Masking Update


March 29, 2023     No. 23-14

Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Updates Masking Policy

Effective immediately, the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System is updating its masking requirements for Veterans, visitors, volunteers, and staff at all sites of care. We will continue to ensure the safety of our Veterans, especially those who are most vulnerable, while accommodating individual masking preferences. We will continue to monitor community spread in order to align our masking practices with CDC and VHA guidelines.

While community risk levels are low, as they are now, unmasking will be permitted in low risk outpatient and administrative areas. Masking will still be required in the following high risk areas.

  • Chemotherapy Clinics
  • Infusion Clinics
  • Emergency Department
  • Inpatient Medical/Surgical Units
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Inpatient Mental Health Unit

Additionally, Veterans and their caregivers who are meeting with staff in clinical and/or administrative areas may request that VA staff wear a mask at any time.

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Remove Copays Act

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (Calif.) introduced H.R. 7589, the Reduce and Eliminate Mental Health Outpatient Veteran (REMOVE) Copays Act. This bill would eliminate medical care copayments for veterans’ first three mental health visits in a calendar year.    Overcoming the stigma of seeking mental health treatment is in itself a victory. For some service-connected veterans, these copayments are a significant barrier to medically necessary care. Financial obstacles should not be another challenge or deterrent to receiving potentially life-saving mental health treatment. DAV supports this important legislation in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 022, which calls for elimination or reduction of medical care copayments for service-connected veterans and applauds Chairman Takano for his leadership in working to ensure at-risk veterans continue to seek the mental health treatment they have earned. Please contact your representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 7589, the REMOVE Copays Act. Thank you for participating in the DAV Commander’s Action Network.
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Call you Senator Today 7/29/22 or NLT Monday Morning 8/1/22

As a reminder, the PACT Act will provide health care and presumptive benefits for veterans exposed to hazardous environments. After years of fighting, we are close to comprehensive toxic exposure legislation. We need your help again to keep the pressure on the Senate to get it passed. On June 16th, the Senate passed the Honoring Our PACT Act 84-14. Unfortunately, due to a procedural issue, the House returned it to the Senate. On June 24th, the Senate tried to pass the corrected version, however, that was blocked by one Senator. The House introduced the Senate version of the PACT Act and on July 13th they passed it out of the House with a vote of 342-88. The bill then went to the Senate. However, on Wednesday July 27th, the bill was stopped from going to the Senate floor. Twenty-five Senators who voted to pass the PACT Act on June 16th, voted on Wednesday to stop the bill. The PACT Act will be voted on again in the Senate on Monday. We need you to CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY. Tell them to vote “YES” for S. 3373, Honoring Our PACT Act. This bipartisan bill provides a truly comprehensive solution to toxic exposures and our fellow veterans and their families can’t afford to wait. Click the action button to get the phone numbers for your Senators and call them NOW. Please use the script we have provided. Once you have made your calls, please provide feedback. Thank you for your support of America’s service disabled veterans and their families.
Click Here to Call Your Senator Today!
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NEW Veteran Crisis Line

As of July 16, the Veterans Crisis Line has a new number: 988 then Press 1

Signed into law in 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. As part of the law, all telephone service providers in the U.S. had to activate the number no later than July 16, 2022. The new number helps make it easier to remember and share with others to access help in times of need.

Veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 and pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the previous phone number—1-800-273-8255 and Press 1—by text (838255), and through chat (

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COLA Act 2022

DAV Supports S. 4223 and H.R. 7846, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2022. The Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act would increase compensation rates for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, including clothing allowance, and dependency and indemnity benefits paid to survivors and families of service members who died in the line of duty or suffer from a service-related injury or disease. These bills would increase compensation rates based on the same percentage that Social Security benefits are increased for 2023. If passed, these rates would be effective December 1, 2022, and most importantly, would be realized in compensation benefits paid on January 1, 2023. Consistent with DAV Resolution No. 070, we support S. 4223 and H.R. 7846. With inflation reaching a 40-year high, we must ensure that veterans’ benefits keep pace for the many veterans and survivors who are on fixed incomes and largely rely on their compensation payments.  Please contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor and support S. 4223 and H.R. 7846. Thank you for standing with DAV to provide a cost-of-living increase for our nation’s service disabled veterans, their families and survivors.
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“Call to Arms”

On June 16, 2022, in a bipartisan vote of 84 -14, the Senate passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring our PACT Act. It is now up to the House to reconsider and pass this historic comprehensive toxic exposure legislation that will impact all generations of veterans. Over 60 veteran and military service organizations support the Honoring Our PACT Act. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking Member Mike Bost both support this truly comprehensive measure and step forward in addressing the long lasting impact of toxic exposures. The House will be voting on the Honoring Our PACT Act this week. If the House votes to pass the Honoring the PACT Act, it will go to the President for signature. Please contact your Representative today, as our fellow veterans and their families cannot afford to wait. Thank you for your support of America’s service disabled veterans and their families.  
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Regional Office Under Construction


June 16, 2022

Muskogee VA Regional Office Facility Renovation
In-Person Services Relocated to Annex Facility

Muskogee, OK — The Department of Veterans Affairs Muskogee Regional Office will undergo a major renovation of the facility at 125 S. Main Street in downtown Muskogee, OK. 

During the renovation, which is expected to last several months, in-person services will be relocated to the Annex facility, located at 122 East Side Boulevard, Muskogee, OK, beginning July 5th. This location is less than one mile east of the Muskogee Federal Building. 

To discuss benefits in-person, such as compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension, aid and attendance, and Veteran Readiness and Employment, visitors may access the Annex facility, which will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

For more information about VA benefits and eligibility or how to file a claim, Veterans and survivors can visit or call toll-free at 800-827-1000.

Jacob Nichols, Public Affairs Officer,

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9 New Cancers Added

On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in

  • Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or
  • The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present.

VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind – getting today’s Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead – the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.

VA identified, through a focused review of scientific and medical evidence, a biological plausibility between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogensis of the respiratory tract; the unique circumstances of these rare cancers warrant a presumption of service connection.

Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim for benefits;

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx;
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea;
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.

VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and it will provide information on how to apply.

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