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News for the Enlisted Monday March 23, 2015
President Larry Hyland Requests Feedback From You
In the President's Message in the March 2015 issue of The Voice (p. 6), President Hyland discusses several options the board and staff are considering to contain the high cost of printing and mailing The Voice. One option discussed in the article is going to a semi-annual publication with a potential change to format and content, and continuing the other months with a portable document file (.pdf) format that can be downloaded and printed. Another option, further reducing costs, would be producing just the .pdf format for all issues. Please read the full article (click here) for complete details.
Before further discussion and refinement is pursued, President Hyland would like membership feedback, comments, etc. regarding publishing The Voice magazine two times a year (semi-annual) or elimination of the printed magazine altogether, prior to 20 April. You can email your thoughts on this matter to President Hyland at email@example.com
VA Reacts to Pressure; Changes How the Veterans’ Choice 40 Mile Rule Is Calculated
Twice As Many Veterans Will Be Eligible
Today the Department of Veterans Affairs bowed before Congressional and VSO pressure (including TREA President Hyland’s testimony last week) and changed their method of calculating the 40 mile distance required by the Veterans Choice Program from the nearest VA facility from a straight line (as the crow flies) to actual mileage driven.
The VA had been using a method that did not take into account whether there were mountains, lakes, cities, etc. between a veteran and the VA facility.
The Veterans Choice Program is part of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA) which was signed into law last August to try to correct the excessive waiting times for medical care that numerous veterans throughout the country were, and still are, facing. The Veterans’ Choice Program allows veterans who have been told by their local VA medical facility that it will be over 30 days before they can have an appointment or if they live over 40 miles from a VA facility.
The VA has put out a fact sheet on their new 40 mile rule. To find it please go to:
Numerous bills have already been proposed to require this change and a Senate hearing on this issue was previously scheduled for today. This change should approximately double the number of veterans who will be able to receive medical care from civilian doctors under the program. This should be a real help to many of you. More details will be in next week’s TREA Washington Update on Monday.
TREA President Testifies Before House and Senate VA Committees
Last Wednesday, TREA President Larry Hyland testified at a Joint Hearing of the House and Senate VA Committees on our veterans’ legislative goals for this year.
The Joint hearing was very well attended. Both Committee Chairmen Senator Isakson (R-GA) and Representative Miller (R-FL) and Ranking members Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Brown (D-FL) were there throughout the hearing. Senate Committee members Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Boozman (R-AR) as well as Representatives Coffman (R-CO), Walz (D-MN), Browley (D-CA), Abraham (R-LA),
Along with representatives of several fellow VSOs/MSOs President Hyland spoke of the VA’s need for continued oversight by Congress to guarantee transparency, improvements in health care wait times and qualities; correct and swift adjudication of initial service connected disability claims; a lessening of the appellate adjudication backlog and the swift and effective implementation of the new Veterans Choice Act.
All the witnesses and the members of Congress present at the hearing stated their belief that the 40 miles limit in the Veterans Choice Act should be calculated as driving times not as the bird flies (as is being done now.) And all participants said they would work for a change.
President Hyland was accompanied by several TREA Board of Director’s, including National Director Caroline Allen and National 2nd Vice President/Chaplain Garry Turks, The Senior Citizen’s League Board of Directors and the staff of TSCL and the Washington staff of TREA.
To hear the oral testimony and read the written please go to:
Congress has other important issues on its plate this week, as well, and we talk about them below.
House and Senate Committees Pass Controversial Budgets
HVAC Chairman Calls for Firings in VAMC Denver Fiasco
Recognition Important for Success
NEWS YOU CAN USE
ATTENTION THE ENLISTED ASSOCIATION MEMBERS
TREA: The Enlisted Association has just received information from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald regarding the VA's Choice Card.
Click Here for details.
All Veterans Eligible for VA Dental Coverage
The U. S. Government has authorized a national dental insurance program for Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs health care and individuals enrolled in VA's CHAMPVA program.
VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members enrolled in(CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance now. There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment. Complete an application on-line through either Delta Dental: www.deltadentalvadip.org, or
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