Recent VA News Releases

To view and download VA news release, please visit the following Internet address:

VA Announces $41 Million in Construction Contracts for San Antonio State-of-Art "Polytrauma Center" Funded

WASHINGTON (Feb. 26, 2010) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the award of two contracts totaling $41.5 million to create a "polytrauma center" that cares for the most severely injured Veterans and to improve the existing wards at the Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center.

"A top priority for VA is providing greater access to VA's health care system and higher quality of care for the nation's Veterans," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "America's Veterans have earned the very best that this nation as to offer."

One contract announced by Secretary Shinseki provides $37.2 million to Robins and Morton of Birmingham, Ala. The contract calls for construction of a three-story, 84,000-square foot "polytrauma center."

It would include physical medicine, rehabilitation services, prosthetics service and research.

"Polytrauma" refers to health care for Veterans who have more than one severe, life-threatening medical problem. Many of VA's polytrauma patients are recent combat Veterans injured by roadside bombs and other explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A second contract, valued at $4.3 million, went to Strategic Perspectives Development of San Antonio. It provides for upgrades and expansion to ward 4-A, including electrical work, utilities, fire alarm and fire protection systems, telephone and data systems, and asbestos abatement.

Last year, VA spent more than $7.8 billion in Texas on behalf of the state's 1.7 million Veterans. VA operates 11 major medical centers in the state, more than 40 outpatient clinics, 14 Vet Centers and six national cemeteries.

March 5, 2010

Ships Qualifying for Presumptive Agent Orange Exposure Listed


The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a list of Navy vessels from the Vietnam War era verified to have served in inland “brown water” regions. Sailors and officers who served on these vessels are presumed by the VA to have been exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. As such, if they become sick with any of the illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure, they would qualify for treatment at VA medical facilities. The list includes all vessels of Inshore Fire Support Division 93, all LST, LCVP, PCF (“swift boats”) and PBR during the Vietnam conflict.

Secretary Seeks Fast Track for New Agent Orange Claims
March 9 2010

Secretary Seeks Fast Track to Process Claims Focus on 200,000 Veterans Expected to File Claims under New Agent Orange Presumptives over Next Two Years

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2010) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today an aggressive new initiative to solicit private-sector input on a proposed "fast track" Veterans' claims process for service-connected presumptive illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.

"This will be a new way of doing business and a major step forward in how we process the presumptive claims we expect to receive over the next two years," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "With the latest, fastest, and most reliable technology, VA hopes to migrate the manual processing of these claims to an automated process that meets the needs of today's Veterans in a more timely manner."

Over the next two years, about 200,000 Veterans are expected to file disability compensation claims under an historic expansion of three new presumptive illnesses announced last year by Secretary Shinseki. They affect Veterans who have Parkinson's disease, ischemic heart disease and B-cell leukemias.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have one of the illnesses covered by the "presumption of service connection" don't have to prove an association between their medical problems and military service. This "presumption" makes it easier for Vietnam Veterans to access disability compensation benefits. Vietnam Veterans are encouraged to submit their claims as soon as possible to begin the important process of compensation.

Along with the publication of proposed regulations for the three new presumptives this spring, VA intends to publish a formal request in Federal Business Opportunities for private-sector corporations to propose automated solutions for the parts of the claims process that take the longest amount of time. VA believes these can be collected in a more streamlined and accurate way.

Development involves determining what additional information is needed to adjudicate the claim, such as military and private medical records and the scheduling of medical examinations.

With this new approach, VA expects to shorten the time it takes to gather evidence, which now takes on average over 90 days. Once the claim is fully developed and all pertinent information is gathered, VA will be able to more quickly decide the claim and process the award, if granted.

The contract is expected to be awarded in April with proposed solutions offered to VA within 90 days. Implementation of the solution is expected within 150 days.

"Veterans whose health was harmed during their military service are entitled to the best this nation has to offer," added Secretary Shinseki. "We are undertaking an unprecedented modernization of our claims process to ensure timely and accurate delivery of that commitment."

Last year, VA received more than one million claims for disability compensation and pension. VA provides compensation and pension benefits to over 3.8 million Veterans and beneficiaries. Presently, the basic monthly rate of compensation ranges from $123 to $2,673 to Veterans without any dependents.

Disability compensation is a non-taxable, monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.

For more information about disability compensation, go to

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services and programs for Veterans exposed are available at

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March 22nd 2010
The DAV Mobile Service Office will provide free professional assistance as follows:

March 22, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Disabled American Veterans
Gillespie County Chapter #167
4076 Highway 87 North
Fredericksburg, TX 78624

March 23, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Kerrville VA Medical Center
Memorial Boulevard
Kerrville, TX 78028

March 24, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Disabled American Veterans
Guadalupe County Chapter #61
425 Vaughn Street
Seguin, TX 78155

March 25, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Disabled American Veterans
Pearl Harbor Chapter #94
Harry O. Gibson Center
712 Forrest Street
Yoakum, TX 77995

Be sure to bring your claim number, Social Security number, and any other pertinent documentation.