VA set to offer benefits to reservists exposed to Agent Orange on planes | Pentagon rejects commission recommendations for reforming military health system | VA investigates prostheses purchases
June 17, 2015
AMSUS SmartBrief

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VA set to offer benefits to reservists exposed to Agent Orange on planes
The Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to extend benefits to Air Force reservists who became ill from exposure to Agent Orange on planes that were used to spray the herbicide during the Vietnam War. The rule change would affect more than 2,000 service members who flew or worked on the aircraft from 1972 to 1982. It will need approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (6/15)
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Military Health System
Pentagon rejects commission recommendations for reforming military health system
The Defense Health Agency is reforming the military health system, and recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would impede medical readiness and increase costs, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson said in a formal response to the commission's suggestions. The Defense Department is streamlining leadership, improving medical competence, increasing partnerships and overhauling Tricare, among other efforts, Woodson said. Military Times (6/11)
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Veterans Health Administration
VA investigates prostheses purchases
Department of Veterans Affairs acting Inspector General Richard Griffin is investigating purchases of prosthetic arms and legs in the VA system. The Bronx VA medical center purchased more than $54 million worth of prostheses, using government purchase cards at least 2,000 times and spending $24,999 each time. Purchases of $25,000 or more must be under properly awarded contracts. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (6/16)
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VA simulation lab, mobile lab to train health care providers
The Department of Veterans Affairs is building a $3.3 million simulation lab to train medical personnel at the Dayton VA Medical Center in Ohio. A $1 million mobile training laboratory outfitted with two simulation stations will travel to VA hospitals in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (6/12)
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National Health Care
House, Senate bills focus on mentally ill inmates
Mentally ill people in the criminal justice system would receive screening, treatment and other services under pending federal legislation. "This is about saving people's lives," said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., sponsor of the Senate version. "This is about giving police the training to recognize when they're entering a situation that involves a mental health situation." Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (6/12)
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Health and Medical Research
VA formula could help predict suicide risk
Computer formulas developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may help identify veterans and others who are more likely to commit suicide, a new study shows. Using factors such as age, race and disability from 3,000 suicides, researchers from the VA and National Institute of Mental Health found strikingly high rates with some combinations. "I think this is a game changer in terms of suicide prevention overall and not just for the VA population," said Caitlin Thompson, deputy director of the VA suicide prevention program. USA Today (6/11)
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Beware of fraudulent housing deals for the 2015 AMSUS Annual Meeting
Fake housing companies are approaching AMSUS members and exhibitors with fraudulent offerings of hotel rooms at significant discounts for the 2015 AMSUS Annual Meeting. These companies are in no way affiliated with AMSUS or the official hotels in San Antonio, Texas. Orchid Event Solutions is the ONLY official housing company for the 2015 AMSUS Annual Meeting and will not contact you directly to make a reservation. Learn what to do if you are contacted by a fraudulent housing company.
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Providing Care to Children in Times of War and other journal articles are free to AMSUS members and subscribers who have registered and subscribed to access more than 100 issues of Military Medicine journals online. Read through AMSUS' monthly peer-reviewed journal, with articles including scientific papers, case reports and editorials FREE for seven days. The journal promotes awareness of federal medicine by providing a forum for responsible discussion of common ideas and problems relevant to federal health care. Subscription rates and membership eligibility are available on the AMSUS website.
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Rebellion without truth is like spring in a bleak, arid desert."
-- Kahlil Gibran,
poet and artist
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