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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New behavioral health center for veterans dedicated

Spokane’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center dedicated its new 18,000-square-foot behavioral health center on Friday. The new facility on four floors will provide better quarters for helping veterans with mental health, addiction and social-service needs.

VA mental health delays ‘unacceptable’

Military veterans are waiting an average of 80 days to meet with a mental health care provider at the Spokane VA Medical Center, falling far short of the 14-day goal set by Veterans Affairs. The problems appear to be grounded in recurring staff shortages at VA medical centers across the country at a time when there’s an influx of men and women seeking help upon returning from foreign wars.

Company to add call center workers

A company that produces ads on the back of grocery store receipts will add 65 workers to its Spokane call center later this year. RTUI, based in Houston, already has 22 call center workers in Spokane at a new North Side location, at 4503 W. Wellesley Ave.

Company adds call center workers

A company that produces ads on the back of grocery store receipts will add 65 workers to its Spokane call center later this year.

VA limits surgeries at Spokane, other hospitals

The Veterans Affairs Department is limiting the types of surgeries performed at some of its hospitals, including in Spokane, following a systemwide review prompted by surgical deaths at its southern Illinois hospital.

Fewer veteran suicides reported

The number of suicides among veterans in the Spokane region dropped dramatically last year, according to newly released records. In response to a Spokesman-Review request for information, the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center reported nine suicides from July 2008 to July 2009, including three veterans who had contact with the medical center.

The ripple effect: Veteran defying the recession

Even in a recession, times are good for some people. Stacia Douglas is happy to be swimming against the current. Several months into a new job at Spokane’s VA Medical Center, Douglas is happy that she’s been able to buy a home and move out of the trailer where she had been living with her daughter. She’s feeling better about herself after getting counseling for issues that have dogged her for years, and has been able to expand the range of conveniences in her life – getting DirecTV instead of picking up broadcast channels, upgrading to high-speed Internet.

Build in care for veterans

Former Marine Chad Olson listed his favorite book on his MySpace page. It was called “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.” Last weekend Olson and his wife, Jessica Armstrong, both 21, died in his family home in Republic, Wash., each of a single gunshot wound.

Spokane VA will boost psychiatric staffing

Amid a revolt by its staff psychiatrists, the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center has begun expanding a behavioral health department strained by an increasing number of veterans seeking help.

Free meals offered at area schools

Local school districts have announced plans to host free summer meals for kids again this year. Schools and other locations serve lunch and breakfast during the week. The meals are open to all youths under age 18 and no registration or proof of income is required. Children do not need to live within a school district to eat meals there. Meals must be eaten on site.

Idaho man pleads guilty to fraud

A financial scandal hatched more than 30 years ago by a man who lied about being paralyzed ended this week with a guilty plea that could send him to prison for 20 years. James M. Sebero, 59, a former Bonner County sheriff’s deputy, defrauded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of more than $1.5 million in benefits after claiming to be a paraplegic after serving in the Air Force in the 1970s, according to indictments filed last year in Idaho and Eastern Washington federal courts.