Veterans Report - Week of July 28, 2014
VA Releases Latest Vet Access Data
The Department of Veterans Affairs has (http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2552) released the latest update of facility-level patient (http://www.va.gov/health/access-audit.asp) access data for July 17, 2014 on its (http://www.va.gov/health/access-audit.asp) VA Access Audit webpage. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has reached out to over 160,000 Veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics. VHA has also made over 543,000 referrals for Veterans to receive care in the private sector. In a recent hearing, Acting VA Secretary, Sloan D. Gibson, testified that VA needs approximately $17.6 billion in additional resources through FY 2017. A video of the hearing along with statements and testimony is available on the (http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings ... re07162014) U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs website.
Last of the Code Talkers Dies
The American Legion interviewed Chester Nez, last of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, ten days before he died. The interview with Chester Nez is available on the (http://www.legion.org/magazine/223487/last-code-talkers) American Legion website. The incredibly precise Navajo language was an ideal way to mask a code because only about thirty non-Navajos understood the language at all, and it did not appear in books. For more information on the Navajo Code Talkers, including instructional materials, visit the Navajo Code Talkers website at (http://navajocodetalkers.org/) http://navajocodetalkers.org, the (http://digital.library.okstate.edu/ency ... CO013.html) Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture website, the (http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq61-2.htm) Naval History and Heritage Command website, the (http://nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/) National Museum of the American Indian website, and the (https://www.facebook.com/Our.Navajo.Code.Talkers) Navajo Code Talkers Facebook page.
VA Addresses Data Integrity
The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced several actions the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is taking to ensure the integrity and accuracy of claims systems and processes. These include: (1) VA has directed a 100-percent facility and desk audit of mail and documentation at all 56 regional offices to ensure records proper control of claim mail and other benefit-related documents; (2) VBA will apply for ISO 9001 certification, which is considered the ultimate global benchmark for quality management; and (3) VA will also continue to provide publicly-available performance data on benefits through its Monday Morning Workload Reports every week at its Veterans Benefits Administration Reports website at (http://www.vba.va.gov/reports) www.vba.va.gov/reports. For more information about disability and other Veterans benefits, visit VA's eBenefits website at (http://www.ebenefits.va.gov/) www.ebenefits.va.gov.
Save Up to 66% in TRICARE Costs
The AMRA TRICARE Supplement saves money and time by covering doctor co-pays, (http://offers.military.com/i/tricare/in ... rvr0728.nl) prescriptions and more.
Sprint Committed to Hiring Veterans
You've faithfully served your country. Now serve with a winning team where hard work, integrity, strong commitment and teamwork are highly valued. Take the skills you learned while serving our nation and put them to work at Sprint. (http://www.military.com/jobs-in/employe ... =vr0728.nl) Read More.
$0 Down and No PMI with Your VA Loan
Now is the time to use your VA Loan. You don't have to pay PMI or have a large down payment. Plus you can get financing up to $417,000. (https://secure.military.com/leads/VALoa ... rvr0728.nl) Use your VA Loan Benefit today.
(http://www.military.com/money/va-loans?ESRC=mrvr0728.nl) Find out more about the VA Loan Benefit.
Legion Opens Crisis Center for Baltimore
The American Legion is sending a team of its experts to Baltimore in response to a recent Department of Veterans Affairs internal investigation that showed long wait times for veterans seeking treatment at the local VA medical center. A town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. On July 28 at American Legion Post 109 on 1610 Sulphur Spring Rd. In Arbutus, Md. The American Legion will also set up a Veterans Crisis Command Center at Post 109 from July 29-Aug. 1. Operating hours for the crisis center at Post 109 are noon to 8 p.m. On July 29, 8 a.m. To 4 p.m. On the 30th, 8 a.m. To 8 p.m. On the 31st, and 8 a.m. To noon on Aug. 1. Members of the Legion's national staff and others will be on hand to assist veterans and their families.
Consumer Protection for Servicemembers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 35 other federal, state government, and nonprofit organizations recently joined together to mark Military Consumer Protection Day (MCPD). Through various channels, MCPD highlighted free national and local consumer protection resources for servicemembers, military families, retirees and veterans. Many of these resources are available on the Military Consumer website at (http://www.military.ncpw.gov/) www.military.ncpw.gov. Holly Petraeus, assistant director for Servicemember Affairs with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, published a blog post highlighting the importance of MCPD. The blog post is available on the (https://www.military.ncpw.gov/blog/make-july-16-matter) Military Consumer website.
Acting VA Secretary Testifies
In recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson detailed key actions the Department of Veterans Affairs has taken to get Veterans off wait lists and into clinics. Gibson discussed six key priorities to begin restoring trust: (1) get Veterans off wait lists and into clinics; (2) fix systemic scheduling problems; (3) address cultural issues; (4) hold people accountable; (5) establish regular and ongoing disclosures of information; and (6) quantify the resources needed to consistently deliver timely, high-quality healthcare. A video of the hearing along with statements and testimony is available on the (http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings ... re07162014) U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs website.
Female Veterans Survey in Hawaii
The Hawaii Office of Veterans Services is surveying women veterans to determine how to better meet their needs. The state estimates there are about 14,000 female veterans living in Hawaii and wants to survey as many of them as possible. The survey is available at the Spark Matsunaga VA Medical Center on Oahu and veterans' services offices on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. The survey is also available on the (http://dod.hawaii.gov/ovs/hawaii-milita ... ns-survey/) State of Hawaii Office of Veterans Services website.
Veteran's Benefits Explained
In addition to the pensions and benefits to which you may be entitled because of both public and private employment, you may also be eligible for certain benefits based on your military service. (http://www.military.com/benefits/vetera ... =vr0728.nl) Read more about your veteran benefits.
Proposal to Reorganize TRICARE Fails
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a fiscal 2015 defense money bill that fully supports the Senate Armed Services Committee's rejection of the proposal to (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2 ... -overhaul/) consolidate TRICARE plans and raise fees. They also reject a $200 million hit to the annual subsidy for commissaries which could force some commissaries to cut hours of operation and a few even to close. However, the Senate appropriators have shaped a funding bill that supports efforts to cap military pay, BAH, and increase TRICARE medication co-pays.
(http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2 ... ain-steam/) Read Tom Philpott's Military Update for the complete story.
Special Raceway Deal at Pocono
Pocono Raceway proudly salutes our US Military Servicemen and Women. In recognition of your service to our country, a special ticket pricing is being extended as a benefit to Service members and their families. The special event is scheduled for GOBowling.Com 400 on August 1 -3, 2014. To access this benefit, login thorugh the (http://www.poconoraceway.com/military.html) Pocono Raceway website by clicking on the Troop ID Icon.
VA Outlines Fixes to Access Issues
Acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson recently outlined actions VA is taking now to address problems with access to VA health care: (1) the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has reached out to more than 160,000 veterans to get them off wait-lists and into clinics; (2) VHA facilities are adding more clinic hours, aggressively recruiting to fill physician vacancies, deploying mobile medical units, using temporary staffing resources, and expanding the use of private-sector care; (3) VA is moving rapidly to augment and improve its existing scheduling system; (4) directors will conduct monthly inspections, in person, of their clinics to assess the state of scheduling practices and to identify any related obstacles to timely care for veterans; (5) Gibson has directed a comprehensive external audit of scheduling practices across the entire VHA system; and (6) VHA has dispatched teams to provide direct assistance to facilities requiring the most improvement.
New VA Pain Killer Policy
A new Department of Veterans Affairs policy is making it more difficult for some veterans to obtain medicines for chronic pain that are potentially addictive. VA's new Opioid Safety Initiative requires VA doctors consider alternatives to pain medicines for their patients, including behavior modification, massage therapy, yoga and acupuncture, among other means. Some veterans have been able to switch to other VA medical centers where they were able to obtain their usual medications for chronic pain. A VA press release on the (https:/lintvwavy.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/document-va-press-release-on-pain-killer-policy.pdf) Opioid Safety Initiative is available in .PDF format.
VP Speaks at 115th VFW Convention
Vice-President Joseph Biden recently spoke before the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). A fact sheet related to Vice-President Biden's remarks is available on the (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-off ... veterans-f) White House website.
One Millionth Claim Processed
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has completed its one millionth disability claim in fiscal year 2014, and is on track to complete more than 1.3 million claims this year. VBA has reduced the claims backlog by more than 55 percent from its peak of 611,000 in March 2013 -- and Veterans with pending claims have been waiting, on average, 128 fewer days for a decision on their claim. At the same time, the accuracy of rating decisions continues to improve. VBA posts data on the disability claims backlog, the non-rating workload, and other publicly available data on our performance on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis through its reports on the Veterans Benefits Administration Reports website at (http://www.vba.va.gov/reports) www.vba.va.gov/reports. For more information about disability and other Veterans benefits, visit VA's eBenefits website at (http://www.ebenefits.va.gov) www.ebenefits.va.gov.
VA Secretary Addresses VFW Convention
Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, Sloan D. Gibson, recently spoke before the Veterans of Foreign Wars Annual Convention. Secretary Gibson's remarks are available on the (http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2588) VA website.
$50,000 Financial Protection Only $2.50 a Month
Protection for less. Get $50,000 Coverage from only $72.50 a month. (http://www.military.com/insurance/?lpid ... C=mrvr0728.) Could your family afford their lifestyle if something happened to you?
Army Tracking New Disease
The U.S. Army Public Health Command is responding rapidly to an emerging viral infection that is threatening the United States. The emergence of the chikungunya virus in the Caribbean makes it a disease of concern to the U.S. Mainland. Chikungunya is spread by two species of mosquitoes that are commonly found in the U.S. People should wear insect repellant with DEET and light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Other preventive measures include stopping mosquitoes from reproducing. If you are in one of the places where chikungunya is found, treat your clothing with permethrin using an aerosol can or IDA kit (Individual Dynamic Absorption Kit for uniforms). The IDA kit is only authorized for use on military uniforms not civilian clothing. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at (http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/) www.cdc.gov/chikungunya, the (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs327/en/) World Health Organization (WHO) website and the (http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option ... emid=40931) Pan American Health Organization website.
NCOA Career Expo Update
Each year the Non Commissioned Officers Association hosts a series of Career Expos nationwide, which serve all five branches and all ranks of the U.S. Military, including veterans. Upcoming events include (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-ncoa- ... 9462347135) Newport News, VA on July 29, (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-ncoa- ... 9462607915) Norfolk, VA on July 31, (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-ncoa- ... 9462682137) San Francisco, CA on August 5, and (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-ncoa- ... 9462780431) NAS Lemoore CA on August 7. Visit the (http://ncoacareerexpos.org/index.php/career-expos/) NCOA Career Expo website to receive a complete list of participating employers, view the schedule of upcoming events, and register for (http://ncoacareerexpos.org/index.php/career-expos/) NCOA Career Expos.
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