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By JULIE SCHARPER and JULIE SCHARPER,SUN REPORTER | June 19, 2006
Eighteen months after she enlisted in the Army, Wanda Porter fell from a 50-foot tower, shattering her feet and ending her military career. Today, after three surgeries, a year in a veterans hospital, a failed marriage, bouts of depression and 17 years of therapy, Porter is taking classes at Baltimore County Community College and planning to complete a degree in psychology. She credits Veterans Affairs with helping her recover and was eager to attend a networking fair especially for women veterans at the Baltimore VA Medical Center on Saturday.
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NEWS
By Jules Witcover | September 1, 2014
Addressing the annual American Legion convention in Charlotte last week, President Obama sugar-coated his defense of selective use of military force by reciting what's been done to cope with the Department of Veterans Affairs' failures to deliver promised benefits to returning troops. To only mild applause, the president cited efforts to deal with the backup of claims at various VA facilities around the county, a beefing up of mental illness care, access to more non-VA doctors, greater efforts to reduce veterans' homelessness and easing transition to civilian life.
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NEWS
By MATTHEW DOLAN and MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER | May 23, 2006
Personal information about tens of millions of veterans might have fallen into criminal hands when someone stole the electronic data stored at the Maryland home of a federal government employee, officials announced yesterday. The burglary earlier this month could mark one of the largest thefts of data that can be used to steal someone's identity, electronic privacy experts said. The missing information contained names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses.
SPORTS
August 22, 2014
I've been wanting to write a thank-you note to the Veterans Health Administration. My father is a veteran and has macular degeneration he has been treated at the VA for over five years. Without all the care, he would be blind by now. So my blue-eyed dad still can drive and take care of his lawn and flowers and he also volunteers at the VA and drives other veterans to their doctors appointments. With all the negative talk about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, I believe there are millions out there who are thanking the VA for the care that they receive.
HEALTH
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | February 5, 2012
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for a few good men and women to volunteer for a battle it's waging at home — against disease. Actually, more than a few are needed. Officials overseeing health care for the nation's veterans are undertaking what may be the largest effort of its kind in the nation, to collect medical records and blood samples from a million former service members for a bank of genetic information. The idea is to give researchers enough DNA and other data to link specific genes to mental and physical maladies, from post-traumatic stress disorder to heart disease, and eventually develop new preventive measures or treatments.
NEWS
December 9, 2008
Maryland veterans who have been forced to travel long distances and wait for care at heavily used Veterans Affairs medical facilities in the state are going to get some relief. The department is planning two new outpatient clinics here - one at Fort Meade and another in northern Montgomery County. The Montgomery clinic will serve more than 4,000 veterans, while the Fort Meade facility will assist 2,500 who otherwise might have to travel to Baltimore, Perry Point or Washington for primary care, mental health services and other medical specialties.
SPORTS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2014
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it has awarded $5.2 million in homeless prevention grants to six Maryland-based nonprofit organizations. The grants are intended to help 925 homeless and at-risk veterans in the state with outreach, case management and assistance obtaining VA benefits. Surveys indicate there about 300 homeless veterans in Baltimore. The number has remained steady since at least 2009.
NEWS
By Dan Rodricks, The Baltimore Sun | September 28, 2013
The U.S. National World War II Memorial opened on the Mall in Washington in 2004 - too late for most of the war's veterans. At the time of the memorial's dedication, it was estimated that only a quarter of the 16 million Americans who served in the war were still alive. Today, 68 years after the war's end, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 600 World War II veterans die each day. Which is why three Southwest Airlines chartered flights, bearing 200 veterans from New England and New York, arrived at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport early Saturday.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Shortages of beds, doctors and nurses in the Baltimore VA Medical Center's emergency room resulted in nearly half of a sample of patients spending more than 6 hours at the facility, including one who waited more than 24 hours, according to a critical inspection report released this month. In that case, a 59-year-old woman who reported a racing and pounding heartbeat waited 24 hours, 8 minutes before being admitted to a unit where her heartbeat could be continuously monitored. In another example, a 52-year-old man with schizophrenia who expressed desires to kill himself or others waited 22 hours until he was transferred to a non-VA hospital for treatment.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2014
An employee at the Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs inappropriately stored thousands of documents - including some that contained Social Security data - according to testimony from an inspector general to be made public on Monday. About 8,000 documents, including claims folders, unprocessed mail and Social Security information of dead or incarcerated veterans were stored in an employee's office for "an extensive period of time," according to testimony from Linda A. Halliday, an assistant inspector general, that was reviewed by The Baltimore Sun. The incident is one of several examples included in a scathing assessment of the department that Halliday will offer in a hearing Monday before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
SPORTS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2014
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it has awarded $5.2 million in homeless prevention grants to six Maryland-based nonprofit organizations. The grants are intended to help 925 homeless and at-risk veterans in the state with outreach, case management and assistance obtaining VA benefits. Surveys indicate there about 300 homeless veterans in Baltimore. The number has remained steady since at least 2009.
NEWS
August 3, 2014
What a message these so-called lawmakers are sending to government workers by authorizing billions of dollars more to the Department of Veterans Affairs ( "Veterans vent about poor VA medical care," July 29). The spending suggests it's OK to falsify government records and steal taxpayers' dollars in the form of bonuses because we will give you more money and, by the way, you may be fired or demoted but not prosecuted. J. Heming, Baltimore - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
SPORTS
By Nayana Davis, The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2014
A former high-ranking Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs official pleaded guilty to extortion Monday in federal court after falsely claiming about $1.4 million in government benefits over a 16-year period. David Clark, a 67-year-old Hydes resident, admitted fabricating documents and claims to secure federal benefits and state tax waivers for himself and at least 17 other veterans. He acknowledged making up records in his role as the deputy chief of claims for the state agency, including fake doctors' letters saying that claimants suffered from diabetes and documents listing false tours of Vietnam and awards such as Purple Hearts from 1995 until his retirement in 2011.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2014
An employee at the Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs inappropriately stored thousands of documents - including some that contained Social Security data - according to testimony from an inspector general to be made public on Monday. About 8,000 documents, including claims folders, unprocessed mail and Social Security information of dead or incarcerated veterans were stored in an employee's office for "an extensive period of time," according to testimony from Linda A. Halliday, an assistant inspector general, that was reviewed by The Baltimore Sun. The incident is one of several examples included in a scathing assessment of the department that Halliday will offer in a hearing Monday before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2014
The mishandling of thousands of documents at the Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs delayed payments in excess of $25,000 to some veterans, according to new details made public Monday by the department's inspector general. Agency auditors reported widespread problems with records management in Baltimore in a three-page memo released in advance of a congressional hearing Monday evening. In one incident, they said, an employee was seen last month carrying veterans' claims folders in suitcases back to the office from her home.
NEWS
Staff Reports, The Baltimore Sun | July 2, 2014
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday it has finalized a lease with Fort Howard Development LLC to build a “veteran-focused community” on a 94-acre site in the North Point area of Baltimore County. The site is the former home of the Fort Howard VA Medical Center, which closed in 2002. Officials said the lease clears the way for the developer to submit a proposal to Baltimore County government for review.  The VA signed an initial lease with Fort Howard Development in December 2011.
NEWS
By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2012
A decade after the Department of Veterans Affairs closed its hospital at Fort Howard, most of the buildings at the sprawling Baltimore County waterfront property are boarded up. A big rusty pole in front of the old facility has no flag. But there are plans to turn the site into a huge, mixed-use development for veterans and senior citizens. Nearby residents oppose the developer's proposal, but the Department of Veterans Affairs is moving forward with the project, which has the backing of elected officials.
NEWS
August 18, 2002
Jesse Brown 58, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who led the nation's second-largest Cabinet agency, died in Washington on Thursday after a long illness. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Brown liked to call himself the secretary "for" veterans affairs and said he had won several battles with Congress because "we hold the high moral ground." Mr. Brown suffered from lower motor neuron syndrome, which attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Mr. Brown enlisted in the Marines in 1963.
NEWS
June 26, 2014
The Sun has been covering the Department of Veterans Affairs fiasco for weeks ( "VA's acting chief tours Baltimore medical center," June 17). One idea to deal with the backlog of veterans who have been waiting for care at VA hospitals is to send them to private practitioners and pay the practitioners for their services. This would be nothing new: Veterans have always been able to access private practitioners, both specialists and internists, for their care. Unfortunately the VA system has not paid the private practitioners for services rendered.
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