VA Secretary Urges Congressional Action on Appeals

VA Secretary Bob McDonald and former VA Secretary Dr. James Peake have initiated  a number of actions being taken by the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve conditions for our nation’s veterans.  They have urged Congress to pass legislation in several key areas, including integrating community care into the VA’s healthcare system and fixing the broken process by which veterans appeal unfavorable claims decisions.

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House Votes to Expand Benefits for Vietnam Blue Water Navy Vets

Veterans who served on Navy ships off Vietnam and have diseases linked  to Agent Orange were buoyed Thursday by House passage of a measure that could expand their Veterans Affairs benefits.  An amendment added to the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill would require the department to presume these veterans were exposed to the toxic herbicide and provide health care and compensation if they are sick as a result.

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Specialized Care for Older Veterans

The fastest growing age group of Veterans VA serves is those age 65 and older. By 2017 almost 10 million of our 21.7 million Veterans (46%) will be over 65. VA is responding with Geriatric Patient Aligned Care Teams (GeriPACT) customized for older Veterans.  The GeriPACT team includes an “army” of health care providers.

Read more: http://1.usa.gov/2254sMH

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Promising New Undersecretary of Health for the VA

Doctor David Shulkin is the new Undersecretary of Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  He is responsible for the health care of nearly 8.8 million vets, and  commands 168 medical centers and 1,600 clinics worldwide.  He has a great reputation for significantly improving organizations he has led.  Dr. Shulkin “has brought great energy to the VA and a great sense of urgency to transforming VA health care,” said a vet service organization director.

Read more about Dr. Shulkin and his plans and actions to improve …

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Military Health System and VA to Share Electronic Health Records

On June 1st, health records will be shared electronically throughout the entire Military Health System (MHS) plus the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal and private sector partners.  The system gives health care providers easier ways to share important information, such as prescriptions, allergies, previously documented illnesses, lab and radiology results, and past medical procedures.

Read More: http://1.usa.gov/24GZ2N0

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Progress, Promise and Challenges on Veterans Health Policy

VA Secretary Bob McDonald recently discussed some of the challenges the VA has faced within the past few years, what has already been done during his time in office and his plan for the future of the VA.  He sees a great opportunity to deliver better outcomes for veterans and their families, and addresses some of the latest updates on the ongoing transition.

Read More:  http://1.usa.gov/26Xg205

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Veteran Service Organizations Provide Input to VA Commission on Care

Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) remain united in the belief that the VA health care system must be reformed, strengthened and sustained because of the unique, specialized veteran-focused health care it provides to vets. They recognize that the VA cannot meet every health care need of vets in all locations at all times, and it should integrate non-VA community care providers to fill these gaps.  The VSO goal is to supplement VA health care, not to replace it.

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My HealtheVet User Survey Underlines the Value of the Website

When Veterans want to take better control of their health care, they go to My HealtheVet. The My HealtheVet portal is a suite of tools that enables Veterans to create a free web-based Personal Health Record (PHR), access health education resources, refill VA prescriptions, view upcoming appointments, and more.

See what users of My HealtheVet said about it in a recent survey: http://1.usa.gov/1rFxgPt

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Military Health System Would Be Reorganized Under New Legislation

Broad changes could be coming to Tricare and the Military Health System under legislation being drafted by the House Armed Services Committee.  But active-duty personnel and current retirees wouldn’t see the immediate hits to their wallets that were proposed earlier this year in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2017 budget. The Senate is expected to introduce its version of the legislation in early May.

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Veteran Groups to Commission: Fix, Don’t Dismantle the VA

The Federal Commission on Care is wrapping up its report to Congress on how best to organize the Veterans Health Administration for the next generation of veterans. With roughly two months left for the Commission to write its recommendations, several  veteran organizations met with commissioners recently to discuss the Commission’s work, but more importantly to convey what type of health system veterans want, need, and deserve.

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