VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Publicity Team Member
VFW Applauds Choice Program Extension
Ensuring veterans have timely access to high quality care is key focus Apr 07, 2017
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WASHINGTON — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is applauding Congress for passing legislation this week that extends and improves the Veterans Choice Program. The bill now heads to the White House for the president’s signature.
The Choice Program was created by the VFW-supported Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, in response to the nationwide access to care crisis that embroiled the Department of Veterans Affairs. It provided the VA an additional $10 billion in emergency funding to expand veterans’ access to care in the community. The legislation came with a three-year sunset clause, however, which meant the VA had to either use or lose the funds by this August.
With about $1 billion estimated to remain unobligated, the VFW is pleased the money will continue to help wounded, ill and injured veterans receive the quality care they earned and deserve. The legislation passed this week also addresses two issues that the VFW had identified and had asked Congress to fix. The first issue is to eliminate the confusing secondary payer requirement, clarifying that VA is the payer of care, not veterans. The second issue the legislation addresses will make it easier for VA to share medical documentation with Choice providers, so veterans don’t have to face unnecessary delays when scheduling Choice Program appointments.
“The VFW fully expects this Congress to properly resource the VA while diligently exercising its oversight responsibility,” said Duffy. “Proper leadership, management and accountability is what the VFW demands from the VA — and from Congress, too.”
VA REACH VET Initiative Helps Save Veterans Lives: Program Signals When More Help Is Needed for At-risk Veterans
Suicide prevention is one of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) highest priorities. As part of VA’s commitment to put resources, services and all technology available to reduce Veteran suicide, VA has launched an innovative program called Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health – Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET).
Recent research suggests that 20 Veterans die by suicide each day, putting Veterans at even greater risk than the general public. Using a new predictive model, REACH VET analyzes existing data from Veterans’ health records to identify those at a statistically elevated risk for suicide, hospitalization, illness or other adverse outcomes. This allows VA to provide pre-emptive care and support for Veterans, in some cases before a Veteran even has suicidal thoughts.
“One Veteran suicide is one too many,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin. “This cutting-edge program is saving lives by identifying at-risk Veterans and connecting them with the specialized care and support they need.”
Once a Veteran is identified, his or her VA mental health or primary care provider reaches out to check on the Veteran’s well-being, review their condition(s) and treatment plans to determine if enhanced care is needed. The program began as a pilot in October and is now fully implemented across VA.
“REACH VET is a game changer in our effort to reduce Veteran suicide,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, National Director of VA’s Office for Suicide Prevention. “Early intervention can lead to better recovery outcomes, lessen the likelihood of challenges becoming crises and reduce the stress that Veterans and their loved ones face.”
VA’s suicide prevention resources include the Veterans Crisis Line, which provides confidential support from specially trained and experienced responders to Veterans, even if they are not enrolled in VA health care. Veterans and their families and friends may call 800-273-8255 and press 1; chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or text to 838255.
Defense Finance & Accounting Service announces new address for retirees, annuitants
INDIANAPOLIS (March 7, 2017) – Military retirees and annuitants corresponding with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will use a new address beginning May 1. The old addresses in London, Ky., have been used for years but are being discontinued and will be replaced by addresses in Indianapolis to help speed up receipt and customer service. The new mailing addresses (beginning May 1) will be:
Retired Pay correspondence:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis IN 46249-1200
Annuitant Pay correspondence:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis IN 46249-1300
Mail received at the old mailing addresses after May 1 will be forwarded to the new address. Current phone and fax numbers are not changing.
Military retirees and annuitants can use the mailing address to submit any of the following information:
? Written requests for 1099R Forms (Retiree tax statement)
? Change Survivor Benefit Plan information
? Correct a 1099R (Retiree Tax Statement)
? Establish a Retired Pay account
? Manage Arrears of Pay (AOP) Beneficiary designation
? Manage allotments
? Report a retiree’s death
? Report a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary’s death
? Submit a retiree or annuitant change of address
? Start/change Direct Deposit
? Start international Direct Deposit enrollment
Use of the new addresses before 5/1 or use of the old addresses after 5/1 may add three to five days of processing time to requests. The DFAS website https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary.html provides information and links to any additional paperwork that might need to be submitted. The website also provides additional ways to contact Retired and Annuitant Pay including self-service options or by phone ( 1-800-321-1080).