Most Clicked AMSUS SmartBrief Stories

1. Changes coming to Tricare's prescription policy

AMSUS SmartBrief | Dec 31, 2014

Starting next fall, Tricare beneficiaries who take name-brand medications for chronic conditions will need to fill their prescriptions at military treatment facilities or through Tricare's mail-order pharmacy system. Beneficiaries who use generic medications can continue to buy them at retail Tricare pharmacies, but they will pay more than they do currently. Military Times (12/28)

2. Guidelines updated for returning to duty after a concussion

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 14, 2015

Military personnel who have suffered a concussion must complete a six-step process of progressive activity before returning to full active duty under new guidelines compiled by the Progressive Activity Working Group established by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. Patients must rest for 24 hours immediately post-concussion before progressing from light activity to unrestricted activity. United Press International (01/08)

3. Unique brain pattern seen in veterans with TBI, researchers say

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 21, 2015

Scientists have observed a honeycomb pattern of broken connections in scans of the frontal lobes of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who suffered TBI but who died back home from noncombat-related causes. Researchers found a distinct "neural signature" in blast victims that was vastly different from the TBIs in car accident victims. "We saw a type of disease in the brain not seen before. We didn't even know if we'd see any sign of disease," said pathologist and neuropsychiatrist Dr. Vassilis Koliatsos, a study researcher. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (01/19)

4. Congress promises strong oversight of VA medical centers

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 21, 2015

The chairmen of the Veterans' Affairs Committees in the House and Senate said they will keep a close eye on the Department of Veterans Affairs as officials implement the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act. The law funds the hiring of more staff at VA medical centers and allows veterans to see civilian doctors in an effort to clear a backlog of medical cases and reduce patient wait times. Members of Congress also promised to make a veteran suicide-prevention bill a top priority. Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model), The (01/15)

5. DOD likely to request more benefit cuts in 2016 budget

AMSUS SmartBrief | Dec 31, 2014

Hill, The (12/30)

6. Response to Gulf War illness divides vets, docs, researchers

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 07, 2015

Some Gulf War veterans say the Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to recognize Gulf War illness as a specific physiological condition and has blocked research, but VA officials say the illness is too difficult to classify and that millions of dollars have been spent on research. Scientists serving on a research advisory committee tied the illness to chemical exposures, but the VA never acknowledged Gulf War illness as a distinct disease. VA Secretary Robert McDonald recently said he is educating himself about the disease and believes it is real, though he did not say he believes it is a distinct disease. Nature (free content) (01/06)

7. Civilian doctors can send e-prescriptions to military pharmacies

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 14, 2015

Military pharmacies in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam are now equipped to handle electronic prescriptions written by nonmilitary doctors, Defense Health Agency officials said. Prescriptions for controlled substances must still be written by hand. Military Times (01/12)

8. IOM issues report on reservists' possible exposure to Agent Orange

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 14, 2015

Air Force reservists working in aircraft that had been used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War may have been exposed to the herbicide between 1972 and 1982, according to a report released Friday by the Institute of Medicine. Between 1,500 and 2,100 Air Force reservists trained and worked on the planes and could have experienced health problems because of the exposure, the report says. U.S. News & World Report (01/09)

9. Oglala Sioux leader proposes dropping IHS

AMSUS SmartBrief | Dec 31, 2014

Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele wants Sanford Health to take over health care services from the Indian Health Service at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The proposal is subject to tribal council approval, and Yellow Bird Steele has discussed it with the leaders of the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Sioux. Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.) (tiered subscription model) (12/25)

10. PwC DOD bidding team expands, welcomes Google

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jan 21, 2015

PricewaterhouseCoopers said Google has joined its bidding team for the Defense Department's EHR modernization contract. Google's IT capabilities are expected to strengthen the Defense Operational Readiness Health System, an open-source EHR platform that the group is proposing to DOD. (01/15)

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