Jan 08

VFW Washington Weekly – January 8, 2010

In This Issue:
1. VA to Delay Increase in Prescription Copayments
2. TRICARE for Gray Area Reserve Retirees
3. Congress on Recess
1. VA to Delay Increase in Prescription Copayments: VA officials this week announced they are delaying an increase in veterans' out-of-pocket payments for pharmaceuticals until June 30.  The scheduled $1 increase-from $8 to $9 per 30-day supply of medicine for nonservice-connected conditions-will be reevaluated so that VA can consider how the increases are calculated.  During this period, VA will also keep $960 as the maximum annual out-of-pocket payment for pharmaceuticals for nonservice-related conditions.  The $960 cap will not apply to veterans in priority groups seven and eight.  The yearly maximum out-of-pocket payment was scheduled to increase to $1,080.  There are no copayments associated with the treatment of conditions related to military service.  The freeze is considered temporary.  Some increases may take affect this summer unless a new way of calculating co-payments is found and implemented.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-january-8-2010/

Jan 04

60 Minutes Segment on VA Backlog

(Airdate: January 3, 2010)

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/60-minutes-segment-on-va-backlog/

Dec 29

TRICARE Returns to Zero Copay on OTC Meds

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Positive feedback and cost savings means TRICARE's over-the-counter medication demonstration continues without copayments. The demonstration allows TRICARE beneficiaries to substitute over-the-counter versions for selected prescription drugs.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications available through the program include allergy medications cetirizine and loratadine, and heartburn medications (proton-pump inhibitors) Prilosec OTC and its generic form omeprazole.
The two-year OTC demonstration did not require a copay for covered OTC medications when it began at TRICARE retail pharmacies in October 2007. When the demonstration was extended in November 2009, it coincided with the start of a new pharmacy contract. A $3 copay was required until systems changes could be made and that work is now complete.
"This is a very positive program and we're excited to return to a zero copay," said Rear Adm. Thomas McGinnis, chief of the TRICARE Pharmaceutical Operations Directorate. "This is one way we are working hard to keep costs lower – for our beneficiaries and for the Department of Defense."
OTC medications are generally less expensive than their prescription versions, by as much as 400 percent in some cases.
To receive covered OTC medications with no out-of-pocket costs, beneficiaries still need a prescription from their health care provider specifically for the OTC drug. After submitting the prescription at any TRICARE retail network pharmacy or the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy, the prescription for the OTC medication is filled at no cost.

For more information about the TRICARE Pharmacy Program, go to http://www.tricare.mil/pharmacy.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/tricare-returns-to-zero-copay-on-otc-meds/

Dec 24

Merry Christmas

To all our VFW and Auxiliaries members, veterans and active military wherever you may be, may you have a Merry Christmas and safe and joyous holiday.

-The VFW WebCOM Team

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/merry-christmas/

Dec 21

VFW Washington Weekly – December 18, 2009

In This Issue:

1. First Session Wrap Up
2. VA Appropriations Update
3. Secure Your Luggage

1. First Session Wrap-Up: As the 111th Congress wraps up its first
session, now is a great time to review our successes and what's ahead in
2010.  Our number one priority goal, Advanced Funding for VA Health
Care, was signed into law in October (PL 111-81).  VA will now know its
medical care funding a year in advance, making it possible to plan ahead
and provide the best care for all veterans.  Several other critical
bills which have now been rolled into larger omnibus packages have
passed the House and Senate and are in conference committee.  These
bills are:

*         S. 1963, The Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services
Act of 2009, includes six VFW-supported bills that would provide
caregiver support for family members taking care of severely injured
veterans, child services for veterans seeking treatment at VA,
improvements for women veterans including mental health services and
studies on access to care.  The bill would also provide programs to
reduce homelessness among veterans, allow catastrophically disabled
veterans to use emergency care outside VA, and expands care in rural

*         S.728, The Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2009,
includes a host of other VFW-supported bills that would improve veteran
insurance programs, update burial plot allowances, increase housing,
automobile and adaptive grant programs, enhance disability compensation
for disabled veterans  having difficulties with prosthetics and those
suffering from TBI, and clarify certain provisions under USERRA.

The VFW Washington Office could not have accomplished these improvements
without your legislative advocacy in your communities and states!  We
look forward to working with you in the New Year as we continue to fight
for America's veterans, servicemembers and their families.  For a list
of bills and our 2010 priority goals, visit the VFW website and click on
the National Legislative Service link at

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-december-18-2009/

Dec 09

Wreaths Bound for Veterans Cemeteries

Wreaths bound for veterans cemeteries across the country are on their way to their destinations as part of the Wreaths Across America program.

The Wreaths Across America story began over 18 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation's fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.

Worcester Wreath Company continues to be a major supporter of the project, donating over 25,000 total wreaths in 2008. Over 100,000 wreaths will be sponsored by individuals, businesses, and groups from communities Nation-wide. Wreaths will be placed in all 50 states from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii, at several locations is Iraq, and at 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.

For people who wish to support the project, wreath sponsorships are available online. A complete list of participating locations is available on the website at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/wreaths-bound-for-veterans-cemeteries/

Dec 04

VA To Survey Veteran Households

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2009) – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a national survey of Veterans, active duty service members, activated National Guard and reserve members, and family members and survivors to learn if they are aware of VA services.

"By hearing directly from Veterans and their family members, we gain valuable information to help us serve them better.  We hope those who receive the survey will respond to it," Secretary Shinseki said.

In addition to assessing awareness levels, the National Survey of Veterans will collect important health care, benefits, employment, and demographic information that VA will use to inform policy decisions and improve benefits.  Recognizing a broader client base than just Veterans, this is the first time VA has included others, such as Veteran family members, in its survey population.

VA is mailing out survey "screeners" to more than 130,000 households to identify potential survey participants.  The screener asks if anyone in the household is a member of one of the identified survey groups – Veterans, family members and survivors, active duty, Guard or Reserve members.  Eligible survey participants then may be requested to participate in a full-length survey.

Participants will be able to select a preferred survey method: through U.S. mail, telephone or a password-protected Internet address.  VA expects approximately 10,000 Veterans to complete the full-length survey.

This is the sixth VA National Survey of Veterans since 1978.  The information collected will help VA in its efforts to design and conduct outreach to Veterans.  In addition, it will provide a clearer picture of the Veteran population's characteristics to help evaluate existing programs and policies and measure their impact.

The data collection is expected to be finished by the end of February and the final report released by December 2010.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-to-survey-veteran-households/

Dec 04

VFW Strongly Supports New Afghan Strategy

WASHINGTON, December 2, 2009 — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is strongly supporting the president's new strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies.

"President Obama set the conditions for success in Afghanistan, and he did it without lowering any bars" said Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis. "What we now need is for Congress and the American people to get behind him and destroy this global threat to world peace once and for all."

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Nov 30

VFW Commander Refutes M.T. Columnist

By Thomas J. Tradewell Sr.

Columnist Robert F. Dorr has once again missed the mark regarding the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. ["Some vets still more equal than others," Nov. 16]. His insinuation that we regard Cold War veterans as "second-class citizens" is disingenuous, and the facts reveal a different story altogether.

The VFW is a membership organization that is open to all who currently serve or have served, provided they meet eligibility requirements as established by Congress through public laws. Founded in 1899, the VFW is America's oldest major veterans' organization, and with more than 1.5 million members, we are also her largest organization of combat veterans, an all encompassing category that includes those who went to war as well as those who deployed in support of contingency operations.

All who have deployed into the unknown are forever bound by a common experience — regardless of service, conflict or MOS — and so, too, are our families. It is a "One Team, One Mission" concept that only we who have been there can understand. It is unfortunate that Mr. Dorr continuously refuses to understand this concept and its critical distinction.

He used the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to say we "betrayed" Cold War veterans because our membership requirements are more exclusive than inclusive, and he cites Korea in trying to validate his point. Had he checked VFW eligibility requirements, he would have discovered that those who served in Korea from the end of World War II forward are eligible. So, too, are those who flew clandestine reconnaissance flights over the former Soviet Union or its satellite states, provided hostile fire or imminent danger pay or an expeditionary medal was awarded.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-commander-refutes-m-t-columnist/

Nov 26

Happy Thanksgiving

(Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published December 1, 1917)

The VFW WebCOM family would like to wish you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  We are especially grateful for our veterans and those actively serving in our military.  Thank you and may you have a happy holiday wherever you may be.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/happy-thanksgiving/

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