s most of you may know, enrollment in the V Healthcare system has undergone a number of changes since 1998, not always in the best interest of veterans as a whole.
In 1998, the V “threw open the doors” to any veteran who wanted to enroll in the healthcare system. This resulted in “waiting lists” that often exceeded one year, just to get assigned to a primary care physician. The V’s response was the current system of “means testing” veterans who apply to enroll. This means testing, which started in January of 2003, is indexed by the county of residence of the veteran. There is some talk that these caps may be increased in the coming year(s) to allow more Priority Group 8 veterans to enroll. We’ll have to wait and see on that issue.
One fact, that was not very widely publicized, was that veterans with service in-country in Vietnam we eligible based solely on their service in Vietnam, no matter their incomes or lack of a service connected disability. The act that authorized this enrollment technically expired in 2002, however, most V facilities have continued to enroll Vietnam veterans anyway.
There is some talk, refuted by some in the V Healthcare System, that the V Central Office has been asked by some V Healthcare networks to suspend any further enrollment of Vietnam veterans, if they do not meet the means test criteria, or have a service connected disability.
s veterans advocates, we encourage LL veterans of Vietnam (remember, you MUST have served in-country in Vietnam) to enroll in the V Healthcare system NOW!
The V has a habit of changing the rules, but one thing they have been consistent about, is when they change the rules, they “Grandfather” all of those who got in under the old rules, to remain in the system. Hence, if you are eligible to enroll now, do so, before they change the rules again!
For information on any veteran benefit, contact your County Veterans Service Officer whose phone number is in the blue or white pages of your phone directory or available on the website: www.wicvso.org.