VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dist.4, Dept. of Oklahoma, PRO/Editor
There are two items I need to report to the readers.
On January 23, 2017 Steve Webb, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims and Benefits Representative who came to the Antlers VFW and other locations within Southeastern Oklahoma area will be replaced by Lisa Mussett (formerly of the Oklahoma Employment Agency) who used to provide this column with job possibilities. Lisa is a USAF veteran and currently lives in Valiant with her USAF Veteran Husband Tracy (who, at times, is heard on Payne Radio Group channels).
Steve will be moving up the state to take care of the East Central area from McAlester northward.
The Idabel Clinic announcement has been delayed until January 27 due to the Presidential inauguration and when it happens it will be reported in this column.
Otherwise new information from the VA is below:
New regulation changes copayment cost of outpatient medication
Effective February 27, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will change the federal regulations concerning copayments charged to Veterans for medications required on an outpatient basis to treat non-service connected conditions.
Estimates show that copayment amounts would increase three times over six years if the current regulations are left unchanged, but switching to a tiered system and freezing associated copayments will continue to keep costs low for Veterans.
The new tiered copayment structure will decrease the costs of outpatient medications for most Veterans, aligning with VA’s goals to reduce out-of-pocket costs, encourage greater adherence to prescribed outpatient medications and reduce the risk of fragmented care that results when multiple pharmacies are used to fill Veteran prescriptions.
Under the new regulation, copayment amounts would be fixed and would only vary depending upon the class of outpatient medication in the tier. The rulemaking will establish three classes of outpatient medications tiers with associated copayment. Veterans who currently do not have a copayment or are exempt by law will not be affected by the change.
For information on VA health benefits or to learn more about the new tiered medication copayment structure please visit the VA Health Benefits website.
New rule establishes a presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune
VA to provide disability benefits for related diseases
VA has published regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
- adult leukemia
- aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- bladder cancer
- kidney cancer
- liver cancer
- multiple myeloma
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
“We have a responsibility to take care of those who have served our Nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald. “Establishing a presumption for service at Camp Lejeune will make it easier for those Veterans to receive the care and benefits they earned.”
Environmental health experts in VA’s Technical Workgroup conducted comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence, which included analysis and research done by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academies of Science.
Veterans with 30 or more cumulative days of active duty service, at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period are already eligible for certain medical benefits, following passage of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.
In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride, were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985.
The area included in this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, including satellite camps and housing areas.
The rule will be effective either 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, or following conclusion of the 60-day Congressional Review, whichever is later.