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thedrifter
09-23-02, 11:39 AM
Vietnam Veterans of America - September 20, 2002

Press Release
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee


Rockefeller Urges President To Withdraw Regulations Delaying Healthcare For Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC * Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, strongly urged President Bush today to revoke the newly implemented Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regulations that will create serious delays for hundreds of thousands of veterans who depend upon VA for healthcare. The administration’s changes will give special priority, regardless of medical need or urgency, to veterans who suffer from service-connected illnesses.

“There is no question in anybody’s mind that veterans who have service-connected medical problems should be getting the health care they need in a timely manner. However, this needs to be the case for every veteran who is seeking VA health care, regardless of whether or not their health issues are service-connected,” Rockefeller said.


Sempers,

Roger

thedrifter
09-23-02, 11:41 AM
Vietnam Veterans of America - September 20, 2002

Federal Register Notice
September 17, 2002

Department of Veterans Affairs

Priorities for Outpatient Medical Services and Inpatient Hospital
Care

Action: Interim final rule

SUMMARY: This document amends VA's medical regulations to establish
that in scheduling appointments for non-emergency outpatient medical
services and admissions for inpatient hospital care, VA will give
priority to veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50
percent or greater and veterans needing care for a service-connected
disability. The Veterans' Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 authorizes VA
to ensure that these two categories of veterans receive priority access
to this type of care. The intended effect of this interim final rule is
to carry out that authority.

DATES: Effective Date: September 17, 2002.
Comment Date: Comments must be received on or before November 18,
2002.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand-deliver written comments to: Director, Office
of Regulations Management (02D), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810
Vermont Ave., NW., Room 1154, Washington, DC 20420; or fax comments to
(202) 273-9289; or e-mail comments to OGCRegulations@mail.va.gov.
Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to ``RIN
2900-AL39.'' All comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulations Management, Room 1158, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Hertz, Office of Policy and
Planning (105D), at (202) 273-8934 or Roscoe Butler, Chief Policy &
Operations, Health Administration Service (10C3), at (202) 273-8302.
These individuals are in the Veterans Health Administration of the
Department of Veterans Affairs, and are located at 810 Vermont Avenue,
NW., Washington, DC 20420.


Sempers,

Roger

thedrifter
10-01-02, 06:27 AM
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 15:32:32 -0700
Subject: Program offers long-term health insurance

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2002) -- Service members
and federal employees who might need lengthy or even lifelong assistance
with daily living due to illness, injury or severe cognitive impairment now
have insurance to help pay for it.
Congress authorized the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program in
the Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization Act. Coverage begins for
those who sign up in October.
As the program's executive agent, the Office of Personnel Management
launched the insurance plan in March for federal employees, as well members
of the uniformed services.
Eligible individuals can enroll through Dec. 31.
Those eligible include active-duty members, retirees, reservists,
federal civilian employees, their spouses, parents, step-parents,
parents-in-law, and adult children.
The insurance is offered by John Hancock and MetLife and is
administered by Long Term Care Partners, a joint venture between the two
companies.
"I think it may be a very good deal," said Ann Pratcher, program
manager at the Community Service Financial Readiness Program in Fort
Benning, Ga. "I think (people) need to seriously consider a long-term care
plan as part of their total financial plan for their life," she said.
Pratcher added people should remember that Medicare and Tricare only
cover limited amounts of long-term care costs.
"Some people may look at their net worth and figure it is large
enough that they can pay for the care themselves," she said.
Elwin E. Gilchrist of the Office of Infantry Proponency at Fort
Benning plans to buy a policy.
"Most people are going to need long-term care in the future, and
with my long-term medical problems, it is definitely a fact I will need it,"
Gilchrist said.
Some of the plans that attracted Gilchrist include in-home care,
inflation protection, care coordination services for qualified relatives of
employees and waiver of premium while receiving benefits, he said.
In addition, the program features group premiums, coverage for
informal health care provided by friends or family members, international
benefits and it is guaranteed renewable, officials said.
For more information, call (800) LTC-FEDS or visit www.LTCFEDS.com
(Editor's note: Information compiled from a Secretary of Defense
memo and a story by Sgt. William A. Graves of the Fort Benning Bayonet.)

thedrifter
10-01-02, 06:29 AM
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 16:16:39 -0700
Subject: [HEALTH-INFO] DoD/VA Pilot Program Tests Delivery of Prescription Refills for TRICARE Beneficiaries

DoD/VA Pilot Program Tests Delivery of Prescription Refills for TRICARE
Beneficiaries
September 24, 2002
No. 02-24


The Department of Defense (DoD) Military Health System and Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) have joined forces to provide TRICARE beneficiaries with a
new pharmacy benefit that delivers prescription refills by mail.

The DoD/VA MTF Refill Mail Service (MRMS), a joint initiative with the VA's
Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) program, is ramping up at three
sites - Darnall Army Community Hospital, Fort Hood, Texas; the Naval Medical
Center, San Diego, Calif.; and the 377th Medical Group, Kirtland Air Force Base,
N.M. The one-year pilot program is expected to be fully operational at the three
demonstration test sites beginning October 2002.

To use the MRMS, beneficiaries must fill their original military or civilian
prescription at one of the above military treatment facilities (MTFs) first,"
said Army Col. Bill Davies, director, DoD pharmacy programs. "In most cases,
beneficiaries at these sites will not have to leave their homes just to refill a
prescription. All they have to do is pick up the phone, call the pharmacy that
has their original prescription, select the refill by mail option, and CMOP does
the rest," Davies said.

Most prescriptions can be delivered within five to eight days. There are,
however, some medications (such as controlled substances or locally compounded
items) that may not be available for delivery through CMOP. The refill call-in
system at each of three demonstration sites, will inform the beneficiary if
their medication is available for mail out under the MRMS pilot program. To
eliminate delays processing or delivering refill medications, beneficiaries
should check with their MTF to ensure their eligibility status and home address
listed in the MTF's Composite Health Care System (CHCS) electronic record are
the same as the information listed in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting
System (DEERS).

"The VA has more than 40 years of success providing eligible military veterans
refills of prescription medications by mail," said John Ogden, chief consultant,
VA pharmacy benefits management group. "The pilot program will test the impact
of DoD shifting some of its pharmacy refill workload to various regional CMOP
pharmacies operated by the VA," Ogden said.

The MRMS/CMOP is different from the DoD National Mail Order Pharmacy (NMOP)
program which dispenses prescription medications to TRICARE beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries using NMOP pay a copayment for each prescription filled. The
DoD/VA CMOP does not require copayments and only involves MTF refills.

"CMOP is an excellent example of two government agencies working together to
provide high quality, cost-effective health care for its beneficiaries. If
successful, the pilot program may lead to future expansion to TRICARE
beneficiaries worldwide," Davies said.

The telephone numbers for the refill pharmacies at the demonstration sites are
as follows: Darnall Army Community Hospital, Fort Hood Texas, (800) 351-3636 or
(254) 288-8911; the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, Calif., 619-532-8414; and
the 377th Medical Group, Kirtland AFB, N.M., (505) 846-5770 or (800) 752-7990
(This toll-free refill line accepts calls from the state of New Mexico only).

==============
SOURCE: TRICARE News Release, http://www.tricare.osd.mil/

thedrifter
10-03-02, 07:07 AM
From: "Teresa Morris" <tmorris@vfwdc.org>
Date: 2002/10/02 Wed PM 04:18:55 EDT
To: cmdrdon@bellsouth.net
Subject: Support Guaranteed Funding For VA Healthcare



ACTION CORPS LEGISLATIVE ALERT:
SUPPORT GUARANTEED FUNDING FOR VA HEALTHCARE

In a show of unity and strength, VFW National Legislative Committee
members
stormed Capitol Hill last week to lobby in support of legislation
introduced in
both the House and Senate, HR 5250 and its Senate companion bill S
2903, the
Veterans Health Care Funding Guarantee Act of 2002. This legislation
would
guarantee funding for the VA health care system by tying funding levels
to
medical inflation and the number of veterans using the system each
year.

Doubling the legislations' original tally, the committee's lobbying
efforts
resulted in 71 co-sponsors for the House bill. The list of co-sponsors
as of
October 2 is attached at the end of this message.


IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED:

It is essential that you immediately contact those Representatives not
signed
on to the bill and urge them to support HR 5250. It is also very
important to
thank those pro-veteran members already listed as a supporter.

Let them know that the VFW, along with the American Legion and Disabled
American Veterans, has formed a partnership in strong support of this
concept.

This legislation would guarantee veterans continued access to VA
healthcare and
end the annual appropriations battle. It would provide all veterans
timely
access to the system and to the full range of health care services they
have
earned through their service in defense of this nation. At this time
over
300,000 veterans cannot gain access to the system. This is a national
disaster.

The Veterans Health Care Funding Guarantee Act addresses VFW resolution
674,
which was approved at the 2002 National Convention in Nashville. To
read the
resolution, visit:
http://www.vfwdc.org/nls/res674.htm

The quickest way to contact your legislator is to call their local
district
offices. That information, along with their DC contact information can
be
found on our website:
http://vocusgr.vocus.com/vfw/webpub/vfw/LegislatorQuery.asp?XSL=LegislatorQuery

You can also find their District Office Phone Numbers in your local
phone book.


More information on the bill can be found at:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.05250:

CURRENT COSPONSORS ARE:

Robert Andrews D-NJ-01
John Baldacci D-ME-02
Tammy Baldwin D-WI-02
John Boozman R-AR-03
Corrine Brown D-FL-03
Henry Brown R-SC-01
Brad Carson D-OK-02
Julia Carson D-IN-10
Jerry Costello D-IL-12
Elijah Cummings D-MD-07
Jo Ann Davis R-VA-01
Peter DeFazio D-OR-04
Michael Doyle D-PA-18
Chet Edwards D-TX-11
Lane Evans D-IL-17
Bob Filner D-CA-50
J. Forbes R-VA-04
Barney Frank D-MA-04
Martin Frost D-TX-24
Jim Gibbons R-NV-02
Bart Gordon D-TN-06
Lindsey Graham R-SC-03
Gene Green D-TX-29
Luis Gutierrez D-IL-04
Alcee Hastings D-FL-23
Joel Hefley R-CO-05
Joseph Hoeffel D-PA-13
Tim Holden D-PA-06
Rush Holt D-NJ-12
Darlene Hooley D-OR-05
Walter Jones R-NC-03
Paul Kanjorski D-PA-11
Sue Kelly R-NY-19
Patrick Kennedy D-RI-01
Ray LaHood R-IL-18
Rick Larsen D-WA-02
John Larson D-CT-01
Steven LaTourette R-OH-19
Barbara Lee D-CA-09
Frank LoBiondo R-NJ-02
Zoe Lofgren D-CA-16
Stephen Lynch D-MA-09
James McGovern D-MA-03
Mike McIntyre D-NC-07
Michael McNulty D-NY-21
John Mica R-FL-07
Juanita Millender-McDonald D-CA-37
Jeff Miller R-FL-01
Richard Neal D-MA-02
Charlie Norwood R-GA-10
Frank Pallone D-NJ-06
Bill Pascrell D-NJ-08
Collin Peterson D-MN-07
Charles Pickering R-MS-03
Todd Platts R-PA-19
Nick Rahall D-WV-03
Jim Ramstad R-MN-03
Charles Rangel D-NY-15
Ciro Rodriguez D-TX-28
Bernard Sanders I-VT-AL
Max Sandlin D-TX-01
Jim Saxton R-NJ-03
Ronnie Shows D-MS-04
Robert Simmons R-CT-02
Adam Smith D-WA-09
Christopher Smith R-NJ-04
Bart Stupak D-MI-01
John Thune R-SD-AL
Karen Thurman D-FL-05
Ed Whitfield R-KY-01
Lynn Woolsey D-CA-06

For the most current list, visit:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:HR05250:@@@P