SITREP News Roundup: April 25th-29th, 2022

Thursday, April 28th

Service Connection for Certain Cancers Established (FEDweek) – Veterans who are sick with nine rare respiratory cancers now can receive treatment and qualify for other benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Remove Sexual Harassment Cases from Military Chain of Command (Senator Diane Feinstein) – The bill would remove sexual harassment investigations and prosecutions from the military chain of command and require these cases to be handled by a new special trial counsel. The bill contains key provisions of the I am Vanessa Guillen Act that were not included in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

🌈How to Be an Ally for the Transgender Community (Psychology Today) – Be an ally by advocating for, listening to, and supporting the community.

Volunteers prepare for Placer Veterans Stand Down return Monday to Thursday (Gold Country Media) – Northern California veterans and their families can receive medical and dental assistance, as well as other housing accommodations at the Placer Veterans Stand Down from May 2 to May 5. The event will be at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

🌈LGBTQ+ Military Members and Veterans Face Economic, Housing, and Health Insecurities (Center for American Progress) – New analysis shows that LGBTQ+ service members and veterans face a bevy of social, economic, and health concerns—while contending with the legacy of discriminatory policies as well as ongoing social stigma and limits to benefits.

🌈FACT SHEET: U.S. Agencies Are Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World (The White House) – Today, the U.S. Government released a first of its kind progress report on implementation of President Biden’s Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World.  The progress demonstrates the U.S. commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world through our diplomacy and foreign assistance. 

Wednesday, April 27th

🌈Meet America’s first out lesbian ambassador (Washington Blade) – The first openly lesbian U.S. ambassador on Wednesday discussed her historic ambassadorship with the Washington Blade during an exclusive interview in D.C.

Chantale Wong, the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank, talked to the Washington Blade this week. (Photo by Kirth Bobb)

Last-minute fix allows major for-profit school to again receive GI Bill payouts (Military Times) – Students attending the University of Arizona Global Campus using GI Bill benefits won’t see any disruption in their tuition or housing payments after school officials this week fixed what they called a “bureaucratic snafu,” which halted their ability to accept the federal funds.

🌈I’m An Author And A Trans Woman. Here’s Why I Won’t Stop Telling Our Stories. (Huffington Post) – Across the country, bigoted legislators are trying to take away trans health care access, strip trans children from their loving parents, designate us second-class citizens. They are trying to erase the reality of our existence in schools, and ban books by and about LGBTQ Americans.

A whole shelf of trans women’s literature. MAYA DEANE

House lawmakers seek VA EHR pause, ‘gravely concerned’ for patient safety (Federal News Network) – System outages and patient safety concerns associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ new electronic health record (EHR) have led to top members of the House VA Committee calling for the agency to stop future rollouts.

Justice Department Announces Nationwide Coordinated Law Enforcement Action to Combat Health Care-Related COVID-19 Fraud (Department of Justice) – The Department of Justice today announced criminal charges against 21 defendants in nine federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various health care related fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases allegedly resulted in over $149 million in COVID-19-related false billings to federal programs and theft from federally-funded pandemic assistance programs. In connection with the enforcement action, the department seized over $8 million in cash and other fraud proceeds.

🌈Lesbian Visibility Week: how 2 women learned to own their identity in the face of negative stereotyping (Stylist) – Research has found that stereotypes around over-sexualisation and “man-hating” are stopping two-thirds of lesbian women from coming out.

My HealtheVet Secure Messaging improves Veteran health care experience (VAntage Point) – It’s no secret that effective communication promotes a better health care experience. Fortunately, VA’s Connected Care virtual health technologies, such as Secure Messaging through My HealtheVet, make it easier for Veterans to communicate with their providers between appointments.

VA Northern California offers free support to survivors of military sexual trauma (Lake County News) – As part of its annual campaign during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, the VA Northern California Health Care System, or VANCHCS, is working to increase awareness about the impact of military sexual trauma and VA’s free supportive treatments.


Tuesday, April 26th

VA electronic health record system hit with further outages at Walla Walla site (FedScoop) – The Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record system has suffered two further outages. VA and Cerner executives told lawmakers Tuesday that the EHR system went down Monday for about 127 minutes and said they were continuing to investigate the cause of a second incident that took place today.

Watchdog says VA violated Federal Acquisition Regulation with electronic health records contract payments (FedScoop) – The Department of Veterans Affairs did not comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation in at least one instance when it paid Cerner for work carried out as part of its electronic health records modernization program, according to the agency’s inspector general.

Air Force Wants Big Increase for 2023 Budget to Improve On-Base Housing For Military Families (Military.com) – The Department of the Air Force’s 2023 budget request included a substantial increase in funds to improve and repair on-base housing, as private companies tasked with providing quality living conditions for military families continue to face scrutiny.

🌈Who’s Listening When You Call a Crisis Hotline? (Slate) – Indeed, in calling a crisis line, each caller has made a determination that they are not calling 911. Yet most crisis and text lines can lead to unknowing, unwanted, and violent interventions by police, and the phenomenon is exacerbated by technology.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

Jewish troops who died in World War II finally receive Star of David headstones (Military Times) – Seven more Jewish-American troops buried in cemeteries across France, Belgium and Luxembourg will have their markers replaced with Stars of David.

Nine new cancers added to the presumed service-connected list related to particulate matter (VAntage Point) – VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind – getting today’s Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead – the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.

🌈The Founder of Lesbian Visibility Week on Why it Matters (The Advocate) – Linda Riley, the publisher of Diva Magazine, offers thoughts and hope for the future of lesbian rights.

You’ve got mail! And it’s not yours. (VAntage Point) – Do you know what to do if you receive another Veteran’s medical files in the mail? Or if you are at a VA waiting room and come across a misplaced DD-214 military service record that belongs to another Veteran? 

🌈Air Force updates physical fitness testing guidelines for transgender airmen (Stars & Stripes) – The Air Force updated its requirements Thursday to permit transgender airmen to skip the annual physical fitness test while they undergo gender-confirmation surgery.


Monday, April 25th

VA increasing research into long-term COVID illnesses while bracing for more short-term cases (Military Times)

Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event on Dec. 30, 2021, in Youngstown, Ohio. (David Dermer/AP)

🌈LGBTQ+ Twitter users contemplate exit amid Elon Musk takeover (The Hill)

Audit Finds Range of Problems Leading to Improper Payments at VA (FEDweek)

McDonough: 6 VA health care workers separated for not following COVID-19 workplace protocols (Federal News Network)

VA Has Fired Just Six Employees Over Its COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate (Government Executive)

🌈Gay longtime CA state worker Kenneth Topper dies (Bay Area Reporter)

Kenneth William Topper, right, enjoyed a laugh with former state Controller John Chiang at Mr. Topper’s retirement party in 2012. Photo: Courtesy Matthew Whitley

Plan to end veteran homelessness in Los Angeles sparks outrage (Connecting Vets)

Military Space-A travel is back after 2-year COVID-19 pause (Military Times)

🌈Gay Republicans supported anti-LGBTQ legislation. Now they’re surprised some of it is bad. (LGBTQ Nation)

🌈Gayborhoods are getting destroyed, San Francisco LGBTQ+ rights activist says (Los Angeles Times)

Nine respiratory cancers added to list of illnesses presumed caused by burn pit smoke (Military Times)

Soldiers burn trash in an old dumpster at Joint Security Station Adl in western Baghdad on Sept. 5, 2008. (Staff Sgt. Brock Jones/Army)

VA Will Provide Presumptive Disability Coverage to Vets with Respiratory Cancers (Government Executive)

Biden administration adds nine rare respiratory cancers with ties to burn pits to list of service-connected disabilities (CNN Politics)

VA establishes presumptive service connection for rare respiratory cancers for certain Veterans (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Statement by President Joe Biden on Keeping our Promise to Veterans Suffering from Toxic Environmental Exposures (The White House)

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