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Veterans receive a number of health benefits that improve on their health in a great way. However, the number of patients under the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system has increased tremendously in recent years with more than two wars being fought by the United States. Notably, the quality of care and patient satisfaction has improved a lot from the mid 1990's when the condition of veteran's hospitals had been pathetic. Most of them were considered filthy and short of essential medical supplies. While a lot seems to have been done, some veterans still complain about the time it takes for them to schedule appointments. It is important to note that the veteran medical system caters for only those who meet determined criteria. In my view, this should not be the case since these are individuals who risked their lives to fight wars that ensure the well being of Americans and the world at large. It is important that the veteran medical system provides the most up to date medical care to all veterans.

Veterans of the United States army usually become eligible for a wide variety of programs and services that are provided by the United States department of Veterans Affairs, usually abbreviated as VA. According to the Elderlaws Articles (2011), their dependants, as well as survivors, may also be added on the list and become legible for a number of those benefits. Firstly, the Veteran's Affairs Department offers health care the United States Army veterans. The health care plan covers various health care services such as hospitalization, preventive services, diagnostic, in addition to treatment services. It also goes further to cover long-term care options and nursing home as well.

According to the Veterans HealthCare Handbook (2007), for one to receive such care, a veteran must have been enrolled in the VA health care system. Their eligibility status for the system has various conditions. It depends with the nature of their discharge from the military service, the income level, the length of service, available VA resources, whether they have disabilities that are connected to service and many more others.

Another important point to note is that, the veterans must not have been dishonorably discharged from their military service for their eligibility. While the length of service is important, veterans who had already begun active duty before the eighth of September, 1980, and those who first started active duty just before the seventeenth of October, 1981, have no requirement of a length-of-service of any kind. The requirement for the rest is that they must have about twenty four months of non-stop active military duty. However, there are a number of exceptions for National Guard members, reservists, hardship discharges, and service-connected disabilities among others.

Notably, there are a few veterans who do not require enrolment in the VA health system for them to receive benefits. Among this group are those who seek for a service-connected disability that is VA rated and those who are fifty percent or above disabled from a disability that is connected to the military service, those who had been discharged for a disability that was determined as caused by the service, but not yet rated by the VA. Due to the fact that the Department of Veteran Affairs has limited resources, those who are eligible get assigned to a priority group. These priority groups range from one to eight with number one being the highest. Before 2009, veterans assigned to priority eight were not eligible for care for conditions that are of non-service. However, after fifteenth of June, 2009, new regulations were introduced, which enabled the VA to loosen income restrictions on eligibility to health care benefits.

Standard benefits package include prescriptions, preventive care services, inpatient diagnostic and treatment services, outpatient diagnostic and treatment services, and long-term care. Notably, outpatient diagnostic and treatment services include mental health and substance abuse treatment. All veterans that have been enrolled become eligible for a number of services including home care, respite care, geriatric evaluation, adult day health care, hospice and palliative care. According to the Veteran Journal (2011), home care covers physical therapy, nursing and other services offered in the veteran's residence. Respite care covers inpatient or outpatient supportive care for veterans enrolled so as caregivers can get a break. Geriatric evaluation gives an inpatient or outpatient evaluation of whether a veteran can be able to care for him or herself. On the other hand, adult day health care refers to a therapeutic day care program that offers rehabilitation and medical services to veterans. Lastly, palliative or hospice care provides services to veterans who are terminally ill as well as their families.

Despite all these, some health care services are only limited to a few of the veterans, for example, domiciliary care and nursing home care. They are not automatic to all that have enrolled in to the VA health plan. Those who automatically qualify for unlimited nursing home care include veterans who are unemployable and have a service-connected disability of sixty percent, those with a service-connected disability rating of seventy percent or more, and those who seek for nursing home care for a condition that is service-related.

By description, a service-connected disability is that which the VA has officially ruled was sustained while on active duty in the army and in line of duty. It is important that the VA rule that the condition is related directly to active military service as it assigns each of the disability a rating. Notably, the ratings are usually instituted by Veterans Affairs regional offices countrywide. If there is space, the VA could also provide home care to a number of other veterans; however, those with service-connected disabilities usually receive top priority.    

Concerning veteran's nursing homes run by the state, the VA provides funds to help in the building of homes as it pays part of the costs for veterans fit for VA health care. However, the states are free to set eligibility criteria for admission of veterans. A domiciliary refers to a VA facility, which provides care with ambulance for the disabled by disease or age, but not in need of keen hospitalization or skilled nursing services provided in a nursing home. This type of care is usually available to veterans with low income and the disabled.

According to Work World (2008), there are no costs for low-income veterans and other certain veterans. Those who automatically qualify for cost-free health care benefits include veterans with sexual trauma, cancer of the neck or neck, former POWs, Purple Heart Medal recipients, a veteran participating in a research project approved by the VA, a veteran who seeks care of a specific disability that is service-connected, those receiving VA compensation benefits, and those who sustained a service-related condition while in the Gulf War or thereafter, during the Vietnam and in Japan. Those with their income exceeding the threshold or do not submit to the test may be required to make a copayment. Co-payments are made by those who have  surpassed the  set  yearly income  thresholds   or those with more than $80,000 in property.

These are just but a few of healthcare benefits extended towards veterans. For those who want to enroll do it on-line or by calling a designated number. Two disability benefits are also offered to a number of veterans; disability compensation, and disability pension. Disability compensation is to those with service-connected disabilities. The amount depends on how disabled a veteran is, whether they have children or dependants. Those with severe disabilities are offered more funds. On the other hand, disability pension is extended to those who served during wartime and have a disability; however, the disability may not be related to military service. The pension is also extended to surviving spouses or children of a veteran.  

In conclusion, the government des a lot to ensure the heath of veterans is well catered for. The New York Times reported of the Congress passing the Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act in 1996, which paved the way for the Medical Package Plan that is available to all veterans that have enrolled into the program. The package stresses on preventive and primary care that offers a wide range of impatient and outpatient services. Combat veterans from active military become eligible for free health care and nursing home for about forty eight months.

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