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    Home of the RAO Subic.
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    RAO Staff
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    RAO staff attending to it's members.

Retired Activities Office
Subic Bay, Philppines

RAO Subic Bay is an Independent Retired Activities Coordination Office which provides vital services to U.S. military retirees living in this area, remote from any Military installation.

Authorization & Support
The RAO is authorized by SECNAVINST 5420.169J and OPNAVINST 1720.3F to tailor its services to the needs of the local retired community, and bears full responsibility for financing its operation and maintenance costs. The RAO receives the same DoD support offered to any retiree or patriotic organization.

Corrections, Additions & Deletions
This informal and unofficial information was prepared by members of the RAO who are also members of the VFW, FRA and American Legion. If you note any errors, want to contribute, or would like to see something revised, added or deleted, please pass your comments to RAO Voice or call/email the RAO Director at the address listed below.

HOURS OF DIRECTOR

0900 to 1500 Monday through Friday
Closed on US and Philippine Holidays

Director

Jack Walker OR: PSC 517 Box 5000R
USMC (Ret.) FPO AP 96517
Director Phone: [+63] 47-222-2314
P.O. Box 075 Fax: [+63] 47-222-2899
Olongapo City, 2200 Philippines Email: dir@raosubic.com
Events & Activities

SPECIAL SOCIAL SECURITY OUTREACH

On September 19 (Thursday) Subic RAO at Mansion Garden Hotel (Dewey Avenue corner Bonifacio Street, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales 2222)

SPECIAL SOCIAL SECURITY OUTREACH

On September 20 (Friday) Subic RAO at Park Inn by Radisson (M.A. Roxas Highway, Barangay Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga 2010)

You MUST REGISTER so we can budget for refreshments


July Newsletter
(July 2019)

PHOTOS:


Olongapo Outreach

June 21, 2019 (Friday)


View more at the Photo Gallery
U.S./PHILIPPINE HOLIDAYS 2018
New Year's U.S./PHL Wed, Jan 1
M. L. King Jr. U.S. Mon, Jan 21
Chinese New Year PHL Tue, Feb. 5
Presidents Day U.S. Mon, Feb 18
Bataan & Corregidor PHL Tue, Apr 9
Maundy Thurs PHL Thu, Apr. 18
Good Friday PHL Fri, Apr. 19
Phil. Labor PHL Wed, May 1
U.S. Memorial U.S. Mon, May 27
Eid-ul-Fitr PHL Wed, Jun 5
Philippine Independence PHL Wed, Jun 12
U.S. Independence U.S. Thu, Jul 4
Ninoy Aquino PHL Wed, Aug 21
Heroes PHL Mon, Aug 26
U.S. Labor U.S. Mon, Sep 2
Columbus U.S. Mon, Oct 14
All Saints PHL Fri, Nov 1
Veterans U.S. Mon, Nov 11
Thanksgiving U.S. Thu, Nov 28
Bonifacio PHL Sat, Nov 30
Christmas U.S./PHL Wed, Dec 25
Rizal Day PHL Mon, Dec 30


  Not yet a member? Join RAO Now.


Important Announcement
RAO Subic Closure

October 14 - Columbus Day


United States Embassy Manila, Philippines

Health Alert - U.S. Embassy Manila (October 9, 2019)

Event: Health officials have reported an outbreak of polio in the Philippines.

Actions to Take:

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the Philippines be fully vaccinated against polio. Before traveling to the Philippines, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of Polio vaccine. Read the Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) Polio in the Philippines webpage.

NOTE: The RAO has contacted the VA Clinic and found there is no announced plan to offer this vaccine, should that change we will announce immediately.

Have also contacted Medical City and are awaiting response as to their offering the vaccine.

Baypointe/ACE indicates they will have it available, but are awaiting pricing.

RAO Staff Training

We are proud to announce that all the staff members of the RAO are now certified to provide emergency assistance in First Aid/CPR and AED, in the event a member suffers a sudden illness or accident while visiting us. We are proud to continue to help our heroes.

Reminder

AA meetings held at RAO M-F 1200 to 1300

Toys for Tykes

We are into the second week of our annual fund drive for the program and are doing pretty good, remenber we are having bake sales, cookies, pies, RAO coffee and umbrellas on Wednesday. Stop by get your mail and give a little something for the Tykes, while enjoying some great baked goods. Donate P1000 and get a month off 2020 dues.

UPCOMING CLINIC CLOSURES:

The U.S. Embassy, along with the VA Manila Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic, will be closed in recognition of the following public holidays:

US Columbus Day

Monday, October 14

Philippine All Saints Day

Friday, November 1

US Veteran’s Day

Monday, November 11

US Thanksgiving Day

US Thanksgiving Day

NOTE: Plan ahead and order your refills 10 work days in advance of holiday closures. Air21 is closed on Philippine holidays so medications will be delayed if you fail to request refills 10 days in advance. If you run out of medications for a service connected condition, you can buy the medicine and file a claim for reimbursement from the FMP.


VA MANILA STOPPING PROSTHETICS SERVICES EFFECTIVE (OCTOBER 1)

As the Clinic Manager, I’ve heard from several Veterans in the last few days since VA Manila sent notification that Prosthetics Services would be closing effective October 1. I just want to take a quick moment to reassure all Veterans that this decision is not a sign of things to come and that this is not the start of closing the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic. The decision to close the prosthetics department was made because there was not enough volume and workload to justify keeping the department open. Aside from hearing aids, there were only a handful of other items that VA Manila was providing to Veterans in the Philippines through our prosthetics department. When we realized we were able to transition Veterans to be able to use the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) and continue to receive hearing-related care through Manila Hearing Aid Company as a participating FMP provider, the best decision was clear.

VA Manila is currently in the process of selecting a new half-time medical provider whose primary focus will be on improving care coordination for Veterans needing chronic pain management. I’ve also selected an Assistant Clinic Manager since my arrival who will be transferring from the United States, and she will be on-boarding sometime in the next 8-12 months. So, we are adding and expanding services at VA Manila. While I know some will be disappointed with the decision about prosthetics, we continue to do all we can, within our limitations, to support US Veterans living in the Philippines.

Please feel free to contact me directly if there are questions or concerns at daniel.gutkoski2@va.gov or +63 (2) 396-3735 (direct line).


UPCOMING VA OUTREACH EVENTS

The VA Regional Office and VA Manila Outpatient Clinic will be participating in Outreach events this week, along with our friends from the Social Security Administration. Regional Office staff will be available to assist with questions regarding pension and benefit claims, and Outpatient Clinic staff will be able to schedule appointments, provide wellness checkups, and will have flu vaccines available.


Olongapo City, Zambales

Date: Thursday, September 19, 2019

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Venue: Mansion Garden Hotel (Dewey Avenue corner Bonifacio Street, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales 2222)

Angeles City, Pampanga

Date: Friday, September 20, 2019

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Venue: Park Inn by Radisson (M.A. Roxas Highway, Barangay Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga 2010)

A larger outreach, with the US Embassy’s American Citizen Services Team, is currently being planning for November in the Angeles and Olongapo areas. Additional details will be provided once the dates are finalized.


FOREIGN MEDICAL PROGRAM (FMP) UPDATES

As a reminder to all Veterans using the FMP, providers who agree to bill VA on your behalf for Service Connected Care may still collect from Veterans for any care provided that is not related to your service connected conditions. For example, if you have a service connected rating for a knee disability and are hospitalized for treatment on that knee, all services provided related to your service connected condition will be reimbursed by the FMP. However, if you have non-service connected diabetes, any diabetes treatment you receive while you are hospitalized would be your responsibility and you should expect to be required to settle your portion of the bill in cash at the time services are provided.

A current list of FMP participating hospitals is below:

  1. Divine Grace Medical Center - Cavite, Philippines
  2. Manila Doctors Hospital - Manila, Philippines
  3. Unihealth Baypointe Hospital - Olongapo, Philippines
  4. PLEASE NOTE BAYPOINTE IS CURRENTLY FMP FOR OUTPATIENT CARE ONLY.

  5. Sacred Heart Medical Center - Angeles City, Philippines
  6. The Medical City Clark - Angeles City, Philippines
  7. The Medical City, Iloilo - Iloilo, Philippines
  8. Avitus Kidney Care and Dialysis Center - Olongapo, Philippines
  9. D&A Care – Physical Therapy - Metro Manila, Philippines New
  10. Manila Hearing Aid Company (eff. 10/1/19) - 14 locations New

Disclaimer: The list of participating hospitals is subject to change without notice and the VA is not responsible if the facility above chooses not to participate.

VA Manila Outpatient Clinic is continuing to meet with hospitals in the Manila area to expand this list, and we hope to be able to provide you with additional options to receive your service-connected care through the FMP in the upcoming months. You will notice there are two new facilities this month – and we have met with two other hospital providers recently and are awaiting their decision about participating.

The Medical Center in Ortigas has suspended billing FMP. This is due to billing practices and submission of incomplete information that result in FMP denying or being unable to process the claim. Currently the following facilities and FMP are working together to resolve the issue. In the meantime, Veterans must settle their bills in cash and request reimbursement from FMP.


PLEASE DON’T NO-SHOW!!! REMINDER TO CANCEL APPOINTMENTS

This serves as a friendly reminder to all Veterans who use the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic for their medical care, please cancel any appointments that you will not be able to keep. When Veterans do not cancel appointments, VA loses an opportunity to provide medical services to your fellow Veterans, decreases provider productivity, and requires additional administrative time from our staff to reschedule appointments. Ideally, we ask that Veterans notify the VA Outpatient Clinic at least 48 hours in advance of their appointment if you determine you have a scheduling conflict. This allows the Clinic’s Advanced Medical Support Assistants (AMSAs) to reach out to other Veterans waiting for care to offer them the new time slot. Our AMSAs typically reach out to all Veterans 72 hours before their appointments to confirm attendance. Additionally, the VA’s AudioCare reminder system makes telephone reminder calls between 24-48 hours before Veteran appointments. Please be considerate to your fellow Veterans and do your part if you have a scheduled appointment that you won’t be able to keep. You can reach the clinic at +63 (2) 550-3888, Option 2, or toll free at 1-800-1888-5252.


NEW VA MANILA REGIONAL OFFICE AND OUTPATIENT TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Manila VA Outpatient Clinic switched telephone carriers and all extensions have changed. If you have been calling a direct number, it will no longer work. To call VA Manila, dial +63 (2) 550-3888. To speak to someone in the Regional Office, press 1. To speak to someone in the Outpatient Clinic, press 2 then follow the prompts to be connected. You may also call toll free at: 1-800-1888-5252 from either Smart, Sun Cellular and PLDT carriers. To fax prescriptions and or request refills, dial +63 (2) 550-3965.

The Manila VA Outpatient Clinic can also be reached from the United States by dialing the following US number: +1-808-433-5254. This number will connect you to the main VA switchboard and then you can follow the instructions above.


PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN INSIDE THE VA MANILA OUTPATIENT CLINIC

    To protect your children and Veterans from infectious diseases, please monitor your children:

  • Avoid acquiring and/or passing on illness. We have installed touch-free toilets and faucets;
  • Safe practices are vital. Do not change diapers on the couch and side table in the lobby.
  • Use changing table inside the lobby bathroom when diaper change is needed.
  • Prevent slip, trip and fall incidents. Prohibit your children from running inside VA premises.
  • Attend to your children all the time. Do not let your children crawl on the floor nor activate any emergency devices as this will create unnecessary anxiety for Veterans, children and other guests.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation in making the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic a safe and welcoming place for everyone.


COMPLETION OF VA AND NON-VA MEDICAL FORMS

VHA privacy and release of information policies and procedures are applied to releasing any VA or Non-VA Medical statements or medical forms completed on behalf of the Veteran.

  • VA Providers can complete medical statements/forms with respect to a Veteran‘s medical condition and functionality, to the best of their ability based on their scope, clinical expertise and available historical evidence.
  • Complete a VA Form 10-5345 and leave it together with the medical statement/form you want completed with the Office of Release of Information. Here is a link to the form on VA’s webpage
  • Expect a VA Manila response within 20 working days.

Veterans requesting assistance with submitting a VA disability benefits claim should access the VBA Internet website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation or call 011 (632) 550-3888 and press 1 for additional assistance or check in at the VBA Reception Desk


VA MANILA CLINIC HOURS OF OPERATION

Important Announcement: See Unscheduled Appointments (Walk-ins) SCHEDULED LABORATORY APPOINTMENTS – 7:30 am to 2:00 pm, Monday - Friday. Scheduled Veterans may enter the facility at 7:00 am and check in for their laboratory appointments. Veterans who are scheduled for early morning appointments (8:00 am or 8:30 am) are called to the laboratory first.

SCHEDULED CLINIC APPOINTMENTS

8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday - Friday. Scheduled Veterans are called by their appointment time not when they arrive.

UNSCHEDULED APPOINTMENTS (WALK-INS)

8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday – Friday. Walk-in Veterans are triaged to determine the purpose of their visit. If it is determined by a nurse that a physician appointment is necessary, the Veteran will be seen by their primary care doctor if there is an appointment cancellation otherwise they will be seen by another physician.

No walk-in Veteran is permitted entry into the facility after 1:00 pm. This is to ensure all scheduled Veterans are treated and/or their business is completed before the close of business. Please be respectful of your fellow Veterans and not ask staff to make an exception for you.

Enforcing the 1:00 pm walk-in curfew ensures scheduled Veterans can complete tests/appointments and finish timely, before the Clinic closes.

If the Veteran is experiencing a medical emergency, they should go to the nearest emergency room. VA Manila does not provide emergent services.

TIPS FOR FAST FMP REIMBURSEMENTEmail or fax your claim instead of mailing it. You will reduce processing time by at least two weeks.

Email: hac.fmp@va.gov

Fax Number: hac.fmp@va.gov

Submit your claim in one complete package. A complete package includes:

  • A completed VAF 10-7959F-2, Foreign Medical Program (FMP) Claim Cover Sheet.
    • Use a permanent address where mail will always reach you.
  • Include a diagnosis or nature of illness or injury
    • Doctor’s name and medical title
    • Doctor’s office address
    • Doctor’s office telephone number
    • Doctor’s billing address if different from office address
  • Include claim information – ESPECIALLY the Diagnosis Treated Narrative Description of each service and/or drug (This determines if the condition is Service Connected)
    • Each service’s billed charge
    • Date(s) of service.

Submitting an FMP claim without all the required information WILL be denied and you will have to resubmit.


HOW CAN I HELP GET MORE HOSPITALS TO ACCEPT FMP?

Contact your Veteran Organizations, Retired Activity Officers and Post Commanders to meet with hospital leadership in your community. Several hospitals on the current list are there because the RAO and Veterans organizations facilitated their participation

PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES?

Veterans planning to travel to the United States and want to continue medical treatment should call the clinic’s Traveling Veteran Coordinator at +63 (2) 550-3888, press 2. Our TVC can facilitate your care with her counterpart in the United States. Your Primary Care will recommend coordination when needed care with an alternate VA facility near you is required. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks lead time to ensure appointments are prearranged upon your arrival.


VETERANS CRISIS LINE

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified and caring Department of Veteran Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. To learn more about the Veterans Crisis Line or to chat online, go to Veterans Crisis Line and click on the appropriate link.


NO VALID GOVERNMENT ID/NO ENTRY/NO EXCEPTIONS

The U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office no longer permit employees, Veterans, attendants, and family members to enter a U.S. Embassy facility to include the VA Manila Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic without a valid government picture ID. Family members and attendants over the age of 14 will also need to provide a valid government ID.

COMPUTER LAPTOPS PROHIBITED

The U.S. Embassy, including VA Manila, no longer permits Veterans, attendants and family members to enter a U.S. Embassy facility with a computer laptop. Do not bring any large electronic device as the U.S. Embassy guards nor VA staff are permitted to accept or store the device.

RAO Updates (October 17, 2019)

VA Update


TRICARE/FMP Brief

TRICARE/FMP BRIEF-- The Director will be giving a Tricare/FMP brief tomorrow at 13:00 at the American Legion.

TONY HOUSTON VSO WILL BE AVAILABLE TOMORROW beginning at 09:00 FOR WALK-IN V A CLAIM ASSISTANCE.


Great Information for Subic Bay Area

Making Subic Experience Awesome! SubicGo.com is a tourism portal designed for local and international tourists visiting the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

SubicGo


GREAT NEWS!
Its official, as of today 16 August 2018, Ace/Baypointe is authorized to accept Tricare patients under the Preferred Provider category. You will have to check with the HMO office to ensure your Dr. is also on the Preferred Provider list. There are currently 31 Dr's who are, but check to be sure or you will have to pay the Dr's fees.

And oh by the way, please resist the urge to repeat the bad news bears (you know the ones who have their names stenciled on the back of their bar stool) who are spreading rumors about ACE BAYPOINTE and Medical City Clark suspending FMP due to non payment. IT DIDNT HAPPEN! Medical city Ortigas did due to non payment by FMP. Come to find out they gave FMP the wrong mailing address to which FMP mailed the payments. All is fixed now and they have withdrawn the suspension.Â

Old saying better to be quiet and be thought a fool, than opening mouth and leave no doubt.

I have taken the opportunity to compile a list of what Drs, and Specialties AT ACE BAYPOINTE, to the best of my knowledge are also certified as preferred providers. The hospital is in the process of adding to this list. As you all are aware this list changes without notice, so before getting treatment it would be to your benefit to check with the hospital HMO office to ensure the Dr you will receive treatment from is in fact still certified as preferred. The HMO can be reached at 047-250-6070 ext 283 or 507.

Name Name Specialization Specialization Gender Gender
Ablang, Alberto Mariano, MD Pediatrics, Critical Care Male
Ablang, Marietta, MD Internal Medicine, Cardiology Female
Aguila, Beverly, MD Internal Medicine, Cardiology Female
Aguila, Beverly, MD Internal Medicine, Cardiology Female
Aguilar, Rodrigo Gastronology/Int Med Male
Alconga, Rudy Pediatrics Male
Bernal, Gerald, MD Internal Medicine, Cardiology Male
Bongco, Jesusa Anesthesiology Female
Bongco, Rosario Endocrinology Male
Bustamante, Rodrick Anesthesiology Male
Calapatia, David, MD Family Medicine Male
Cepeda, Armando, MD Surgery, General Male
Cepeda, Monette, MD Neurology Female
De Castro, Felicisimo, MD Ophthalmology Male
De Castro, Ma. Gloria, MD Obstetrics & Gynecology Female
Dela Cruz, Anthony, MD Internal Medicine, Diabetology; Occupational Health Male
Dela Paz, Emmanuel, MD Orthopedics Male
DeLeon, Roberto Gen Surgery Male
Edejer, Karl Erjon, MD Anesthesiology Male
Guevara, Luis, MD Radiology Male
Hipolito, Charina Internal Medicine, Pulmonology Female
Mallari, Lourdes ENT Ear, Nose,Throat Female
Mangahas, Rolan Opthamology Male
Manuel, Jesse Jewel, MD Surgery, Orthopedic Male
Mendoza, Arturo, Jr., MD Surgery, General (Laparoscopic) Male
Ocampo, Armida, MD Internal Medicine, Pulmonology Female
Pasqual, Jeanette Orthopedics Male
Rojo, Margaret, MD Anesthesiology Female
Santos, Wilfredo, MD Surgery, General ; Surgery, Oncology Male
Soriano, Maria Agnes, MD Internal Medicine, Diabetology Female
Tablan, Apolonario Jr Urology Male
Velchez, Carlos Hematology/Int Med Male
Hipolito, Charina Internal Medicine, Pulmonology Female
Villareal, Paolo, MD Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology Male
FMP/Tricare
We continue to see vets who are receiving EOB's and checks for treatment at Medical City and Baypointe (ACE). Please be aware you should not cash these checks. They should be given to the hospitals. Should you cash the check a few things can happen, 1st FMP or Tricare may demand repayment, if you don't they can notify the IRS and either a garnishment or 1099 will be received and they get their money in the end possibly including interest. It can also be placed on your credit report. Secondly, you may be refused future treatment at the hospitals as you have an outstanding balance. Worst of all we may lose the hospitals as providers for FMP or Tricare. Sure wouldn't want to be the guy who causes all your fellow vets to lose that, they might be a little pissed when they find out it was you! You know how quickly word spreads around here!

Videos
Just want to draw your attention to some very useful videos being offered for free through va by psycharmor. View their catalog at https://psycharmor.Org/course s/s-a-v-e/.

Urgent Update: Reimbursment Checks:
It appears there is a malfunction with both TRICARE and FMP regarding reimbursement checks. They incorrectly recently have been sending the checks to the veteran vice the provider. Both have been notified this is the incorrect way to handle these checks! If you receive a check for a claim that was filed by the Hospital, please do not cash it. The hospitals participation was negotiated so that the hospital would receive payment. If they do not we will lose their services. The payment must be taken to the hospital and signed over to them to be encashed.




Special thank you to police station 6 Barrio Baretto for notification of recently deceased American Citizen! Their handling of situation was extremely professional, thanks SPO De Leon.