Information and Press Releases from The American Legion Department of Michigan headquarters in Lansing, Michigan. Contact Mark Sutton, Public Relations Director, (517)371-4720 ext 16 or email@example.com
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VA Schedules 2 Million Appointments Using Veterans Choice Program
VA Schedules 2 Million Appointments Using Veterans Choice Program
Improvements made in increasing access to Community Care, but more work to be done
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Veterans Choice Program (VCP) has reached a key milestone in improving access to health care for Veterans. More than two million appointments have been scheduled through the program.
"While two million appointments have been scheduled using the Choice Program and we are making progress, we will not rest until all Veterans who choose VA to be their healthcare provider are receiving the care they need, when they need it," said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. "We will continue to make strides towards an integrated care network, and I urge Congress to enact our Plan to Consolidate Community Care so we can continue to build upon our progress."
The Choice Act, which included the VCP, was passed in August 2014 to help Veterans access timely health care both within VA and the community. VA was required to implement a new, national program in just 90 days, with new requirements that complicated the way VA provides community care. VA recognized many of these challenges very early in the implementation of the program and VA and all our stakeholders have been working together to make needed changes while implementing this new nationwide program.
VA has outlined a path to improve community care and create a program that is easy to understand, simple to administer, and meets the needs of Veterans, community providers, and VA staff. VA submitted this plan to Congress in October 2015.
Within the Plan are several legislative proposals that VA and Congress need to work on together to improve the experiences for Veterans and community providers.
The first proposal would increase Veterans' access to community care providers by allowing VA to enter into agreements with local community providers.
The second would streamline when and how much VA pays for health care services by having VA be the primary payer.
The third fix would allow VA to more accurately account for healthcare purchased in the community.
Finally, the last request is for funding and funding flexibility to improve access to care, reimburse the cost of emergency treatment, and create value-based payment models to best serve Veterans that need community care.
"VA is developing innovative ideas and solutions to enhance the Veterans experience and strengthen partnerships with community providers" said Dr. Baligh Yehia, Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for Health, Community Care. "The Choice Program of today is a very different program than the one rolled out in November 2014. Many improvements have been made and we continue to work to deliver care to Veterans where and when they need it." VCP PROGRESS TO DATE
Over 2 million appointments scheduled using the VCP significantly increases Veterans access to care.
Since the start of VCP we have seen a dramatic increase in utilization. From October 2015 to March 2016 VCP authorizations for care have increased 103 percent.
Over the course of the last 12 months, the Choice Provider Network has grown by 85 percent. The network now has over 350,000 providers and facilities.
Improved timeliness of payments to community providers by removing the requirement that VA receive the Veteran's entire medical record prior to payment.
Reduced administrative burden for medical record submission for community providers by streamlining the documentation required.
To enhance care coordination for Veterans, we have embedded contractor staff with VA staff at select locations.
Created dedicated teams from across the county to deliver community care improvements.
VA has also partnered with Congress to change laws to improve the community care experience by:
Removing the enrollment date requirement for Choice, allowing more Veterans to receive community care.
Implementing criteria of 40-mile driving distance from medical facility with primary care physician to increase number of Veterans accessing the program
Implementing the unusual or excessive burden criteria to increase access for Veterans that do not meet other eligibility criteria.
Expanding the episode of care authorization from 60 days to up to one year to reduce the administrative burdens of Veterans, community providers, and VA staff.
"VA needs Congress's continued support to keep driving progress forward," added VA Secretary Robert McDonald. "Several legislative barriers remain which inhibit improvements outlined in our Plan to Consolidate Community Care Programs."
American Legion backs VA on disability claims on toxic waste exposure
WASHINGTON (January 13, 2017) – The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization expressed appreciation Friday after the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a decision to provide disability benefits
to veterans suffering from eight deadly diseases connected to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"Veterans have waited long enough for treatment and proper care in the area of environmental health," American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said. "Those who have served at Camp Lejeune and are
now suffering from illnesses linked to contamination cannot be left to confront these diseases as if they were not in any way connected to their time on base. We are here to see this does not happen."
Groundwater contamination at Camp Lejeune was stated specifically in American Legion Resolution No. 118, passed unanimously by delegates at the 98th National Convention in Cincinn…
Affidavit Required in December In late 2013 the state legislature and the governor enacted Public Act 161 of 2013, the Disabled Veterans Exemption. This act gives qualifying disabled veterans or their unremarried surviving spouses a property tax exemption for their primary residence in Michigan. For some qualifying veterans, not having to pay their property taxes could mean the difference of staying in their current home or having to move. Summary of Benefits The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be mailing out to all veterans who receive benefits their ‘summary of benefits’ letter in the month of November and December. The veteran will need that summary along with Michigan Treasury Form 5107. The surviving unremarried spouse will need to provide the last summary of benefits letter or other documentation showing the qualifying veterans status at time of death and Form 5107. To Be Done Annually Every city tax assessor may have a different procedure for applying, but the informat…
Dear American Legion department and national leaders:
Improvement projects at American Legion posts and necessary home repairs for veterans in need are eligible to receive grants from The Home Depot Foundation, a longtime supporter of The American Legion. The Home Depot Foundation announced at National Convention last summer that it is dedicating no less than $1 million for American Legion projects throughout the country.
The Home Depot Foundation grants provide American Legion posts with funds and volunteer help to fix the little things that make huge differences: weatherizing windows, insulating attics, interior and exterior painting, installing new ceiling tiles, replacing fans and replacing flooring. Additionally, these grants provide an opportunity for Legion posts to aid veterans in need of home repairs. For one example, on Veterans Day, The Home Depot volunteers made repairs to the St. Louis home of a Vietnam War veteran. A similar effort made a life-changing differen…