For Army combat engineer Sgt. Mike Geib, the symptoms of Gulf War illness were immediate.
Before he deployed, he was healthy and excelling on his physical fitness tests. But just 10 years later, he was medically discharged at 28 years old with a 10% disability rating for asthma.
“I couldn’t run. I was turning blue,” Geib said, describing how serious his respiratory issues had become. “I knew in my heart — I knew it was from exposure.”
Although veterans have been exposed to burn pits and environmental hazards distinct from their generational wars, they are united in their fight to receive care and benefits from the VA.
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2021-news-articles/advocacy/servicemembers-exposed-to-toxins-fight-decades-long-battle-for-benefits/
TRICARE coverage for their young adult daughters cost the Brock family more than $13,000 over five years.
The steep costs meant carefully monitoring their budget and making sacrifices, but cutting off access to health care for their daughters by pulling them out of the TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) program was not a risk they were willing to take, said matriarch Annie Brock, who served in the Army for almost 10 years.
“Why wouldn’t we want to make sure they had good health insurance?” Brock said. “I think every parent wants to make sure their child is taken care of when they need health care, but not every parent is able to make it happen.”
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2021-news-articles/advocacy/moaa-member-fights-to-shield-other-military-families-from-health-care-hardship/
As the military works to become a more lethal force, the services' health care leaders have pledged to support the cause by helping attain maximum readiness - including finding ways to deal with troops who can't deploy.
Military health leaders gathered this week during the annual meeting of AMSUS, The Society for Federal Health Professionals, to share their outlook for each branch of the military and the U.S. Public Health Service. Their focus remains on a top priority laid out by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
“Readiness is No. 1,” said Lt. Gen. Nadja West, Surgeon General of the Army, who noted that Mattis regularly requests updates on deployability statuses.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Top-Military-Medical-Officers-Talk-Readiness,-Non-Deployable-Troops-at-National-Conference.aspx
While ratings for many of its nursing homes were subpar last spring, the VA is reporting it has made drastic improvements for the same time period this year. The VA posted its full list of rankings here.
The VA said there are 11 nursing homes with the lowest rating - a decrease from about 60 facilities with that rating last year. The VA said it continues to improve its facilities.
The VA said its disclosure of the ratings aligns with its efforts to be more transparent, but it follows persistent requests from reporters from USA Today and The Boston Globe, who had been making requests to the VA dating back to at least 2017.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/VA-Releases-Rankings-of-Best,-Worst-Nursing-Home-Facilities.aspx
Picking up a prescription could soon be as easy as making a withdrawal from an ATM.
The Defense Health Agency's TRICARE division is exploring machines developed by MedAvail that could dispense prescription medication. The company is piloting several machines, and military health officials say they are monitoring their progress.
TRICARE serves about 9.4 million beneficiaries, including about 5.4 million retirees and their family members.
“It could be a game-changer,” said Kathy Beasley, director of health affairs for the Military Officers Association of America and a retired captain in the Navy. “It's worth trying.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/TRICARE-is-exploring-ATM-like-pill-dispensing-machines.aspx
[Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva/Marine Corps]
From credit for retirement pay for Reserve troops' maternity leave to tracking burn-pit exposure, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act could bring comprehensive changes to the military.
The $717 billion defense spending bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 351 to 66. It now moves onto the Senate.
The bill authorizes DoD spending and sets personnel strength.
Here are five ways the 2019 defense spending bill will affect active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard troops.
Read the story here:
Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., right, urged the Senate to pass the VA Mission Act this week. [Robert Turtil/Veterans Affairs]
With overwhelming support, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to streamline the VA health care system, which could reduce veterans' wait times and allow more of them to seek out their own physicians.
The VA Mission Act was easily approved by the Senate with a vote of 92-5 on Wednesday. The bill, which previously passed the House by a vote of 347-70, will next go to President Donald Trump to become law just ahead of Memorial Day.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Senate-Approves-Big-Changes-to-VA-Health-Care.aspx
Several Veteran Service Organizations, including Rene Campos, stand behind Sen. Isakson as he pushes for VA Mission Act to pass this week. [AMANDA DOLASINSKI/MOAA]
Veterans are one step closer to a streamlined health care system that could reduce wait times and provide flexibility to seek out their own physicians.
After years of negotiations, Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is urging the full Senate's approval on the VA Mission Act during a vote this week - just ahead of Memorial Day. The bill has garnered support of more than 30 veterans' services organizations, including the Military Officers Association of America.
“This is in the best interest of the veteran,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the committee's ranking member. “Veterans, they like VA healthcare. With few exceptions, [they] like VA healthcare.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Senate-Leaders-Support-Big-Changes-to-VA-Health-Care.aspx
A proposed bill would empower Veterans Affairs doctors to track and identify patterns of opioid abuse in hopes of reducing addiction, overdose, and death.
Maryland Republican Rep. Neal Dunn introduced the Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act in September, which directs the VA secretary to connect health care providers to a national network of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs that can identify patterns of patient abuse. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.
"We cannot stand silent and watch prescription opioid abuse destroy the lives of those who fought for our freedoms," said Dunn, a former major and Army surgeon who completed a residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "This bill instructs the VA to do what more and more private doctors are doing - connect to the national drug monitoring databases so no one slips through the cracks."
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Congress-to-Vote-on-New-Bill-to-Help-Fight-Veteran-Opioid-Abuse.aspx