Eyeglasses – Another change but an old one
The Veterans Health Administration hospital networks gives eye examinations and provides eyeglasses (and hearing aids) to veterans who receive a disability pension based on the need for regular aid and attendance or being permanently housebound; receive compensation for a service-connected disability; are former POWs or a Purple Heart award recipient; or VA medical care is the proximate cause.
Actually the rules are quite liberal and worth an inquiry if you are enrolled in the VA healthcare system. For example, the same service is provided those who have vision (and/or hearing impairment) severe* enough that it interferes with their ability to participate actively in their own medical treatment and where it will reduce the impact of dual sensory impairment (combined hearing and vision loss).
This policy is a result of a VHA issued Directive 2002-039 which established a uniform policy for the provision of hearing aids and eyeglasses. Those discharged prior to 2002 might not be aware of this change .* The term “severe” is to be interpreted as a vision and/or hearing loss that interferes with or restricts access to, involvement in, or active participation in health care services (e.g., communication or reading medication labels). The term is not to be interpreted to mean that a severe hearing or vision loss must exist to be eligible for hearing aids or eyeglasses.
Source: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/coveredservices/SpecialBenefits.asp#EyeEar. Accessed 7 April 2011.
VA Changes Billing Process for Third Party Pharmacy Prescriptions – Change will not affect co-pay status of veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is implementing a new billing process for charging third party insurers for outpatient prescription medications provided to Veterans for conditions unrelated to their military service. This change will not affect Veterans’ co-payments for prescriptions. Essentially cost plus administrative fee of $11.40 arrangement to recoup full cost, rather than a flat fee of $51.
Source: VA Media Release, 7 April 2011.
VA Extends Post-Incarceration Health Care – Done to help reduce recidivism
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will extend health care to eligible Veterans in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing under a new program aimed at cutting back on repeat offenses. “There’s hard evidence that lack of access to health care, including mental health care, for newly released inmates is a factor in people becoming homeless or returning to prison and jail,” said Jim McGuire, director of VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach Programs. “These are Veterans who otherwise qualify for VA health care.” A long-standing rule has barred VA from providing health care to Veterans for whom another federal, state or local government has an obligation to provide health care. Frequently, that means inmates of prisons and jails.
About 29,000-56,000 Veterans are released annually from state and federal prisons, and at least 90,000 Veterans are released each year from city and county jails, according to Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Source: VA Media Release, 30 March 2011.