VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dist. Four, Dept. of Oklahoma, PRO/Editor
New Regulation Decreases Cost of Outpatient Medication Copay for Most Veterans
Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its regulation on copayments for Veterans’ outpatient medications for non-service connected conditions. VA currently charges non-exempt Veterans either $8 or $9 for each 30-day or less supply of outpatient medication, and under current regulations, a calculation based on the medication of the Medical Consumer Price Index (CPI-P) would be used to determine the copayment amount in future years.
“Switching to a tiered system continues to keep outpatient medication costs low for Veterans,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Reducing their out-of-pocket costs encourages greater adherence to prescribed outpatient medications and reduces the risk of fragmented care that results when multiple pharmacies are used; another way that VA is providing better service to Veterans.”
This new regulation eliminates the formula used to calculate future rate increases and establishes three classes of outpatient medications identified as Tier 1, Preferred Generics; Tier 2, Non-Preferred Generics including over-the-counter medications; and Tier 3, Brand Name. Copayment amounts for each tier would be fixed and vary depending upon the class of outpatient medication in the tier.
These copayment amounts will be effective February 27, 2017:
$5 for a 30-day or less supply – Tier 1 outpatient medication
$8 for a 30-day or less supply – Tier 2 outpatient medication
$11 for a 30-day or less supply – Tier 3 outpatient medication
These changes apply to Veterans without a service-connected condition, or Veterans with a disability rated less than 50 percent who are receiving outpatient treatment for a non-service connected condition, and whose annual income exceeds the limit set by law. Medication copayments do not apply to former Prisoners of War, catastrophically disabled Veterans, or those covered by other exceptions as set by law.
Copayments stop each calendar year for Veterans in Priority Groups 2-8 once a $700 cap is reached.
McCurtain County VA Health Care Clinic News
December 15, 2016, we were supposed to hear about the McCurtain VA Clinic and who won the bid to staff the clinic and when would it be open to use. We, those interested in hearing and those who have pushed to obtain this VA Clinic, first heard that there was a town hall meeting. Then we heard the announcement would be in a press release issued by Markwayne Mullins’ office. So, with bated breaths many of us, myself included waited by our communication devices to obtain the news release.
Nothing came, no press release, no town hall meeting, nothing. Then I got a call from Eddy Dempsey, Markwayne Mullins’ representative for this area that due to some complications with the contract we would not know about the winner of the bid, where the clinic would be and when it would be open.
So now the date is January 20, 2017 when this information is supposed to be released. Note January 20, 2017 is the same date the President Elected is supposed to be sworn into office so while everyone attention will be on the parade, the swearing in and the speeches afterwards, we might also learn about the McCurtain County VA Clinic.
I, for one, have heard all this before. And after reading an article in the USA Today newspaper about the Oklahoma City Veteran Health Care System Center and the Muskogee Veterans Health Care System Center wonder if this clinic will ever get here.
Until then, we continue to use the Veterans Health Care System Centers we have now with transportation from Antlers through Hugo (sometimes Grant and Paris, Texas) via the VA fund and licensed shuttle van (which still needs volunteer drivers for and if we can get a few more some serves might be extended) to Bonham Veterans Health Care System Center. Transportation to Hartshorne, OK and Muskogee Veterans Health Care System Center and Oklahoma City Veterans Health Care System Center still a challenge.
I wish all the Veterans and their family members within Oklahoma a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully we will hear some good news about helping those of us in SE Oklahoma medically.