Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Telehealth to Improve HIV Care for Rural Vets

Since October 2012, Dr. Michael Ohl of the Iowa City VA Health Care System has been conducting a study to see if Telehealth services could provide better treatment for rural veterans with human immunodeficiencyvirus (HIV). As a result of that study, Dr. Ohl is now creating a program called Telehealth Collaborative Care, which uses videoconferencing to connect VA specialists with rural veterans who have HIV.

HIV is a chronic condition that attacks the body’s immune system. Lack of care due to reduced access to quality treatment can have serious consequences, including the development of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be life-threatening. There are 26,000 veterans receiving care for HIV from the VA, 18% of whom live in rural areas and do not have access to the high-quality care provided at HIV specialty clinics.

“Veterans should have easy access to HIV testing and state-of-the-art HIV care regardless of where they live,” said Ohl, an infectious disease specialist. “We know that compared to their urban counterparts, rural Veterans with HIV enter care with more advanced illness, are less likely to receive the latest advances in HIV treatment, and have lower survival rates. We want to change that.”

Telehealth Collaborative Care allows rural veterans to participate in videoconferences at nearby VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) to receive ongoing care from an HIV specialist at a large VA medical center. Other professionals, such as psychologists, HIV pharmacists, or nurse-care managers can also participate in these videoconferences, allowing the veteran’s on-site primary care doctor to coordinate with the specialty clinic to co-manage the veteran’s care. This process takes a huge travel burden off the veteran.


The Telehealth Collaborative Care program currently includes about 800 veterans who live in rural areas near Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Each of these cities has a VA hospital with an HIV specialty clinic. If this program is successful, it may then be expanded to other areas.

Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 Sporting Events for Disabled Veterans

There are 5 adaptive/rehabilitative sporting events coming up this Spring and Summer that are designed for disabled veterans.

The first is the National Golden Age Games, which will be held in Biloxi, MS May 7-11, 2017. These games are for veterans age 55+ and offer sporting events for senior veterans with many levels of ability. Registration is open from February 1 through March 1. For more information, please visit https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/gag/.

The Valor Games consist of a wide range of events for all disabled veterans and service members. They are conducted regionally. Valor Games Southeast will be held in North Carolina from May 22-25, 2017. For information about the games and registration, please visit http://www.bridge2sports.org/valor-games-southeast/. The Valor Games Far West will be held at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, CA from June 2-5, 2017. Registration opens March 1. For more information, visit http://valorgamesfarwest.com/valor-games-far-west-athlete-info/.

The National Veterans Wheelchair Games will be held this year in Cincinnati, OH from July 17-22. Registration is online and is open now. For more information, please visit http://wheelchairgames.org.

The VA’s Summer Sports Clinic offers sports and recreational events to recently injured veterans, with its primary purpose to help veterans recovering from injuries. The various sporting and recreational events supplement daily rehabilitation activities to aid in the recovery process. This year’s Summer Sports Clinic will be held in San Diego, CA from September 17-22. Applications are due on or before March 1. For more information, please visit https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/ssc/.

The 2017 Invictus Games will be held in Toronto, Canada from September 24-30, 2017. The Invictus Games are basically the Olympics for disabled veterans and military members from participating nations across the world. For more information about participating on the US team, please contact
Christopher.p.wright3.civ@mail.mil. For general information about the Invictus Games, please visit http://www.invictusgames2017.com/2017-games/faqs/.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

VA Reducing Copays for Outpatient Medications

The VA announced last month that it is amending its current regulations governing copays for outpatient medications for veterans with conditions that are not service-connected.

Currently, veterans receiving healthcare for conditions that are not connected to service pay either $8 or $9 for a 30-day or less supply of medication.

This new regulation puts outpatient medications into 3 categories or tiers and sets the copays accordingly. The new copays, effective February 27, 2017, are as follows:

$5 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 1 (preferred generics) medications
$8 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 2 (non-preferred generics, including over the counter) medications
$11 for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 3 (brand name) medications

These changes will apply only to veterans receiving treatment for conditions that are not service-connected and who are not exempt from copayments.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Full Disability Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

On January 13, 2017, the VA published the final regulations to officially add 8 diseases related to exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to the VA Presumptive List.

While veterans are currently able to receive medical care for conditions related to their exposure, this new ruling means that veterans as well as active duty and National Guard members who served for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune, NC between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 are now eligible for full disability benefits for 8 diseases related to that exposure.

The 8 conditions being added to the Presumptive List are:

            Adult leukemia
            Bladder cancer
            Kidney cancer
            Liver cancer
            Multiple myeloma
            Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
            Parkinson’s Disease
            Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

All conditions on the VA Presumptive List are presumed service-connected and thus eligible for full VA Disability Benefits, including both healthcare and disability compensation.

This new ruling will be effective on March 14, 2017, but if you feel you have a condition related to this exposure, you can go ahead and submit a VA Disability Claim and it will be held until the ruling is in effect and the claim can be approved.

Check out our Lejeune Presumptive List for further details on these conditions and how they are rated.

For more information about healthcare benefits related to Camp Lejeune exposure, please visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/index.asp.


To get more information about reimbursement for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for eligible family members, visit https://www.clfamilymembers.fsc.va.gov.