"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
President George Washington
Pending law could help vets get treatment at the VA for toxic exposure:
As reported August 6 by Rose L. Thayer for Stars and Stripes, a bill now attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 requires the medical records of service members to include whether they were exposed to toxic materials in an effort to ease access to disability compensation and treatment at the VA.Lawmakers are reconciling the two versions of the annual legislation into a final version, and it is expected to move forward following their August recess. Known as the Occupational and Environmental TransparencyHealth Act, or OATH Act, the bill stands to impact all service members as toxic exposure can happen at home or while serving on deploymentpe your paragraph here.
VA releases launchpad app to streamline health care access for Veterans and caregivers:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently launched a new mobile application designed to save Veterans and their caregivers time online. VA Launchpad for Veterans simplifies and organizes several existing tools and resources into one convenient location to help manage health care needs. VA Launchpad arranges all of VA’s apps into five categories for Veterans: health management, health care team communication, vital health information sharing, mental health improvement and quality of life improvement. The new app enables Veterans to access all the features with a single secure login. The app also includes many mental health care and personal improvement tools for individuals who are not enrolled in VA health care services. These tools are free and do not require secure logins to use.
VA Mission Act update - 5,000 urgent care providers on board – 2000 More to Go:
The region IV legal issue has been resolved and Tri-West will continue to be our 3rd party provider
Now that all court events are settled, region 4 can start implementation of Mission Act. The Department of Veterans Affairs has built a nationwide network of walk-in community providers for urgent care of minor ailments such as colds, strep throat or sprained ankles. It's now looking to recruit more clinics to plug gaps in coverage. As of this week, the new urgent care system has more than 5,000 participating local providers brought on board by the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and the VA wants 2,000 more, Dr. Kameron Matthews, the VA's deputy undersecretary of Health for Community Care, said in an interview Wednesday."Urgent care, of course, is not available in all markets," she said, explaining that TriWest is currently aiming at coverage for about 90 percent of eligible veterans. Even when the system is fully in place, "We can't guarantee that in 100% of the cases that there will be a provider available within a 30-minute drive time," one of the standards for private care eligibility under the Mission Act, Matthews said. She stressed that the new benefit is for minor illnesses and injuries, "but if they need a higher level of care, they would be referred to an emergency room" with the cost covered by the VA. More information on the urgent care system, eligibility and rules can be found here. As with most VA programs, there is an array of rules and regulations on access, eligibility and co-pays, including: · To be eligible for urgent care, the veteran must be enrolled in VA health care and have received care through the VA within the last 24 months. Family members are ineligible. · The urgent care provider must be part of the VA's contracted network of community health care providers, or the veteran may have to pay the full cost of care. The VA won't pay for preventive or dental services
VA Reserve/Guard Benefits ► H.R.4183 | Identifying Barriers and Best Practices Study Act
Some veterans may also be embarrassed to be forthright about those injuries, or trivialize them, only to become disabled for the rest of their lives, which hurts their ability to have a normal job and perform daily tasks, Khanna said. "These folks make the highest sacrifices for our country and we need to make sure we look after them and their wellbeing and not just if they're shot in battle or have some dramatic injury," he said. The Identifying Barriers and Best Practices Study Act filed by Khanna orders the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct a three-year study of disability and pension benefits provided to veterans who served in special missions, such as pilots and divers, and those who served on reserve components of the Armed Forces on active duty. Guard and reservists report that service-connected injuries are not always properly documented by medical staff due to the nature of service and the tempo of the work required during that shortened time of service, Khanna said, which can lead to difficulty getting disability benefits. "I hope this study will help us learn more about the nature of infirmities or incapacities suffered while these brave men and women served. We must resolve to do everything we can to make sure they are taken care of and have the benefits they earned." Khanna said he and his partners are "confident it's going to pass the House and hopefully the Senate" and he believes the bill will see markup before Thanksgiving, and hopefully a vote in both chambers before the end of the session. He credited the growing number of veterans in Congress -- especially women vets -- with the movement of multiple pieces of veterans legislation so far this session. "They have elevated the topic of how we should be caring for our veterans -- the healthcare needs and mental wellbeing needs," he said. The bipartisan legislation already has the support of several VSOs, Khanna said, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association and Disabled Veterans of America.
American Legion - S.504/H.R.1641 LEGION Act Signed Into Law
In a significant legislative victory for The American Legion, President Trump signed a bill 30 JUL that declares the United States has been in a state of war since Dec. 7, 1941. The American Legion sought the declaration as a way to honor approximately 1,600 U.S. servicemembers who were killed or wounded during previously undeclared periods of war. The LEGION Act (Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act) also opens the door for approximately 6 million veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible.
VA Suicide Prevention - H.R.100 | Vet Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and was among the first bills he introduced this session, saying the bill was intended to "study the link between addictive opioids and the alarmingly high rate of suicides among veterans." About 20 veterans die by suicide daily, according to VA data, and many of them are not actively receiving 41 care at VA. A few of those 20 per day are not eligible for VA care, officials say. The study would examine all veteran deaths by suicide in the past five years, including: the total number of veterans who died by suicide, the number who died "a violent death," the number of veterans who died accidental deaths and more.
GI Bill - H.R.4162 | GI Bill Planning Act of 2019
Representatives Jack Bergman (R-MI) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 4162, GI Bill Planning Act of 2019 to save military enlistees hundreds of dollars and streamline Veterans' education benefits for the future. Today, a small and further declining number of student Veterans use the 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) to earn a degree. A 97% majority instead choose the newer, more effective Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, about 70% of military recruits still make the decision to keep their MGIB eligibility and pay a mandatory $1,200 for this benefit which they will likely never use. The GI Bill Planning Act would give enlistees six months - instead of just two weeks - to decide whether to pay the $1200 or opt out of their MGIB benefit. Additionally, the bill responsibly ends new enlistee enrollments in the outdated MGIB by October 2029. "Military basic training is a grueling ordeal meant to mold our nation’s finest. But it doesn’t make sense for these fatigued recruits to immediately be asked to make a consequential, expensive decision about using their future education benefits. By delaying this decision 6 months, my new legislation will give enlistees the ability to make an informed choice and plan for the future." said Representative Bergman
Vet earnings - study reveals higher than non-vets receive:
A new study conducted by the University of Akron looked to see if there was a difference between wages earned by military veterans compared with non-veterans. The study found that military veterans earned higher wages, averaging nearly $26 an hour while non-veterans averaged just $21 an hour. The study, titled “The veteran wage differential,” looked at average wages of military veterans and non-veterans across the U.S. between 2005 and 2015. It was conducted by two University of Akron professors, Dr. Francesco Renna and Dr. Amanda Weinstein. “Many people are surprised when I show them that veterans tend to have higher wages than non-veterans," They associated the higher wages veterans earn to a number of factors, including the fact that veterans have higher levels of work experience, are often older and more likely to be married and have children. Other factors may be the veterans population tends to choose to enter occupations and industries that require more education and higher skill sets, like engineering, health care and government, according to the study. The third main set of factors the study attributed to the higher wages were skills veterans gain in the military that set them up for success in the civilian world, such as greater cognitive and people skills.
VA Emergency Care update - $53 million in claims wrongfully denied
The Department of Veterans Affairs wrongfully rejected thousands of emergency-care claims during a five-month period, sticking an “undue financial burden” worth millions of dollars on some veterans, a federal watchdog agency reported 6 AUG. The VA Office of Inspector General released findings that VA supervisors’ pressured staff to quickly decide claims and some staff members said they were encouraged to deny claims to maximize productivity. The culture, which “created systemic pressure to favor speed over accuracy,” led to staff incorrectly rejecting 31% of veterans’ emergency care claims from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2017.