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The Bloomington VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic is expected to open in early November at 207 E. Hamilton Road, Bloomington. Now is the time for veterans in the "catchment area” to enroll in VA Health Care if they have not already done so. VA Form 10-10 EZ can be obtained at www.va-form-10-10ez, or visit the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission, 200 W. Front St., Suite 400D, Bloomington. If you are already enrolled and wish to transfer to the Bloomington CBOC when it opens, contact the Peoria CBOC or the Danville Medical Center. The Bloomington CBOC will have primary care, laboratory service and mental health. Initially, it will not have podiatry, vision nor hearing services, which will have to be accessed at either Peoria, Danville or possibly the community care program.

GI BILL INCREASE

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced Post-9/11 GI Bill rates for the 2019-2020 school year, effective Aug. 1. The Montgomery GI Bill and Dependents Education Assistance programs will see a rate change on Oct. 1. GI Bill rate increases, by law, are tied to the average cost increase of undergraduate tuition in the U.S. The new rate increase averages 3.4%. Those attending a private or foreign school using the Post-9/11 GI Bill will see the maximum yearly GI Bill rate increase to $24,476.79. Those using their GI Bill for Flight Training will see the maximum increase to $13,986.72. Licensing/certification/national testing enrollees can be reimbursed up to $2,000 per test. The entitlement will be charged one month for every $2,042.06 spent, which is an increase from $1,974.91. Approved correspondence courses can reimburse the actual net costs, not to exceed $11,888.70 annually, up from the current $11,497.78.

MARINE CORPS ADVANCES

Military.com reports that at the 2nd Marine Division in North Carolina, troops who have spent their careers shooting at static targets and often at just bull’s-eyes on paper are being forced to adapt to a target that can charge at them, move in unexpected directions, respond when engaged and even shout at them in a foreign language. This division is the first operational unit in the military to employ humanoid figures on four-wheeled platforms. The Corps has experimented with these type of targets for several years and is still evaluating their performance. Visit Military.com for the July 23 edition for more details.

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LICENSE CHANGES

Effective Jan. 1, veterans will no longer have to go to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to have their DD-214 validated before the veteran can go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have the word “veteran” printed on their Illinois driver’s license or Illinois state identification card. The original requirement was based on the IDVA developing an Illinois “veterans data base.” 

HEPATITIS C UPDATE

VA announced Aug. 5 that its efforts and modern treatment plans have cured more than 100,000 veterans of chronic hepatitis C virus infection, which can lead to advanced liver disease and liver cancer. Previously, patients with HCV had to take medications daily by mouth and weekly by injection for up to a year and cure rates were as low as 35%. The new treatment introduced in 2014 is based on all-oral antivirals that are more effective and less toxic. 

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Vogler is superintendent of the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission. 

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