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Vice President’s Report, November/December 2022 -   -  

50th Vietnam War Commemoration

The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration effort, began in 2008 when Congress included language in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to help honor and pay tribute to Vietnam War veterans, who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975.

As Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin put it: “How we care for our veterans, especially our Vietnam veterans – our nation’s blood and treasure from a generation ago – directly impacts who will join us to defend the nation now.”

The Commemoration is led by retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Pete Aylward. Gen. Aylward and his staff are outstanding people and extremely dedicated to their mission.

They have sponsored many commemorative events, working with some 12,000 partners to honor all Vietnam War veterans. Vietnam Veterans of America is a vital partner in this effort.

The Commemoration also works with Vietnam War veterans and Gold Star families in veterans’ homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitative and palliative care facilities, and hospice care units.

The Commemoration has a goal of presenting a Commemorative flag to all VVA state councils and chapters. Since 2011, 260 VVA chapters have become Commemorative Partners, and many VVA members have received the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.

The goal is to have all 89,000 VVA members pinned before the Commemoration is retired on Veterans Day 2025.

Mark your calendars for the May 11-13, 2023, National Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. This will be a grand celebration, and we encourage everyone who is able to make plans to be there.

988: The New Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number  

On July 16 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s new three–digit number went live. People experiencing a mental health crisis can call 988 and connect to counselors in the organization’s nationwide network of more than 200 crisis centers. The Lifeline provides veterans with fast and easy access to veteran-specific mental health support. The previous phone number (1-800-273-8255) remains available.

Veterans Emergency Care Reimbursement Act  

H.R. 4993/S. 2692, The Veterans Emergency Care Reimbursement Act of 2021, if enacted, would limit the amount veterans who are authorized to receive emergency care from the VA are required to pay to private health care facilities.

Veterans who use the VA are authorized to receive emergency care at non-VA facilities if they believe that a delay in seeking care would impose a serious threat to life or health. If veterans have health insurance, their insurance is the first payer for emergency care received in non-VA health facilities. Additionally, the law specifies that VA is not authorized to pay veterans copayments for care reimbursed by health insurance. This sometimes leaves large deductibles for veterans to pay out of pocket. H.R. 4993/S. 2692 would limit veterans cost-sharing to no more than $100.

Conditions requiring emergency care may require long-term recovery or rehabilitation periods, which often can have an impact on employment and income. Veterans and their families or survivors should not have to worry about paying for significant out-of-pocket medical costs while they deal with the aftermath of an emergency.

Every non-VA hospital knows that when a veteran is brought to their facility for emergency care, the veteran will be held until the hospital considers him or her to be in stable condition and then is moved to a VA facility. This emergency situation happened to me a few years ago.

It is incumbent upon the veteran to make sure that you are stable and ready for transfer and that there is a bed available at the VA facility that you wish to be transferred to.

Camp Lejeune Justice Act  

In the last issue of The VVA Veteran, Alec Ghezzi, the Director of VVA Veterans Benefits, wrote about the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. He explained how to file a claim related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The main point he made is that anyone anticipating filing a claim should first consult with an accredited Veteran Service Officer.

The other thing to remember is that if a claimant assigns his or her claim to a law firm, that law firm’s 50 percent fee of the award is taken from the award. So, for example, if you are awarded $100,000, you have automatically given your law firm $50,000 in fees.

With that knowledge in hand, if you decide to file your case with a law firm, be sure to find out exactly what the fee structure is.




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