The proposed National Defense Authorization Act would give troops a 2.1% pay raise, overhaul the military health care system, increase troop levels and raise Tricare copays and fees for new service members, among other provisions.
A new law directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a way to ensure that all calls to its crisis hotline or backup call center are handled promptly and according to guidance from the American Association of Suicidology. The legislation is in response to findings that some calls went to voicemail and some veterans were not immediately helped.
An EHR system being developed by the Air Force Medical Service will provide real-time data to aid in providing medical treatment to wounded personnel in isolated or harsh environments. "When we transmit their records, the medical staff on the ground can see it before the patient ever gets off the plane," said Darrell Mayers, functional analyst at the Theater Medical Information Program-Air Force project.
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Government and industry officials are hoping a Senate bill that would make it easier for long-term-care facilities to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs will pass this year. Under current VA rules, such facilities are treated as federal contractors, and most don't want to deal with the extensive regulations, leaving many veterans without options for care.
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President Barack Obama paid what is likely his last visit as commander in chief to patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Administration insiders say the visits have deeply affected the president and might have influenced decisions regarding military engagement.
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine, based on 7,400 diabetes patients in 114 Veterans Affairs nursing homes, revealed that the percentage of those with functional decline or death didn't differ significantly across four levels of baseline HbA1C over 24 months. The findings were similar among residents taking insulin, sulfonylureas or other glucose-lowering medications.
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