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Special Update Manila V.A.

Discussion in 'Military and Veterans' started by grandpainak, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. grandpainak

    grandpainak DI Senior Member Showcase Reviewer Veteran Army

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    It is long but has a lot of good info in it.

    MANILA VA OUTPATIENT CLINIC

    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS


    April 28, 2020


    Special Update Regarding COVID-19 in the Philippines


    Updates on VA Manila Outpatient Clinic Operations



    1. Last week, President Duterte of the Philippines extended the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in effect throughout the National Capital Region until May 15, 2020. As a result of this extension, VA Manila will remain closed through Tuesday, May 19, 2020. VA Manila is planning to re-open on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. This date is subject to change based on further announcements from the Philippine Government and the United States Embassy in Manila and based on recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Philippine Department of Health. Veterans with scheduled appointments between May 4 and May 19 will be contacted directly by Clinic staff and advised of their appointment cancellations and the process the OPC will use to reschedule Veterans.
    VA Manila will send additional details about our tentative re-opening plan the week of May 11, 2020 to all Veterans via email message. Veterans who wish to cancel or postpone scheduled appointments scheduled in May can contact their primary care or mental health providers at VA Manila through Secure Messenger. Additionally, in an effort to reduce the numbers of Veterans traveling to the Clinic for the appointments to assist with social distancing restrictions, VA Manila will also be piloting telephone appointments for Veterans when we re-open. If you would prefer your primary care or mental health appointment scheduled between May 20 and July 2, 2020 be done via telephone, please send a Secure Message to your primary care team. At this time, we will only be able to accommodate telephone appointment requests for primary care and mental health.


    As we begin to plan for our re-opening, VA Manila intends to continue to screen all Veterans entering the Clinic for medical appointments. Veterans who have symptoms associated with COVID19 will be asked to return home and to self-isolate. Veterans who present with more severe symptoms will be referred to the Philippine Department of Health COVID19 Hotline for further guidance. VA Manila, as an outpatient clinic, is not equipped to diagnose or treat COVID19. In an effort to ensure effective social distancing, Veterans’ spouses or companions will be asked to wait outside of the Clinic. Veterans needing assistance during their visit will be permitted 1 companion in the building, but the Veteran’s companion will also need to undergo screening at the Clinic entrance. We ask for all Veterans cooperation with this to ensure we can minimize the total number of visitors entering the clinic daily to help to reduce the spread of the COVID Virus. Additional changes to the Clinic’s operations will be announced in future email messages.



    1. VA Manila is continuing to provide limited pharmacy services for Veterans. Veterans needing medication refills can request those via the MyHealtheVet Pharmacy Portal or using the Pharmacy Automated Refill Line - #MyVA (#6982), Option 8 or +63-02-8550-3888, Option 8.


    Effective April 22, 2020, Air21 has resumed medication delivery to some Veterans in Southern Luzon, including Cavite and Bicol. We are continuing to get daily updates from LBC and Air21 about their delivery areas, and regions where they are continuing to have difficulties. For those Veterans residing in areas that are not served by Air21 or LBC, we have continued to look for alternate delivery options, but have been unable to find any viable options. If you are running low on a medication and your region is not served by our couriers, you are encouraged to reach out to community pharmacies in your area to find an alternate medication source until VA Manila can resume medication delivery to your region.

    Veterans may travel to the Outpatient Clinic to pick up their medications. Our pharmacy is operating Monday to Friday, 5 days a week. Veterans needing to pick up medications should arrive at the VA Entrance between the hours of 8a and 2p. The guard will contact the pharmacy and your medications will be brought out to you. Since the Clinic is closed, you will need to wait in the security center.


    VA Manila has also worked closely with the RAO Offices in Angeles and Olongapo to coordinate FPO pick up for Veterans who receive their medications (both VA and Express Scripts) or pension checks through the FPO system.


    1. We have not received an update on the availability of parking outside of the VA Manila Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic at this time. I know we had previously hoped that the Roxas Boulevard road widening project would be completed this month. There has been a significant amount of work already completed, so we hope that once work resumes at the conclusion of the ECQ, the project will be completed in short order. Veterans traveling to VA Manila for appointments in May will want to continue parking in areas adjacent to Cuneta Astrodome, or using the services of a driver who can wait with your vehicle. We apologize for the inconvenience.


    Updates for Veterans applying for a 2020 Clothing Allowance



    Veterans who use a prosthetic device or medicine which causes damage to clothing and who wish to apply for the 2020 Annual Clothing Allowance Payment (ACAP) may continue to submit 2020 applications to VA Manila at this time. You may mail VA Form 10-8678, Application for Annual Clothing Allowance, (http://www.va.gov/vaforms/form_detail.asp?FormNo=8678) to the Outpatient Clinic, or submit a scanned copy via Secure Messenger. VA Manila is working with several prosthetic departments at VA Medical Centers in the United States to determine which VAMC will review and process these requests from Veterans residing in the Philippines for FY-2020. I hope to have additional guidance for these requests in my next newsletter. In the interim, Veterans may continue to submit their completed 2020 ACAP applications, along with any supporting evidence or documentation to VA Manila, and we will route them to the appropriate facility for processing and payment. ACAP applications must be received by VA no later than July 31, 2020. Applications received after July 31, 2020 will not be processed until the 2021 ACAP payment period. Approved applications for benefits will be paid in late September or early October 2020.



    Updates from the Foreign Medical Program



    We received an update from the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) that check reimbursements will now contain a Veteran’s full name, rather than initials for their first and middle name. I understand the use of initials has caused a significant barrier for some Veterans to deposit or cash these reimbursements. I know this has been in the works for some time, and I appreciate everyone’s patience while this change has been implemented. Veteran reimbursements processed after April 14, 2020 should now include your full name on the US Treasury warrant. FMP is continuing to work towards electronic fund transfers for reimbursable expenses. We expect additional details on this project in the coming months.


    Updates from the VA Manila Regional Office



    Due to the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the VBA Manila Regional Office will remain closed until May 20, 2020. While VA Manila is closed, this does not mean that your claims are not being worked; the rest of the VBA Regional Offices in the US are still working, and VA Manila’s workload has been transferred to other offices during this period. The fastest and easiest way to interact with VBA’s claims process is by sending evidence to our Evidence Intake Center. It is not advisable to send evidence or claims paperwork to our local address. The address of the Janesville, WI, Center is included as an attachment to every letter we send to Veterans, and is as follows:


    Department of Veterans Affairs

    Evidence Intake Center

    P.O. Box 4444

    Janesville, WI, 53547-4444

    Fax: 844-531-7818


    Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting our website at www.va.gov. Veterans with claim-specific or other questions may request information via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) https://iris.custhelp.va.gov or by calling the National Call Centers at 1-800-827-1000 as the Call Centers in the US remain open (US Time Zones Apply) and are a great way to provide simple claims information (e.g.: dependency verification.).


    Updates from the US Embassy in Manila



    All Veterans and American Citizens residing in the Philippines are encouraged to register with the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at http://step.state.gov. The State Department’s STEP Program helps the Embassy to locate Americans who may need consular assistance during emergencies, and sends alerts from the US Embassy to Americans who may still be trying to relocate within or depart the Philippines. The US Embassy, in conjunction with local airlines and other foreign Embassies in the Philippines, has been coordinating a number of ‘sweeper’ flights to transport American citizens back to Metro Manila from other islands. The US Embassy’s website also has a good deal of information on entry and exit requirements from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration, and can be accessed here: https://ph.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/. The US Embassy is providing almost daily email updates to all STEP enrolled individuals in the Philippines with real time and important information particularly about daily incoming and outbound flights from Manila.


    There continues to be daily international flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to other regional airline hubs, both in Asia and the Middle East. While there are no non-stop flight options between the Philippines and the United States at this time, there remains several viable one-stop options via cities like Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Dubai, and Doha. Individuals seeking more information should check the NAIA Facebook page, where a daily listing of scheduled international arrivals and departures is posted.




    -----------------------------------

    Daniel Gutkoski, MHA

    Clinic Manager, VA Outpatient Clinic
    Manila, Republic of the Philippines

    Email: daniel.gutkoski2@va.gov

    Office: +63 (2) 8-396-3735 **New**

    US Dial: +1 (808) 433-5254 x3735
     
  2. PatO

    PatO DI Forum Luminary Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Veteran Marines

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    Jim, very informative, thanks. Is your primary care doctor in Manila or the US? I need an appt in Manila to transfer my primary care from Seattle so I can get my meds. I will try and get a phone appt when they open May 20. Hope you are enjoying staying at home.
     
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    grandpainak

    grandpainak DI Senior Member Showcase Reviewer Veteran Army

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    Manila

    NO I AM NOT! It is nothing more than another form of imprisonment. Just a way the government can lock you down and force you to pick up the tab. They call it "SELF enhanced community quarantine" but to me it is just slightly better than the gray bar hotel. If they put us in the gray bar hotel THEY have to pick up the tab. I have not committed any crimes yet I am imprisoned in my own house because the Fa-king Chinese decided to release a killer virus on the world. "SELF enhanced community quarantine"? They want you to think it is your choice and you are the one responsible for your imprisonment. If it wasn't for my age I would have been going under the wire several times a week.
    I "A-ed" the Army's Escape and Evasion corse not one but twice and I never went to "Sneaky Pet School". :blackalien::cautious:
    My two centavos, Glad you ask. :sneaky::mad:
    This one is for the Chinese! :mooning::poop:
     
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  4. PatO

    PatO DI Forum Luminary Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Veteran Marines

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    VA Manila not open. They were hoping to open today but still unable.
     
  5. Happy Camper

    Happy Camper DI Senior Member Showcase Reviewer

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    They are shipping meds though. I ordered some earlier. I have it sent to the house in Bacolod. Took 8 days for it to arrive via Air 21.
     
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