Veterans Corner: News You Can Use

Gulf War Veterans Newsletter

VA has released the 2016 issue of the Gulf War Veterans Newsletter. This issue includes a list of illnesses that are presumed to be caused by military service and research related to Gulf War veterans.

Also included is information on how to participate in upcoming studies as well as results from recent surveys of the physical and mental health of Gulf War and Gulf War era veterans.

To access the newsletter online and to print your own copy, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/publications/gulf-war/gulf-war-winter-2016/index.asp.

Security job positions open on Kauai

Veterans preferred. Must have or be able to obtain “Guard Card” from the State of Hawaii. For more information, please call Roger Jensen at (808) 284-1543.

Save money on VA prescriptions

Under new rules proposed earlier this month by the VA, most veterans can expect to see $1-$4 in savings per prescription for outpatient medications, starting next year.

The new regulations will change the VA’s drug payment schedule for veterans with non-service connected conditions in priority groups two through eight, to a three-tiered system, similar to the TRICARE pharmacy program.

Under the current system, these veterans pay a flat fee of $8 to $9 per medication for a 30-day supply, with copayments capped at $960 per year.

Starting in 2017, the VA will implement a three-tier copayment system, capping the annual maximum for copayments at $700:

Tier prescription drug type copay (30-day supply)

1. Preferred generic Drugs, $5

2. Non-preferred generics and over-the-counter, $8

3. Brand name, $11

Veterans with service-connected conditions in priority group one (veterans with disability ratings of 50 percent or more or unemployable) will still be exempt from paying copays under the new rule. (Source: www.moaa.org/Content/Take-Action/Top-Issues/Former-Officers/Veterans-to-Save-Money-on-VA-Prescriptions.aspx)

No compensation for Vietnam’s Blue Water Navy veterans

The VA has once again turned down Blue Water Navy veterans from receiving compensation for possible exposure to Agent Orange (AO) during the Vietnam War.

In a document just released, the VA said it will continue to limit benefits related to AO exposure to only those veterans who set foot in Vietnam and to those who served aboard boats in the inland rivers of Vietnam — referred to as “Brown Water Navy” veterans.

“Blue Water Navy” veterans have asked the VA for more than a decade to broaden the policy to include them. They say that they were also exposed to AO because their ships sucked in potentially contaminated water and distilled it for showering, drinking, laundry and cooking.

However, VA’s environmental health experts in the Veterans Health Administration have reviewed the available scientific information and concluded that it is not sufficient to support a presumption that they were exposed to AO when they served off the coast of Vietnam.

The VA said it is working with veterans groups to “initiate a groundbreaking study of Blue Water Navy Veterans health outcomes and hope to have data gathered and analyses published in 2017.” (Source: www.propublica.org/article/once-again-the-va-turns-down-navy-vets-for-agent-orange-benefits)

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Tony Elliott is Kauai Office of Veterans’ Services. He can be reached at 241-3348.

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