Travel Nurse Corps to aid in VA coverage
How is the Department of Veterans Affairs dealing with the shortage of nurses?
Answer: The VA has created a three-year pilot program, the Travel Nurse Corps, to enable as many as 75 nurses to move through VA medical centers across the country. Participating nurses may be temporarily assigned to distant medical centers and clinics to help nursing staffs that have vacancies, to reduce wait times or the reliance upon contractors, or to maintain high-skill services and procedures. On Feb. 20, the VA announced plans to create a Rural Health Care Advisory Committee to enhance VA services to veterans in rural areas. The Travel Nurse Corps will work with this national VA panel to support VA health care in rural areas.
Q: What are the changes in educational benefits for National Guard and Reserve personnel?
A: Under new provisions, National Guard and Army Reserve members who accumulate three years on active duty, regardless of breaks in service, may be eligible for the maximum payment under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program. Previously, reservists and guardsmen had to serve two continuous years on active duty to receive the highest payment. The new eligibility rules are retroactive to Oct. 1. The top payment under REAP is currently $880.80 per month. The new law expands the period of eligibility for certain Guard and Reserve members who complete their service obligation before separation from the selected reserve. Members who meet the criteria may be eligible to use REAP benefits for a period of ten years following discharge. For more information on changes to VA's GI Bill benefits, go to www.GIBILL.va.gov or contact VA directly at (888) 442-4551.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.