Arkansas Veterans

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

While Labor Day traditionally celebrates the legacy of trade unions and the larger labor movement in the United States, some union members in Arkansas say they’re not being afforded proper protections by the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees’ National VA Council held a socially-distanced protest in North Little Rock on Monday calling for a new contract between workers and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

A new app from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows veterans to access information on healthcare news, VA health care locations and other functions.

Chris Durney is the public affairs officer for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. He says veterans who are traveling could use the MyVA Info app to find assistance in an unfamiliar place.

Sarah Kellogg / KUAR News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary praised Arkansas for its commitment to its veterans while choosing not to speak as much to non-VA matters, such as proposed federal cuts to non-VA programs and comments from a Republican U.S senator from Arkansas concerning service members.

During a visit to the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Little Rock Tuesday, Secretary Robert Wilkie discussed reorganization efforts within the VA. This includes the Mission Act, which changes how veterans can receive healthcare.

Fayetteville Veterans Administration Interim Medical Director Kelvin Parks fielding questions from many concerned veterans, family members and VA staff during the Monday town hall meeting.
Jacqueline Froelich / Arkansas Public Media

Veteran patients crowded into a town hall meeting Monday morning at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville demanding answers about a Department of Veterans Affairs pathologist recently fired for working while impaired.

The impaired pathologist has been identified by media as Dr. Robert Morris Levy of Fayetteville.

Officials previously admitted pathology reports Levy wrote were wrong. They again assured concerned veterans an external review is underway to determine just how many pathology reports are flawed.

Department of Veterans Affairs

The details surrounding the discovery of an impaired doctor at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks were made public Monday at a press conference .

At least one death appears to have resulted from the physician's behavior and thousands of patients might be at risk.

Three members of Arkansas's congressional delegation stood beside regional and federal officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

David Monteith / KUAR News

More arrests are anticipated after an event Tuesday at the state Capitol.

The Arkansas arm of the Poor People’s Campaign has organized a third week of protests, which will end in acts of civil disobedience. Organizer Toney Orr says the rally and arrests have been coordinated with Little Rock police.

“We always anticipate a number of people being arrested. To be honest with you, we really encourage it in a nonviolent way just to let people know that we’re willing to take that extra step to ensure that the message of the Poor People’s Campaign gets across,” Orr said.

Veterans Day In Arkansas Bolstered By New NLR Vets Home

Nov 11, 2016
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The grand opening of the Arkansas State Veterans Home in North Little Rock on Friday brought an added layer of significance to this Veterans Day. Hundreds of veterans, along with elected officials such as Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, participated in a ceremony to mark the opening of the $24 million, 31-acre veterans’ home site.

Gov.'s Radio Column: Serving Ark. Vets

Jan 9, 2016
Governor radio
Office of the Governor

 The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of Jan. 8, 2016:

On Wednesday I held a media availability in my office to talk about some of our state’s most pressing issues. In my opening remarks, I called special attention to the work being done for our veterans.

Arkansas' highest court says a lawsuit by a group of Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs employees who claim they weren't paid for meal breaks they were required to work shouldn't be a class-action case.

Representatives from the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System say they've hired more staff, streamlined services and decreased wait times for specialty care by an average of 12 days per patient.

System officials held a media round table Thursday with representatives of the Little Rock Veterans Affairs Regional Office to discuss how both agencies are working to improve access to health care and benefits for the region's veterans. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs has required facilities across the country to reduce veteran wait times for those services.

U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., and Congressman French Hill, R-Little Rock, sent a letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs urging an evaluation of the planning process for renewable energy programs.

Arkansas' VA medical centers and clinics fared slightly better than the national average when it comes to appointments completed within the 30-day federal timeliness goal.

The Associated Press examined waiting times at 940 VA hospitals and outpatient clinics during the period from Sept. 1 to Feb. 28 to gauge any changes since a scandal over delays led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. An average of 2.8 percent of appointments weren't completed within 30 days nationally, whereas the rate was 2.53 percent in Arkansas.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas health care provider are hoping a conversation they've started with staff members of U.S. Sen. John Boozman will help speed up the payment of thousands of outstanding reimbursement claims for medical care provided to military veterans.

Boozman's staff met Wednesday in North Little Rock with representatives of health care facilities, physician advocacy groups and veteran's liaisons to address what they say is a growing problem in Arkansas - that of unpaid medical bills of veterans.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is sending staff from his office to meet with Arkansas hospitals and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials to address claims of delayed reimbursements for the medical care that veterans receive.

Wednesday's meeting at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock brings together health care providers and VA officials from several states to address ways to speed up reimbursement claims.

The Republican lawmaker said Tuesday that the state's hospitals and medical providers are having problems being reimbursed by the VA after treating veterans.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Senator John Boozman is touting a $16.3 billion Veterans Affairs package signed into law this week as an important move toward resolving systemic problems uncovered in April. 

Boozman met with medical center officials at Little Rock’s John L. McLellan Memorial Veterans Hospital Friday. The Republican from Rogers says he’s confident the state’s VA hospitals in Little Rock and Fayetteville are performing well and that reforms will prove beneficial.