Lawmakers and Veterans Groups Debate VA Choice Program’s Future

Lawmakers have all but assured that the Veterans Affairs Choice program will survive until 2018. But what happens after that will be a major legislative issue in the Fall. At issue are philosophical differences in the evolving role of VA, and whether the countrys pledge to cover veterans medical needs is better served by building up the existing system or outsourcing more care to the private sector.

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VA Testing Mobile App That Helps Tailor Care Based On Each Veteran’s Genetics

When a new system being field tested this summer goes live, VA will become the first U.S. health care organization ever to put genetic testing data into the hands of patients via a mobile application. The system, named Genetic Diagnostic Testing App, will put individual genetic information in the hands of Veterans providing them with access to their information anywhere, anytime, as well as the ability to share it with VA and non-VA providers alike. In short, medical professionals will be able to provide …

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VA official downplays Agent Orange risks; his comments do not accurately reflect VA’s position.

A key federal official who helps adjudicate claims by veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange has downplayed the risks of the chemical herbicide and questioned the findings of scientists, journalists and even a federal administrative tribunal that conflict with his views. Veterans Affairssaid his comments “did not fully or accurately reflect VA’s position”,and also saidhis quotes were being taken out of context.

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Warning Regarding Fake Veterans Choice Program Phone Line

VA is taking action in response to a phone line that appears to be set up to take advantage of Veterans who misdial the Veterans Choice Program phone line.  The two phone lines differ only in area code. The correct Choice Program phone line is 1-866-606-8198, while the imposter phone line is using 1-800-606-8198. The fake line does not provide information on the Choice Program or its eligibility criteria, instead it claims to offer callers a $100 rebate if they provide a credit card number.

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Veterans Affairs Launches Scheduling App

The Department of Veterans Affairs has created a web-based app that allows veterans using its medical system to request or schedule certain appointments online. The Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) app is available to use at select locations and can be used with any compatible Web browser, whether on a desktop or mobile device.

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Bill Would Expand VA Telehealth Services Across State Lines

Telehealth services for veterans have expanded dramatically in recent years, but a group of lawmakers worries that federal rules governing that remote care haven’t kept up.  A bipartisan group of House and Senate members have reintroduced legislation designed to boost access for veterans by easing those rules, arguing that patients in rural areas or facing travel difficulties are being disadvantaged.  As one representative said: “we should continue to find new ways to connect veterans with the providers that they need, no matter their physical location.”

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Veterans Access to Privatized Health Care Extended

President Trump signed into law an extension of the Veterans Affairs Choice Card program on Wednesday, the precursor to a planned massive overhaul of the initiative later this year. The Choice Card program, created by Congress in the wake of VA’s 2014 wait time problems, is one of several programs for veterans to seek medical care outside VA medical centers. Veterans who face lengthy wait times for medical appointments or live more than 40 miles from VA facilities can use the available funds to seek …

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Lawsuit Filed to get Veterans Affairs Agent Orange Correspondence

The Virginian-Pilot and ProPublica have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), accusing the agency of denying requests for documents under the Freedom   of Information Act.  The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction compelling the government to immediately release correspondence about Agent Orange, an herbicide used to kill vegetation  during the Vietnam War.

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David Shulkin Picked to Head the Department of Veterans Affairs

President-elect Trump has named David Shulkin to be the VA’s next leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Shulkin is currently the VA’s Undersecretary for Health, a position in which he oversaw over 1,700 health care sites across the United States.  Dr. Shulkin’s nomination is receiving positive endorsement from many veteran associations.

Read more:  http://cnn.it/2jlcQrn

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Long List of Agent Orange Decisions Awaits VA in 2017

In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs faces an array of decisions related to the herbicide Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin and was used to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War.  The VA must decide whether to add new diseases to its list of conditions presumed to be linked to Agent Orange. It also faces calls to compensate naval veterans and veterans who served along the Korean demilitarized  zone .  Additionally, Congress passed a bill requiring VA to pay for analysis of …

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