Arkansas Veterans

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named a new leader for the Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs.

The governor said Friday that he's appointed retired U.S. Army Col. Nathaniel Todd to serve as the agency's director. Todd will replace former director Matt Snead, who is resigning.

Todd now serves as chief financial officer of the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System. He's previously worked as director of health financial policy for the U.S. Army Surgeon General and as chief financial officer for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

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.

Central Arkansas Library System / cals.lib.ar.us

The National Endowment for the Humanities is awarding a $99,772 grant to the Central Arkansas Library System for a two-year project involving veterans. Fiction and Fact: a War Dialogue with Veterans is to begin this fall. Arkansas Literary Festival director Brad Mooy says the program will recruit about 45 veterans to participate in discussions on books and media that delve into issues of war and military service.

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.

Veterans Day
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas veterans were recognized by dignitaries in a North Little Rock ceremony Wednesday. The event came as the state Department of Veteran's Affairs begins instituting policy reforms.

 

The 106th Army Band and local Color Guards kicked off the ceremony. Active and former members of the military and their families heard from Governor Asa Hutchinson and others thanking them for their service.

 

“Not all receive medals, not all are recognized, but all deserve the honor of those who serve our country,” Hutchinson said.

 

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.

Walmart plans to hire a quarter of a million eligible U.S. military veterans by the end of 2020, building upon an initiative the company started two years ago.

Jacqueline Froelich of KUAF talks with a recently hired vet at a distribution center near HQ, as well as Retired Brigadier General Gary Profit, Walmart’s senior director of military programs.

 

 

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.

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