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Federal Employees News Digest : Feb. 4, 2013
February 4, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 27 6 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com with links to maps showing the location of a representative's office. The system also provides service members and vets with access to other records, such as those related to Post-9/11 GI Bill enrollment status, VA payment history and Tricare status. Vets and service members need to obtain a DOD self-service logon to use the system, which VA said they can obtain in person at a VA Regional Office, DoD ID Card station or online at www.eben- efits.va.gov. The logon provides access to several benefits resources using one username and password. VA said it plans to increase usage of the system from its current 2 million users to 2.5 million users during 2013. ••• In Brief oIG explores uses for vacant uSPS facilities A recent U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General report suggested that USPS could use some of its infrastructure to provide services for other parts of the government---things such as communica- tions management and electronic pay- ments. Last week a post on the OIG blog pushed that sort of thinking a bit further, suggesting ways to leverage the slack in postal facilities---whether they are up and running and underused, or totally shut- tered but still under USPS ownership---by providing consumer-focused services "One idea, if the law allowed, would be for the Postal Service to provide self- storage services at unused processing facilities," says the post on the OIG's blog. "It could also provide safe-deposit boxes at under-used post offices. Self- storage allows users to rent storage space in the form of rooms, lockers or contain- ers on a monthly or annual basis. Safety deposit boxes might be a miniaturized version of self-storage units, where the user could store especially valuable goods or papers in a secure and fire-safe box. These types of services would require little additional overhead or labor hours, although additional security personnel might be needed." The post notes that laws would have to change before USPS could offer such non-postal services, and that in the past, private-sector businesses have fought Postal Service efforts to enter new lines of business. The post urges the public to weigh in on the issue, and to offer other money- making ideas. To see more, go to: http://blog.uspsoig. gov/index.php/2013/is-it-time-to-consider- new-uses-for-facilities/. Some Tricare drug copays increase Some Tricare copayments for prescrip- tion drugs increased last week. Effective Feb. 1, copays increased for brand-name and non-formulary medica- tions that are not filled at military clinics or hospitals. Pharmacies at military hos- pitals and clinics will continue to provide most medications with no copays. The new copay for a 30-day supply of a brand-name medication bought at a retail network pharmacy is $17, up from $12. While brand-name drug copays also increased for beneficiaries using Tricare home mail delivery---from $9 to $13--- that price is for a 90-day supply. The copay for a generic prescription filled at a network pharmacy did not change, remaining at $5; there is no co-pay for generic prescriptions filled through Tricare home delivery. Copays for non-formulary medica- tions---drugs that are not listed in the Tricare formulary of covered drugs, usu- ally because they are too new or too expensive---increased from $25 to $44 if bought from a retail pharmacy. Copays for those drugs now are $43 through home delivery. The increases were required by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. To see more, go to: www.tricare.mil/ pharmacycosts. uSPS speeds up some facility consolidations The American Postal Workers Union this month said that U.S. Postal Service management told the union on Jan. 17 that it would move up the planned con- solidation of 18 postal facilities from 2014 to 2013. APWU said the 18 facilities were among 89 sites slated for consolidation next year as part of a plan announced in May 2012 that would eliminate 229 plants over a period of several years. While the USPS Board of Governors on Jan. 14 ordered USPS management to speed up restructuring to help reduce costs, APWU said the Postal Service's latest communication on Jan. 17 "did not link the decision to accelerate the 18 consolidations to the Board's instructions, and has not said how it plans to respond to the directive." According to the USPS letter, "some affected career employees may be reas- signed to other vacant positions." USPS said any reassignments would be made in accordance with the union contract. "Management's consolidation goals remain the same: To reduce the mail processing network by half," APWU Executive Vice President Greg Bell said in a statement. "This most recent announce- ment underscores the urgency of congres- sional action to resolve the Postal Service's congressionally-manufactured financial crisis. In the meantime, the APWU will continue to demand that the USPS adhere to our collective bargaining agreement and keep dislocation of employees to a minimum." To see more, go to: http://apwu.org/ news/webart/2013/13-008-consol-acceler- ation-130122.html. DoD to review family programs The Defense Department has given a task force 120 days to conduct an across- the-board examination of DOD family and community services programs to determine which are working and which are not. continued from page 5 continued on page 8
Jan. 28, 2013
Feb. 11, 2013