The Mount Vernon Fire Department is uring residents to put “Safety First” this holiday season. Recognizing that the season is a time when family and friends get together, to have a good time and enjoy one another’s company, think about giving gifts that can help keep them safe. Consider gifting someone you know a quality fire extinguisher, flashlight and batteries or light sticks. A first-aid kit, carbon Monoxide detector, mobile phone or second floor escape ladder are also neat stocking stuffers.


Mount Vernon will celebrate the holiday season in City Hall Plaza on Monday, December 17, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Mayor Ernest D. Davis hopes the celebration will help residents get into the spirit this holiday season. “It’s been a tough year for so many people. This is the season when we all need to spread as much cheer as we can,” said Mayor Davis.

This year’s holiday tree was donated by American Christmas, a Mount Vernon design company responsible for magnificent displays at such notable retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue, Radio City Music Hall, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Rockefeller Center, J Crew, and dozens of other well-known retail and entertainment venues. Besides the 20 foot tree decorated with LED lights standing in front of City Hall, American Christmas also generously decorated trees for the police and fire departments.

Santa will be on hand to greet youngsters and a special appearance by the colorfully attired “Three Kings,” wise men of biblical teachings that are popular in the Spanish speaking countries.  Three Kings are supposed to represent the journey from distant lands to Bethlehem while bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh upon the birth of baby Jesus.

Holiday performances will be provided by the Columbus School Band, The Westchester Marching Cobras, Young at Arts and the Mayor’s Interfaith Choir.

In the event of rain, the festivities will be held on the ground floor of city hall.


VFW-Chosen Health Plan

VFW Launches New Personalized Health-Savings Program

VFW chooses Veterans Care Plus, a Personalized Health Savings Program that includes access to lower cost prescription drugs and other health services, for its members and its auxiliary.

For over 100 years the success of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been built on programs that improve the lives of Veterans, their families, and the communities they live and work in. After years of exploration and preparation, the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary are now providing its 2.4 million members’ access to a Personalized Health Savings Program through Veterans Care Plus.

Veterans Care Plus is the first program of its kind developed for veterans by veterans, and is available to VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members nationwide. The VFW Personalized Health Savings Program offers a unique combination of wellness and discount savings programs for VFW and Ladies Auxiliary members. Enrollees can save up to 60% on prescription medications through two sources. One, through a Mail Order service from the comfort and safety of ones own home and two, members can also receive discount pricing on prescriptions medicines at over 56,000 retail drug stores throughout the United States.

To achieve even greater savings and health benefits, the program includes Dedicated Pharmacy Advocates (a team of clinical pharmacists) who will review medication and health profiles of members and then work directly with the members and their doctors to make therapeutic improvements and minimize out-of-pocket costs. The program also provides several wellness and disease management options for individuals touched by cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart and circulatory diseases, and diabetes.

The Veterans Care Plus program is not an insurance program and will not affect any member’s current coverage. Even for those that have health coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare Part D, TriCare, or private third party insurance, the Pharmacy Advocate and wellness and disease management components of Veterans Care Plus can generate health benefits and incremental out-of-pocket savings for all enrollees. Any Veteran or spouse of a Veteran can access Veterans Care Plus by calling 1-866-4VETSRX (1-866-483-8779) or visiting Members of the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary can join at a reduced rate.

Proceeds of Veterans Care Plus support the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary programs and services in addition to The Twilight Brigade, a national, not-for-profit group that is organized to provide social and care giver support to veterans and immediate family members.

For more information about Veterans Care Plus, please contact Randy Beaman, (615) 372-0313 ext. 16, or Richard Birmingham, (775) 220-6100.

VA Reopening Health Care Enrollment to Thousands of Veterans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which now has nearly eight million Veterans enrolled in its award-winning health care system, is poised to welcome nearly 266,000 more Veterans into its medical centers and clinics across the country by expanding access to health care enrollment for certain Veterans who had been excluded due to their income.

“This incremental approach to expanding enrollment ensures that access to VA health care for a greater number of beneficiaries does not sacrifice timely access or quality medical care for those Veterans already enrolled in VA’s health care system,” Dr. Gerald Cross, VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health, said. “Over the next four years, we hope to provide enrollment to more than 500,000 Veterans.”

Under a new regulation effective June 15, VA will enroll Veterans whose income exceeds current means-tested thresholds by up to 10 percent.  These Veterans were excluded from VA health care enrollment when income limits were imposed in 2003 on Veterans with no service-connected disabilities or other special eligibility for care.  There is no income limit for Veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities or for Veterans being seen for their service-connected disabilities.

Veterans who have applied for VA health care but were rejected due to income at any point in 2009 will have their applications reconsidered under the new income threshold formula.  Those who applied before 2009, but were rejected due to income, must reapply.  VA will contact these Veterans through a direct-mail campaign, Veterans service organizations, and a national and regional marketing campaign.

Information about enrollment and an income and assets calculator are available at <a href=””>VA Healthcare Eligibility</a>.  The calculator provides a format in which Veterans enter their household income, number of dependents, and zip codes to see if they may qualify for VA health care enrollment.

In addition to applying online, Veterans may also contact VA’s Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222 VETS (1-877-222-8387).  Each VA medical center across the country has an enrollment coordinator available to provide Veterans with enrollment and eligibility information.

VA Finance-Related Programs

The VA has programs available to assist with financial distress and hardship.  Please click on the links below:

Relaxation of Priority Group 8 Enrollment Restrictions – 2/17/09

Public Law 110-329 provides VA additional funding to allow expanded enrollment opportunity for certain Priority 8 veterans who may have been previously denied enrollment in VA’s health care system because their income exceeded VA’s means tests thresholds. The proposed provision will allow veterans whose incomes do not exceed these thresholds by more than 10 percent to enroll in VA’s health care system. It has been determined that this relaxation will not negatively impact the timeliness or quality of care to enrollees. This provision is expected to take effect this June and will be applied retroactively to all enrollment applications received on or after January 1, 2009.

Two new sub-priorities have been established within enrollment priority group 8 (8b and 8d). Beginning on the effective date of the regulation, VA would enroll priority category 8 veterans whose income exceeds the current means test threshold (MTT) and geographic means test income thresholds (GMTT) by 10% or less. It is anticipated that this rule will take effect by June 30, 2009.

On the effective date of the regulation, a veteran who has applied for enrollment, who does not qualify for a higher priority group and whose income exceeds the MTT or GMTT by 10% or less will be placed in priority group 8b (if the veteran is 0% service-connected, non-compensable) or 8d (if the veteran is non service-connected) and enrolled in the VA health care system.

Prior to the effective date of the rule, a veteran who applies for enrollment, who does not qualify for a higher priority group and whose income exceeds the MTT or GMTT by 10% or less will continue to be placed in priority group 8e or 8g.

However, while VA is not advising veterans who may meet the new eligibility criteria to apply prior to effective date of the regulation, VA will inform veterans and Veterans Service Organizations of plans for the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) to re-determine the enrollment status of those veterans who applied after January 1, 2009 but were rejected for enrollment due to income. This approach reduces burdens to the sites (by not requiring veterans to apply for enrollment twice in the same year), provides for greater benefit to veterans, and uses consistent income information in the application process. For those veterans who apply on or after January 1, 2009 and are placed into a rejected priority group due to income, VA enrollment correspondence will indicate that VA will re-determine enrollment after the effective date of the new rule.

HEC is distributing scripts for use by frontline Medical Center staff to assist in communicating with veterans and to assist with processing enrollment applications. Additionally, the Health Revenue Center (HRC) Health Benefits Service Center is developing scripts for call agents to assist veterans with questions related to this enrollment change.

HEC is also developing a Means Test Calculator to assist the field in a Preliminary enrollment determinations based on the data entry.

TSGLI Expands Benefits for Traumatically Injured Service Members

Washington, DC – More Service Members may now qualify for Traumatic Service members’ Group Life Insurance (TSGLI), because of newly expanded benefits that are a result of a review conducted by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The purpose of the review was to ascertain whether additional injuries/losses should be covered, whether the program was operating effectively, and whether other improvements could be made that would allow more Service Members to benefit from TSGLI.

Through the review’s findings, the TSGLI Schedule of Losses was simplified, making it more usable for each branch of service and allowing for easier interpretation by the general public. Existing TSGLI qualifying loss definitions on the schedule, such as those for sight, burns and amputations were expanded and additional qualifying losses including uniplegia, limb salvage, facial reconstruction, and a 15-day hospital stay were added as well.

“The TSGLI benefit expansion helps us further the mission and spirit of the program – help traumatically injured Service Members at their greatest time of need,” says COL John F. Sackett, Chief of the Army’s TSGLI Branch.  “As stated by our prior Vice Chief of Staff, we need to ‘do what is right for the Soldier’. With these changes we can offer assistance to even more men and women who have so bravely served our country.”

Service members that have already submitted a claim in the past do not need to resubmit. The VA and TSGLI offices for each service will conduct a reach back of previously denied claims to see if they qualify for payment under the new guidance. Notifications will be sent to the Service Member if an additional award is due.

TSGLI is a Congressionally-mandated program that applies to members of all branches of Service and all components—Active, Guard, or Reserve, who incur a traumatic, physical injury based on an external force of violence.  TSGLI provides tax-free payments between $25,000 and $100,000 per traumatic event, which can be used to help with unseen expenses or provide a financial start on life after recovery.

The TSGLI program began on December 1, 2005, as a non-option selection attached to Service members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). All Service Members from that point forward who elected SGLI benefits pay $1 towards this coverage each month.  In addition, Service Members who incurred a qualifying traumatic injury from 7 October 2001 through 30 November 2005 while on orders outside the United States in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), or serving in a Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE) area are covered by TSGLI, regardless of whether they elected SGLI coverage or not.

For more information about TSGLI, including a complete list of the new schedule of losses, eligibility requirements, and claim submission instructions, Service Members should contact their branch of service using the contact information below:

Army Human Resources Command
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA 22332
Phone: 1-800-237-1336

Navy Personnel Command
Attn: PERS-62
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055
Phone: 800-368-3202

HQ, Marine Corps
3280 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134
Phone: 877-216-0825

550 C Street West
Randolph AFB, TX  78150
Phone: 1-800-433-0048

COMDT (CG-1222)
2100 2nd Street SW
Washington, DC 20593
Phone: 202-475-5391