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In This Issue March 6, 2012 Latest News

Special Notice: If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

VA Caregiver Hotline

The Military Coalition

TMC Letter to all Senators regarding Sen. McCain's amendment SA 1230 to the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867)

The Military Coalition (TMC), a consortium of nationally prominent military and veterans organizations representing more than 5.5 million members plus their families and survivors, urges you to vote against Sen. McCain's amendment SA 1230 to the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867). This amendment would change the index for military healthcare fees and dramatically increase those beneficiary fees over time by hundreds of dollars a year.

The TMC strongly opposes this amendment, which would backtrack on the position previously approved by the Armed Services Committee (and also adopted in the House-passed defense bill), that the percentage increase in the TRICARE Prime enrollment fee should not exceed the percentage increase in retiree cost of living adjustments (COLA). The McCain amendment would delete that protection and tie future increases to a Pentagon-generated index of health cost growth that would raise fees by an estimated 6.5% per year.

[ Read The Entire Letter ]

DoD Press Release

DoD Submits Plan to Further Integrate Military Health System

Approach Will Strengthen Delivery System, Streamline Headquarters and Reduce Costs

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, on March 2, submitted a report to Congress describing the department's plan to further integrate health operations. This report was required by Section 716 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012.

The report outlines three proposed reforms to the governance structure of the Military Health System (MHS), which will make DoD's health system more effective and produce savings. TRICARE® benefits and access to care will not be affected by these changes.

The three principal reforms are:

  • Establishing a Defense Health Agency (DHA), which will absorb the functions of the TRICARE Management Activity and assume responsibility for common clinical and business processes across the MHS such as: medical education for physicians, nurses, medics, pharmacists, medical logistics, and health information technology;
  • Appointing market managers for multi-service medical markets with enhanced authorities to create and sustain a cost-effective, coordinated, and high-quality health care system in multi-service medical markets, and;
  • Transferring the responsibility for running military treatment facilities within the National Capital Region (NCR) -- including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital -- to a subordinate organization within the Defense Health Agency that will succeed the Joint Task Force - National Capital Region Medical (JTF-CapMed).
    Carter has directed the under secretary of defense for personnel & readiness and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to stand up a planning team, with involvement of each of the military services, to ensure the department is prepared for timely implementation of these reforms following the required Congressional and Government Accountability Office review.

A full copy of the report can be viewed at http://www.health.mil/2012_MHS_Governance_Report.aspx .

Locator Notice

Looking for crewmen who served aboard the USS Stormes DD780 in 1966 while deployed in Vietnam

Looking for crewmen who served aboard the USS Stormes DD780 in 1966 while deployed in Vietnam. This is in regard to Agent Orange claims and trying to get the Stormes on the list to qualify for Agent Orange Veterans benefits. Anyone who has an Agent Orange-related illness, who has or has not filed a claim, or knows of any deceased shipmates who died from an Agent Orange-related illness,
please contact:
KenMoffett@mail.house.gov or send mail to:
Ken Moffett
3000 41st Street, Suite 2
Moline, Il 61265

or contact:
Ron Tady 309-755-8523
601 30th Ave.
East Moline, Il. 61244 or e-mail to:

Press Release

EEOC Issues Revised Publications on Employment of Veterans with Disabilities

User-Friendly Documents Clarify Impact of ADAAA; Commission Will Participate in Employment Conference Sponsored by U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued two revised publications addressing veterans with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both documents are available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.

The revised guides reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a wide range of impairments – including those that are often not well understood -- such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to get needed reasonable accommodations that will enable them to work successfully. [Prior to the ADA Amendments Act, the ADA's definition of the term "disability" had been construed narrowly, significantly limiting the law's protections.]

The revised documents are also an outgrowth of a public meeting the EEOC held on Nov. 16, 2011, entitled "Overcoming Barriers to the Employment of Veterans with Disabilities." In that meeting, the Commission heard testimony from a panel of experts on the unique needs of veterans with disabilities transitioning to civilian employment. The particular challenges faced by veterans with disabilities in obtaining employment has been the subject of increased attention in recent months, as large numbers of veterans return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[ Read Complete Press Release ]


Gambling Problems and the Military

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), gambling problems are more prevalent among military veterans than in the general public. The NCPG urges veterans, their loved ones, and healthcare providers to be particularly aware of gambling addiction. Warning signs include preoccupation with gambling, chasing losses, and financial harm. Problem gambling is associated with substance abuse, depression, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

That is why the NCPG has selected to highlight veterans as one population especially at-risk for developing a problem with gambling during its 10th annual "National Problem Gambling Awareness Week," March 4-10. The purpose of this grassroots campaign is to raise public awareness of problem gambling and educate healthcare providers about resources available for help.

The National Council believes that, to combat problem gambling among military personnel and veterans, one must first understand the unique circumstances facing this societal group. While the military acknowledges and addresses several addiction and mental-health issues, as well as problems associated with traumatic brain injury and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, interventions and treatment for problem and pathological gambling have not yet been integrated into the system. Minimizing the harmful consequences of gambling among veterans and military personnel will require improved awareness and targeted efforts.

During National Problem Gambling Awareness Week, groups from across the country will be reaching out to veterans to offer information and answer questions about the disorder. For more information, please visit www.npgaw.org.

Warrior Care Blog

The National Resource Directory –
Bridging the Gap

Success in business usually entails bridging the gap between supply and demand. And it's the same in service-delivery programs. In fact, many of the most popular military programs do exactly that.

For instance, the Army Career and Alumni Program bridges the gap between the military and the civilian worlds by providing benefits counseling and employment assistance to transitioning soldiers preparing to enter the workforce. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) provides active duty, Guard and Reserve members, military retirees and their families with competitively priced quality merchandise and services, from physical training safety belts to flat-screen TVs. You get the point – these suppliers succeed because service members present the demand.

In 2008, with the number of Wounded Warriors rising, and a new generation of combat veterans returning home, the National Resource Directory (NRD) was launched to connect service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers with helpful resources to support them. Operating under the supervision of the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs, the NRD bridges this information gap through a quality assurance process that ensures resources listed on the site come from legitimate organizations which provide programs and services for our veteran and military communities.

[ read more ]

News Release

U.S. Navy destroyer to be named for
Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson

CHARLESTON, S.C.- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has announced that a new Arleigh Burker class guided-missile destroyer will be named the USS Ralph Johnson in recognition of the Charleston native's sacrifices while serving with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam.

Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for throwing himself on a grenade after shouting a warning to his fellow Marines. His actions saved the life of platoon leader Lt. Clebe McClary, who resides in Pawley's Island, and prevented the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol's perimeter in the Quan Duc Valley in Vietnam. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center proudly bear his name.

"It is an honor to walk through this VA's doors every day and know that we have the privilege of bearing the name of a true American hero," said Scott Isaacks, acting director of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. "We at the VA strive to honor our nation's heroes each day and we are so pleased to see Ralph's legacy continue to be shared with current and future generations."

[ read more ]


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