Updated information from APDA Center dedicated to Veterans' Services

The APDA Information & Referral Center in Reno, Nevada is dedicated to supporting and improving the lives of Veterans with Parkinson's disease. I & R Center Coordinator, Susan Gulas, RN, MSN, has been kind enough to share this update for veterans with us.

VA Mail-Order Pharmacy  The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) mails prescription medications and supplies directly to veteran patients. Local VA medical center pharmacies almost always process and dispense the initial prescription order; after that, the vast majority of refills are handled via mail-order. The goal is delivery of medication or supplies to the patient within ten days of request. VA typically gets the prescription delivered in less than five days. For more information, contact your local VA medical center.

VA Accepting Caregiver Applications  The VA has assisted more than 625 veterans, service members, and their family caregivers in applying for services under the Caregivers act. They sent out more than $430,000 in stipend payments in July to nearly two-hundred family caregivers of veterans. Applications are still being accepted at the VA Caregivers website: http://www.caregiver.va.gov.

Understanding the Disability Claims Process  To review information on what the VA does after it receives your claim, go to: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Topics/claims.htm.

Million Veteran Programs: A Partnership between VA and Veterans The Veterans Affairs  Office of Research and Development is launching the Million Veteran Program (MVP), an important partnership between VA and Veterans. The goal of MVP is to better understand how genes affect health and illness in order to improve health care for Veterans. For more information visit: http://www.research.va.gov/MVP/.

VA Helpline for Caregivers  The National Caregiver Support Line toll-free number (855) 260-3274 is available to family members, loved ones, or friends who provide care for veterans living with the effects of war, disability, chronic illness, or aging.  For more information, visit:  http://www.caregiver.va.gov

Update on Rural Health  Approximately forty-one percent of enrolled Veterans live in rural area. The Veterans Administration (VA) is transforming the way health care is delivered because of this fact. The Office of Rural Health (ORH) is working to ensure that rural Veterans have access to the health care they deserve. VA is working to shift the current health care system from “problem-based disease care” to one that is “patient-centered and healing”. Most rural Veterans are in the 55 to 74 age group and need care focused on management of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Technology, such as telehealth, is one system that is projected to expand this year. A Care Coordination home technology (CCHT) is one such project that is being expanded to care nationally for Veterans living in rural areas. This program focuses on patient self-management of chronic conditions via a range of telehealth technologies that include messaging, monitoring, and video devices.

Retroactive Benefits  Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, announced that more than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits have been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam Veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of the three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions. On August 31, 2010, VA amended its regulations to add ischemic heart disease, hairy cell leukemia and other chronic B-cell leukemia’s, and Parkinson’s disease to the list of diseases presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Claims Processing System website located at https://www.fasttrack.va.gov/AOFastTrack/ may be used to submit claims related to the three new presumptive conditions.