There are noteworthy developments on a couple of veterans issues I have been writing about.
One is the disgraceful record of the Department of Veterans Affairs in handling disability claims. The VA announced today that to cut the backlog, it will make provisional rulings on the oldest claims, many more than a year old.
"Too many veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable," VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. "That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015. This initiative is the right thing to do now for veterans who have waited the longest."
Under the plan, eligible veterans will receive benefits sooner. They can also submit additional evidence for one year that could increase their benefits.
The delays are partly due to the increased number being filed by those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wait times have been particularly long at the VA office in Oakland, which handles claims from the Sacramento region.
The VA has promised to make improvements before, so we'll have to wait and see how much difference this change makes.
The other issue is how the VA is adapting to the rising number of female veterans.
On Monday, the VA Northern California Health Care System plans to open a new flagship women's health clinic in Mather.
The clinic will serve women from throughout the Sacramento region, where the use of VA medical services by female veterans is rising by 8.5 percent a year. It will offer primary care, mental health, social programs and more. It will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays at the Sacramento VA Medical Center.