Obama authorizes use of Reserve to help in West Africa Ebola mission | DOD delays cuts to autism therapy reimbursement rate | VA not expected to meet Nov. 5 deadline for Choice Cards rollout
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October 22, 2014
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Obama authorizes use of Reserve to help in West Africa Ebola mission
Reserve units may soon be called upon to take part in the U.S. mission to combat the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security received authorization Thursday from President Barack Obama to call selected Reserve units and Individual Ready Reserve members to active duty for the mission. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Obama wrote, "The authorities that have been invoked will ensure the Department of Defense can properly sustain the military operations required in this effort." Military.com (10/16)
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Military Health System
DOD delays cuts to autism therapy reimbursement rate
A proposed cut in the amount Tricare pays for certain autism therapies will not take effect this month but will take effect April 20, officials announced. Reimbursement for one-on-one counseling with an applied behavior analyst will go from $125 per hour to $68 per hour. Meanwhile, RAND has been contracted to study the effects of the proposed reimbursement rate cut. Government Executive (10/21)
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Veterans Health Administration
VA not expected to meet Nov. 5 deadline for Choice Cards rollout
Veterans groups say the Department of Veterans Affairs will not meet a Nov. 5 deadline to provide Choice Cards that would offer access to private care for veterans. Veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA center or face untenable waits would be eligible for the card, and estimates are that between 700,000 and 800,000 would qualify right away. Joseph Violante, national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, said, "I have heard nothing to lead me to believe they will get any [cards] out by Nov. 5th," although the VA said in a statement that its goal is to meet the deadline. Stars and Stripes (10/16)
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VA explores alternative therapies to reduce opioid use
Many veterans are turning to alternative therapies to treat pain, and pilot programs across the country are offering options such as equine therapy, qigong, alpha stimulation and acupuncture. More than 600,000 veterans use opioid painkillers, according to Department of Veterans Affairs officials, and experts say they can contribute to family strife, job loss, homelessness and suicide as well as weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (10/15)
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National Health Care
Report: U.S. may need special centers for Ebola care
The U.S. may need a regional system of specialized centers for treating Ebola patients staffed by clinicians trained to deal with unfamiliar pathogens, researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors said there are challenges to providing high-containment care for Ebola patients in traditional health care settings. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said its care of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has "sidelined" many ICU staff who are being monitored because of potential exposure to the pathogen. MedPage Today (free registration) (10/16)
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Health and Medical Research
DARPA provides $12.2 million for infectious disease study
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, the University of Pennsylvania and MedImmune are set to collaborate on the development of DNA-based monoclonal antibodies against influenza virus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus under a $12.2 million award from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (10/21)
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AMSUS Meeting discounted room block closes soon
Be sure to reserve your hotel room at the Marriott Marquis or Renaissance by Friday, Nov. 7. Rooms booked through the Meeting or Housing sites are $177 per night. Rooms booked after Friday, Nov. 7, will not receive the AMSUS group rate or guaranteed reservation.
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Residual Injury, Appearance-Related Concerns, Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Depression Within a Treatment-Seeking Veteran Sample 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. Subscription rates and membership eligibility are available on the AMSUS website.
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-- Thomas Dewar,
Scottish businessman
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