Action Corps Weekly

October 28, 2016

In This Issue:

1. VFW Wants POTUS Involvement in Bonus Payback Crisis

2. TRICARE Removes Cost Barriers for Preventive and Mental Health

3. MyHealtheVet Update

4. Help A Hero Scholarship Campaign

5. MIA Update

1. VFW Wants POTUS Involvement in Bonus Payback Crisis: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter this week ordered the Defense Finance and Accounting Services to suspend all efforts to collect reimbursements from affected California National Guard members, but VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said the suspension decision doesn’t go deep enough, and is now calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to eliminate the collection process altogether, to repay those monies already collected plus interest, and to restore any damaged credit ratings that resulted from a horrendous abuse of power and lack of oversight within the California Army National Guard. “The president must get personally involved and not leave it to a weak system of checks and balances that created a financial crisis that is tremendously impacting the lives of thousands of current and former Guard members,” exclaimed the Chief. “The president often touts that he has a phone and a pen and is not afraid to use either. This would be a good time to use both.” Read more at: http://www.vfw.org/news-and-publications/press-room/archives/2016/10/vfw-calls-on-potus-to-end-bonus-payback-issue-now.

2. TRICARE Removes Cost Barriers for Preventive and Mental Health: The Department of Defense (DOD) is improving the number of services and cost requirements for TRICARE’s preventive and mental health benefits. These changes, expected to be fully implemented by spring 2017, are being implemented to expand access and reduce financial barriers for beneficiaries. Effective Oct. 3 this year, DOD removed TRICARE limitations on mental health care and made out-of-pocket costs the same as other medical care. These changes improve care such as inpatient mental health and substance abuse admissions, group outpatient mental health visits, outpatient treatment for substance abuse, substance abuse detoxification, treatment of gender dysphoria, family counseling and much more. Beginning January 1, 2017, the expansion of preventive services will go into complete effect. Some of the no-cost services will be expanded to include free genetic counseling for patients who are high-risk for breast cancer, colon cancer screenings/stool DNA testing and laboratory services considered preventive for certain cancers. To learn more about the mental health and substance abuse benefit changes, click here: http://www.tricare.mil/About/News/Archives/09_29_16_MHSUD.
For more information on the preventive health expansion, click here: http://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/BenefitUpdates/Archives/10_18_16_PreventiveServices.

3. MyHealtheVet Update: This week, VA launched an updated version of its MyHealtheVet website to make it more user and mobile friendly. My HealtheVet is designed to help veterans track and manage their VA prescriptions, appointments and health care records. The VFW would like your views on the new design. Please visit www.myhealth.va.gov and tell us what you think by emailing us at vfwac@vfw.org

4. Help A Hero Scholarship Campaign: Since 2013, the VFW and Sport Clips have helped nearly 600 service members and veterans achieve their educational goals without incurring excessive student loan debt through the “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship.” Now through Veterans Day, you can help further their post-military education goals by making a donation when you get a haircut at one of the more than 1,500 Sport Clips Haircuts locations across the country. Sport Clips will also hold “The Biggest Haircut Day of the Year” on Veterans Day, when participating stores will offer free haircuts to service members and veterans. For more information on the “Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship,” visit: www.vfw.org/scholarship.

5. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains of six Americans who had been missing in action since World War II and Korea. Returning home for burial with full military honors are:

  -- Navy Seaman 1st Class William E. Welch, 18, will be buried Oct. 29 in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio. On Dec. 7, 1941, Welch was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which capsized after sustaining multiple torpedo hits as it was moored off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Welch. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/981456/uss-oklahoma-sailor-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-welch/.

  -- Army Cpl. Joseph Trepasso, 20, will be buried Nov. 5 in his hometown of Fulton, N.Y. In late November 1950, Trepasso was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which was deployed on the east side of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He would be declared missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/989134/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-accounted-for-trepasso/.

  -- Army Pfc. Lavern C. Ullmer, of Montgomery, Ohio, will be buried Nov. 11 in Dayton. Ullmer was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, in the vicinity of Kunu-ri, North Korea. It would be later learned he had been captured but died in a POW camp on Jan. 21, 1951. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/988569/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-ullmer/.

  -- Army Sgt. James E. Martin, 22, will be buried Nov. 17 in Anacoco, La. In late November 1950, Martin was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, which was deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He would be declared missing in action on Dec. 3, 1950. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/985470/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-martin/.

  -- Army Cpl. Donald E. Matney, 18, will be buried Nov. 19 in his hometown of Seymour, Mo. On July 20, 1950, Matney was a member of Company H, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, when his unit attempted to delay the enemy from capturing a town near Taejon, South Korea. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/985474/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-matney/.

  -- Army Maj. Jack D. Griffiths, of Comanche County, Okla., was a member of Headquarters, 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, when he was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950, in the vicinity of Somin-dong, North Korea. It would be later learned he had been captured but died in a POW camp. Interment services are pending. Read more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/Recent-News-Stories/Article/988573/soldier-missing-from-korean-war-identified-griffiths/.

To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.

As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us, simply email them directly to vfwac@vfw.org.