Bill to prevent suicides by veterans passes House in unanimous vote | Reports of sexual assault among troops rose 8% in 2014 | Pentagon whittles down Tricare management regions to 2
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December 10, 2014
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Bill to prevent suicides by veterans passes House in unanimous vote
A bill aimed at providing help to veterans at risk of suicide unanimously passed in the House on Tuesday. Among the provisions is a requirement that the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs allow independent reviews of their programs for suicide prevention. The legislation now heads to the Senate. San Diego Union-Tribune/The Associated Press (12/9)
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Reports of sexual assault among troops rose 8% in 2014
The number of rapes and sexual assaults reported by military service members was 8% higher in 2014, at nearly 6,000, compared with about 5,500 last year and 3,600 in 2012, according to a survey conducted by the Rand Corp. for the Pentagon. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12/4)
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Leading health system speeds revenue cycle processes and adds visibility
After acquiring five new facilities and placing them all under the same tax ID, Norton Healthcare faced the challenge of bringing four additional billing systems into their processes. Manual and paper-based steps created a lack of visibility, resulting in 37 staff members taking four and a half days to complete one week of remittance transactions. Download the case study.

Veterans Health Administration
VA hospital in Charleston, S.C., adds $10M wing for mental health treatment, research
The PTSD Mental Health Addiction Research Center, a 16,000-square-foot addition to the Charleston, S.C., Veterans Affairs hospital, includes 27 therapy rooms and five science labs, and it is meant to encourage collaboration among researchers and health care providers. Nearly one-third of the 60,000 patients treated at the hospital each year need mental health care, and some 14,000 mental health-related visits are provided through telehealth technology. The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) (free registration) (12/7)
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National Health Care
U.S. to enforce smoking ban in federal prisons
New Federal Bureau of Prisons rules will prohibit smoking in federal prisons, affecting over 212,000 inmates at 120 federal prisons who will be disciplined if caught with tobacco products such as cigarettes, pipes and cigars. The clampdown is one component of a push for a clean and healthy environment for guards and prisoners. The ban was formalized with its publication in Monday's edition of the Federal Register. The Hill (12/7)
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Health and Medical Research
CDC predicts a tough flu season
CDC officials warned that the flu vaccine may be less effective than usual this year, contributing to a difficult flu season. The aggressive H3N2 strain -- responsible for more flu-related deaths than others -- is circulating, and testing has identified mutations that may reduce vaccine efficacy. The CDC recommends doctors immediately give antiviral drugs to patients believed to be infected, especially young children, seniors and patients with chronic diseases, instead of waiting for test results. HealthDay News (12/4)
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Physicians still benefit from fee-for-service structure, study finds
Physicians earn more from prescribing multiple procedures per patient than from seeing a larger volume of patients, according to a study by the Veterans Health Administration and the University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers said that despite reimbursement model changes, physicians still benefit from a fee-for-service structure and it is likely that a substantial number of additional services for patients are not linked to better outcomes. U.S. News & World Report (12/8)
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AMSUS News
The AMSUS Annual Meeting was a success!
Federal representatives included Acting U.S. Surgeon General RADM Boris Lushniak, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Interim Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Carolyn Clancy and Director, Defense Health Agency, LTG Douglas Robb. Sessions covered topics such as smoking cessation, integrated health care in veterans, military and federal medicine, Ebola response, the model for future military medicine, and international and COCOM cooperative efforts and global health. The exhibit hall featured over 125 companies, agencies and organizations from a variety of disciplines. An Industry Forum took place to discuss communication between the public and private sectors. The Awards Dinner included presentations from MHS, VA and AMSUS, and nearly 30 countries were represented by international delegates. AMSUS will be placing an order for apparel items attendees ordered during the Annual Meeting. If you would like to purchase any AMSUS logo wear, please place your orders before this Friday, Dec. 12. You can browse all items of apparel, insignia and accessories at the online AMSUS Store, as well as join or renew your membership.
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment 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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SmartQuote
Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power."
-- Clint Eastwood,
American actor and filmmaker
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