What's New

Minnesota State Legislative Update
Governor Walz signed SF 4233, the Veterans and Military Affairs omnibus finance bill into law. This law increases funding for MACVSO and for each County to increase effective advocacy for Veterans, their dependents, and survivors. The bill contains the following Veterans related sections:
-A bonus program for Minnesota Veterans that served in Post 9/11 conflicts, including Gold Star Families (application go live date is July 7)
-Funding to operate the new Minnesota Veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston
-Funding to operate the new Minnesota Veterans cemetery in Redwood Falls (expected to open later 2022)
-Increased grant funding for CVSOs, allowing a competitive grant program for counties to provide new and innovative programs and services
-Increased grant funding for congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organizations
-Funding to help support the construction of a Fisher House at the Fargo VA Medical Center
-Funding for Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) for their work in ending Veterans homelessness, along with other initiatives to end Veterans homelessness
-Funding for the Veterans Campground on Big Marine Lake to upgrade wastewater infrastructure

COVID-19 Booster Shots Available

The St. Cloud VA is currently offering Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines to all Veterans and their spouse or caregivers.

Additionally, second booster shots are available to some individuals, including:
-People ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may choose to receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose
-Adults ages 50 years and older who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised may choose to receive a second booster dose at least 4 month after the first booster dose
-People ages 18-49 who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised and who received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine as both their primary series and booster dose may receive a second booster at least 4 months after their first Janssen booster.

Veterans can receive their vaccine in conjunction with an already scheduled primary care visit, surgical or specialty care visit, and mental health appointment at the St. Cloud VA. If no appointments are pending, Veterans can schedule a vaccine-only appointment for themselves and their spouse or caregiver by calling 320-252-1670 and selecting option 8. 

Veterans, spouses and caregivers can also receive a vaccine or booster shot at no cost outside of the VA. Locate a vaccine site at Vaccines.gov.

Hutchinson Veterans Outreach Program

Watch our Veterans Service Officer (Jim Lauer) and fill-in temporary Assistant Veterans Service Officer (Brianna Lauer) on HCVN's Hutchinson Veterans Outreach Program. They review their backgrounds and discuss what our office does to assist McLeod County's Veterans. Watch the episode here.

New Life Insurance Program Coming Soon

Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALI) provides guaranteed acceptance whole life coverage of up to $40,000 to Veterans with service-connected disabilities.  Lesser amounts are available in increments of $10,000. Under this plan, the elected coverage takes effect two years after enrollment as long as premiums are paid during the two-year period. To find out more information about eligibility, type of coverage, cost and more click here.

VA Community Care Update for Veterans, Family Member and Caregivers

Emergency Visit Notification Call Center Now Available
In an emergency, Veterans should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Veterans do not need to check with VA before calling for an ambulance or going to an emergency room. An important part of determining eligibility for VA payment for community emergency care visits is prompt notification of VA with three days of the visit. To help this process, starting June 8, 2020, VA has established a single national location, the Community Care Centralized Call Center, to accept reports of Veterans visits to an emergency department. VA is asking that all community hospitals and/or community providers notify the Call Center when a Veteran visits an emergency department. Community hospitals and providers can report emergency visits to VA either by email at: VHAEmergencyNotification@va.gov or by phone at 1-844-72HRVHA (844-724-7842).

Please print and keep the following reference card available so you or your family members can assist community hospitals in reporting this information:  Veteran Emergency Notification Reminder Card

Urgent Care Transitions from Tri-West to Optum
As part of the contractor transition underway in Community Care Network (CCN) Region 2, beginning June 30, 2020, community urgent care benefits will be solely administered by Optum instead of TriWest. While the contractor is changing there is no change to the urgent care benefit or the way Veterans access care. Eligible Veterans can receive care from an in-network community urgent care provider, the provider is part of VA's contracted network of providers, and services are not excluded under the benefit (excluded services include preventative services and dental services).

View complete VA Community Care Update here.

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