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Trump Pushes Help For Discharged Vets

Levittown Tribune - 1/24/2018

Executive Order to improve Mental Health Care for Recently Discharged Veterans: President Trump signed an executive order requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense and Homeland Security to develop and implement a joint action plan which would ensure transitioning service members have access to mental health care services. The White House announced that veterans who are three to 12 months out of military service are three times more likely to die from suicide than their active-duty counterparts, while those up to three months out of service were 2.5 times as likely, according to a study from the Naval Postgraduate School. One of the goals of the executive order is to provide eligibility for VA mental health care for all veterans who are within a year of their date of discharge. The VFW looks forward to working with the administration to ensure it reduces the rate of suicide in this vulnerable population, but also devotes more resources and personnel to suicide prevention so all eligible veterans can receive timely access to the mental health care they need and deserve.

Need Your Feedback on Recent Accountability and GI Bill Changes: Next week the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hold a hearing on the state of VA. The hearing will focus on VA's progress in implementing legislation that became law in 2017. The VFW would like your feedback on two of the important reforms passed into law this past year: The Forever GI Bill and the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. We are looking for member feedback related to notification and implementation of education reforms-what you know and how you found out about the latest GI Bill updates. Additionally, we want your voice to be heard regarding VA accountability and what new steps you have seen taken at your local VA facilities to ensure transparency and honesty among VA employees. The VFW's strongest asset is our members, and we cannot succeed without your powerful voice. Please send your feedback to vfwwac@vfw.org.

VA Revises Reimbursement Rules for Non-Service Connected ER Treatment: VA announced its revised regulations to pay and reimburse for non-VA emergency room treatment for non-service connected conditions. VA will begin to process the approximately 800,000 pending claims for reimbursement of reasonable costs that were put on hold after the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims found VA is legally required to pay certain hospital charges, professional fees and emergency transportation. While it will take VA several months to eliminate the backlog of claims, it informs the VFW that it plans to complete new claims within 45 days. Read more ( www.va.gov/CommunityCare/programs/veterans/Emergency_C). Speak to a customer service representative specifically about this issue, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the VA dedicated hotline at 877-466-7124.

VFW Attends Committee on Veterans' Affairs Roundtable: The House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a roundtable discussion with VA, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and veterans service organizations to discuss progress made toward taking VA healthcare has been listed on it since 2015. The High Risk List was established in 1990 and it has taken an average of nine years for agencies to be removed from it. Both VA and GAO agreed that since the hiring of staff to address the High Risk List from VA's perspective, communication has increased between the two agencies as well as efforts from VA to address the five areas of fulfillment necessary for removal-leadership commitment, capacity, an action plan, monitoring and demonstrated progress. Read GAO's report ( www.gao.gov/highrisk/managing_risks_ improving_va_health_care).

Veterans, Active Service Members and Civilians: So far winter is winter with its ups and downs in temperature and viruses but, we go on treading through it all. We also find time for parties, as the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce held their belated Christmas Party and installation of Officers at the Heritage Hall, at Bethpage Golf Course Club. The VFW also held their District 1 Commanders dinner on Jan. 21, 2018, at Verde caterer, in Westbury. A good time was had by all at both events.

 
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