It is important. VHA issued the newly revised directive to its offices nationwide, with the stated purpose:
"This Veterans Health Administration (VHA) directive updates Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) information on determining eligibility for VA health care benefits."
So it's pretty important because VA personnel will refer to it when deciding whether or not someone needing care is an eligible veteran or not.
Important, but flawed...they forgot about us C-123 veterans! For whatever reason, VHA didn't include our thousands of C-123 Agent Orange veterans in the description of vets having presumptive eligibility.
Solution? On Sunday afternoon I dropped a note to Acting Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn and by Wednesday morning, Dr. Ralph Erickson called to acknowledge the problem and promise a quick fix. Erickson is VHA's Chief Consultant for Post Deployment Health Services and a retired Army doc.
And very importantly, Dr. Erickson was an Army flight surgeon who understands us when we seek his help!
What a change in his function: for four years his predecessor led VA's efforts to block our exposure claims. But now, he oversees VA's efforts to ensure vets like us are properly cared for as per law and regulation.
Thanks, VA and Dr. Erickson!