VFW Action Corps Weekly, June 22, 2018

June 22, 2018
 
In This Issue:
1. Desert Storm Memorial Site Picked
2. DHA Executive Council Meeting
3. Senate Defense Authorization Bill Would Increase TRICARE Fees
4. Hearing on VA Staffing Shortages
5. Hearing on Military Health System Reform
6. VA Releases Report on Veteran Suicides
7. DHA PTSD Care Webinar
8. VFW Convention to Host Women Veterans Information Fair
9. MIA Update


To view this week’s edition, click here: http://www.vfw.org/actioncorpsweekly.

Veterans-For-Change NEWSLETTER

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Week Ending Sunday, June 24, 2018

Volume 9, Issue 25

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Over the past month or so we have been investigating and digging deeper into Autism and the military and although most of the information we’re finding is anecdotal at best what we have learned is that the “spectrum” defining high and low functioning people with Autism is an adopted theory and that even most doctors who treat those with Autism and Asperger Syndrome say there is no real spectrum it’s pretty much “estimated!”

As for drug therapy, again there are no drugs that were or have been developed to help those with Autism or Asperger Syndrome, that the medications prescribed are generally those that are used to assist people with PTSD. And in many cases medications are not prescribed and/or needed which leads me to believe this is how those who have Autism can easily slip through the cracks, be enlisted and serve in the military.

We’d still like to hear from anyone who has served and is diagnosed with either Autism or Asperger Syndrome and who either served a short time or had a career till retirement in the service. And we’d also like to hear from those who made every effort to enlist but were either denied, or were given waivers.

Most everyone knows that there is a bill pending in the House, HR 299 which would resolve the issue of benefits and medical care to those who served in the Navy during Vietnam.

Commander John Wells and his team along with many BWN Veterans have fought long and hard and given so much of their time to have finally presented a bill that the committee agrees with, but now is the time for all Veterans to come together and help see to it that this bill passes both the House and Senate.

In every newsletter we’ve sent out we provide all the phone numbers you can use to call your Reps in DC and kindly ask for their support when this bill comes to the floor for a vote. So please, make use of those numbers and make those calls and we’re asking that everyone make the calls on a Friday and call every week on Friday.

Reason being is that Fridays they’re always trying to wrap up some project and calling their offices all on the same day will place a much heavier burden on staff to answer the phones and make the notes needed to pass on to the Rep they work for.

In addition we’d also like for you to go to their individual websites and send a kind message repeating what you told them on the phone and asking for their support when HR 299 comes to the floor asking they support the bill and vote YES!

Please don’t continue to be silent and even if you don’t think they listen, flooding their offices with phone calls and e-mails will grab their attention and prove just how badly this bill needs to pass!

On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health!

Respectfully,
Jim Davis
Founder
Jim.Davis@Veterans-For-Change.org

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Navy Changes Career Sea Pay Guidelines

The U.S. Navy has announced changes to Career Sea Pay (CSP). The changes include: (1) new guidelines for special boat units, expeditionary boat units, and landing craft utility units (LCU) to receive daily CSP rates; and (2) all afloat staffs, with the exception of 7th Fleet and Carrier Strike Group 5 staffs, will now earn daily CSP, only for days spent either underway or embarked for eight continuous hours. CSP provides a special payment in recognition of the greater than normal rigors of sea duty, the arduous duty involved in long deployments, and the repetitive nature of assignment to such duty.

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Military Base Water Contamination Issues

A new health study details the scope of contaminated water supplies that have allegedly resulted in cancer and birth defects at nearly 126 military bases across the country — and the White House and Environmental Protection Agency have been pushing against its release over this past month. For more on the study and its ramifications, see this article.

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Remember Those who Served
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Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program

The Air Force’s Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP) offers Airmen the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing at a college or university with an Air Force ROTC detachment, or a college or university with a ‘cross-town agreement.’ Applicants who are accepted are required to attend school year-round in a resident-based program for up to 24 consecutive calendar months, where they are required to complete classes, in-residence training and ROTC requirements. For more information, visit the Air Force website. For complete application instructions and requirements, visit myPers. Select ‘Active Duty Enlisted’ from the dropdown menu and search for ‘NECP’.

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Riverside County California Veterans Survey

Help identify Riverside County Veterans’ unmet needs!

Click Here

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VFC Website

The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.

Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.

We also have a forum with a licensed Mental Health Worker, again where you can seek help or just ask questions.

We average 2,100 hits per day, and downloads average 1,200 per day with a total 4,138,302 visitors as of Friday.

If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized automatically.

www.veterans-for-change.org

• Documents Library with over 16,411 documents on-line (Updated: 06/08/18)
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers
• Multiple Forums
o Afghanistan Veterans
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans
o Iraq Veterans
o Korean Veterans
o Men Veterans Forum
o Mental Health for Veterans (Counselor Needed)
o Political Issues
o Suggestion Box
o The Mess Hall
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers
o Veteran Affairs
o Vietnam Veterans
o Welcome Mat
o Women Veterans Forum
o WW II Veterans
• Job Postings
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 01/11/18)
• News (Articles On-Line: 7,420)
• Polls
• Web Links, more than 3,654, Added 9 New Links (Updated: 05/27/18)

If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.org

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Senate Passes FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act

On Monday of this week the Senate passed its version of the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the legislation that authorizes the programs the Department of Defense can spend money on, as well as authorizing new programs within DoD. The House passed its version of the NDAA in May.

The next step in the process is a conference committee, which is composed of members from both the Senate and the House. Their job is to work out the differences between the two bills and come up with one bill that will go back to each body for a final vote. The bill is then sent to the President for his signature.

The difference in overall spending between the two bills is “only” about $1,000,000,000. While that is almost an incomprehensible number for most people, in terms of the government it’s rather small.

Both bills would give active duty personnel a 2.6% raise in FY2019 and both would increase the number of active duty personnel each of the services is authorized, although there are significant differences in the numbers which will have to be reconciled.

The biggest difference between the two bills as far as personnel issues go is a provision in the Senate NDAA which would raise health care costs for retirees under the age of 65.

Last year’s NDAA allowed those who entered the military service before January 1, 2018, to keep the TRICARE fees which were in existence at that time. However, anyone who entered after that date were subject to a new TRICARE fee structure which increased their health care costs. The Senate bill would eliminate the “grandfathering” of those in the service prior to January 1 and throw them into the new TRICARE fee structure, thus also raising their health care costs.

It is important to note at this point that retirees over the age of 65 will not be affected by this change.

However, those under age 65 would see significant increases in enrollment fees for both TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select. Those in TRICARE Select would also see their annual deductible double.

TREA is strongly opposed to the Senate provision and we will be lobbying the members of the NDAA conference committee to take it out of the final legislation. We will also be sending out further information on this in the coming days.

The bottom line is that once again military retirees are being forced to pay more for their health care by politicians in the Senate who constantly proclaim their love for military personnel and vow to take care of them. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Source: TREA

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VA IG in Fight With VA Leadership Over Whistleblower Records

This week the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General (IG), an independent watchdog office, accused VA leaders of improperly withholding records dealing with employee complaints.

VA leaders have responded by accusing the IG of overstepping its authority and improperly issuing reports that “recklessly cast the VA and its employees in an unfavorable light.”

VA Inspector General Michael Missal has asked VA leadership to review all complaints filed with the department’s new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. This was part of the VA accountability measures that were passed in the wake of the Phoenix VA wait list scandal (and many other scandals) to help root out misbehavior within the department.
Missal said he was promised access to those records in his role as an independent overseer. Earlier this month, he accused acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter O’Rourke of violating the law by refusing to open those files to the IG staff.

In response last week, O’Rourke denied unfettered access to the documents, calling the request too broad and impractical.

Allowing the VA IG to view these records is absolutely vital to insuring that the VA system is being held accountable. Claiming that retaliation against whistleblowers has occurred, a fact that the IG has little to no power to stop on their own absent action by Congress, is a malicious way to cut down on the IG’s ability to root out corruption and malfeasance on the part of everyday VA officials against their employees.

Missal said his staff needs access to the accountability office complaints to ensure that work isn’t being duplicated and that criminal accusations are being properly pursued.

O’Rourke was named acting VA secretary on May 30 after then-acting secretary Robert Wilkie was nominated to be the permanent Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His paperwork has not yet been delivered to the Senate for consideration, so no timeline has been set for confirmation hearings or a full chamber vote.

Source: TREA

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AMVETS National Newsletter

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President Trump has signed the VA Mission Act into law.

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Join AMVETS & VAfor a Facebook Live Stream

Getting Medical Records Online: Facebook Conversation w/ AMVETS

We’ve got a #FacebookLive chat with VHA regarding how #Veterans can gain access to their VA health record information and features like Secure Messaging, online appointment scheduling, refilling VA prescriptions and more.

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ATTN
AMVETS:

T-Mobile has an offer exclusively for AMVETS members! Click the phone number on the ad below and get 50% off 2 – 6 lines when you switch!

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Heal American Veterans        Town Hall

Lets talk healing.

Our HEAL program is hosting a ‘Heal American Veterans’ Town Hall meeting to give service members, veterans, & family members a chance to sound off on issues related to access to appropriate healthcare options. Congress and the public need to hear from you.

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AMVETS is calling for action from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, & Congress.

There may be side effects linked to an anti-malaria drug taken be service members.

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Take our

1 QUESTION

survey ahead of AMVETS’ town Hall in July!

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AVP – Amanda Burrill

Today’s AVP topics include:

– Robert Wilkie’s Confirmation Hearing

 

– Signing of the VA Mission Act

 

– Anti-malaria drug that could be showing side effects in veterans

 

– Interview w/ veteran/advocate/mountaineer Amanda Burill

 

– Post 33 hosts 10th annual event for children w/ special needs

 

– Upcoming AMVETS events (Facebook live w/ VHA/Heal American Veterans town hall)

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AMVETS’ Chief Strategy Officer Sherman Gillums discusses the VA on AMVETS Radio

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AMVETS Nat’l Exec. Dir. Joe Chenelly tells us it may be as little as two weeks before proposed TRICARE changes make it out of committee.

[Video/Repost from ConnectingVets’ EricDehm]

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RED ALERT – ALL HANDS ON DECK

RED ALERT CORRECTED The Vietnam Blue Water Navy Bill HR 299 goes to the floor for comment and vote on Monday, June 25th and we need everyone to call their Reps in DC and kindly ask them to Vote YES on the bill. You do not have to be a Veteran to call, we’re asking […]

Changes in Marital Status, Changes in TRICARE Coverage

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Did you get married or divorced recently? If so, you’ve experienced a TRICARE Qualifying Life Event (QLE). With TRICARE, QLEs are certain life changes, like moving, getting married or divorced, becoming Medicare-eligible, and more. These changes may trigger a change in your TRICARE eligibility and options. A QLE for one family member creates […]

6/20/2018 Washington Update

June 20, 2018     Inside this issue TREA: The Enlisted Association’s Washington Update • Senate Passes FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act • VA IG in Fight With VA Leadership Over Whistleblower Records • TREA Urges Support for ‘Complete the MISSION’ Amendment • Burn Pits Get a Hearing in Congress • Want to Put Your Uniform Back On? This May […]

This Saturday – Thanks To Yanks Welcome Summer Family BBQ

Thanks To Yanks presents Welcome Summer Family BBQ Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 from 12:30pm – 4:30 p.m. American Legion Fairmount Post 85, 870 River Street, Woonsocket, RI $5.00 per person OR bring an item for our deployed troops care packages such as: (protein bars, beef jerky, new/current magazines, 2-ply toilet paper, sunscreen or shaving cream (non-aerosol), or […]