RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

VA EMERGENCY CARE UPDATE 17 May 2008

Posted by Service Officer on May 17th, 2008

When a veteran needs emergency medical treatment, the VA allows that veteran to go to the nearest private or community hospital. Once the veteran is stabilized, the veteran must then be transferred to a VA hospital for any necessary continued care. The problem arises when there is a wait for a bed in a VA hospital. Current law "authorizes" but does not require the VA to reimburse the hospital for the care given after the point of stabilization. The Veterans Emergency Care Fairness Act (H.R.3819) introduced by Rep. Zack Space (D-OH-18) would simply close that loophole and require VA reimbursement for care. In rural areas, this problem is particularly pronounced. Often, a patient may be deemed "stable" but is not stable enough to make ambulance trips traveling long distances. Specifically H.R.3819:

• Requires (under current law, authorizes) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reimburse certain veterans without a service-connected disability enrolled as active participants of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care plan for the cost of emergency treatment received in a non-VA facility until such time as such veterans are transferred to a VA facility.

• Requires (under current law, authorizes) the Secretary to reimburse certain veterans with a service-connected disability or a non-service-connected disability associated with or aggravating a service-connected disability for the value of emergency treatment for which such veterans have made payment from sources other than the VA.

As of 2 May, HR 3819 has 49 cosponsors. If your Representative has not co-sponsored you are encouraged to contact him/her with you concerns on the subject. This can easily be done utilizing a preformatted message found at http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=11330076&alertid=11330081. All you need do is enter your zip code and fill in your contact data. You can also personalize the message in any manner you desire. [Source: USDR Action Alert 2 May 08 ++]

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