FRA NewsBytes June 6 2015

Newsbytes 6/06/2015

Newsbytes 6/06/2015

In this issue:
Senate NDAA is Moving Fast
NED Discusses Homeless Veterans’ Issues with Senate Panel
HVAC Assesses VA’s Ability to Promptly Pay Non-VA Providers
Battle of Midway Remembered
Southwest Regional Convention Dates Misprinted in June Issue of FRA Today

Senate NDAA is Moving Fast
Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman John McCain (Ariz.) announced that this week and much of next week has been reserved for Senate debate and voting on floor amendments to the Senate version of the FY 2016 Defense Authorization bill (S. 1376). Anticipated amendments that may be considered next week include:

  • Rolling back TRICARE pharmacy co-pay increases;
  • Providing comprehensive concurrent receipt reform;
  • Increasing the annual pay increase from 1.3% to 2.3%;
  • Restoring Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) benefits;
  • Extending SCRA mortgage protection from nine months to one year; and
  • Providing veteran status to those members of the Reserve Component who served 20 years or more but were not activated.

Many of the above referenced amendments are listed on the FRA Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) and members are urged to contact their senators to ask for their support on these critical amendments.

FRA NED Discusses Homeless Veterans’ Issues with Senate Panel
FRA National Executive Director (NED) Tom Snee testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) at the invitation of SVAC Chairman Johnny Isakson (Ga.) to discuss the problem of veteran homelessness. Snee congratulated the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) laudable goal of eliminating veteran homelessness, and stressed that we must improve and re-authorize the VA reintegration program. This program provides job training, counseling and placement services to expedite entry into the labor force. Snee also noted the importance of a seamless transition from the Department of Defense to the VA. FRA’s written statement dated June 3, 2015 addresses homelessness and other legislative issues, and is available on the FRA website at www.fra.org/testimony.

HVAC Assesses VA’s Ability to Promptly Pay Non-VA Providers
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) Subcommittee on Health held a hearing assessing the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ability to promptly pay non-VA providers. A March 2014 GAO report indicates that some non-VA providers experienced “lengthy delays” in the processing of their claims that, in at least one case, took years to resolve. Despite efforts to expedite reimbursement across the VA health care system, reports of delinquent and delayed payments to non-VA providers across the country continue. As a result, some health care providers are hesitant, unwilling or unable to provide care to veterans due to fears they will not be paid for the services they provide. The fact that many veterans are being held responsible for these outstanding bills in the absence of VA payment is even more disturbing. The Subcommittee examined the ability of VA to comply with the Prompt Pay Act, reviewed the barriers that are preventing reimbursement timeliness and accuracy, and assessed VA’s efforts to expedite payments to non-VA providers.

Battle of Midway Remembered
FRA National Executive Director (NED) Tom Snee attended a Commemoration of the Battle of Midway at the Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia on Thursday, June 4, 2015.

The Battle of Midway was a crucial and decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The battle occurred between 3 and 6 June 1942, only six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a decisive American victory that changed the tide of war in the pacific. Read the story of one FRA Shipmate who survived the sinking of the USS Yorktown in this year’s summer issues (June – August 2015) of FRA Today magazine.

Southwest Regional Convention Dates Misprinted in June Issue of FRA Today
On page 30 of the June issue of FRA Today, we printed dates, locations, and contact information for our 2015 regional conventions. We made an error with the dates for the Southwest Regional Convention—the convention will be held on August 14 and 15 (not August 8 and 9 as printed). The remainder of the information we published about the Southwest Region’s convention is correct:

Location: Riverside Resort, Laughlin, Nevada
Host: Branch and Unit 70
Contact: RSSW Darvin Dalrymple at 619-992-9886, Darvin_FRA70@cox.net
Unit VP Michelle Caston at 760-803-5656, me-n-rc@cox.net

We apologize for any inconvenience that this misprint may have caused.