VA funding request complicates reform bill talks | Tricare relaxes proposed restrictions on mental health care providers | OPM expands enrollment flexibility for dental, vision coverage
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July 23, 2014
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VA funding request complicates reform bill talks
Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson has asked Congress for $17.6 billion in new funding over three years, creating a sticking point in negotiations over a VA health care reform bill. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., urged lawmakers to include the request in the current talks, but some Republicans say the request should be rejected. The Hill (7/16)
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Military Health System
Tricare relaxes proposed restrictions on mental health care providers
Mental health professionals who do not have a degree from a college or university accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs will still be able to provide care for military personnel under a finalized Tricare policy. These providers will be allowed to practice if they are supervised by a physician, said Defense Health Agency spokesman Kevin Dwyer. Killeen Daily Herald (Texas) (7/17)
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OPM expands enrollment flexibility for dental, vision coverage
The federal Office of Personnel Management finalized a rule change that will create special enrollment periods for vision and dental insurance for employees who get married, return from active military duty or experience another qualifying life event. Government Executive (7/16)
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National Health Care
Tribes convey frustration with care provided by IHS
Representatives of the Unified Tribal Health Board told congressional staffers during a meeting Friday that problems such as misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment are ongoing at Indian Health Service care facilities. The IHS' acting director said in a letter to Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., that hours have been expanded at 10 of 12 area clinics and a new governing body has been established to manage federal hospitals and health care performance. The Rapid City Journal (S.D.) (7/19)
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CDC finds inappropriate prescribing of antivirals, antibiotics
Among patients at high risk for flu complications, only 19% were prescribed antiviral medications, while 30% were given antibiotics, which are ineffective against flu, according to a CDC report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The findings suggest that "antiviral medications were underprescribed and antibiotics may have been inappropriately prescribed to a large proportion of outpatients with influenza," researchers said. HealthDay News (7/17)
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Health and Medical Research
Transfusion protocol improves survival rate of wounded troops, study finds
The implementation of a new military blood transfusion protocol in 2006 was associated with a reduction in preventable deaths at forward-based hospitals, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The protocol -- called damage control resuscitation -- changed the ratio of blood components given to bleeding patients. After the change was implemented, troops who died in the hospital were more likely to have been severely wounded. Stars and Stripes (7/16)
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Annual Meeting registration is now open!
Register now for the 2014 Annual Continuing Education Meeting to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2-5. There are two new and exciting additions offered: "Basic Tobacco Intervention Skills Certification Program" and "Battleļ¬eld Acupuncture," as well as other courses and sessions. Space is limited on some of the special programs -- so don't wait! Visit the Meetings website for the preliminary agenda, registration rates and options and a list of our current meeting sponsors. Housing registration is available upon completion of the meeting registration process. Hope to see many of you in D.C. this December!
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Telebehavioral Health in Afghanistan and other journal articles are free to AMSUS members and subscribers who have registered and subscribed to access over 100 issues of Military Medicine journals online. Subscription rates and membership eligibility are available on the AMSUS website.
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The young do not know enough to be prudent and therefore they attempt the impossible -- and achieve it, generation after generation."
-- Pearl S. Buck,
American writer
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