WYSO

Dayton VA Medical Center

www.mentalhealth.va.gov

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order that would extend mental health care to military service members transitioning out of the Armed Forces and back to civilian life. Miami Valley veterans advocates say connecting more struggling veterans with the mental health services they need could help reduce the growing risk of suicide among such veterans in the region.

Veteran's Health / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials at the Dayton VA Medical Center are launching a new effort to prevent veteran suicides.

 VA officials signed a pledge Thursday committing to a plan to help reduce suicides. Officials will organize a "buddy system" to identify at-risk veterans using predictive modeling while expanding suicide prevention training. The new initiative also includes partnerships with community organizations.

Organizers say the annual symposium at Sinclair Community College give numerous veterans, health, and even law enforcement groups the chance to “better address the mental health care needs of veterans and their families.”

“We have national, state and local speakers that are deeply connected with veterans that might be also experiencing addictions that we’ll be addressing during this summit,” says Jodi Long, director of treatment and supportive services at Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS).

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald has announced that Dayton will be home to the VA national Archives at the VA Medical Center.

Ohio’s U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown was behind that effort, which he says began long ago.

Jerry Kenney

A medical foster care program for veterans is growing here in the Miami Valley. This year there were 120 VA’s participating. That means 900 Veterans found homes around the country.

One VA foster care site in Springfield, Ohio is the home of Alan Hansbarger. He was born in Canton, Ohio in 1923. A year later he moved to the western edge of the state, where he grew up with his mom and his older brother.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has requested Veterans Affairs police be designated as law enforcement officers with authority beyond VA property, citing an Ohio case in which a shooter fled a medical center.

Ohio's Democratic senator asked VA Secretary Robert McDonald for the change in a letter Thursday. Brown says VA police currently don't have authority to pursue immediate threats beyond VA property and that could hinder their ability to respond.

A federal audit shows that five Veterans Affairs medical facilities in Ohio scheduled most of their patients for appointments within 30 days, and two of those sites have been flagged for further review.

The VA says more than 57,000 patients nationwide have been waiting three months or more for initial medical appointments at VA hospitals and clinics.

The Veteran’s Administration is at the center of a growing scandal encompassing some 26 VA Hospitals –  that have been found to have excessively long waiting lists for healthcare. Several states are accused of doctoring those waiting lists to make it look like vets were getting care faster than they were, and some families of vets are saying the situation has resulted in the deaths of their loved ones. A recent investigation by the Dayton Dayton Daily News and Cox Media detailed the situation in Ohio.  WYSO’s Jerry Kenney spoke Josh Sweigart, the reporter largely behind that report.

Authorities are trying to determine what led to a shooting at a Veterans Affairs hospital that ended with a housekeeping employee shot in the ankle and a retired worker in custody.

Police say 61-year-old Paul Burnside was shot Monday in a struggle over a gun with 59-year-old Neil Moore. They say the revolver went off as the two fought over it in an employee break room.

Authorities say Moore was taken into custody at another hospital where he was seeking psychiatric treatment.

Update at 3:00pm: One person was injured in a shooting at the Dayton VA Medical Center earlier today, and a suspect is in custody, according to the Dayton Police Department. The shooting took place around noon in the basement of the the VA Clinic and the VA has been on lockdown since just after police were alerted around 12:15pm.

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