Metro-East News

Roger That: TRICARE webinar Nov. 18 for National Guard and Reserve members

Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald.
Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald. News-Democrat

TRICARE, the health care system for active-duty military families and retirees, is holding a webinar to educate TRICARE beneficiaries about benefits available to National Guard and Reserve service members. The webinar is set to take place Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon, Central Time, according to a TRICARE press statement.

No prior registration is required. Participants are invited to join the discussion by using the following access link:https://conference.apps.mil/webconf/TRICAREFORNGR. For audio, dial 1-800-857-9816, pass code 38154.

Access is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited due to system capacity. Participants must avoid sharing personal health information when asking a question. Questions will be answered immediately following the presentation.

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A computer glitch is being blamed for the denial of VA benefits to about 35,000 combat vets, the Huffington Post is reporting.

The Huffington Post first reported in August that the combat vets were missing out on health care because their applications had been mistakenly flagged as pending, simply because they didn't complete a so-called means test, which assesses their household income. Many vets have to submit a means test to enroll in VA health care, but not combat vets, who are automatically eligible for free insurance for five years after they're discharged.

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The Washington Post has awarded Bob McDonald, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Four Pinocchios for his erroneous claim in February 2015 that 60 people were fired for manipulating veterans’ wait-time data. The actual number, at the time, was eight. VA later reported that the correct figure was actually three, as of early August 2015, according to the newspaper’s FactChecker blog.

In a speech Friday about the state of the VA, McDonald said the agency has made progress but has “a lot more to do.” He noted a series of improvements he made, such as replacing members of his leadership team, the increasing number of people being fired across the agency for a variety of performance problems, and adding new standards into performance review plans.

Then McDonald said 300 people now have had disciplinary actions proposed for manipulating scheduling. That doesn’t jibe with the facts the blog report in an Aug. 6, 2015, fact-check when a reporter looked into the number of proposed and completed disciplinary actions against VA employees over wait-time data manipulation — which was 15, as reported by the VA.

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“Happy Birthday, Marine.”

If you know people serving in the Marine Corps, that is the way you’re supposed to greet them today, the 240th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps’ founding.

The Marine Corps was created by Second Continental Congress in 1775, which issued a resolution stating that “Two Battalions of Marines be raised” as forces to land with the fleet. The Marines took part in the first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in 1776 under the command of Capt. Samuel Nichols. The Marines’ first land battle on foreign soil occurred in Libya in 1805, when 600 Marines stormed the city of Derna to rescue the crew of the USS Philadelphia from pirates.

The Marine Corps marks the anniversary of its birth with an annual Birthday Ball, the reading of a birthday message from the commandant and the cutting of a birthday cake. Semper Fidelis, which is Latin for “Always faithful,” became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. Semper Fidelis is a permanent reminder that “a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.”

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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