Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

VA Launches Open Source Custodian

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced it has completed an important milestone on its joint path with the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a single electronic health record system for servicemembers and Veterans. OSEHRA, the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent, has begun operations and will serve as the central governing body of a new open source Electronic Health Record (EHR) community.

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Legacy Run breaks donation goal

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The five previous Legacy Runs have combined to raise more than $2 million for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund. Add more than $600,000 to that total.

This year's run, which started in Indianapolis on Aug. 21 and traveled more than 1,200 miles across four states before winding up in Minneapolis, had a donation goal of $450,000. In the end, $642,666 was generated for the Legacy Scholarship Fund.

More than $344,000 was raised prior to and during the Run; another $298,029 was donated on stage Tuesday afternoon during The American Legion National Convention in Minneapolis. The departments of Minnesota and Georgia each raised more than $30,000 for this year's Run.

"I know that in this economy, a lot of you could divert this money to other things that you need," said National Commander Jimmie L. Foster, who traveled with the riders during the entire Run and rode a leg of it on the back of a motorcycle. "Thank you for this."

The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund provides college financial support for children of servicemembers killed on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

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Healthcare Inspection Clinical and Administrative Issues in the Suicide Prevention Program Alexandria VA Medical Center Pineville, Louisiana (8/30/2011)

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OIG performed an inspection at the Alexandria VA Medical Center, Pineville, LA, to determine the validity of allegations regarding clinical and administrative issues in the Suicide Prevention Program. The complainant alleged that there were more than 600 patients on the “high risk for suicide” list who were not being monitored as required; that confidentiality and privacy were being breached in several program areas; and that Social Work Service leaders were not providing adequate oversight of programs, were not responsive to complaints, and were not appropriately addressing peer review findings. OIG found that at one point, there were over 400 patients on the “high risk for suicide” list; however, this condition no longer existed at the time of our site visit and we found that the revised monitoring system meets Veterans Health Administration requirements. OIG did not substantiate breaches in confidentiality or privacy, lack of management oversight, or inadequate follow-up of peer reviews findings. OIG made no recommendations.

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Patriot Award winner beats adversity

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The American Legion's Patriot Award, now in its fifth year, is presented to outstanding citizens who perform great deeds and acts of exemplary service. The winner receives a plaque on the floor of the National Convention.

This year's winner, who collected his award in Minneapolis Aug. 30, is Col. Greg Gadson, director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2), and a life member of the Legion.

Gadson, like all too many of his fellow soldiers, was severely wounded in Iraq. He lost both legs above the knee and suffered permanent nerve damage in his right arm when he was hit by an IED in 2007. His recovery attracted the attention of many, including the New York Giants, who drew inspiration from him during their miracle run to the Super Bowl in 2008. He chose to take on AW2 rather than retire from the service as a result of his injuries.

He spoke with the Legion between his travels for speaking engagements, prior to leaving for Minneapolis.

Q: What made you decide to go into the military?
A: At first, it was the opportunity to play football at Army. But the camaraderie of being a soldier made me stay.

Q: Take us back to the day of the accident. What were your first thoughts after it happened?
A: I woke up in an ICU four or five days later. I was pretty disoriented. I hadn't lost my legs yet.

Q: When did you first become involved with AW2? Why did you decide to become director?
A: I myself was being assisted by them during my time as an inpatient. It was really a special opportunity to be able to assist in a program that assisted me.

Q: Had you already been a Giants fan? Were you at the Super Bowl?
A: I grew up as a Giants fan, mostly because of the defense of the [Bill] Parcells era. I spoke as part of the team speech the night before the game, and I got to be on the sideline during the game and on the field afterward. I still engage with them frequently. You think of being a pro football player as a kid ... I don't know that I ever necessarily crossed it off for myself.

Q: What would you like people to take from your story?
A: I would say that you don't often control what life has in store for you. We think we're in control, but we're not. You have to live up to the things that are important to you. You have to give it all, every day.

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Obama Says He Won’t Allow Cuts to Veterans Programs

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The president says the budget cannot be balanced “on the backs of veterans.”

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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.