Report: VA Spent $20M On Decorative Artwork During Height Of Wait-Time Scandal
The report, which focuses on the agency's expenditures from 2004-2014, has sparked fresh anger with lawmakers and advocates. In other news, Army Secretary Eric Fanning speaks about the importance of mental health treatment, and a veteran's family seeks answers about his death at a VA facility's inpatient drug rehabilitation unit.
ABC News: Report: VA Spent Millions On Costly Art As Veterans Waited For Care
A new report alleges that the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $20 million between 2004 and 2014 on costly artwork. The expenditures included more than $1 million for a courtyard with a large sculpture at a Palo Alto veterans facility; $330,000 for a glass-art installation; and $21,000 for an artificial Christmas tree, according to the report. (McLaughlin, 7/29)
The Associated Press: Army Secretary Touts Importance Of Mental Health
Army Secretary Eric Fanning says the Army is paying more attention to behavioral health and making sure anyone who's injured while defending the nation gets the treatment they need. The Army and other military branches are conducting research into how military deployment affects anger, and they are encouraging mental health treatment before deployment to mitigate the effects of anger after soldiers return, he said. (7/27)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Family Seeks Answers In Army Vet's Overdose Death
Last fall, Cole Schuler, a 26-year-old former U.S. Army Ranger from the Fox Valley, checked himself into the inpatient drug rehabilitation unit of the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs facility in Milwaukee. He was trying to kick an addiction to opioids. Instead, 11 days into his stay, he died of a heroin overdose at the center. ...The overdose is being investigated by the VA, local law enforcement and the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, according to a letter sent last month by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin to the top official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (Bekker, 7/28)