VAPIHCS Veterans News

VAPIHCS Veterans,

Health Care When You Travel

If you are a veteran and you are planning a trip, make sure that you let your Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) know. If you are injured while on vacation, or if your bags are lost and you need to renew a prescription, your care can be coordinated to ensure that you can get help wherever you are. If you have questions, please call (808) 838-6591 or (808) 433-0202.

Seeking Land in Hilo

VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (VAPIHCS) is seeking to purchase a parcel of land on which to construct a new Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). VAPIHCS is looking for a parcel that is no less than 2 acres in the Hilo area. To be considered, the site must be outside the Tsunami Inundation Zone. For additional information, contact Marianne Marinucci at (202) 632-5468 or

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The Department of Education recently expanded the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program which may forgive the remaining balance on your student loans. Under the PSLF Limited Waiver, which expires on October 31, 2022, borrowers may receive credit for periods of repayment on loans that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

Thoughts from Chaplain Richie Charles

For many years prior to 1954, it was believed by many sports experts that it was simply impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. But there was one individual, Roger Bannister, who sought to defy the odds and attempt to challenge that belief. On the morning of May 6, 1954, Sir Roger Bannister did the impossible, becoming the first person to run a mile in under four minutes! Before the announcer could even finish saying 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds, the audience erupted in a sea of applause. He accomplished a great feat indeed. But what’s even more interesting is what happened afterwards.

Just 46 days after Bannister’s victory, John Landy, an Australian runner, not only broke the same 4 minute barrier again, but this time with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds. Then, just a year later, three runners broke the four-minute barrier all in a single race. And over the past half century, more than a thousand runners have conquered a barrier that had once been considered humanly impossible.

The question becomes, did human nature magically change just 46 days after Mr. Bannister’s victory? No. Instead, what changed was their mindset. That is, the runners of the past had been held back by a belief that said they could not surpass the four-minute mile, and that artificial limit became the invisible barrier holding them back. Runners must have unknowingly adjusted their abilities to fit the popular belief of the time, leaving them to lose the race to beat the 4-minute time before the race even began.

Are there artificial limits that you have accepted as being true? Can those artificial limits have an impact on what you can accomplish? Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

One Team, One Ohana!

Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE

Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System


36th Surgeon General, USN

Benefits Workshop for Veterans and supporters of Veterans in Hawaii & American Samoa

Greetings all,

We will be hosting a virtual Benefits Workshop for Veterans and supporters of Veterans in Hawaii & American Samoa on Thursday, August 25, 2022 from 4PM to 6PM (Hawaii Local Time) / 3PM to 5PM (American Samoa Local Time)

(see attached flyer). This will be a virtual workshop using Cisco Webex.

The Benefits Workshop now includes the following topics: Military Sexual Trauma, Homelessness, Character of Discharge, and women Veterans

Please help us to get the word out.


Faafetai Lefiti (Tai)

Assistant Coach

Veterans Benefits Administration

Honolulu Regional Office

Phone: 808-433-0515

Fax: 808-433-0384

Hirono Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Copays for Veterans Accessing Contraception

~ Legislation passed the House with bipartisan support earlier this year ~

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and 17 of their Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act to eliminate copayments for contraception covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While civilians can receive contraception without a copay through the Affordable Care Act and active duty servicemembers can receive health care—including basic contraceptive services—without copays through TRICARE, VA healthcare only waives contraception copays for a limited number of veterans. The legislation is originally authored by U.S. Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA) and was approved by the House of Representatives in June by a bipartisan vote of 245-181.

“Access to contraception is a fundamental, constitutional right,” said Senator Hirono. “But while civilians and active duty servicemembers can access contraception free of charge, hundreds of thousands of veterans receiving VA care are still forced to pay out-of-pocket costs. We owe it to our veterans to ensure they receive the quality, comprehensive health care they deserve, including contraception. The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act will help do exactly that.”

Under current law, only a restricted group of veterans, including 50 percent disabled veterans and veterans below specific income levels, are exempt from copayments for contraception. This legislation will eliminate out-of-pocket costs levied against countless veterans, including women who make up the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the VA healthcare system.

The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The PACT Act and your VA benefits

VA Secretary’s Statement on the Signing of the PACT Act
“The PACT Act is a historic new law that will help VA deliver for millions of Veterans — and their survivors — by empowering us to presumptively provide care and benefits to Vets suffering from more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions. It will also bring generations of Veterans into VA health care, which will improve Veteran health outcomes across the board.

We at VA are ready to implement the PACT Act and deliver for toxic-exposed Veterans and their survivors. If you think you might be eligible for PACT Act benefits, here’s what you need to know:

You can apply for PACT Act-related benefits now by filing a claim at VA.
As President Biden announced at the bill signing, we are making all 23 presumptive conditions in the PACT Act eligible for benefits effective today, August 10.
You can learn more about the PACT Act by visiting or calling 1-800-MyVA411.
Thank you to all of the Veterans, survivors and family members who fought tirelessly to make this day possible, and thank you to President Biden for keeping our nation’s promise to those who served. We at VA will stop at nothing to make sure that every Veteran and every survivor gets the PACT Act-related care and benefits they deserve.” – VA Secretary Denis R. McDonough

NCA launches new interactive “Find a Cemetery” map

In time for this year’s Memorial Day, NCA has launched a new interactive “Find a Cemetery” map. The feature enables Veterans to search for their final resting place or for those who want to visit their Veteran interred at any of the 155 VA managed or 119 VA-funded cemeteries.

A brand-new feature of the clickable map will allow users to enter a zip code and find the closest cemetery. As shown below, the result from a zip code search will display a pop-up modal window where users can click over to the cemetery web page, call the cemetery (from a mobile phone), look up directions, find burial schedule information or leave tributes, photos and more at the Veterans Legacy Memorial.

Find a cemetery

Find a cemetery feature on the website.

Users can also simply click on a state or territory to display the cemeteries there with blue or green pins representing VA managed or VA funded cemeteries. Clicking on a pin will bring up the same pop-up modal as the zip code search.

Below the large clickable map, users can still find a text list of states and territories. This layout on the page allows users to see the full list of cemeteries available at that those locations, and is easy to read on desktop or mobile devices

Although some locations are now closed for additional interments, burial benefits in one of these cemeteries is available to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active-duty service requirements and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.

VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family. For more information about burial and memorial benefits, go to