Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Legislative Priorities for New Administration

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) has provided a list of five key legislative priorities for the next administration in an effort to ensure key Veterans Affairs (VA) issues remain at the forefront of the administration’s objectives.

Read more at http://bit.ly/2gbrCSs and see the VA’s latest semiannual report on ongoing improvement initiatives at http://bit.ly/2h0FArA.

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Defense Authorization Bill Covers Many Military/Veteran Health Care Services

There are hundreds of provisions in the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Authorization Act, including dozens to modernize military health care and streamline TRICARE.  On health care, Congress relied on the work of the Military Retirement and Compensation Commission, and also on best practices from the health care industry.  Included among many reforms is greater use of telehealth technology and encouragement of partnerships between the military and top-rated private sector medical providers.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2gFttNr

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Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study (VE-HEROeS)

The Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study (VE-HEROeS) is a nationwide study that will assess the current health and well-being of Vietnam Veterans, Blue Water Navy Veterans, and Veterans who served elsewhere during the Vietnam Era (1961–1975). This study will also compare the health of these Veterans to similarly aged U.S. residents who never served in the military.  The study will begin in the Fall of 2016.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2eFiEJD  

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New Study Links Agent Orange to Hypertension

A new study has found a close relationship between Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War and high blood pressure, a conclusion that could lead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to dramatically expand the number of veterans eligible for compensation.  A VA working group has been looking at evidence linking bladder cancer, underactive thyroid, Parkinson’s-like symptoms and hypertension to Agent Orange exposure.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2fXfmSR

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Director of Defense Health Agency’s Goal is to Support All Services’ Medical Components

In a recent forum, Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), emphasized that supporting the services is one of her top priorities.  Part of that support is demonstrated in ongoing reforms throughout the Military Health System that the DHA is helping to make a reality.  Changes in managing TRICARE worldwide and the implementation of a new, modernized and interoperable electronic health record (MHS GENESIS) are some of the ways DHA is streamlining operations: 

Read more: http://bit.ly/2ggt82C

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One Number to Call to Reach VA: MyVA311

VA is introducing 1-844-MyVA311 (1-844-698-2311) as a go-to source for Veterans and their families who don’t know what number to call. This new national toll-free number will help eliminate the feeling of frustration and confusion that Veterans and their families have expressed when navigating the 1000-plus phone numbers that currently exist.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2ffW4aR

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Government Accountability Office Upholds TRICARE Contract Awards

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has upheld Defense Health Agency contract awards to Humana Government Business, Inc. to provide managed care support in TRICARE’s East Region,  and to Health Net Federal Services LLC in the West Region.  The contracts incorporate new best practices to improve access, quality and safety for the health care needs of military service members, retirees and their families.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2f5ygp5

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Next Veterans Affairs Chief to Decide on New Agent Orange Ailments

The decision to add any ailments to the list of 17 conditions VA already presumes are tied to herbicides such as Agent Orange will be left for the next administration’s VA Secretary.  For the current administration, the deadline has passed for proposing new rules for presumption of service connection to herbicides.  Additional ailments that have been under consideration include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and others.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2fmel6z

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State by State Guide to Veterans Benefits

The American Legion national website now offers a handy state-by-state directory of veterans benefits, some of which are little-known. From healthcare services to housing, education, employment and more, the new guide details state and federal benefits for those who have served the nation in uniform and their families. In some states, different benefits are available for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2g1PEQR AND http://bit.ly/2eGJFvE

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