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Vets reminded of free, quality med care available to them

Free quality medical care is now available to war veterans, wherever they are.

The Aquino administration introduced the improved medical care service to war veterans on April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan, as part of its social priority program.

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But most veterans may not know about it, as few are applying for medical assistance, said Dr. Nona Legaspi, director of Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).

“This is like a miracle,” Legaspi said in an interview. “After years of neglect, war veterans now have access to quality medical care wherever they are. But still we have a slow turnout.”

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But applications for medical assistance have always been few. Last year, only 2,000 of the more than 20,000 registered veterans applied for medical assistance, Legaspi said.

One reason could be distance, which the improved assistance program solves by making medical services available to veterans in their provinces.

Another reason could be the cost of health care. This too has been solved with the government paying for all the medical expenses of war veterans.

Legaspi said all eligible war veterans and their dependents were entitled to free medical care.

“They should not spend a single centavo, all the medicines including the so-called maintenance meds, they could avail [themselves of] and their allotment is up to three months,” Legaspi said.

The government, she said, will mount an information campaign to make all veterans aware of the new medical care program.

Under the program, Legaspi said, veterans who live in the provinces need not come to Manila or to VMMC to receive medical attention.

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“War veterans living in the remotest areas of the country can avail themselves of medical attention in their areas or nearest to their areas, and this will all be paid for by the government,” Legaspi said.

She said nearly 600 hospitals across the country had been accredited to the program by VMMC. Veterans and their eligible dependents could go to these hospitals for treatment and medical benefits, she said.

Among the medical benefits that have been added to the veterans program are  expensive heart ailment procedures  like angioplasty and heart bypass, Legaspi said.

VMMC, she said, now subsidizes cataract surgery, hernia treatments, hearing impairment, and supplies maintenance medicines.

Legaspi said veterans living in Manila could be reimbursed only for selected medical treatments, like dialysis, or in emergency cases.

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