VETERANS CORNER: New VA rule to be implemented later this year
Written by Charlie Castelluccio Wed 03/15/2017
Shared by KVanderkooi Fri 03/17/2017
TITUSVILLE — During a hearing before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs recently, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that the Veterans Administration will no longer turn away veterans seeking urgent mental health care simply because they received other-than-honorable discharges.
VA plans to implement the new rule later this year.
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Last week, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a markup to consider five bills, all of which Veterans of Foreign Wars supports.
The committee deliberated and advanced a bill to give the secretary of Veterans Affairs increased authority to hold VA employees accountable for wrongdoing and poor performance. The committee also voted to protect veterans’ Second Amendment rights and destigmatize mental health care by ensuring veterans who seek VA mental health care and require the assistance of others to manage finances are not reported to the no-sell list without proper due process.
Also advanced is a bill to remove the secondary payer requirements under the Choice Program, so veterans no longer receive bills from Choice providers simply because they are covered by private health insurance. The bill would also prolong the program by authorizing VA to use funds that are due to expire in August 2017.
The committee also moved a bill that would provide full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to veterans who have earned the Purple Heart but were unable to complete 36 months of active duty.
All five bills await consideration by the full House, which is scheduled to consider the accountability bill and other veterans’ bills next week.
Charlie Castelluccio, a Titusville resident, is chaplain of northwest Pennsylvania’s 28th District of Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of Titusville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5958.