Wednesday, September 07, 2011

VA Begins New Program to Serve Veterans Living Abroad

WASHINGTON (September 7, 2011) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
has instituted a new program to provide comprehensive compensation and
pension (C&P) examinations to U.S. Veterans living overseas.

"We are proud to deliver these services to our Veterans living abroad,"
said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  "This is an
example of how VA is supporting Veterans in unprecedented ways to help
them get the benefits they have earned."

In June, VA staff traveled to Camp Lester in Okinawa, Japan, to join
with members of the Department of Defense in providing C&P exams to
Veterans.  Over the course of their three week trip, the team completed
247 examinations on 39 Veterans.  Due to the success of the pilot
program, a return visit is planned for Sept. 19-30.

Typically, VA uses local physicians and the assistance of U.S. Navy
personnel for disability examinations overseas, but these trips allow VA
practitioners more familiar with VA protocols and requirements to
provide the Veterans' examinations.

VA's C&P examination program includes providing a medical assessment to
evaluate Veterans' current disabilities that may be related to their
military service.  If VA has previously determined a Veteran has a
service-connected medical condition, the examination helps determine the
current severity of the condition, which could affect the amount of VA
disability compensation payable or entitlement to additional benefits.
One Veteran can require separate examinations for various conditions.
On average, Veterans receive four examinations during the VA C&P

In addition, VA conducted its first international C&P examination in
Okinawa using telehealth technology on April 13.  To date, six Veterans
have participated in remote C&P examinations between VA's National
Telemental Health Center location and the U.S. Naval Hospital in
Okinawa.  VA is using telehealth technology to reduce the number of
Veterans awaiting examinations overseas and to ease their burden of

VA plans to explore other opportunities to provide similar services to
additional destinations in Europe and Asia where U.S. Veterans live.

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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000