KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Veterans Call For Greater Improvements For Veteran Services

Services for veterans have improved recently, but many veterans say more improvements still need to be made.

The Detroit News reports: "Services for returning military veterans have improved dramatically in the last two years, including faster assistance for mental health issues, homelessness and job training, a panel of experts on veterans benefits said Monday. But they still aren't where they need to be for the 1 million GIs returning from conflicts across the globe, local veterans told officials. As the U.S. House of Representatives considers this week Veterans Affairs funding for fiscal year 2010, a group of metro Detroit veterans and their families gathered in Berkley on Monday with U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield, and retired U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark to consider the needs of veterans in Michigan and across the nation." Some of the issues discussed included the VA claim backlog, veteran hiring and the new GI Bill that will take effect Aug. 1. A new veteran appropriations budget bill calls for an 11.5 percent increase in spending for veteran health care services and hiring more workers to address the backlog.

The paper notes: "Dr. John Grabowski, associate chief of staff for mental health at the VA Medical Center in Detroit, said there has been a tremendous expansion of services for veterans in the last two years, including a new program that will work with criminal courts to get veterans into treatment instead of jail. Yet he agreed that one-on-one services for veterans could improve" (Chambers, 7/7).

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