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Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesFrancis Seeks Probe Into V.I. Veterans' Health Disparities

Francis Seeks Probe Into V.I. Veterans' Health Disparities

V.I. Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis and Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock have asked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate disparities between health care benefits available to veterans in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to Francis’ office.

Francis is calling for equality for the territory’s veterans, who do not receive the same level of benefits offered to their mainland counterparts. He addressed the request to Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Presently, V.I. veterans are not eligible to receive the same level of benefits that are available to TRICARE beneficiaries, according to Francis’ office. TRICARE is the health care program serving active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, their families, survivors and certain former spouses worldwide.

The benefits gap has been a longstanding concern for Francis, a veteran and former director of the Office of Veterans Affairs.

“Our service members have served with pride and honor and made great personal sacrifices in the course of their duty to this territory and our nation. It is only fair and right that they receive the same level of benefits that are offered to their peers,” Francis said in the statement.

Presently attending the Federal-State Relations meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Francis has also joined his colleagues to address other issues impacting the veteran community, such as homelessness and jobs, he said.

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