VA assists Texas hospitals at full capacity | Army supports expansion of telehealth | Military's COVID-19 case rate lower than average
August 5, 2020
AMSUS SmartBrief
Top Story
Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio is receiving transferred patients from community hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley, including Starr County Memorial Hospital, which has only one of its 28 beds available and recently established an ethics committee to prioritize care of people with COVID-19. The VA hospital has around 230 beds in surgical or intensive care wards and can add more, and staff have "spent a lot of time preparing for this pandemic starting in late February, and so we're ready for this," said Valerie Rodriguez-Yu, associate director for patient care services at South Texas Veterans Health Care System.
Full Story: KVUE-TV (Austin, Texas) (7/31) 
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Military Health System
The Army Medical Command has expanded virtual health care both within the Defense Health Agency and with its own funding, says Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R Scott Dingle. Telehealth technology has proven especially useful in mental and behavioral health care, removing some of the stigma around mental health care and improving soldiers' access to care, Dingle says.
Full Story: GovernmentCIO Media & Research (7/31) 
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A service member who died over the weekend is only the fourth US service member to die of COVID-19, according to the DOD, and the average positive case rate among active-duty personnel is 5.3%, compared with 8.7% in the general population. The DOD's reported case rate among 18- to 24-year-olds is higher than average, which may be attributed to testing at the entry and exit of basic training and at other points in active-duty service members' careers, says Jonathan Hoffman, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.
Full Story: Military online (8/4) 
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Veterans Health Administration
HHS and the VA will use the Department of Energy's high-performance computers and artificial intelligence resources to study COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development and outcomes, virology and other health data.
Full Story: Health IT Analytics (7/30) 
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National Health Care
Surgeon General Jerome Adams has enlisted predecessors David Satcher and Vivek Murthy to help develop a strategy to overcome vaccine skepticism in Black communities. The former surgeons general suggested improving diversity within the health care workforce, working with influential celebrities and local church leaders, boosting health literacy and ensuring the vaccine development process is transparent.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (8/3) 
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Health and Medical Research
The DOD awarded a 3-year, $4.4 million contract to CytoSorbents to continue developing a plasma and whole blood adsorber that would enable the administration of plasma regardless of blood type. The filter removes A and B antibodies from blood, essentially turning it into type O.
Full Story: BioSpace (San Francisco) (7/31) 
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How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives.
Judy Blume,
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