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Veteran’s Hotline: Medical treatment options changing

Remember importance of Veterans Day

Ed Wilkinson

Nov. 5. will be the activation date for the Veterans Choice Act. This pertains to the 40-mile, 30-day requirements for Veterans to receive care outside of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs under certain conditions.

The information contained below hopefully will answer some questions regarding the Veterans Choice Act.

To qualify for the initial round of the Choice Act, veterans must meet one to two conditions:

  1. The Veteran must have successfully applied for care prior to Aug. 1, 2014 (new dates will be set periodically)

  2. Veterans who successfully apply for care after Aug. 2014 but who served in a combat zone within the last five years will also be eligible for the initial phase of the Choice Act. (This rule appears to be different than the one to qualify for VA health care that says: “any combat veteran who served after Nov. 1, 1998 has five years post-discharge to enroll.”)

Medical center staff will not have the authority to decide who qualifies for care under the Choice Act; that authority is being reserved for higher levels.

The 40-mile limit is “as the crow flies” from the front door of any VA point of care. That means a few veterans will have towns that are divided. There are a few limited exceptions to the 40-mile rule.

Veterans who want to request Choice Act care because their VA cannot arrange care for them within 30 days of the request may not always have their request approved. More details on that to follow, but certain situations may not qualify.

The funding for the program is for three years, or until the special funding for it has been spent, whichever is sooner.

There will be a card issued, but at this time it is unknown what it will look like.

Veterans who only have a PO Box number for a mailing address will not be sent a card. Veterans must have an address in the system that gives their actual physical place of residence — This is related to the 40-mile radius rule.

In addition, the plan is to target the 700,000 to 800,000 veterans who are most likely to qualify for the Choice Act in the first mailing. However, all nine million veterans enrolled with the VA will eventually receive a card.

If you have any questions, come to my office and I will give you another source of information.

Please vote on Nov. 4, and remember, your vote does count!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 is serving breakfast buffet on Sundays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Veterans Day is coming up on Nov. 11. Please keep in mind why this is a national holiday and observe it accordingly. To quote the old saying, “all gave some and some gave all” to make this country what it is today.

If you know of a returning military person, please let a member of the American Legion, VFW or myself know so we can give them a “hometown hero’s” welcome. These Veterans do not have to have been in a war zone, because it takes seven people behind the lines to support one combat soldier.

I have told everyone that if you have a problem that cannot be resolved during my office hours to call me at home. But, if you just need a ride to Grand Junction, please call during office hours at 970-824-6721, ext. 10, or leave a voicemail at my office at 480 Barclay St. I do not have the resources at home to accommodate you, such as login, arranging a driver, paperwork, and also, I may not even get the voicemail.


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