Most Clicked AMSUS SmartBrief Stories

1. Compounding pharmacies accused of fishing for Tricare business

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 15, 2015

Some compounding pharmacies or their marketing agencies are calling Tricare enrollees and encouraging them to use compounded drugs for pain, wounds and erectile dysfunction, Tricare officials say. One marketer allegedly parked a food truck outside the main gate of a military base and offered free food to Tricare beneficiaries who completed requests for compounded drugs. Marketers are also touting compounded drugs on Craigslist as "a free fringe benefit" for Tricare enrollees. Military Times (04/10)

2. Study: No link found between suicide rate, deployments

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 08, 2015

A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found no link between rising military suicide rates and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The study found that the suicide rate for troops deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan was only slightly higher than for troops who remained in the U.S. or were deployed elsewhere. The potential link between suicide rates and combat exposure still needs to be explored, the study's lead author said. New York Times (tiered subscription model), The (04/01)

3. Thornberry: Health care overhaul not planned for 2016 defense bill

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 22, 2015

The 2016 defense bill probably will not include an overhaul of the military's health care system, which needs more study, according to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. "You really want to understand the consequences of what you do with health care," he said. A commission appointed by Congress recently recommended 15 changes to the military's pay and benefits system. Hill, The (04/20)

4. 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. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (04/23)

5. Warrior Transition Units closing

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 22, 2015

The Army is reducing the number of Warrior Transition Units from 25 to 15 by August 2016 as the number of casualties declines. "As units are inactivated, soldiers and their families will continue to receive care and transition assistance, and the Warrior Care and Transition Program will remain a scalable and reversible program fully capable of providing world-class care to our wounded, ill and injured soldier population," an Army news release said. Stars and Stripes (04/17)

6. 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)

7. 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. New York Times (tiered subscription model), The (04/24)

8. VA hospitals over budget, behind schedule

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 15, 2015

Veterans hospitals under construction in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla., are riddled with errors and cost overruns, according to a Government Accountability Office investigation, and House Veterans' Affairs Committee members were scheduled to discuss the issue today. Critics say the Department of Veterans Affairs should not be managing building projects. Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (04/13)

9. DOD invests $2 million in study of new PTSD treatment

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 22, 2015

The Defense Department has given a $2 million grant to RTI International to study a new method for treating symptoms of PTSD. Researchers will inject an anesthetic into the base of volunteers' necks to see whether the Stellate Ganglion Block procedure can swiftly alleviate symptoms. "While the memories don't go away, what does go away is the nervous system's response to those memories. ... It helps people view those memories with less anxiety," said study co-investigator Kristine Rae Olmsted. News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), The (04/20)

10. VA medical center in W.Va. withheld costly antipsychotics, investigation finds

AMSUS SmartBrief | Apr 29, 2015

Washington Post (tiered subscription model), The (04/23)

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