Veterans for Change News

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Veterans for Change moves forward.

VA Announces Use of Standard Payment Rates for Some Non-VA Care

The VA announced Thursday it will begin using Medicare standard payment rates for certain medical procedures performed by non-VA providers on Feb. 16, 2011.

“This regulation will have no impact on the veterans we care for,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel.  “VA will now have the ability to better plan budgets and place more money into access to health care for the veterans that VA is honored to serve.”

The new adjustment was made in federal regulations and will affect the following treatments VA provides to veterans through contracted care: ambulatory surgical center care, anesthesia, clinical laboratory, hospital outpatient perspective payment systems, and end stage renal disease (ESRD).

Veterans who are eligible for care will continue to receive the uninterrupted care they need and have earned.  Non-VA doctors and facilities will still get paid for services they provide to eligible veterans but at rates set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Prospective Payment Systems (PPS) and Fee Schedules.  Existing contracts will not be affected and the rule allows for new contracts using the new rates.

Savings of approximately $1.8 billion over five years will allow VA to continue to invest in such innovative programs as a wearable artificial kidney, home dialysis and expanding access through stand-alone clinics.

“Adopting CMS pricing methodology for these schedules and services will allow VA medical centers to use their resources more efficiently to meet veterans’ needs,” said Gary Baker, VA health administration chief business officer.  “The adoption of Medicare rates will help ensure consistent, predictable medical costs, while also helping to control costs and expenditures.”

The pricing methodology changes are a result of a rule change to 38 CFR 17.56, the federal regulation that governs VA when paying medical claims for veterans treated in community facilities.  The proposed rule was published on Feb. 18, 2010 and was opened for public comment April 19, 2010.  The congressional review period for the final rule begins December 17 and lasts 60 days.

VA is providing written notifications to veterans and non-VA providers.  As additional information becomes available, it will be posted to the VA’s “Non-VA Purchased Care” website.

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TRICARE Offers Help for the Holiday Blues 

The holidays are usually an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, but this time of year can also present significant stress. Joyous reminders of the holiday season for some can bring pain and loneliness to others.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, encourages service members and family members to reach out for help if they are struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression through the video “Getting the Help You Need, When You Need It” at http://www.youtube.com/tricarehealth#p/u/4/SzMk-n8nY8k&feature=related.

Please reach out to your family and friends if you are experiencing any holiday blues. Try to talk about your feelings with someone you trust, or seek confidential counseling through the TRICARE Assistance Program (TRIAP) in the privacy of your home at www.tricare.mil/TRIAP.

See what TRICARE Deputy Director Rear Admiral Christine Hunter has to say about getting help: http://www.dodlive.mil/index.php/2010/12/medical-monday-tricare-assistance-program-is-here-for-you-during-the-holidays.

A complete list of websites and other links are available at the TRICARE Mental Health Resource Center at www.tricare.mil/mentalhealth.

“Doc Fix” Bill Signed

Last week, we announced Congress approved H.R. 4994, the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act which delays a 25 percent cut in payments to physicians who treat TRICARE and Medicare patients through December 2011.   President Obama signed the bill on Wednesday, putting the yearlong extension of the current Medicare/TRICARE physician payment rates into effect.   

Even though lawmakers figured out a way to extend the deadline through 2011, they will have to readdress the issue again later next year.  But for the time being, beneficiaries can breathe a little easier knowing access to their earned healthcare benefits have been preserved. 

Gulf War Veterans Update

Gastrointestinal illnesses related to Gulf War service: VA is revising a regulation for medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses to specify that functional gastrointestinal disorders are covered in the presumption. Recent research has identified functional gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, as common illnesses among Gulf War Veterans. Eligible Veterans may receive health care and disability compensation for these disorders when the proposed regulation is final.

Visit our home page to find out more about VA benefits and services for Gulf War Veterans: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/.

Source:  http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USVHA-2f9b1

XEROX IS DOING SOMETHING COOL 

If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. You can’t pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!!    It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?    Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it’s a wonderful way to say thank you.  We can never say enough thank you’s!

Fighting Depression

This month’s Doctor Is In segment focuses on fighting depression.  If you or someone you know is feeling down, let them know help is available.  Get details about the TRICARE behavioral health benefit and review a list of DoD resources by clicking here.

Congress Directs Management Report on Arlington National Cemetery

This week in the final days of this Congress, the House approved legislation (S. 3860) to direct a report on the management of Arlington National Cemetery, including grave site discrepancies, the management and oversight of contracts, and the implementation of recent Army directives. 

Though the bill does not give a final solution to the problem, it is a step in the right direction toward understanding the scope of the scandal.

The Senate passed the bill on December 4, so the measure now goes to the President for his signature into law. 

Programs of Veterans-For-Change

 Claims & Appeals Assistance

o         Assist in Gathering Military & Medical Records to file VA Claims

o         Veteran Service Officer Referrals

o         Advice on how to keep records, personal journals

o         Assist in gathering evidence to support claims

  • College Scholarship Fund for Children of Veterans
  • Emergency Financial Assistance

o         Electric

o         Gas

o         Water

o         Trash

o         Food

o         Rent

o         Budget Assistance & Guidance

o         Credit Repair Assistance & Counseling

  • Homeless Heroes Project

o         Christmas Backpacks with T-Shirts, Socks, Boxers, Personal Hygiene Products, Food vouchers

  • Nationwide Stand-down Programs

o         Provide housing counseling

o         Benefits Counseling

o         Connect with Veteran Service Officers

  • Service Recognition Program

o         Veteran

o         Spouse

o         Child

  • Veteran Outreach Program

o         Christmas Baskets for Low Income Veterans

  • Veteran Service Officer Referral Program

o         2,900 Listed by Organization and State

We request your support by considering a donation to Veterans-For-Change and help us make magic for those who need us most!

In order to meet the needs of those who come to Veterans-For-Change every month, we need 100 regular monthly donors of $20 each and 100 regular monthly donors of $50.  With every dollar we receive $0.93 will go directly to Veterans and their families in need of a one time assistance grant to help get them over a rough patch in life.

Even if you’re not able to commit to a monthly donation, a one time or annual donation is very much appreciated.  And if you’ve been blessed to never have problems, please consider the movie “Pay it Forward!”

If you’re able to contribute $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, please click HERE to be taken direct to the PayPal site!

If you’d prefer to send a check or money order, please send an E-Mail to:  Jim Davis for instructions.

If Veteran’s don’t help Veteran’s, who will?

Tax ID #27-3820181

Merry Christmas             

As we enter into the Christmas Holiday please take a moment to remember just how fortunate we all are to live in a Country of freedom.

Then pause for a moment to thank the courageous men and women of our armed forces who serve selflessly, without hesitation or pause with dignity and honor.

Find a way to reach out to those still in Iraq and Afghanistan and let them know they are not forgotten and thank them for their service.

Tonight before you lay your head on the pillow, take a moment to say a prayer for all the men and women who gave their all this year, and remember their families as well.

The members of the Veterans-For-Change advocacy group have worked very hard this year for better benefits, medical care, updated and new facilities to provide better medical care.

We witnessed the change in bills for Veterans from zero bills at the end of 2009 to more than one thousand bills in 2010.

We’ve heard both the good and bad from many sources from new facilities, to improved medical procedures and ease of claims processed for some illnesses, and on the other hand we’ve all heard of improper techniques used potentially causing cross contamination of Hep B, Hep C, HIV and a host of other illnesses.

The VA Healthcare system isn’t perfect, but after decades of abuse and neglect, we finally have a Secretary at the helm who is literally busting his tail to make change for the better, slowly but surely we’ve seen this man tirelessly dedicate his life to Veterans and their care.

We have a long road to walk still, but with the help of more Veterans and the advocacy group each voice counts, and we can win the battle, and I do look forward to the day we can close the doors to Veterans-For-Change as we’d no longer be needed.

But this is still a ways off and we still need your continued efforts and support to achieve our mutual goals.

We’ve come to you on many occasions to ask your help to assist fellow Veterans in need, and each time you’ve been there, and for this I sincerely thank you.  Each of you in your own way has made a difference in their lives, pat yourselves on the back, you did damn good!

Veterans-For-Change has grown a lot this year, and this is thanks to you, our readers and members.

We have had a couple of set backs, but minor and we will recover from them with your continued support and passing along the word about VFC.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Program Directors and volunteers we wish you each and every one a Very Merry Christmas!

Be safe, be happy and enjoy your Christmas with family and loved ones.

Jim Davis

CEO

Tax Forms

Internal Revenue Service 1099R forms for retirees and annuitants were posted by DFAS online December 14 and December 15, respectively.

Retirees who rely on the U.S. Postal Service for DFAS correspondence should have begun receiving their account statements and 1099R forms December 16.  Mailing will continue through December 31.

For annuitants, account statements and 1099R forms begin mailing December 19 through the end of the month.  All statements and forms are mailed to the address on file with DFAS.

Retirees and annuitants with questions about account statements or tax forms should call the DFAS Contact Center at 800-321-1080.

Buddy Search

Have you been looking for a buddy you served with?  Gone to all the privately owned websites, had no luck?

Look no more!

Veterans-For-Change has databases with 236,590 former military listed.

If you’re looking for a buddy, send an E-Mail to [email protected] with the First and Last Name, Last City/State known, and Branch of Service and we’ll respond with all those listed within 7-10 days.

Please keep request to no more than two names, and only place your request one time.  If the person you are trying to locate isn’t found it goes on a wait list to check new databases as received.

If you’d like to be included, please E-Mail me and request a buddy list entry form.

This is another FREE service of Veterans-For-Change!

Veterans-For-Change hits Facebook & Twitter

You can now track us, meet fellow vets and their families and friends on our new FACEBOOK page!

Come join us, follow us and friends, make new friends, share useful information and more!

Follow our all new Homeless Heroes Program on Face Book too!

Follow us on Twitter too:  @VeteransForChng

 Keep Stardust Radio’s Programs Available for Our Military & Veteran Communities

Your support as a Stardust listener has been greatly appreciated through the years. Now, your financial support could help to keep Stardust Radio’s programming and assistance for our military and veteran communities going forward into our 10th year of service. In fact, the broadcasts of our radio/Internet programs may depend on your help as we transition into a non-profit organization.
We ask that you please consider making a monthly pledge or one time donation to help us with the ever growing cost of broadcasting. Note: Donations are not yet tax exempt. As soon as nonprofit status is established (process underway) donors will be notified. Your donation can quickly be made by Pay-pal or a major credit card by using the Donate (one time donation) or Subscribe (monthly donations) button located on the page at http://www.stardustent.com/support.htm.

Our programming is extremely valuable to our men and women in uniform and your donations will insure that programs like United We Roll World Tour Show with Judi Burns and Jeff Showalter, VFVC Live & Operation Firing For Effect with Gene Simes and Jere Beery, The Firebase Network’s Veterans Hour with Rick Townsend and also with Jim Davis from Veterans For Change. Inc and others continue to be heard around the world.

The producers of these shows have volunteered their time and broadcast experience to bring much needed topics and discussions to you each week for up to ten years. They remain devoted to creating quality programs while simultaneously providing a voice of support for our veterans and active duty personnel.

We thank you in advance for your donation and for supporting America’s Veterans, active duty personnel and their families, who also serve.
For Check or Money Order – mail to:

 Stardust Radio Network
 PO Box 102 Riverside, Iowa 52327

A Veterans Advocacy and Assistance Organization

The purpose of Veterans-For-Change is to make major changes in the treatment and rights for all veterans.  In benefits claims, appeals, medical care and treatment, VA Facilities, PTSD, Agent Orange issues (including Toxic Dioxin resulting in Diabetes, Cancers and numerous other health problems), POW MIA recoveries,  TBI and dioxin poisoning during current and past Combat Operations in the Persian Gulf region.

Members combine their talents, information, ideas and suggestions and contribute to a monthly letter that’s sent to all 535 members of Congress expressing the concerns over various issues and offers possible solutions.

This is in an effort to make change within the VA system, to streamline, expedite and insure claims are honored to the best possible rating, to insure all medical facilities are using the best equipment in the most modernized facilities with a properly trained and fully licensed and compassionate medical staff.

Additionally we circulate petitions for various pieces of legislation to promote their being presented on the floor and voted on.

We conduct research, develop ideas, solutions, and programs and do our best to make sure they’re put into action. We also provide guidance and assistance to veterans, spouses, their children and widows with their claims and appeals and the support of all veterans who seek assistance.

We must guarantee the rights of every single veteran and gain the rights and benefits promised!

If you can volunteer 30-60 minutes per month, from the comfort of your own home and computer, please join us in this tremendous fight and make your voice heard loud and clear.

Veterans-For-Change Advocacy Group:         http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE/

Links to other Stories

Please keep in mind each of these stories, if you comment MSNBC pays Veterans-For-Change 3-4 cents per comment.  You need to log-in, in order to post comments which will provide funds to VFC.  The more comments, the better the chances we have at being on front page and the more opportunity we have of MSNBC picking up the story for national.

Medical Malpractice & Poor Medical Care in VAMC’s

I’m sure at one point or another you’ve either heard of a case of malpractice or poor medical care or been on the receiving end of either.

Veterans-For-Change is still documenting as much as we can to present cases to Congress to address these issues.

If you or someone you know has endured these experiences, and would be willing to share your stories, please contact me direct at:  [email protected].

Taxes

The House late Thursday gave final approval to a temporary extension of the George W. Bush-era tax rates, passed by the Senate earlier in the week.

The $858 billion legislation now heads to the President for his signature.  It extends the tax cuts across the board for two years, slashes the employee payroll tax by 2 percent for one year, renews the estate tax and extends unemployment insurance benefits for 13 months.

The vote was 277-148, and the bill gained a majority of both Democrats and Republicans despite complaints from dissenters from both parties.

S. 3447 Passed House and Sent to President

S. 3447, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, passed the House and was sent to the President on December 16, 2010. We have been working with both chambers of Congress to improve the Post 9/11 GI Bill, particularly in making a housing stipend available to Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) participants. It is largely due to your efforts that this bill was passed during this Congress.

This bill will expand and improve upon the Post 9/11 GI Bill that went into effect last year and it will simplify and improve benefits in a fiscally responsible way. Specifically, the Act will enable veterans to now use their benefit for vocational and on-the-job training, expand eligibility for the benefit to National Guardsmen who are activated for domestic assistance, provide Active Duty troops with additional assistance to purchase books, and provide severely injured veterans and their caregivers with additional time to use their benefits. Section 205 of S. 3447 would allow veterans with service-connected disabilities that participate in a program of vocational rehabilitation under chapter 31 of title 38, United States Code, who are also entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, to choose whether to receive the monthly housing stipend payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill or a monthly subsistence allowance.

Toxic Chemicals CONUS

As most are aware, seen on TV, in the newspapers, and from veteran sites across the country, TCE/PCE is a major issue.

TCE a chemical degreaser used on all bases and board ships is a carcinogenic chemical, and on the many military bases nationwide was disposed of into the ground behind buildings eventually contaminating the ground water and getting into the drinking wells.

Same thing with PCE which is a dry cleaning chemical used both on bases and off base nationwide, also being disposed of into the ground and eventually contaminating the ground water and getting into the drinking wells.

Most recently CNN did a broadcast show highlighting the male breast cancer cluster surrounding Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

Personally I feel the anchor didn’t bother to do his homework very well, didn’t bring to light all the other medical issues or the families harmed by these chemicals.

Veterans-For-Change has a bill which was drafted back in February 2009 along with a petition to which we’re trying to collect at least 40,000 signatures in order to get either a Senator or Congressman to sign off and present the bill to the floor which will not only address TCE but PCE as well, and opens it up to all military, veterans and family members who served at any base where these chemicals were used and disposed of improperly thereby contaminating all who drank the water or who used the chemicals in their daily jobs.

Veterans-For-Change needs your support desperately to meet the number of signers on the petition.  This is NOT an electronic petition, but a hard copy petition.  We ask that everyone interesting in signing the petition and able to gather 8-10 more please click HERE and send us an E-Mail requesting the petition, be sure to put in the subject line TCE Petition.

Sign and try to obtain at least 10 more signatures and mail the complete form into our California office ASAP.

Should you have any questions, please click HERE and send us an E-Mail and we’ll be more than happy to reply!

VA’s Homeless Intervention Program Nears Roll Out

WASHINGTON – A homeless-prevention program by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which seeks to help Veterans and families who are on the verge of becoming homeless, has moved closer to implementation.  The program marks the first time that VA will fund services for the spouses and children of Veterans at risk of becoming homeless.

“The problems that lead to homelessness begin long before Veterans and their families are on the streets,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “By putting more resources into intervention programs for people at risk of becoming homeless, we can reduce suffering and increase the opportunities for turning around these lives.”

Shinseki’s comments came as VA formally announced that it is taking applications from private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives interested in providing needed services to at-risk Veterans and their families.

With funding from VA for the program, called Supportive Services for Veterans Families, community organizations will be better able to provide counseling, training, education assistance, direct time-limited financial assistance, transportation, child care, rent, utilities, and other services to participating Veterans and family members.

In January, VA is sponsoring free grant-writing workshops for community organizations interested in applying for funds under this program.  The workshops will be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston and New York City.

When the “Notice of Funds Availability” applications are available, they will be posted on the VA Web site at www1.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.

Details about the workshops and other information about the program are available on the Internet at www1.va.gov/homeless.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM – MILITARY DEATHS

As of December 13, 2010 

Service Name Rank Date
of Death
Age Gender Home of Record City  Home of
Record State 
Marine Aleman, Nicholas Jose SGT 12/05/10 24 M BROOKLYN NY
Army Reeves, Jason Allen SSG 12/05/10 32 M ODESSA TX
Marine Rusk, Colton Wesley PFC 12/06/10 20 M ORANGE GROVE TX
Marine Peto, Jason Darren SGT 12/07/10 31 M VANCOUVER WA
Army Ayube, James Anthony II SGT 12/08/10 25 M SALEM MA
Marine Geary, Michael Erick LCPL 12/08/10 20 M DERRY NH
Army Mixon, Kelly Joseph SPC 12/08/10 23 M YULEE FL
Marine Green, Stacy A SSGT 12/10/10 34 M ALEXANDER CITY AL
Army Goncalo, Ethan Louis PV2 12/11/10 21 M FALL RIVER MA

Listed above are the names of those of our soldiers who gave their all in defense of our Country!  Please remember those who have served and are serving still, and pray for these families in their time of need, and for those still serving for their safe return home.

Veterans who served in Korea & along the DMZ, your help is needed!

The research questionnaire response so far has been good, but we still need more veterans who served in Korea to participate.

Veterans-For-Change is distributing a questionnaire to veterans pertaining to service in Korea to help us gather statistical information in our ongoing efforts to correct the wrongs and to assist in declassifying many missions in Korea so that veterans such as you will be able to gain the benefits and services needed from the VA System.

This questionnaire is anonymous, you do not need to provide personal contact information if you’re not comfortable with this.

However, if you do provide personal contact information it will be kept 100% confidential, will not be given to any member of Congress, the VA or the DoD, nor will it be sold to any company for any reason what-so-ever.

Statistical information will be used to compile a report to submit to various members of Congress in our efforts to declassify all missions 25 or more years ago so that all veterans can apply for and gain the much needed benefits and medical care/services needed and long over due.

If you’re interested in participating, please click HERE and request a copy.  In the Subject put Korean Service.

If you receive this newsletter via a forward, and would like to opt-in direct, please click OPT-IN.

If you’d rather not receive this newsletter and would like to Opt-out, reply and in the subject line enter REMOVE.

With your help, Veterans-For-Change and you can make a difference!

We Can Win!

Better benefits, care, facilities, medical professionals and equipment!

Unite with Veterans-For-Change today!

Veterans-For-Change Newsletter is a once weekly publication deadline for submission is 5:00 PM PST on Friday!

Distribution: 13,670

 “You will never have a quiet world until you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”

George Bernard Shaw

Veteran’s News Sources:

Veterans-For-Change Incorporated

11901 Samuel
Garden Grove, CA  92840-2546

Serving those who served!

Please pass to all your Veteran friends and family!

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