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Va In The News ..new Vets Get Medical Help

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New rules means better health coverage for vets

Posted:var wn_last_ed_date = getLEDate("Jun 17, 2009 4:50 PM EST"); document.write(wn_last_ed_date); June 17, 2009 07:50 PM

Updated:var wn_last_ed_date = getLEDate("Jun 17, 2009 5:13 PM EST"); document.write(wn_last_ed_date); June 17, 2009 08:13 PM

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pxl_trans.gifBy Hannah Horne - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Under new rules, veterans who might have previously been turned down for benefits may now be eligible. But will this expanded coverage put a strain on an already-busy Dorn V.A.?

nearly 7,000 veterans in our area could be eligible for healthcare benefits under these new rules, and don't even know it.

These veterans are part of the priority "eight" group, the group of vets who might have made too much money in the past to be eligible for healthcare benefits.

The message from the Veterans Administration is to reapply.

Columbia's Dorn V.A. Medical Center is one of only two V.A. hospitals in the state. Until now, priority eight veterans did not have V.A. healthcare benefits for treatment there.

"The people in that priority group have higher levels of income therefore can pay for their healthcare," says Enrollment Coordinator Karen Ford.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Barack Obama pushed for expanded veterans benefits, the priority eight group included.

"They can get healthcare benefits, entitled to whole healhcare services, but no dental hearing aides or eyeglasses but any other would be provided for them," says Ford.

The group of veterans who need to reapply would have made application between 2003 through 2008, and turned down because of an income threshold.

It's estimated there are 6,700 of those veterans right here in our area.

"In order for them to know, they have to reapply," says Ford.

The question is, could the extra patients put a strain on Dorn's doctors and services?

"We're gonna do our very best. There's a possiblity we'll be open Saturdays and evening cliincs if the demand calls for it." says Dorn spokeswoman Priscilla Creamer.

Dorn plans to break ground on a new 10,000-square-foot wellness clinic in the fall, and hiring extra staff.

"Funds have been allocated and we're in the process of hiring 204 more staff, primary care and specialty physicians, mental health providers and additional administrative staff," says Creamer.

Services that some of South Carolina's bravest are eligible now to receive.

If you're a veteran and want to find out if you're eligible, you can call 1-877-222-VETS.

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This is category 8 being opened back up.

carlie

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They are going to allow 10% of category 8 is my understanding. 6700 new patients at one VA is going to make it harder for Vets using the VA Hospital.

Eevn so I feel that anyone who served and has good discharge should be able to use VA

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