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One stop wounded benefits shopping

I've gotten a newsletter from the NMFA in which I found an article on the latest Congressional action on the disability examination for the wounded troops.  The process to move from the DoD medical system to the VA health care was cumbersome and difficult to navigate.  The government was tasked by the recent Dole-Shalala report to make the medical transition process easier for the military members and their families.  Some of the requested actions require congressional action, but some can be implemented by the VA and DoD without waiting for Congressional action.  Looks like they've already started some pilot programs in the VA/DoD . 

If you've had experience with the current system, I'd like to know what you think about this new initiative.  Stuff like this will affect all of us at some point, if we stay in until we are retirement eligible - we will be transitioning our medical care to the VA system and will be subject to these new evaluations.  So, what do you think?

Single Disability Examination Piloted for Wounded Service Members:The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) along with the Department ofDefense (DoD) announced the start of a pilot program for woundedservice members. The program is designed to test a new singledisability evaluation system (DES) for wounded service members at threemajor Military Treatment Facilities and at VA center in the Washington,DC area. They were the VA Medical Center, Walter Reed Army MedicalCenter, the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, and the MalcolmGrow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base. The DES pilot was theresult of the President's Commission on Care for America's ReturningWounded Warriors, known as the Dole/Shalala Commission, to simplifyhealth care and rehabilitation for our Operation Enduring Freedom andOperation Iraqi Freedom wounded service members.

This initiative was designed to eliminate duplication and confusingprocesses in the two agencies current disability evaluation systems.The pilot was designed to run for one year. Key features included:

  • One medical examination and a single-sourced disability rating,
  • VA will provide the medical professionals who will perform the examination,
  • VA and DoD officials will monitor progress to determine potential expansion into other locations, and
  • Allnon-clinical care and administrative activities will be included in thepilot, such as case management, counseling requirements, referral to aMedical Department Medical Evaluation Board, and VA's compensation andbenefits program.
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