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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Eric K. Shinseki
The Defense Department and the Veterans Affairs Department are moving too slowly to integrate medical records into a system that would speed up treatment for veterans, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.
Despite rosy platitudes from President Obama on Veterans Day, more than 700,000 former servicemen and women remain waiting for medical benefits owed to them because of a backlogged system that takes an average of 300 days to navigate.
As his administration struggles to keep its promise on providing veterans' benefits, President Obama marked Veterans Day with a pledge to care for those returning from war in Afghanistan.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been able to maintain most operations amid the government shutdown, but Secretary Eric K. Shinseki warned Congress on Wednesday that it will soon have to halt payments to more than 5 million beneficiaries.
Dear Sgt. Shaft: My wife and I are both enrolled in TRICARE Prime. When I turn 65 and become eligible for TRICARE For Life, will my wife who is 9 years younger still be eligible for TRICARE Prime? If so, how much will it cost us?
Dear Sgt. Shaft: My ex-husband served in the Army for two to three years. I was married to him for 11 years. Am I entitled to any VA benefits? I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and was wondering if I am entitled to medical benefits.
This Memorial Day is punctuated by one other scandal in the Obama administration. The inability of the Department of Veterans Affairs to process disability and related claims of our nation's veterans in a timely manner is a shameful situation that may well add not only to anxiety among veterans, but even to the number of deaths of those who served their nation.
Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced Wednesday that she will leave the administration — a surprise resignation that adds to what is turning into a major shake-up among President Obama's team.
Dear Sgt. Shaft: I need to renew my dependent ID and would like to know if there is somewhere near Harrison, Ark., we can go.
Dear Sgt. Shaft: I have a question for you: Why is it that the VA does not negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on a nationwide basis as opposed to regional negotiations? I am unable to get some meds for my service-connected disability because the VA won't come into the 21st century or negotiate on the national level. I am fortunate that my disability compensation currently covers the expense of buying the needed meds. It just seems wrong that I should have to pay for a service-connected disability to some degree.
President Obama observed Veterans Day on Sunday by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and promising the post-9/11 generation of veterans and their families that America will care for them "as long as they walk this Earth."
Dear Sgt. Shaft: I know that you are very interested in the safety of visually impaired veterans when taking their prescriptions. You understand all too well the danger of not reading prescription labels and the possibility of making a tragic mistake. As you know, the ScripTalk Talking Prescription System is now installed in all VA Medical Centers in U.S.
Dear Sgt. Shaft: I need help and advice, I am three months in remission and have had chemo with Rituxan five times since my diagnose of ischemic heart disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 2001. I was not in Vietnam but in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1973 and the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1979. I was stationed at U.S. Army Fort Dix in N.J., U.S. Air Force Base Mather in California and Keesler AFB Biloxi in Miss. I have uncovered that these three military sites were exposed to Agent Orange as well as other chemicals. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Two Republican lawmakers have called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to fire his chief of staff for approving two training conferences that led to $762,000 in questionable spending.
Dear Sgt. Shaft: Where can I find this Supreme Court ruling stating that taxes aren't supposed to be taken out of separation pay?
"Veterans shouldn't have to wait for the benefits they've earned," VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. "We still have more work to do, but we are making clear progress."
VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki has said the department will eliminate the backlog sometime in 2015.