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Start here to fix VA care in Philipines


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mpt1947

I noticed a few post on meds and would like to pass on this info. If you are 100% and I believe retirees can also use APO (Armed Forces Post Office) at local Embassy. This is for government use only not personal mail. I get my meds from VA that way and my wife gets hers from Champ VA because Thailand has law prohibiting medication being sent in. It also helps out when you are writing to congressman and such. They tend to read your emails or letter when they see your return address is C/O US Embassy. Have known of few vets who has gotten meds from scrip’s written form Doc outside of VA but they had to bitch to Patients Advocate at VA in USA. I do know they have a limit on how many can use it and like here there is a waiting list. I have been getting my stuff for years that way. You would haft to ask Embassy there but you would haft to pick up mail at Embassy or have someone pick it up for you. That can be worked out.

Most of us get our Meds sent via Air21 Courier Service -

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As an update, and to give credit where credit is due, my home state of Indiana has one republican and one democratic U.S. Senator. I sent the message in the previous post to both of them, my house rep

I have to admit I am shocked and very surprised at your post. I can't fathom how a fellow veteran could feel the way you've expressed, but I respect your right to your opinion but we'll just have to a

One option for VA Medical Care here in Asia is Guam. Here in Thailand we have much the same problems. Only medical care available to us is FMP (Foreign Medical Program) but as most of you know that o

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mpt1947

There will be a VA Out Reach in Cebu on September 12th - Please see other topics for more detail - among other things, this is a chance to ask questions about the VA - who makes the decisions as to how it operates in the Philippines vs. VA's in the US - Manila is Part of VISN 21, which includes Northern California and the Pacific Areas.  So is Policy set at VISN 21, or locally in Manila?

 

We have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers.  

 

We can be part of the Problem, or part of the Solution

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ex231
 I guess they feel you are free to live here or go back to the States, so if you don't like the VA service here, go home and get treatment.  The rub is, it can take months to get specialty appointments in the States, so flying home for a month generally won't even get you your first appointment.  And that is the way it is with VA health care here.

 

And that's exactly where I'm at. I was in the US in Feb and was told consult for my issue would be 2 -3 months out. Surgery sometime later. So Feck it, I came back here.

 

I am convinced that if enough of Congress became aware of how it is here it just might change. I wonder if obama had any idea what the VA is like here when he gave his his little photo op speech in Manila saying basically that every veteran that needed care should have it.

 

 

 

 

The VA clinic is here because of the Filipino veterans. The VA couldn't care less about expats, and if it was just expats living here, there wouldn't be a VA clinic. But meanwhile there is a VA clinic here. Expats get to use it, SOME expats get to use it but nobody should feel like the VA will be around to serve veterans in the Philippines once the number of Filipino veterans is reduced significantly. We can cross that bridge when we come to it
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Bill H

 

 

I am convinced that if enough of Congress became aware of how it is here it just might change. I wonder if obama had any idea what the VA is like here when he gave his his little photo op speech in Manila saying basically that every veteran that needed care should have it.

 

Well good on you, I just hope you don't sink into a deep depression when you figure out the politicians don't give a rats ass about us and the VA doesn't either.  The Vietnam era vets are getting older and starting to drop like flies, so now the VA and politicians will forget about us and concentrate on the younger vets.  Not that they will actually do much for them, but they will give the requisite speeches, hold regular news conferences talking about how they are really gonna help these Vets who gave so much, until the camera lights get turned off.  Then they will go back to their swank officers, collecting their high salaries while the bulk of the vets struggle day by day to just survive.  Things will just not change until laws are passed that tie disabled veterans compensation to Congressional salaries.  Just don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen!

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ex231

 

 

Well good on you, I just hope you don't sink into a deep depression when you figure out the politicians don't give a rats ass about us and the VA doesn't either.

 

I'm not expecting much but at least I'll know I tried. Like they say, we can only go up from here so nothing ventured nothing gained.

For the most part I think politicians are taking up oxygen that others could be breathing but I do have some faith in my congressman Devin Nunes.

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thailandphil

 

There will be a VA Out Reach in Cebu on September 12th - Please see other topics for more detail - among other things, this is a chance to ask questions about the VA - who makes the decisions as to how it operates in the Philippines vs. VA's in the US - Manila is Part of VISN 21, which includes Northern California and the Pacific Areas.  So is Policy set at VISN 21, or locally in Manila?

 

We have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers.  

 

We can be part of the Problem, or part of the Solution

 Please let us know how things went would be very interrested in knowing what was said and answers they gave you
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thailandphil

I talked to gal at va clinic in Guam who was very helpfull and honest with me. Plan on taking trip there to see for myself. On return plan to go see Cebu would like to hook up with someone who knows the ins and outs of the place. Beer and dinner on me.

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  • 3 months later...

Well, I wrote the following letter to both of my US Senators and to the Congressman representing my congressional district. I hope that if you really care about this issue you will also send a letter to your Senators and Congressperson.

 

Here is my letter:

 

Dear Senator/Congressman Xxxxxxxx,
 
I am a resident of Xxx Xxxxxxxxx, IN, who lives most of the year on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. I have a son here and that's why I spend most of the year here in the Philippines.
 
Congressman, I am writing to ask you to write and/or sponsor a bill to allow US veterans to receive care and/or treatment thru the US Veterans Affairs Manila outpatient clinic for non-service connected issues just as they would in the United States.
 
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs operates a VA regional office and a VA outpatient clinic in the Philippines on the grounds of the US Embassy seafront compound annex on Roxas Blvd, Pasay City, greater Manila.  
 
Currently, it is the policy of the Manila outpatient clinic to only treat US veterans for service-connected conditions. This policy is polar opposite to the policy in the United States where ALL veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system are eligible for treatment regardless of whether or not they are service or non-service connected.
 
There is a little known caveat in the law that allows the Manila outpatient clinic to deny treatment for non-service connected conditions. This is where we would ask for your help in changing the law:
 
§ 17.35 Hospital care and medical services in foreign countries.
 
The Secretary may furnish hospital care and medical services to any veteran sojourning or residing outside the United States, without regard to the veteran's citizenship:
 
(a) If necessary for treatment of a service-connected disability, or any disability associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected disability;
(b) If the care is furnished to a veteran participating in a rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 who requires care for the reasons enumerated in 38 CFR 17.47(i)(2).
 
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1724)
[55 FR 11370, Mar. 28, 1990. Redesignated at 61 FR 21965, May 13, 1996, as amended at74 FR 30228, June 25, 2009] 
 
Congressman, thank you for your time regarding this matter. Filipino-American and other ethnic American Veterans are literally dying daily in the Philippines because of this policy and the wording of the law.  
 
Please help us.
 
Sincerely,
 
Xxxxxx Xxxxx
100% disabled veteran
 
How's that for cornball?
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How's that for cornball?

 

Well it's certainly factual, it will be interesting to see how they respond.  I'm betting on a canned form letter response that says nothing except thanks for sharing your opinion.  Beyond that, I suspect you don't have a prayer.  The last things the politicians want to do right now is spend more money that does not end up in their pockets or the pockets of their major contributors.  Your bill would help the little guy, and few of these elected officials give a rats ass about the little people.  Sad but true.

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Well, I/we have to start somewhere. Next will be letters to the media.

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I tried with my congressman. When I contacted his office and explained that medical care for non service connected was not available his aide told me that was unbelievable to the point that she thought I was lying but would look into it. The response from the congressman's office after looking into it was basically regurgitated Manila OPC policies.

 

I wonder who actually made up the Manila OPC policies. Was it the VA or maybe the Manila  OPC drafted the policy and VA approved it. Personally I find their policy ludicrous.

 

I'd be interested to hear details from anyone with first hand experience at the Guam facility. If I develop a serious health problem I just hope I'm able to make it somewhere to get treated.

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  • 1 month later...
TDCNINJA

As an update, and to give credit where credit is due, my home state of Indiana has one republican and one democratic U.S. Senator. I sent the message in the previous post to both of them, my house representative and the President. 

Two days ago, I received an email from the White House saying that the issue was being raised by the administration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Today, an aide to Sen Joe Donnelly, (D) IN, contacted me by phone to ask me background questions and said that the Senator had read my email and was interested in the issue and had instructed his staff to contact the VA and investigate further. 

I don't really expect anything to come of this, but I give the administration and the Senator's office credit for not totally blowing me off in the manner of my republican leadership.

Again, I don't think much will come of this, but I will update you further if anything interesting happens.

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cebubird

Well GREAT!!!!!! I have contacted 2 Florida congressman-one never heard from-one said since I have FPO mailing address I should contact State Dept if I have any issues. No matter that I am still a permanent VOTING resident of Florida.

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Gentlemen and Ladies (if any are present), I have been giving thought to this problem and have come to the conclusion that writing to our individual Congressional Representatives (Senate and House) isn't going to do much good - as some of you have noted, you are not even receiving a courtesy acknowledgement that your emails or snail mails have been received.

 

I think the best way to approach this issue, is to get the ear(s) of one or more Veteran Service Organizations  Am Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veteran of Foreign Wars, to name a few.  They all have lobbying functions and can get to the Ears of many in Congress and represent a combined 2 Million Plus Veterans.  However, it will not be easy.  We want the VA in Manila to act the same as VA's in the rest of the US and it's Territories.  Well physical size would have to be considered more medical personnel, and other issues that I am sure exists but I don't know what they are - yet

 

For those Veterans - some of whom post to this Forum, that live outside of the Philippines, they get their medical care through the Foreign Medical Program - it is managed by the VA via I believe the Pittsburgh VARO and Medical Center.  You are required to pay first and then submit your receipts for the Service Connected part of your treatments to Pittsburgh and hope that you will be reimbursed some time in the near future.  I bring this up, in case the VA and Congress determines that providing medical care in the Philippines at the same level that it is applied in the US, would not be worth the expense and they decide to close the VA in Manila - then like our Brothers and Sisters in say Thailand, we would also be on the FMP, paying up front and hoping that I get some of my money back before I die....

 

We also will be faced with skepticism from the VSO's - we are living in the Philippines, the current exchange rate is 44+ pesos to one dollar and now we are asking that the VA treat us the same as Veterans living in the US?  I would not be surprised that many of these VSO's may suggest that if we want equal treatment, then moving back to the US might be the best solution.

 

However, with that said, I would be willing to talk to the VFW in the Philippines and Pacific Areas about this issue - it would have to include changes to the FMP.  My plate is fairly full, what with commitments to the VFW, my own medical issues, and my family - so I am not going to commit to a formal time table- 

 

Anybody a member of Am Legion, DAV or any other VSO that would like to start the process with them?

 

Michael Tierney

mpt1947

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