Veterans Affairs

The Togus VA Medical Center is reporting its first death of a patient from complications of COVID-19. The person was identified as someone in their 70s, and no further information is being provided because of privacy reasons.

The VA Maine Healthcare System is making changes in its operations to deal with the new coronavirus. Many of the changes echo those made by other major healthcare providers in Maine.

The Veterans Affairs Maine Healthcare System broke ground for a new facility in Augusta on Wednesday morning. The facility will provide accommodations to families of veterans and military personnel who are receiving treatment at the VA Maine Healthcare System, Togus.

The new Fisher House will offer lodging to as many as 16 families, at no cost to them.

Six veterans who years later learned they received poor care from a podiatrist say Veterans Affairs concealed those findings to limit the veterans’ ability to sue.

The Maine Sunday Telegram reports a federal district judge will decide whether their lawsuits against the federal government can move forward.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

About 450,000 veterans have pending appeals at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it often takes years for them to be resolved. The wait could stretch even longer, according to a federal report, unless the VA updates its procedures.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine is a co-sponsor of legislation that aims to fix the problem. If passed, it would be the first update to the VA appeals process in decades.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aheram/

A look at some of the many services available to returning service men and women.

Guests:  Rob Liscord, Veteran Legal Services Outreach Coordinator, Paralegal, Pine Tree Legal Assistance 

John Ripley, Director, Military & Veterans Services, Easter Seals Maine

Phil Allen, Preble Street/Veterans Housing Services Coordinator

Mal Leary / MPBN

President Barack Obama has signed into law a package of reforms that will add about $17 billion to the annual budget of the Veterans Affairs. But the measure also seeks more accountability and provides more options to veterans to get care. Maine’s congressional delegation says a lot more needs to be done to improve the V-A.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, is the ranking minority member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and helped broker the deal between the House and Senate that led to passage of the reform legislation.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A new clinic for women veterans has opened at the VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus in Augusta.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud were among the dignitaries who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

The number of women served by Togus and other VA hospitals has been increasing, and the director of Maine's VA health care system expects it to continue to grow with the female veterans returning from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's Thursday, and time once again for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on Maine politics, with Dan Demeritt, a political consultant and former communications director for Gov. Paul LePage, Cynthia Dill, a practicing attorney and former Democratic state senator, and Dick Woodbury, an economist and tax policy consultant for the independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. They spoke with Keith Shortall.

A transcript for this story is not available.

Michaud Criticized after Shinseki Resigns

May 31, 2014

At around midday today, President Barack Obama announced the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. About 12 hours earlier, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine's 2nd District had joined other lawmakers in calling for Shinseki's departure, as an internal report indicated problems at the nation's VA hospitals were even more widespread than previously thought. Now Michaud's gubernatorial opponents in Maine say he has failed the state's veterans.

Following a private conference with Shinseki, the president spoke with reporters at the White House.

The national outrage over veterans' health care services took center stage in Washington today, where President Barack Obama told reporters that the allegations of misconduct at VA hospitals will be not be tolerated by his administration. The president made his remarks ahead of a Capitol Hill debate on a bill that would make it easier to fire or demote senior VA hospital executives.