Tonight, the VA hospital in Providence will hold a town hall meeting for veterans, their family, and the public. VAs around the country were directed to hold such public meetings by the end of this month. The aim: to regain trust after a widespread scheduling scandal.
Several veteran-related bills made it through the General Assembly and are on their way to the governor’s desk. One of those bills gives disabled veterans waivers for classes at state colleges and universities.
Another bill lets honorably discharged veterans and National Guard reservists transfer skills they’ve learned during their service to fulfill requirements for trade apprenticeships.
Lawmakers also passed a resolution urging employers to give veterans who work for them time off on Veteran’s Day.
An audit released by the VA finds patients at the Providence VA Medical Center have some of the longest average waits in the nation to receive primary care. The Providence VA said that’s due to staff who retired and an increase in patients at its clinic in Hyannis, MA.
New patients receiving their first primary care appointments waited an average of about 74 days, according to the VA audit. Only seven other facilities across the country had longer waits.
Sen. Jack Reed is calling on Congress to address the systemic challenges plaguing the VA healthcare system.
Reed made the statement just hours after Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid a growing cover up of long wait times for healthcare. Reed said the next secretary needs to start the job with a top to bottom review of what’s causing the backlog.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has conducted audits of medical centers around the country after allegations emerged that some centers had concealed appointment wait times. The Providence VA was audited on Friday last week.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki ordered the audits to uncover any other scheduling problems or misconduct. Providence VA spokeswoman Leslie Pierson says auditors spent all day Friday interviewing staff about scheduling practices.
There were wreath-laying ceremonies and parades all over Rhode Island Monday in honor of Veterans Day. But perhaps none was more poignant than one in Pawtucket.
About 200 people gathered in Pawtucket’s Slater Park for the dedication of a granite monument in memory of Army Specialist Dennis Poulin. Poulin, a native of Pawtucket, died in Afghanistan two-and-a-half years ago as the result of a rollover accident. He was 26. His mother, Doris Poulin, said she’s overwhelmed by the honor bestowed on her son.
Rhode Island College has seen a nearly 60 percent increase in the number of veterans on campus since 2009.
RIC has taken steps to better serve veterans, including opening a Veterans’ Resource Center, which helps connect veterans to a wide variety of services, including federal and state tuition assistance.
The center also employs student veterans in work study positions and makes regular phone calls to veterans to see how they are doing. RIC says the calls are a way of checking in on student veterans, who may not visit the resource center but may still have questions.
A new report finds Rhode Island’s aging homeless population is growing rapidly. According to Crossroads Rhode Island, the number of aging homeless adults increased 34 percent between 2010 and 2012, whereas total homelessness increased only ten percent.
Terry Jones has been off the streets for six years but he still pinches himself over his good fortune. Jones, who’s 71-years-old, is a resident of the Harold Lewis House in West Warwick, a home providing single or twin occupancy rooms for disabled, aging homeless adults.