Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Monday, December 15, 2014

ATTN: Reservists and National Guard Members – You are Now Eligible for VA MST Care

The VA announced on December 1 that eligibility for mental health care for Military Sexual Trauma (MST) has been extended to Reservists and National Guard members who take part in inactive duty training. This means that the VA now has the authority to offer these individuals mental health care to treat conditions that resulted from MST which took place during that time.

VA care for MST-related conditions is provided free of charge. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health care system or have a service-connected disability.  They also do not need to have reported MST incidences to the DoD. No official records or documentation are required at all to receive MST care.  All you need is to have a VA mental health provider determine if your condition is MST-related. Just contact your local VA and make an appointment.


All VA facilities have an MST coordinator and all VA medical centers and community-based Vet Centers offer outpatient MST counseling.  The VA offers more information about its MST services online at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Changing the VA: Be Proactive

As we reported last August, the VA has directed all local units to hold town hall meetings. Initially, this was to be completed by the end of September.  However, the VA announced in October that the town hall meetings were to continue on a quarterly basis.  These meetings are intended not only to provide information to veterans and their families but also to get feedback from them regarding their concerns, problems they are having obtaining care, ideas for solutions, etc. 

The VA is in the process of a major overhaul and they can use your input to help them make changes that are worth making—ones that will really be of use to our disabled veterans. However, reports are coming in that these town hall meetings are not being well attended in some areas.  In some instances, there have been more people from the VA than participants!

For those of you out there who have complaints with the VA system, we urge you to go to these meetings and let them know.  Be concise, be organized, write down your concerns and share them with the VA representatives.  If you don’t let them know, they can’t do anything to change the system and the problems will likely continue. It’s kind of like voting—if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the government you end up with.  Same thing applies here—if you don’t participate and speak up, the system won’t change.

So contact your local VA facility and find out when the next town hall meeting is scheduled.

Make your voice heard. Be a force for change.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Hyperbaric Treatment for TBI: Does it Work?

A new report issued this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine has shown that hyperbaric treatments for TBI are not as effective as previously thought. Hyperbaric treatment has become increasingly popular for veterans suffering from persistent concussive symptoms, including balance problems, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, forgetfulness, and irritability.


The veterans who participated in the study were divided into three groups. The group who spent 40 sessions in the hyperbaric chamber breathing pure pressurized oxygen experienced no more improvement than the control group who did 40 sessions in a low-pressure chamber breathing normal air. However, both of these groups did show significant improvement over a third group that had only traditional care. 

Researchers said that the improvements noted were more likely from a placebo effect and from the interaction with the staff.  Two experts not involved in the actual study commented that the veterans experienced a healing environment and that while the hyperbaric treatment itself did not produce any improvement, the “ritual of intervention” did. A fourth study is underway.

VA Update:


The VA announced November 24 that it has fired the Director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System, Sharon Helam.  The Phoenix VA facility was the location where the wait-time scandal erupted last Spring. Helam is the fifth senior executive fired by the VA in the last few weeks.