Veteran policy updates, week of November 27

December 4, 2017


Hi everyone,

Press Releases from Senator King’s office:

In Armed Services Hearing, King Underscores Importance of Diplomacy for National Security,Thursday, November 30, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today underscored the importance of diplomatic efforts to support and strengthen United States national security interests during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing was held to receive testimony from outside experts on recommendations for a future National Defense Strategy.


(Links to the following news and research items are offered in the spirit of outreach and public education. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Senator or his staff.)

VA HEALTH CARE: Improved Policies and Oversight Needed for Reviewing and Reporting Providers for Quality and Safety Concerns, a GAO report publicly released November 27, 2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires its medical centers to review a doctor’s care if quality or safety concerns arise. If VA medical center officials decide a doctor should no longer provide care to veterans, they are required to inform hospitals and other health care entities by reporting to a national database and to the states where the doctor is licensed. However, at the 5 VA medical centers we reviewed, we found that these reviews were not always timely. We also found that VA officials did not report 8 of the 9 doctors who should have been reported.

We recommendedVA improve oversight of clinical care reviews and reporting.

Successful DoD-VA Program for Wounded, Ill, Injured Service Members Marks 10th Anniversary

VA office of Intergovernmental and Public Affairs, 11/28/2017

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) marked the 10th anniversary of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), a program developed by both organizations to streamline the disability evaluation process for wounded, ill and injured service members being medically discharged from military service.

About the attached memo: Clonorchis Sinesis/Liver Fluke parasite Exposure in Vietnam Veterans

Steve Young, Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Operations and Management, circulated the attached memo to VISN Chief Medical Officers on November 28, 2017. The Associated Press and many other news outlets have recently reported on the potential link between bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) and the liver fluke parasite. I have included the AP article below. The attached memo provides more details about the VA’s research, links to follow-up if you need more information.

Still fighting: Vietnam vets seek help for rare cancer, by Robin McDowell and Margie Mason, APNews online, Nov. 11, 2016

DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Mike Baughman considered himself one of the lucky ones, returning from Vietnam without any major injuries or psychological scars. But after falling ill nearly a half-century later, he found out he did not escape the war after all. The 64-year-old is among hundreds of veterans who have been diagnosed with a rare bile duct cancer that may be linked to their time in the service and an unexpected source: parasites in raw or poorly cooked river fish.

VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card

VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, 11/29/2017

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans – yet another action honoring their service.

White House VA Hotline Now Fully Staffed and Operational Around the Clock to Serve Nation’s Veterans

VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, 11/30/2017

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the White House VA Hotline, first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming VA, is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve Veterans 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

Grant Opportunity Announced for Small Business Innovation Research Program

Posted on-line at Administration for Community Living, November 30, 2017

A new grant opportunity from theNational Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research(NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced under theSmall Business Innovation ResearchProgram (SBIR), Phase I. An estimated 10 grants will be awarded to small businesses.

Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee

Monday, December 4, 6:00 PM

Maine Veterans’ Home,

310 Cony Road, Augusta, ME

The Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee is established as a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization for the purpose of serving the State’s congressional delegation, the Legislature, local governments and the general public as a clearinghouse of information and suggested legislation regarding veterans’ issues at local, state and federal levels.

Vet to Vet Program has volunteers looking for women veterans to visit

Susan Gold, Vet to Vet Program Coordinator writes, “We have three wonderful women Vet to Vet volunteers who would like to visit aging and/or disabled women veterans in their homes on a regular basis. The volunteers provide companionship and links to other services when needed. We have had difficulty finding women veterans who could use a friend. If you know of anyone who could benefit from receiving visits from another woman veteran, please contact me. Our volunteers are located in Biddeford, Kennebunk, Portland. If this is outside of your area please forward this message to contacts in those geographical areas. We like to make matches within 15-20 miles of each other. Thank you!”

You can reach Sue at the Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging,, (207) 396-6521,
1-800-427-7411. See a video about the program here:

As always, I am eager to hear from you.Thank you for all that you are doing! Please feel free to call or write.


Best Regards,

Teague Morris
Outreach Director | Senator Angus S. King, Jr., Maine
4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 3 | Augusta, ME 04330
Tel: 207-622-8292 | Tel:1-800-432-1599| Cell: 207-252-8997
Fax: 207-621-0286 |

Post expires at 2:48pm on Sunday December 31st, 2017

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