Newsletter

February 2019

Vets Views

Page 3 

 

Retirement Services Officers (RSOs)

Do you have questions on benefits, SBP, Retiree Appreciation Days or anything else retirement-related? Then contact the RSO for your area or go to the Army Retirement Services website http://www.armyg1.army.mil/retire (Note: That’s the number 1 after the g).

Sister Service Retiree Publications

Air Force Afterburner: http://www.retirees.af.mil/afterburner/

Coast Guard Evening Colors: http://www.uscg.mil/ppc/retnews/

Marine Corps Semper Fi: https://www.manpower.usmc.mil, then click on “Semper Fidelis Online” under “News and Features” Navy Shift Colors: http://www.npc.navy.mil/ReferenceLibrary/Publications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2019

VA urges communities to recognize hospitalized Veterans during ‘National Salute to Veteran Patients’ week WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that, as part of an effort to honor hospitalized Veterans, it will mark National Salute to Veteran Patients from Feb. 10-16 by encouraging communities to seek out opportunities to volunteer at their local VA facilities. “VA values the contributions of our volunteers, donors and partners in helping us keep the nation’s promise to our Veterans,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. “These community resources confirm to America’s Veterans that we are a nation that cares and remembers their sacrifices every day.” Last year, schools, community groups and youth organizations nationwide sent more than 288,000 valentines to VA medical centers, which were distributed to Veteran patients at facilities across the country. Additionally, more than 9,000 volunteers and 1,400 community organizations contributed to events and activities recognizing hospitalized Veterans. More than 75,000 volunteers nationwide provide over 12 million volunteer hours serving Veterans. These volunteers are a vital asset to the nation’s Veterans and to VA. For those wanting to volunteer and join the mission to honor the sacrifice and service of America's Veterans during the National Salute or any time of year, visit the nearest VA facility or contact VA Voluntary Service online at www.volunteer.va.gov.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2019

VA announces access standards for health care WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its proposed access standards for community care and urgent care provisions that will take effect in June and guide when Veterans can seek care to meet their needs under the MISSION Act – be it with VA or with community providers. Under the MISSION Act, signed by President Trump in June 2018, there are six different eligibility criteria for community care: Services unavailable Residence in a State without a full-service VA medical facility 40-mile legacy/grandfathered from the Choice program Access standards Best medical interest Needing care from a VA medical service line that VA determines is not providing care that complies with VA’s standards for quality ACCESS STANDARDS VA is proposing new access standards, effective when the final regulations publish (expected in June 2019), to ensure Veterans have greater choice in receiving care. Eligibility criteria and final standards as follows were based on VA’s analysis of all of the best practices both in government and in the private sector and tailored to the needs of our Veteran patients: Access standards will be based on average drive time and appointment wait times. For primary care, mental health, and non-institutional extended care services, VA is proposing a 30-minute average drive time standard. For specialty care, VA is proposing a 60-minute average drive time standard. VA is proposing appointment wait-time standards of 20 days for primary care, mental health care, and non-institutional extended care services, and 28 days for specialty care from the date of request with certain exceptions. Eligible Veterans who cannot access care within those standards would be able to choose between eligible community providers and care at a VA medical facility. URGENT CARE Eligible Veterans will have access to urgent (walk-in) care that gives them the choice to receive certain services when and where they need it. To access this new benefit, Veterans will select a provider in VA’s community care network and may be charged a copayment. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said, “Our medical services must meet our Veterans’ needs and reinforce the trust that forms the basis for every interaction with VA. Our new access standards are a vital part of this effort. “Most Americans can already choose the health care providers that they trust, and President Trump promised that Veterans would be able to do the same. With VA’s new access standards, the future of the VA health care system will lie in the hands of Veterans – exactly where it should be.” Secretary Wilkie’s full statement is available here. VA encourages the public to comment on the proposed access standards and urgent care benefit during the public comment period once these proposed regulations (RIN 2900-AQ46 and RIN 2900-AQ47, respectively) publish in the Federal Register; we look forward to receiving this feedback.