(Governor’s Office) — The CNMI Veterans Affairs Office, under the Governor’s Office, continues to address veterans’ healthcare challenges, such as the commercialization of CHCC pharmacies on all three islands, accreditation and increasing of the number of health care providers on the three islands, and applying to our only inter-island commuter airline, Star Marianas Air, to become a US Department of Veterans Affairs or VA provider.
Veterans Affairs Executive Director Stanley T. Iakopo said, “In addition to face-to-face meetings with the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System in late January, I actively collaborated via Zoom meetings with Dr. Robinson and the Washington, D.C. VA team”
He added: “It has been a long and stubborn process that our honorable veterans have gone through over the years, but I am confident that the partnership we now have with the VA Pacific Islands healthcare system is much stronger. than ever.”
“As we speak,” Iakopo said, “Star Marianas Air is working directly with the VA and is going through the final process of becoming a VA-sold airline. This means our veterans traveling from Rota and Tinian won’t will no longer have to pay out of pocket for their own plane tickets when traveling to Saipan for medical appointments.
Star Marianas Air President Shaun Christian said, “Based on the introduction from the Director of Veterans Affairs, we received confirmation from the VA in late January. Veterans Administration Supply Chain Management Services contacted us to let us know that at the request of Veterans Affairs Executive Officer Stanley T. Iakopo, they were working to provide SMA information needed to establish themselves as a VA provider. In mid-February, we received the VA Vendor Record Request Form, and on February 23, we submitted all of the requested information.
Christian said they have “received confirmation that the form has been received and is being processed, which will eventually lead to SMA being a VA approved provider. We look forward to continuing to work through this process and hopefully it will make the travel experience a little easier for our veterans.
Dr. Adam Robinson, Director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, confirmed that he and Executive Director Iakopo met “to discuss the unique needs of CNMI veterans and to explore options for improving care. and services for veterans residing in Saipan, Tinian and Rota.”
Governor Ralph DLG Torres commends the CNMI Veterans Affairs Office for their hard work in supporting and housing our veterans at CNMI. “I want to thank Veterans Affairs Executive Director Stanley T. Iakopo and the CNMI Veterans Affairs Office for continuing to find ways for our veterans in Tinian and Rota to access health care. At our recent Veterans Town Halls, many of our local Veterans expressed the need for improved access to health care. This is a step toward improving overall health care accessibility for all of our CNMI veterans,” the governor said.