-day management and is marked by an inherent lack of responsiveness. The report describes a “corrosive culture marked by poor management and distrust between some VA employees and management.” Wyatt Andrews reports.cbsnews.com
6/27: VA scandal: Report cites "poor management" and "corrosive culture"; Mystery LOVE signs overtake New Orleans' streets
6/27: VA scandal: Report cites "poor management" and "corrosive culture"; Mystery LOVE signs overtake New Orleans' streets A newly-released report finds that Veterans Affairs leadership is not prepared to deliver effective day-to-day management and is marked by an inherent lack of responsiveness; and, as part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman goes to New Orleans and discovers the mystery men trying to share the love.cbsnews.com
Schedulers ordered to lie about VA wait times
Schedulers ordered to lie about VA wait times An internal audit revealed in more than 75 percent of all Veterans Affairs clinics, at least one scheduler said supervisors ordered them to falsify records of how long veterans were waiting. More than 57,000 veterans have been waiting up to three months for their first appointment. Wyatt Andrews reports.cbsnews.com
6/9: Schedulers ordered to lie about VA wait times; Tweeting astronaut on life in the Space Station
6/9: Schedulers ordered to lie about VA wait times; Tweeting astronaut on life in the Space Station An internal audit revealed in more than 75 percent of all Veterans Affairs clinics, at least one scheduler said supervisors ordered them to falsify records of how long veterans were waiting; and, CBS News' Scott Pelley interviewed U.S. Navy Commander Reid Wiseman and Dr. Steven Swanson, two astronauts aboard the International Space Station, about Wiseman's tweets and their mission.cbsnews.com
Bernie Sanders outlines reform proposal for VA “crisis”
Bernie Sanders outlines reform proposal for VA “crisis” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., outlined the bill he’s co-sponsoring with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to reform the embattled Veterans Affairs health care system, marking the most significant sign of congressional action on a scandal that has roiled Washington in recent weeks. The proposal would give the secretary of veterans affairs greater freedom to fire employees of the department who are accused of misconduct.cbsnews.com
Acting VA secretary vows to fix agency's health care problems
Acting VA secretary vows to fix agency's health care problems During an event focused on veterans' housing, acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson says the department is "moving immediately" to fix the problems with its health care facilities.cbsnews.com
Open: This is Face the Nation, June 1
Open: This is Face the Nation, June 1 The latest on the release of Taliban captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Veterans Affairs hospital scandal with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former CIA Director Michael Hayden, and others.cbsnews.com
05/30: Shinseki resigns amid VA hospital furor; Ohio man finds his (birthday) calling
05/30: Shinseki resigns amid VA hospital furor; Ohio man finds his (birthday) calling Hours before stepping down, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki publicly apologized for the VA scandal and told a conference on homeless veterans that senior level bureaucrats lied to him about delays in patient care; and, as part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman meets Jim Gagnon who's makes a genuine effort to reach out and touch someone. The 87-year-old retired salesman celebrates birthdays of people he doesn't even know.cbsnews.com
How the VA scandal could upend midterm elections
How the VA scandal could upend midterm elections CBS News elections director Anthony Salvanto speaks with Real Clear Politics' Caitlin Huey-Burns about how the Veterans Affairs scandal may impact both sides of the aisle going into the 2014 midterm elections.cbsnews.com
Is VA Secretary Shinseki on his way out?
Is VA Secretary Shinseki on his way out? With the White House distancing itself from him and more Democratic senators joining the call for him to resign, is Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's days numbered? Republican strategist and crisis communications expert Frank Luntz speaks with "CBS This Morning" co-hosts.cbsnews.com
5/29: Pressure builds on Obama to fire VA secretary; Ukraine crisis could threaten U.S. space program
5/29: Pressure builds on Obama to fire VA secretary; Ukraine crisis could threaten U.S. space program As more members of Congress from both parties called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, the White House is finding it more difficult to defend him. As Major Garrett reports, the president appears willing to accept Shinseki's resignation; and, Russian engines help launch about half of all U.S. military rockets. But the fallout from the crisis in Ukraine now threatens a 15-year U.S. arrangement with Russia.cbsnews.com
Whistleblower: VA falsified wait times with computer trick
Whistleblower: VA falsified wait times with computer trick A Veterans Affairs whistleblower tells CBS News a simple computer trick allowed the VA to falsify reports on how long veterans wait for health care. Three of her coworkers at four other VA hospitals say they’ve used the same computer trick for years. Wyatt Andrews reports.cbsnews.com
Support for Shinseki shrinks on Capitol Hill
Support for Shinseki shrinks on Capitol Hill Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki called the manipulation of wait times “reprehensible” and vowed to “accelerate access to care” for veterans, but at least 25 U.S. senators now say someone else should take his job. Nancy Cordes reports.cbsnews.com
Pressure builds on Obama to fire VA secretary
Pressure builds on Obama to fire VA secretary As more members of Congress from both parties called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, the White House is finding it more difficult to defend him. As Major Garrett reports, the president appears willing to accept Shinseki's resignation.cbsnews.com
Pressure for VA secretary to step down intensifies
Pressure for VA secretary to step down intensifies Memorial Day weekend is putting an intense focus on the scandal surrounding health care at VA hospitals. There is growing pressure on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down, forcing President Obama to address the issue once more. Mark Albert reports.cbsnews.com
Obama: Caring for veterans a "sacred duty"
Obama: Caring for veterans a "sacred duty" Amid reports of misconduct and crushing wait times at Veterans Affairs medical facilities around the country, President Obama vowed to veterans: "So long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief, I am going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that your families deserve."cbsnews.com
Obama defends VA Secretary Eric Shineski but vows "accountability"
Obama defends VA Secretary Eric Shineski but vows "accountability" President Obama says "nobody cares more about our veterans" than Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, but adds he will wait for internal investigations to conclude before doling out accountability for the VA health care scandal.cbsnews.com
Obama on VA health care scandal: "I will not stand for it"
Obama on VA health care scandal: "I will not stand for it" If allegations of misconduct at Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country prove to be true, President Obama said, "It is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period."cbsnews.com
White House: Candidate Obama identified VA problems years ago
White House: Candidate Obama identified VA problems years ago White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argues President Obama had identified problems with Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals as a candidate and pledged to take action to improve the services for veterans.cbsnews.com