Joint Commission to review VA scheduling practices | GAO: Ending outdated health program could save Pentagon millions | VA improves services for military sexual assault victims
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August 13, 2014
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Joint Commission to review VA scheduling practices
The scheduling and access practices at every Veterans Affairs medical facility will be reviewed by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit health care accreditation organization, beginning this fall, VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced. In addition, all VA medical and benefits facilities were instructed to hold public events by the end of September to solicit input directly from veterans and improve communications. Healio (free registration)/O&P Business News (8/11)
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Military Health System
GAO: Ending outdated health program could save Pentagon millions
The Pentagon could save millions of dollars by scrapping an outdated health care program, according to the Government Accountability Office. Congress would need to authorize the end of the U.S. Family Health Plan, which duplicates many benefits and services provided by Tricare. Defense One (8/6)
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Veterans Health Administration
VA improves services for military sexual assault victims
The Department of Veterans Affairs has gone from having no sexual trauma support services a few decades ago to having a standard screening system and a military sexual trauma coordinator at every VA facility. Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma are offered free health care. The VA has 20 programs nationwide that offers intensive treatment to assault victims. Air Force Times (free registration)/Medill News Service (8/12)
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Bill would require VA to create toxin exposure research center
A bill introduced in the Senate proposes to create a center to research the health of descendants of troops who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals during their military service. "The Toxic Exposure Research Act is about addressing the painful, residual wounds of war that may impact a service member's family long after the military operation is over," said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., one of the bill's sponsors. The proposed Veterans Affairs center would study descendants of troops serving in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. Navy Times (8/12)
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National Health Care
CDC: Year's West Nile case tally reaches 82
The number of people infected by the West Nile virus so far this year has reached 82, spanning 18 states, CDC officials report. California had the highest case count at 19, followed by 13 in Arizona, 12 in South Dakota and 11 in Louisiana. Many people are asymptomatic, but in about 20% of cases symptoms develop, and in 1% of cases, serious neuroinvasive disease occurs. (8/12)
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Health and Medical Research
Study IDs possible PTSD biomarker, treatment
Changes in glucocorticoid receptor signaling could serve as a marker of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that evaluated stress responses in mice. Animals that displayed PTSD-like symptoms showed unique signaling patterns compared to unaffected mice and those injected with corticosterone an hour after exposure to stress. Researchers plan to test whether early administration of corticosterone can prevent PTSD. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Science Now blog (8/11), Nature World News (8/12)
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Experiences of Swedish Military Medical Personnel in Combat Zones: Adapting to Competing Loyalties 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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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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The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-- Plutarch,
Greek historian
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