In most cases, when an employer pays a signing bonus to attract new workers, that payment is understood to be essentially unrecoverable. But the Pentagon has a different understanding — and it's ordering the California National Guard to claw back thousands of dollars paid to soldiers who reenlisted to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There's growing evidence that a physical injury to the brain can make people susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Patricia Murphy

The Department of Education is partnering with education nonprofits to help answer questions from students affected by the abrupt shutdown of ITT Technical Institute.

The 40,000 former students will have to find new schools if they want to pursue their education. But for the more than 6,000 of those ITT students who were veterans, the problems can be much more complicated.

An analysis of veterans suicides by the Department of Veterans Affairs sheds new light on high-risk groups of veterans.

The report, billed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, examined completed suicides between 2001 and 2014.

John Zimmerman, a nurse anesthetist for the Veterans Administration in Minneapolis, leans over a patient. Under a proposed rule, nurse anesthetists would be allowed to work independently rather than under a physician's close supervision.
Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists

Nurses may soon do work doctors normally do at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This includes nurses performing work that anesthesiologists have been doing – and that has some physicians irate.

Local Veterans Affairs officials met with reporters this week to talk about some of the steps they're taking to improve accessibility and quality of care for veterans. 

One of the Seattle VA's new initiatives is to help veterans deal with chronic pain -- a problem that can often lead to opiate dependence and addiction. Another critical initiative addresses the 11 percent growth in VA Puget Sound's patient load. 

The end is near for a veteran-owned medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Olympia. It’s a casualty of the state merging recreational and medical marijuana.

Marine veteran Jack Kegley and UW Assistant Professor Jeremy Watson enjoy the new healing garden built by UW students.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

A dull empty space outside Puget Sound VA’s emergency room has been transformed into a serene space for sitting.

When clinical psychiatrist Cher Morrow-Bradley and other health care providers call the Veterans Choice program, they are greeted with a recorded, 90-second "thank you" from Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald.

It's not having the intended effect.

"Why don't you make this easier? The process is so cumbersome, and I have to listen to you thanking me for spending all this time and then I get put on hold," says Morrow-Bradley, adding that she hasn't figured out how to skip the message.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday it will subsidize more housing for homeless veterans in Oregon and Washington.

The department is giving housing agencies in the states an additional $2 million, which it said will provide housing vouchers for nearly 300 more veterans in the Northwest.

According to HUD, the agency already provides vouchers for some 4,000 homeless veterans in the two states.

Lee Jones, a spokesman for HUD, said homeless veterans are referred to housing agencies by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

At least $1.9 million of the donations to veterans groups that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reported on Tuesday came in last week, after Trump began responding to intense media scrutiny of his earlier claims about raising in excess of $6 million for veterans. Trump said on Tuesday that his efforts raised a total of $5.6 million.

Many veterans are still waiting to see a doctor.

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

Families of service members missing in action gather at the Bellevue Marriott to hear how the Department of Defense is trying to match them with recovered remains.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

On a recent Saturday, the mood at the Marriott in Bellevue was lively considering the reason that people gathered there. From 7:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening, families packed into a ballroom to be briefed on what the federal government is doing to recover the remains of their loved ones.  

The fix is broken.

Two years ago Congress created the Veterans Choice Program after scandals revealed that some veterans were waiting months to get essential medical care. The $10 billion program was designed to get veterans care quickly by letting them choose a doctor outside the VA system. Now Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing through new legislation to fix the program.