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VVA’s Veterans Health Council Calls for “Welcome to Medicaid”
Physical For New Enrollees

In partnership with the Men’s Health Network and Health HIV, the Veterans Health Council of VVA sent letters to each U.S. State governor and their State Medicaid Directors, calling for the initiation of physical exams for all new Medicaid enrollees in their respective states. The letter also includes a list of recommended components for the “Welcome to Medicaid” physical, such as a military history.

[ To view the list, click here ]


Georgia Legislature Passes Resolution on Prostate Cancer Screening

Using information taken directly from Congressional testimony by VVA’s Veterans Health Council,  last fall the Georgia State House adopted a resolution encouraging  “all public officials and citizens to increase their awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment of prostate cancer”, especially Vietnam veterans. 

[ To read the complete Georgia State House resolution, click here ]


TRICARE Increases in 2013 Proposed Budget

The Department of Defense’s budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year, while including a 1.7 percent increase in basic pay for military personnel, contains several provisions that will also increase the cost of health care for retired service members and their families, both in the coming year and the years ahead:

  • Higher enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime members. TRICARE Prime experienced its first-ever fee increases in the 2012 budget. The 2013 budget continues that trend, and the budget overview released on February 13 proposes additional increases into the future. For the highest-earning working age retirees, the proposal calls for the current (2012) annual family enrollment fee of $520 to climb to $2,048 by FY 2017; for those in the lower tier of retirement pay, it will increase from $520 to $850.
  • TRICARE Standard/Extra fees and deductibles. There is currently no annual enrollment fee for the military’s fee-for-service programs, but the 2013 budget proposes a $140 annual fee for families, to be raised to $250 in 2017. In addition, the Pentagon proposes an increase in the plans’ deductibles, from $300 per family in 2012 to $580 in 2017.
  • TRICARE-for-Life annual enrollment fees. The proposal calls for the first-ever enrollment fees for military retirees over the age of 65 – for the highest-earning retirees, $115 annually, increasing to $475 annually over the next five years; for the lowest-earning, $35 annually, increasing to $158.
  • Higher pharmacy co-payments. The Pentagon proposes higher co-payments in every category – generic, brand-name, and non-formulary – over the next five years, with the exception of generic mail-order medications, which will remain free until 2017. Under the proposal, the non-formulary prescriptions will only be available my mail beginning in FY 2013.

In its proposal, the Pentagon points out that none of the proposed changes will affect service members who are currently serving on active duty.


Research Study

For Qualifying Veterans With Exposure to Blast Events &/or Loss of Consciousness

A study of EEG biofeedback, a non-invasive, medication-free therapy, for symptoms associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Participants need not discuss trauma-related events.

Participation provided at no cost.

[ download details ]


From our VHC friends at the Partnership for Safe Medicines

DRUG SAFETY WARNING:  A Novo Nordisk product previously reported as stolen in North Carolina has resurfaced recently at a medical center in Houston. The FDA has notified patients and healthcare professionals that some stolen vials of the long-acting insulin Levemir made by Novo Nordisk Inc. are being sold in the U.S. market, may not have been stored and handled properly, and may be dangerous for patients to use. The agency is advising patients who use Levemir insulin to:  Check your personal supply of insulin to determine if you have Levemir insulin from one of the following lots: XZF0036, XZF0037, and XZF0038. Do not use your Levemir insulin if it is from one of these lots. Contact the Novo Nordisk Customer Care Center at 1-800-727-6500 for what to do with vials from these lots or if you have any other questions.

 

EVALUATION SURVEY ANNOUNCED

The Rand Corporation, an independent research corporation with no affiliation to the VA, announced that callers will be contacting approximately 5,800 veterans to ask them some questions about their experiences using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health care.  By mental health care they mean help with problems, with relationships or emotions, counseling, treatment for drug or alcohol use, or help with emotional problems or mental illness.  If you are called, you do not have to take part if you do not want to.  Whether or not you decide to take part in this interview will not affect any VA services you receive now and will not affect your eligibility for VA services in the future.  If you are called and choose to participate, the phone interview will take about 25 to 30 minutes, and RAND will send you a check for $10.00 in appreciation of your time.  Any information you provide will be confidential, and RAND will not connect your name to the information that you give.

NOTE: this study’s I.R.B. documentation has been filed and reviewed by VVA’s I.R.B. research officer and judged to be in compliance with all applicable human subjects research guidelines.

amd update

The Macular Degeneration Partnership is a coalition of patients, families, researchers, clinicians and leaders in the fields of vision and aging. Our mission is to create an unprecedented collaboration among all these stakeholders to disseminate information about AMD, provide support to patients and marshal resources for a cure.

Some of the topics in the May 2008 update include:

  • NeoVista Presents Data on Radiation Trial
  • Gene Therapy Success
  • Sunset - A Macular Journey
  • Read the AMD Update

Veterans health care COMMITTEE REPORT
as reported in THE VVA Veteran

Maintaining Your Medical Records

BY PATRICIA BESSIGANO, CHAIR

VVA members are now either in our retirement years or quickly approaching them. One of the challenges facing Veterans Service Officers is the filing of new claims for Vietnam veterans without proper medical evidence. If veterans have not kept copies of their records, it can be virtually impossible to document the progress of an illness, especially if they have received medical care in the private sector.

Private physicians are required to maintain medical records for seven years. Many keep them at least ten years. However, record storage beyond that often becomes cumbersome and those records are destroyed. The opportunity for the patient to obtain those records is then lost, and the opportunity to document an illness also is lost. Also, private physicians have not always documented whether their patients have served in the military or if they were exposed to any hazardous chemicals or materials. They also have not always documented illnesses or injuries that occurred during a veteran’s service.

One of the goals of the Health Care Committee is to educate returning veterans about maintenance of their medical records as they progress in life and to educate private physicians about taking a complete and accurate military medical history.

A sample medical history form will be available on the VVA Health Care Committee web page. The new prostate and diabetes brochures are also available on the VVA website.

 

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