Newsletter

May 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

May 2, 2019

VA proposes new AFGE collective bargaining agreement WASHINGTON - Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presented its proposals to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). AFGE represents over 250,000 federal employees within VA. VA’s proposals are designed to align with the statutory rights Congress provided to federal employee unions and VA while ensuring taxpayer resources are used first and foremost to benefit Veterans. The new proposals would replace the current CBA, in place since 2011. The proposals include a number of significant changes designed to improve medical care, customer service, and staff accountability while maximizing value for taxpayers, including: Reducing taxpayer-funded union time for VA/AFGE employees from more than one million hours per year to 10,000 hours per year – redirecting more than $48 million per year back to direct services and medical care for Veterans Empowering front line supervisors Streamlining the hiring and job classification process – potentially reducing the time it takes to hire certain positions by weeks or months Ensuring the contract doesn’t interfere with the VA’s ability to take action under the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, the MISSION Act and the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act “It’s time for a reset in VA’s approach to labor-management relations. A reluctance to challenge the status quo produced the current agreement, which includes many benefits that favor the union rather than the Veterans we are charged with serving,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “With VA facing thousands of vacancies, these proposals could add more than one million man-hours per year back into our work force – a vital influx of resources that would make an almost immediate difference for Veterans and the employees who care for them. These proposals make clear that service to Veterans must come first in all that we do, and I look forward to working with AFGE to ensure we achieve that goal.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services join to strengthen safety surveillance for medications issued to Veterans

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced an agreement that greatly improves drug safety monitoring of prescriptions, including opioids. The agreement, which was formalized March 21, will give VA the ability to monitor medical prescriptions issued outside the VA through Medicare Part D. “VA is committed to patient safety, and our robust medication surveillance systems are part of that commitment,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This agreement greatly enhances medication safety for Veterans by providing better oversight of drugs that Veterans may be able to obtain from both agencies.” VA currently has a robust system in place for medication surveillance to ensure safe use by Veteran patients and the ability to analyze patient outcomes. This new agreement will enable VA to incorporate up-to-date Medicare prescription information into its safety surveillance operations. By incorporating prescriptions dispensed through Medicare, VA has access to more accurate information about the medications used by its patients. More than 5 million Veterans receive prescription medications through VA. With the creation of the Medicare Part D benefit, Veterans dually enrolled in VA and Medicare have access to prescription benefits through both VA and Medicare, creating the potential for adverse drug interactions, duplication of use and greater risk of adverse drug events, including overdoses. “This agreement represents a new level of information sharing between VA and CMS, which will improve care coordination and better protect our beneficiaries,” said CMS principal deputy administrator for Operations and Policy Kimberly Brandt. “Leveraging data is a key element of CMS’ efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and we look forward to continued collaboration with VA on this important issue.” To learn more about the risks of opioid-related adverse events and overdose among Veteran patients receiving dual prescriptions with VA and CMS, visit https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2728200/dual-receipt-prescription-opioids-from-department-veterans-affairs-medicare-part.