veterans

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

Manchester VA Medical Center staffers who have alleged substandard care and conditions at New Hampshire's only veterans hospital are holding a town hall meeting to discuss the situation.

The event for veterans and others is being held at the American Legion Sweeney Post in Manchester on Monday afternoon, five days after VA officials held a similar meeting.

Thomas Fearon

Emotions ran high at a public forum hosted by the Manchester VA Medical Center Wednesday night. The gathering came on the heels of a Boston Globe report alleging unsanitary conditions and insufficient care at the hospital.

Dozens of veterans showed up at Manchester Community College to hear from VA officials about how they are addressing the allegations detailed in the Globe report. Those in attendance expressed concerns about long wait times, rushed doctor visits, and difficulty navigating layers of bureaucracy at the Manchester VA.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

The Manchester VA Medical Center will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday to hear directly from veterans following allegations of substandard care at the facility.

Interim director Al Montoya will host the forum, which gets underway at 6 p.m. at Manchester Community College.

The medical center is the focus of a federal investigation, following a report in the Boston Globe in which several Manchester VA doctors described unsanitary operating rooms and significant delays in care.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 21, 2017

Jul 21, 2017

Two top officials at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were removed after a Boston Globe report detailing  allegations of substandard care at the facility.  New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner attends the first official meeting of the Trump administration’s election integrity commission.  And New Hampshire became the 22nd state and the last state in New England to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.


Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos; U.S. Navy

 The Manchester VA Medical Center is under investigation after a scathing report by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team  revealed allegations by medical staff of seriously substandard care at the facility. Among the conditions described in the report: an operating room infested with flies, veterans with crippling spinal damage that might have been prevented, and obsolete surgical instruments. We look into what happened, and how these problems fit into a broader picture of trouble with the Veterans Administration.  

Peter Biello / NHPR

Since the Boston Globe's report on unsanitary and dangerous conditions at the VA Medical Center in Manchester appeared over the weekend, attention has turned in part to the hospital's "four-star" rating.

Four out of five stars is usually a good thing, so how did the Manchester VA earn those stars?

Peter Biello

The Boston Globe published revelations on Saturday of dangerous delays in care and unsanitary conditions at the Manchester VA Medical Center.

Michael Samuels

A small group of New Hampshire veterans will gather in North Haverhill Tuesday to learn about farm equipment and the agricultural industry in the state. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

Two top officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manchester have been removed pending a review of conditions described in a Boston Globe report. Several doctors at the Manchester VA complained in the report of unsanitary operating rooms and alleged substandard care.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Rochester Farmers Market is offering any veteran who lives in Strafford County a $20 voucher to thank them for their service.

The Vouchers for Veterans program lets veterans spend $20 at any of the Rochester Farmers Market vendors.

www.BackgroundNow.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

Governor Chris Sununu has signed legislation to establish uniform guidelines for the state's veterans courts.

Veterans courts give some vets grappling with mental health or drug use problems a chance to solve them without going to jail. These courts already exist in Nashua, Manchester, and the Upper Valley.

Recently, VA Secretary David Shulkin told a Senate Committee that an important program designed to help veterans get care at private hospitals was running out of money sooner than expected. He was talking about the Veterans Choice program.

Meanwhile, here in New Hampshire, the program has slowly required more and more administrative help from employees at the Manchester VA. Assistant Director of the medical center, Kevin Forest, recently said as much to the State Veterans Advisory Committee.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The VA's oversight agency is criticizing the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. for a number of failures to follow standard hospital procedures and ensure patient safety.

In a report issued by the Office of Inspector General Tuesday, investigators say they could not gain reasonable assurance that the hospital provides safe moderate sedation or anticoagulation care. It also listed several other issues pertaining to oversight and data collection.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

The fifth and final "Welcome Home" ceremony for Vietnam Veterans will take place Saturday in Hudson. The event is hosted by the New Hampshire National Guard. 

When troops came back from fighting in Vietnam, they weren't universally welcomed. In some cases, they were actually scorned by those who opposed the war.

Now, however, Vietnam veterans are more widely recognized as having served their country honorably. More than a third of New Hampshire's veterans served during the Vietnam era.

JeffOnWire / Flickr

The Department of Veterans Affairs says a program that offers veterans private-sector health care will run out of money much sooner than expected.

VA Secretary David Shulkin made the disclosure about the Veterans Choice Program June 7th at a Senate hearing.

He cites a shortfall of more than $1 billion due to increased demand from veterans for care outside the VA, telling Senators that March, April and May have been extra busy for Choice.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Four panelists -- three of them veterans -- answered questions about their personal experiences navigating gender and sexuality issues at a public discussion at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont on Wednesday.

The event was part of a broader effort by the VA to let veterans know they can be honest about their gender and sexuality and still access medical care within the VA system.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The New Hampshire House Veterans Caucus is being revived after several years of dormancy.

Republican Rep. Sean Morrison is leading its revival, saying the state needs to take better care of its veterans.

Morrison will serve as chairman of the caucus, which counts more than 100 members, including veterans, their family members, and those concerned about veterans' issues.

Morrison says the caucus will work to educate legislators on veterans' issues and connect veterans with resources available to them.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

The Manchester VA Medical Center is getting funding to build an outpatient pain rehab program.

The grant for $378,252 is from the New England VA regional office, VISN 1, and will be used to hire a nurse practitioner, a clinical psychologist, and an RN.

In a statement, Medical Center director Danielle Ocker says veterans deserve to return home and to "the greatest extent possible enjoy a pain-free, and high-quality life."

Emily Corwin / NHPR

It took nearly thirty minutes to read all 704 veterans’ names.  These were not the few who died in service, but the many who died over the past year throughout New Hampshire.  When Jerome Forte’s name was called, Dennie Forte stood and walked to the front of the hall at Manchester’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center. There, Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan handed her a rose. The ritual would repeat itself hundreds of times that morning.  

Peter J. Booras Museum at the Cathedral of the Pines

For three years, the Peter J. Booras Museum at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge has been closed for renovation. The museum contains artifacts from the armed services and it held a grand reopening on Saturday. Don Upton is chairman of the Board of Trustees, and he says he worked hard to reopen the museum. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.  

Who was Peter J. Booras?

Ben Henry

Healthcare professionals on Friday expressed concerns to Senator Jeanne Shaheen that healthcare reform will hurt New Hampshire's veterans.

The panel of experts and veterans said the American Health Care Act would weaken support veterans receive for physical disabilities, PTSD, and substance abuse treatment. Cutting funds now will only lead to costlier treatments down the road, panelists worried. 

In light of these concerns, Shaheen said Congress shouldn’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but fix the parts that aren’t working.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The New Hampshire State Veterans Advisory Committee is asking Congress to permanently fund the Veterans Choice Program.

This program allows veterans to receive health care from their local hospitals. Its funding is expected to end later this year.

Veterans have complained about long waits for care, which the program was supposed to remedy, and civilian doctors have complained about not getting timely payments for care given to Veterans Choice patients.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

 

  A first-of-its-kind program aimed at connecting veterans with mental health treatment and other resources in New Hampshire is raising lots of questions, and that's just what it set out to do.

Under the state's Military Liaison Initiative, all 10 community mental health centers have a staff member each to direct veterans, military service members and their families to available services.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Officials in Nashua say homelessness among military veterans in the greater Nashua area has been effectively ended.

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess joined Senator Maggie Hassan and other officials in making the announcement Friday in Nashua at Harbor Homes, a non-profit that has been central to the efforts of several organizations in the region working to end homelessness.

Peter Biello / NHPR

During America’s Revolutionary War, a woman named Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army. She served 17 months before being wounded and honorably discharged. Today she has become a symbol of the bravery women have shown in service to our country, and she’s now the namesake of the Deborah Sampson Act, which is legislation designed to addresses gender disparities at VA hospitals. New Hampshire democratic Senator Maggie Hassan co-introduced the legislation. She spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Peter Biello / NHPR

It's a deceptively simple question: "Have you or a family member ever served in the military?" The state launched a program two years ago to get doctors, police officers, educators, and others to ask that question.

The aim was to identify people who qualify for veterans benefits. The results have been, for many people, surprising.

Voters in many New Hampshire communities will decide during next Tuesday’s Town Meeting whether to expand a property tax credit offered to veterans.

A state law passed last year gives communities the option of offering a tax credit of up to five hundred dollars to all veterans with at least ninety days of active service.

Previously, only veterans who served during wartime were eligible.

Margaret Byrnes is a staff attorney with the New Hampshire Municipal Association, and says expanding the tax credit would mean a drop in revenue for town budgets.

Scott Webb / Unsplash

The Nashua Board of Alderman is looking at a proposed ordinance that would give veterans in the city a $500 property tax credit. 

Under this ordinance, veterans who had served at least 90 days of active service would be eligible. A previous tax credit in the city was limited to veterans who served only in certain wars or conflicts. 

It's unclear how many veterans in Nashua would be eligible. The city estimates the credit would cost $670,000. Nashua Alderman Ben Clemmons says he supports the proposal. 

Courtesy of Debbie Delorey

Nearly five years ago, a veteran in New Hampshire’s North Country died while waiting for an appointment through the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont. The hospital says “no significant delay” contributed to his death, but the man’s widow disagrees, and questions remain about the process the hospital used to hold itself accountable.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says the government hasn't been able to keep its promise to provide military veterans with their health care under all circumstances.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion in Berlin Friday, Kuster says the U.S. should keep that promise, but its not realistic to have Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in every location.

Her comments came in response to a complaint about the VA's closing of two part-time clinics in Berlin and Colebrook.

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