Single Status Update
BAD NEWS FOR VETERANS IN MANILA.
Good afternoon, VA Manila Veterans:
As of November 1, 2020, VA Manila will no longer provide orthopedic appointments to Veterans. All Veterans with scheduled orthopedic appointments will receive a separate notice advising them that their appointment has been cancelled, and how to access needed orthopedic services through the Foreign Medical Program (FMP).
I know that many Veterans in the Philippines will look at this decision and be frustrated. Some may say this is one more in a long string of cuts. I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the reasons behind this decision, and why I believe it will ultimately result in better Veteran care. There are two primary reasons the Outpatient Clinic is making this decision to stop providing orthopedic care:
1.) VA Manila no longer provides Compensation and Pension (C&P) examinations to support Veteran’s disability claims to the Manila Regional Office; and
2.) VA Manila no longer coordinates needed surgical care for Veterans in the community with Letters of Authorization. It is the Veteran’s responsibility to coordinate this care using the Foreign Medical Program.
As a bit of background, all of the specialty care clinics at VA Manila previously existed primarily to support the VA Manila Regional Office’s operations and need for C&P exams. Since 2018, those exams were transitioned away from the Clinic and to a contract with Veterans Evaluation Services (VES). Since that change occurred, VA Manila has not been needed to provide this service for the Regional Office.
When VA Manila’s community care program was transferred from the Non-VA Care program to the Foreign Medical Program, it no longer made sense for the clinic to offer consultations for conditions that it had no ability to treat or to manage. With the VA Manila Orthopedic Clinic no longer available, Veterans with service-connected orthopedic conditions can go directly to community providers where they can make treatment recommendations and provide continuity of care. VA Manila wants Veterans to avoid ‘fragmented care’ – where the Clinic diagnoses something, but it has no ability to manage or treat it. This is not sound medical practice, and my goal as the Clinic Manager is to ensure that Veterans get the best, safest, most effective health care services – even when that sometimes means making tough choices and eliminating a service.
Veterans with service-connected disabilities specific to an orthopedic condition will remain fully eligible to seek these services through the Foreign Medical Program. VA Manila continues to work with the VA Office of Community Care, which has program oversight of FMP, to improve the timeliness of reimbursements and to enroll more hospitals and providers as participants and direct billers of FMP.
If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact the VA Manila Veteran Advocate, Mr. Anthony Mendoza, at +63-02-8396-3716, or via Secure Messenger via the Patient Advocate mail group.
I hope you and your families are continuing to remain healthy and well during the COVID19 pandemic. Thank you for making VA Manila your healthcare provider of choice.
Daniel Gutkoski, MHA
Daniel Gutkoski, MHA
Clinic Manager, VA Manila Outpatient Clinic
United States Embassy, Seafront Compound
1501 Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, NCR 1302, Philippines
Direct: +63 (02) 8396-3735
PH Toll Free: #MyVA (#6982)