NewsBytes August 27, 2021     

In this issue:
Concern Growing on EHR Implementation
HVAC Subcommittee Reviews VA Cyber Security
Moving? Update DEERS for Uninterrupted TRICARE Coverage 

Concern Growing on EHR Implementation
The House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost (Ill.), Chairman Mark Takano (Calif.), and Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Chairman Frank J. Mrvan (Ind.) introduced the VA Electronic Health Record Transparency Act (H.R.4591) after a recent subcommittee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) project. This legislation will force the VA to account for all costs associated with the project and report those to Congress.

The FRA wants to ensure adequate funding for Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA health care resource sharing in delivering seamless, cost-effective, quality services to personnel wounded in combat and other veterans and their families.

HVAC Subcommittee Reviews VA Cybersecurity
The House Veterans Affairs Information Technology Subcommittee recently held an oversight hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) information technology budget. The overall FY2022 VA budget is increased by 10 percent and the IT budget is increased by 13 percent. Although at the hearing many legislators expressed concern that funding for cybersecurity is insufficient. The subcommittee hearing also focused on a recent Government Accountability Organization report (GAO-20-256 T) that made 74 recommendations for VA IT security, and that 70 of them have been implemented. It was noted at the hearing that VA plans to hire 500 IT employees this year and 500 more next year. The VA also has incentives in place to retain cyber security employees due to the growing demand in the field. The VA is also looking to capitalize on remote work opportunities.

Moving? Update DEERS for Uninterrupted TRICARE Coverage 
The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) wants to remind beneficiaries that change their location to update their information in the DEERS. Being able to use TRICARE depends on keeping DEERS up to date. DEERS is a database of active duty and retired service members, their family members, and others who are eligible for TRICARE. TRICARE eligibility shows up in DEERS based on the sponsor’s status. Keeping your DEERS record up to date is key to getting timely and effective TRICARE benefits.

FRA members should make sure that DEERS has, correct address, duty status, phone numbers, and email addresses. This is especially true after permanent change of station, or PCS, moves and anytime you experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). A QLE can include getting married or divorced, giving birth or retiring. Also, check out what you need to do if you’re moving. Remember, DEERS needs the beneficiaries Social Security number (SSN) and the SSN of each covered family members must be included in DEERS for TRICARE coverage to be accurate.

Beneficiaries changing their contact information in DEERS is easy, and there are several options. Beneficiaries can make changes online, by telephone, fax, mail or in person at the nearest ID card office. You can find an office near you using the RAPID Sites Locator.

To add or remove family members, you must visit a local ID card office. To update contact information, choose one of these options:
Online: Log into MilConnect
Mail: Mail updates to:
     Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
     Attention: COA 
     400 Gigling Road,
     Seaside, CA 93955-6771

Only sponsors can add a family member in DEERS. Family members 18 years and older may update their own contact information. You can find more information on how to update DEERS information on the TRICARE website.

NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you received this through a forward and would like to subscribe, please e-mail us  and include your name and contact information in the body of e-mail. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number.


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