Florida Veterans Object to Coast-to-Coast Runaround

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 23, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Florida Veterans Object to Coast-to-Coast Runaround


Byline: John Fales, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

The Viera Outpatient Clinic (OPC) is a well-run clinic but like other VA facilities in Florida it has more veterans to serve than it has staff or funds. Several disabled veterans have told me that when they need medical care that cannot be provided at the Viera OPC they are sent to the Tampa VAMC. We are on the Atlantic Ocean, and Tampa is on the Gulf of Mexico. The vets tell me that when they have asked to receive these medical services locally they have been denied.

What is the VA policy? If fee basis is allowed for service-connected disabilities, what action should a veteran take if his request is denied?

Dennis W.

Melbourne, Fla.

Dear Dennis:

VA officials tell me that fee-basis care may be authorized to treat service-connected disabilities when VA has determined that available VA facilities do not have the necessary services required for treatment; the veteran is not able to access VA health care facilities based on geographic constraints or due to medical emergencies; or when it is economically advantageous to provide treatment using fee basis. These determinations are left to local management because they are in the position to best apply these considerations.

In the case of veterans in Central Florida, staff members at the Orlando VAMC, which is responsible for the Viera OPC, review all fee requests individually to determine the entitlement of veterans in accordance with established Veterans Health Administration guidelines and to determine clinical urgency.

Should a veteran's request for fee basis be denied, the veteran may seek reconsideration of the decision through the local Patient Advocate's Office. VA has outlined this appeal process through issuance of VHA Directive 2006-057 "VHA Clinical Appeals."

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I am a funeral director (25 years) and a veteran (three years Army). I have developed a unique program that displays all military medals issued from World War II to the recently issued campaign medals for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Developed for display with veterans groups, there is a companion tabletop display stand that holds information pages that describes each of the 97 depicted medals in detail. Award criteria, design symbolism and the ribbon color meanings are all explained.

This is a brand new program and I thought your readers might like to know about it. Your readers can contact me for additional information.

Thomas A.

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Florida Veterans Object to Coast-to-Coast Runaround
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