Most Clicked AMSUS SmartBrief Stories

1. Congress rejects VA request to divert funds to Denver hospital

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 13, 2015

Congress will not grant a Department of Veterans Affairs request to divert $730 million from the Veterans Choice program to pay for cost overruns at the VA hospital under construction in Denver, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee members said. U.S. News & World Report (05/12)

2. Congress declines to pursue Tricare overhaul

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 27, 2015

The House and Senate armed services committees have not acted on two proposals to overhaul Tricare. One proposal from the Obama administration called for increasing fees and consolidating the triple-option health benefit, while another from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would replace Tricare with commercial health insurance choices. The Herald (Everett, Wash.) (05/22)

3. Firing VA employees would be easier under bill

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 29, 2015

A bill drafted by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., would give the Veterans Affairs secretary the authority to fire department employees based on performance or misconduct. Fired employees would have the right to file an appeal within seven days with the Merit Systems Protection Board, which would be required to make a decision on the appeal within 45 days. Veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, support the bill, but the American Federation of Government Employees warns the bill would end due process, target lower-level employees and discourage whistleblowers. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (04/23)

4. Navy nurse who refused to force-feed inmates won't be discharged

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 20, 2015

Military Times (05/13)

5. Senators consider nominee for VA health undersecretary

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 06, 2015

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is considering President Barack Obama's nomination of Dr. David Shulkin to replace Dr. Robert Petzel as VA undersecretary for health. Shulkin vowed to overhaul the VA's health care system and rely more on the private sector, especially for routine care. Shulkin is president of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey and has held leadership positions at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania's health system. Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage) (05/05) (05/06)

6. AMSUS Awards Program is now accepting nominations

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 13, 2015

Since 1891, AMSUS has acknowledged the contributions of outstanding federal health care individuals and organizations through our distinguished awards program. Our 2015 recipients will be honored at the Awards Banquet during the AMSUS Annual Continuing Education Meeting, Dec. 1-4 in San Antonio, Texas.  As a member of federal health care, you are in a unique position to nominate a deserving individual for these highly prestigious awards. There are many types of awards: some for individuals, others for organizations and some for either. If you know an individual, group or organization whose work qualifies for one of the AMSUS awards, please make time to submit a nomination. The all-new online application process is smooth and easy; neither the nominator nor the nominee is required to be an AMSUS member; and this is a unique chance to recognize outstanding performers in front of their peers from all the federal health agencies -- as well as international military health professionals. Award nominations are accepted from April 30 to June 30. Please visit the online submission site. For further information, contact Diane Condrick at 301-828-1582 or Blank (06/04)

7. Scientists ask Congress to ease up on travel limits for federal employees

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 13, 2015

Federal travel restrictions are keeping research scientists away from scientific events, to the detriment of the broader scientific community, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and more than 100 other organizations wrote in a letter to Congress. The long review and approval process created by the restrictions is costly, and young scientists are missing out on valuable networking opportunities, the groups said. Associations Now online (05/12)

8. VA redefines how distance is calculated in Veterans Choice rule

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 29, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs changed the rules for calculating distance to a health care provider under the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans eligible for VA health care to receive care from a civilian provider. Veterans may now obtain civilian health care if they can't get an appointment at a VA health center within a 40-mile drive of their home within 30 days. The 40-mile distance had previously been calculated by a straight line, rather than driving distance. Hill, The (04/24)

9. Culture, confidentiality laws mask military medical mistakes

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 29, 2015

The military bars members from suing the military health system for malpractice and prevents them from learning the results of inquiries into allegations of substandard care, in part to avoid lawsuits filed by civilian patients who receive care through the system. The rules also prevent the disclosure of medical mistakes to service members and their families. The Defense Department has ordered changes, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson said military clinicians and health care facilities must be open and accountable to all of their patients. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (04/24)

10. Technician program helps former medics transition to civilian care

AMSUS SmartBrief | May 06, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Intermediate Care Technician program is helping military medics make the transition to civilian work by using their emergency medical skills and training in VA facilities. The program, which began three years ago, includes about 45 ICTs working in 15 VA hospitals, and is slated to grow to 270 positions. Doctors and VA officials say employing veteran medical personnel is an advantage in VA hospitals, where the ICTs develop a rapport with patients and can calm them if they become combative. Stars and Stripes (05/05)

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