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Two Appointments -- Two Vamcs -- Same Day
Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:16 AM
I actually had this happen last year. I was unaware of the policy (cannot find reference to it anywhere) and claimed the travel to the nearest VAMC first and when I put in the claim at the second VAMC I was told about this policy.
Last week when I went to an appointment the travel clerk kindly told me that I should only ask for one-way pay as I had another appointment at another VAMC later in the day. I asked her to pay me round trip as the second appointment had been canceled.
So, my questions are:
(1) where is this policy written?
(2) is this consistent at all VAMCs
(3) has anyone else experienced this?
I have reviewed 38 USC 111, 38 CFR part 70 and the Travel FAQs with no answers.
I asked the travel clerk at the Newington VAMC travel section about their policy and asked for a reference. She gave me the following, with no indication of where it was from:
" Generally, a Veteran should only be reimbursed for his/her travel to a VA facility for one (round) trip any given day regardless of number to time of medical care appointments (it is incumbent upon the facility to ensure that appointments are arranged in a manner that avoids undue inconvenience); however there may be circumstances where multiple payments are warranted. Should a veteran have an appointment and then is later recalled by VA due to the results of an examination, lab test etc., appointments are scheduled at separate facilities, or emergency services are required then multiple payments are appropriate."
The last sentence seems to be in direct conflict with what is in practice. It clearly says that multiple payments are appropriate when appointments are scheduled at separate facilities.
Many times when dealing with the folks in the various VA travel sections it appears that they do what is easiest for them and not what is best for the Veteran.
Posted 21 June 2012 - 11:11 AM
Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:01 AM
Technically, you should be paid from home to the first appt, then from that VAMC to the next VAMC appt and from there home. jmo
Actually, that would make sense. However, that is not the way the travel folks do it. Also, the quote I gave where they say that multiple payments are appropriate when appointments are scheduled at separate facilities.
I just want them to do what is right. If they choose to pay one way to one appointment and round trip to the other and their directives say otherwise then I want them to do what their directive says.
The sensible thing would be what you suggest. The sensible thing is not done. Sigh.
Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:32 AM
Posted 25 June 2012 - 07:21 AM
Each VAMC should pay their appointment's mileage. The VAMC that has the appointment is responsible for the mileage, so you should collect from each travel office, at the round trip rate to your home. If you have enough time, go to the first appt, collect your mileage and reteurn home. Then leave home, for the second appt, collect your mileage there and return home. jmo
However, when you go to the second appointment the computer tells the travel person that you have already been paid from the first appointment and they process a one-way payment. Is it right? No way.
Furthermore the procedure that they printed out for me clearly says that one of the conditions where multiple payments may be appropriate is when "appointments are scheduled at separate facilities."
Another case of doing what is easiest for them and not what is best for the veteran.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 08:46 AM
Edited by Chuck75, 25 June 2012 - 08:47 AM.
Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:11 PM
The problem with the language that includes "multiple payments" is that it's left up to the VA to define the details. Naturally, the VA does NOT follow the "most advantageous" statement elsewhere in the mileage reimbursement regs, since they don't even follow it on a single payment. (Using crow flies from a calculated fixed point in a zip code instead of actual road mileage.)
You are, of course, correct Chuck.
I went round and round with the supervisor of the travel section in Gainesville FL over the way they figure mileage.
The short of it was that I had an appointment at their Dermatology Clinic on the other side of Gainesville, in a different zip code, and he insisted that I could only be paid to the VAMC. I pointed out to him that their FAQs stated (1) zip code to zip code, (2) Rand McNally, or (3) Mapquest -- whichever was the most advantageous to the veteran. His reply was that "that is not how we do it." End of story as far as he was concerned.
That seems to be the way many travel sections work. Just do what is easiest for them. Not thinking or common sense required.
Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:58 PM