Monday, September 14, 2009

VFW Washington Weekly

In This Issue:

1. Patient Care Group Scam
2. VFW Urges Passage of Women's Health Care Bill
3. Unemployed OEF/OIF Vets at Record High
4. House Committee Looks at GI Bill IT Progress
5. Tarawa MIA Search
6. National POW/MIA Recognition Day

1. Patient Care Group Scam: The VA has received reports that veterans
are being contacted by a "Patient Care Group" that claims it is
helping to administer the VA's prescription medicine program. "Patient
Care Group" is saying the VA recently changed its pharmacy billing
procedures, therefore a personal credit card number is now required
for prescription payments in advance of filling those prescriptions.
This is a scam! Do not provide credit card information over the phone
to anyone who claims to represent the VA! The VA has not changed their
pharmacy procedures, and they do not ask veterans to disclose personal
financial information over the phone. If you should receive such a
call, do not give them any information. Tell them you are busy and try
to get a name and callback number. Report that information to your
local police.

2. VFW Urges Passage of Women's Health Care Bill: VFW urges all
veterans' advocates to contact their Senators and ask them to pass S.
252. The large health care bill, which passed the Senate Veterans
Affairs Committee earlier this summer, contains a broad range of
health care improvements for all veterans, including expanded mental
health services and grants for homeless veteran programs. It also
includes a number of significant improvements for female veterans and
the health care and services VA provides to them, which are VFW
priority goals. Click on the link below for information on the bill
and to contact your Senators today: Unemployed
OEF/OIF at Record High: The total number of unemployed current war
veterans almost equals the total number of troops stationed in Iraq
and Afghanistan, according to August unemployment data released last
week by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The BLS data increased the
nationwide unemployment average to 9.7 percent for the general
population, and dramatically increased the unemployment rate of Iraq
and Afghanistan veterans from 9.8 percent in July to 11.3 percent in
August. Equally disturbing, said new VFW National Commander Tommy
Tradewell, is the number of unemployed current war veterans increased
from 160,000 to 185,000, which almost equals the total U.S. military
strength currently serving in the wars. Tradewell said the VFW
strongly believes that any entity that accepts federal stimulus money,
regardless of amount, should be required to adhere to federal
veterans' laws, in particular the Jobs for Veterans Act and the
Veterans Employment Opportunities Act. To read the VFW press release,
go to

4.House Subcommittee Looks at GI Bill IT Progress: The House VA
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity discussed progress between VA and
its government contractor, the U.S. Navy's Space Naval and Warfare
Systems Center (SPAWAR), who was hired to implement Post 9/11 GI Bill
benefits. The Interagency Agreement was the topic of a recent VA
Inspector General's report that highlighted many contracting
irregularities between SPAWAR and the VA. The contractor was named to
help VA's IT department design new software to implement the Chapter
33 regulations. GI Bill benefits rolled out Aug. 1 with some kinks
that are still being worked out. Subcommittee members voiced their
concerns that quality controls and short and long-term goals are not
being met. For more on the hearing, visit the House VA website at

5. Tarawa MIA Search: A survey team from the Hawaii-based Joint
POW/MIA Accounting Command is scheduled to depart this weekend for the
Pacific island of Tarawa, with hopes of finding enough evidence to
launch a recovery operation of buried Americans who died in the
November 1943 World War II battle. Nearly 1,000 U.S. Marines and 700
sailors died in the three-day battle. Researchers from the
privately-funded History Flight organization claimed last year to have
found almost 140 unmarked graves using ground-penetrating radar. More
than 78,000 Americans are currently listed as missing and
unaccounted-for from World War II.

6. National POW/MIA Recognition Day: The third Friday in September is
set aside as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. On Sept. 18 this year,
VFW Posts around the country will host ceremonies to remember those
88,000 Americans who remain missing and unaccounted-for since World
War II, and to honor those 138,000 Americans who were captured. To aid
in preparations, the VFW website contains a recommended speech and
POW/MIA Awareness Brochure, which contains instructions for the
Missing Man Table of Honor ceremony.

Go to

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