veterans

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A health care company that serves veterans and their families is adding 500 jobs in Kansas City.

“Our privilege as a corporation is to do one thing,” said David McIntyre, president and CEO of TriWest, “and that is to be there for the federal government to assist them in serving those who serve.”

McIntyre says TriWest picked Kansas City because of Missouri’s “Show-Me Heroes” program, an initiative to get business to hire veterans.

Veterans' homes across Missouri are about to get some much-needed upgrades.

Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to the veterans' home at St. James Friday where he told residents, staff and their families that their facility will soon be getting a $6.9 million upgrade.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR

Joe Williams enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after the post 9/11 invasion of Iraq and served for seven years. He survived rocket and mortar attacks. A fast learner and natural leader, he rose through the ranks and was about to start officer candidate school when something went terribly wrong.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

It shouldn't take a lawyer to help veterans navigate a complex benefit system, but it often does.

That was the message U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, delivered Thursday at the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association's "Veterans Come First" seminar, where she encouraged local attorneys to take on pro bono work around veterans issues.

McCaskill, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says veterans are entitled to the benefits they were promised when they agreed to serve.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Senate has approved bi-partisan legislation to clarify the circumstances under which veterans are allowed to get medical care from their hometown providers at the VA’s expense.

Access to local, non-VA health care is part of the Choice Act, which became law last year. It’s meant as a way to assist veterans who live far from VA facilities or can’t get an appointment within 30 days.

A Marine Corps veteran in Wichita volunteers his time to play what many call the hardest 24 notes a musician will ever play...taps. Few melodies are as easily recognized or emotional as the tune, which is standard at military funerals.

Today, there are so few buglers available that the military services can not always provide one. KMUW's Abigail Wilson presents this sound portrait with Tim Emerson who is a member of Bugles Across America.

 

"I graduated from high school in 1987, started at Wichita State University immediately thereafter and left for a time to join the military. I served in the reserves in the Marine Corps and served on active duty for about a year and a half."  

"Meeting family members and knowing about who it is that you're honoring that day is pretty important.  I recognized the significance of that, so I decided that I would start keeping track.

After I do an honor guard, I will write their name and what their rank was; what branch of the service it was that they served in. If I know their date of birth, anything about their service, I'll write that down as well." 

"Patrick Featherby was a young man who I grew up with who died relatively recently and I had heard about his death on social media right around the same time that Bugles Across America sent me the request to play taps at his funeral."

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran has what amounts to a running feud going with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He says the agency is dragging its feet implementing a new law called the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 that’s designed to help veterans in rural areas get the care they need.

But Robert McDonald, the new VA secretary, says Moran’s claims are baseless.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Top officials of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs say they are directly monitoring a staffing shortage that has left a Topeka facility unable to provide emergency care for more than a year.

Speaking at a health journalism conference last week in Santa Clara, Calif., VA Secretary Robert McDonald outlined the host of challenges he faces in reforming the embattled medical system.

File photo

Millions of veterans nationwide now have a card that’s supposed to improve their access to health care. But a Kansas senator and some other members of Congress doubt the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is really serious about the new Veterans Choice Program.

The program is meant to let veterans get care from private providers if they live at least 40 miles from a VA health care facility or if they face a wait of more than 30 days for an appointment.

John Wendle / for Harvest Public Media

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees - apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

“A lot of people call chickens the gateway animal,” she said. “Like once you have a chicken on the farm, then you end up getting sheep on the farm, and then you end up getting horses, and cows, and then it just explodes from there.”

Two Kansas soldiers treated for post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan say a bill signed this week by President Barack Obama is a good start in preventing veterans’ suicides.

The Clay Hunt SAV Act, signed into law Thursday, is named for a Texas Marine Corps veteran who took his life after returning from Afghanistan with PTSD.

Suzanne Opton / The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In the photograph, a young soldier with a downy blond buzz-cut lies perfectly still, face down on the ground. On stage, an ancient Greek warrior goes through the four stages of events that lead to post-traumatic stress.

The arts community is asking big questions about the life of the soldier. What role does art play in public discourse around combat?

Guests: 

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

This is the third installment of a three-part series on veterans’ health. The first part, which you can find here, deals with the military medical system. The second part, which you can find here, deals with mental health.

Four months ago, U.S. Army veteran Brandon Garrison played in an all-day softball tournament, a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

This is the second installment of a three-part series on veterans’ health. The first part, which you can find here, deals with the military medical system. The third part, which you can find here, deals with environmental exposures.

Esther Klay

This is the first installment of a three-part series on veterans’ health. The second part, which you can find here, deals with mental health. The third part, which you can find here, deals with environmental exposures.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran from Kansas City, Mo., who became a symbol of the anti-war movement, died peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning. He was 34.

Young joined the Army right after 9/11, wanting to take revenge on the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was shipped instead to Iraq, and within a week of landing there, he was shot in the spine and paralyzed below the chest. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill offered her condolences to an Iraq war veteran who died this week while speaking at a Veterans Day event at the National World War I Museum Tuesday morning.

Tomas Young, 34, who was paralyzed after being shot by a sniper in 2004, died from health complications Monday. He was an anti-war activist and  former Kansas City resident.

"He, along with many others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, are certainly deserving of our affection and  respect and deference on this day and every other day of the year," McCaskill says.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Richard Gibson, 33, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps just after high school and was stationed in Iraq. When his service ended in 2003, and he returned to Kansas City, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

With a love for singing and performance, Gibson turned to opera. For the past eight years, he's been a member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City chorus. He's also taking on a new role, as conductor of a Veteran's Chorus

via Flickr/MBK (Marjie)

Missouri  Constitutional Amendment 8 is on the ballot Aug. 5 and would create a new lottery ticket that would allocate 25 cents of every dollar spent to fund the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Ballot language:
 

“A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket." This amendment further provides that the revenue from the sale of these tickets will be used for projects and services related to veterans.
A "no" vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket."

1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs/US Army

The death last month of 26-year old Army veteran Isaac Sims in a confrontation with Kansas City, Missouri police raised many questions including whether this loss of life could have been prevented.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske brings together a panel to look at the events leading up to Sims' death, the special municipal court that works with veterans facing criminal charges, and a therapy program treating military PTSD sufferers while they are still on active duty.

Guests:

Wikimedia -- CC

 

A pilot program in Kansas allowing veterans who live far from Veterans Affairs hospitals to get care from local doctors may end, threatening veterans like Hugh Steadman with the cutoff of needed medical care.

Steadman, who flew combat missions over Germany as a bombardier during World War II, lives in Great Bend. He used to have to drive two hours to the VA medical center in Wichita, a trip that was getting more difficult for him to make.

Jonathan Greenwald / Flickr-CC

It's difficult to go from living on the street to living in what most of us consider to be normal housing. That's a real challenge many homeless vets face.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the St. Michael Center and how it's helping veterans make that difficult life transition.

Guests:

  • Eric Verzola, director of Veterans Services Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  • Art Fillmore, St. Michael’s Veterans Center Board Member

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says a Veterans Administration pilot program offering timely quality health care to rural veterans is being allowed to expire in a few months, even though VA officials tell members of Congress no decision has been made.

Moran and four of his colleagues sent a letter to the VA Secretary seeking an explanation. 

The pilot program, called Access Received Closer to Home, or ARCH, is offered through five pilot sites across the country, including one in Pratt, Kan.

file photo

The Topeka Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center has not been implicated in the waiting-list scandal unfolding across the country.

But on Friday, two Republican members of the Kansas congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, said their offices have fielded numerous complaints from veterans in recent months about long-standing appointments being canceled or rescheduled at the last minute.

Kansas Hospital Association

The chief executives of  the Missouri and Kansas hospital associations say thousands of uninsured veterans would be eligible for coverage if Medicaid were expanded in those states. 

In an opinion piece that ran in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday, they estimated that more than 37,000 veterans in Missouri and Kansas would qualify for Medicaid coverage under expansion.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

For months, Kansas City resident Cherie Fishback has been writing letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of her boyfriend, Lee Murphy, who last year had to have emergency gallbladder surgery.

File / U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Update, 4:45 p.m.:

The Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center says its cardiology clinic never kept a secret waiting list, but "a serious clerical mistake" delayed several veterans waiting for follow-up care.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt flagged the facility Thursday in a growing scandal over long wait times for veterans. He told reporters he planned to press the hospital for more information "based on my firm belief the Kansas City Medical Center is likely to be found to be one of those hospitals that has a secret waiting list."

Jeffery Beall / CC

Despite assurances to the contrary, the VA hospital in Wichita kept a secret waiting list for patients. The hospital's director revealed that information Friday in a message to Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.

Roberts told the Wichita Eagle he was not happy to see that message just hours after he’d met with officials of the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, who assured him the hospital was doing just fine. But one patient of the Wichita VA facility says the news is no surprise.

Mike Sherry / The Hale Center for Journalism

The weekend shooting death of a former Army paratrooper in Kansas City highlights deficiencies in the care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said during a visit to to Kansas City on Thursday.

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

The father of a combat veteran who says that mental illness played a role in his son’s bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps is asking Kansas legislators to introduce a bill aimed at reducing the likelihood that a mentally ill veteran would spend time in jail or prison instead of being treated.

Pages