VAM Email Alert: July 2019

JULY 2019


VA Puts Hold on All Blue Water Veteran Claims Until Law Takes Effect

The Department of Veterans Affairs has placed a hold on all claims from Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans until the recently passed law, signed by the President, takes effect on January 1, 2020. Claims from this group are under a temporary stay until the VA feels they have operational authority to act once the law takes effect. However, we believe the Procopio ruling earlier this year, which we have covered in past newsletters, provides the VA with the authority to act now in processing and granting claim benefits before January 1st.

We urge all Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans to continue to file claims with the VA in the chance that they are processed sooner or to avoid a backlog come the new year. We will keep VAM members updated as new information is provided.


VA Hits Critical Milestone in Electronic Health Record Modernization

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently transferred the health records of 23.5 million Veterans to a Cerner Corp. data center, setting the stage for the records to be processed this summer in support of VA’s and Department of Defense’s (DoD) common electronic health record solution.

This initial data migration phase of VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM), which began in late spring, is an important milestone reflecting the decision to replace Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) with the Cerner Millennium EHR solution that powers DoD’s Military Health System (MHS GENESIS).

New data will move into the Cerner system automatically from VistA in near real time, and then make its way to the Cerner Millennium EHR, which will provide shared access with VA, DoD and community care providers. As future phases are completed, service members’ medical records from their years of active duty will reside in one comprehensive EHR.

VA Office of Rural Health Looks to Telehealth to Enhance Veteran Care

With the signing of the MISSION Act over a year ago, the VA has been working to expand and enhance healthcare in underserved areas, defined in the Act as areas where there are access issues or shortages of health professionals. One such initiative on the part of the VA includes the creation of Clinical Resource Hubs (CRHs) to provide virtual and in-person care to veterans.

CRH is a Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) resource that will provide tele-primary care, tele-mental health, and tele-specialty care services to veterans in rural and otherwise underserved areas. The CRHs combine teams of primary care, mental health, pharmacy, nursing, and specialty care providers in 18 VISN hub locations across the country with web-based video conferencing services and handheld accessible applications.

The hub sites will deliver services to VISN “spoke sites” within their region and to the veteran’s home or other preferred locations. By using telehealth technology, the VA aims to increase healthcare access and improve the quality of healthcare for rurally located veterans. The Office of Rural Health partnered with four VA Veterans Health Administration program offices and will commit up to $100 million annually to support the CRH Initiative.

This funding is intended to help launch new services and sustain current services to increase rural veteran access and services. If you have used any of the VA telehealth services, we would love to hear your experience. Please email Ray Wezik at [email protected]

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