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VETERANS NEWS

                BREAKING NEWS

TRICARE Costs: What You Need to Know for 2021
Get a breakdown of what’s coming in January, including major changes to TRICARE Select.

Note from MOAA: Are you a retiree family using TRICAmailRE Select? You must act now to pay the new enrollment fee or you will be disenrolled from TRICARE as of Jan. 1, 2021. Call or visit your TRICARE contractor’s website for details.

Just 14 percent of the military retiree households who must start paying enrollment fees for Tricare Select have set up their payment process, Tricare officials said.

Those who don’t set up their payments by Dec. 31 risk losing their Tricare coverage as of Jan. 1. The new fees are $12.50 per month, or $150 a year for an individual; and $25 a month, or $300 a year, for family coverage. Those affected are working-age retirees under age 65 who entered the military before Jan. 1, 2018, their family members and survivors. Previously, these beneficiaries haven’t had to pay enrollment fees for Tricare Select, but a 2017 law required the Defense Department to start charging these enrollment fees by Jan. 1, 2021.

 

[RELATED: MOAA’s TRICARE Guide]

 

The preferred payment method is through allotment, but recurring credit or debit card transactions can be used, or electronic funds transfers. Click here for more information from Tricare about setting up the payments.

Those who set up their payment process by Nov. 20 won’t have to pay upfront enrollment fees, said Mark Ellis, chief of policy and programs for the Tricare Health Plan. You’ll just be arranging to start the recurring payment. As of Nov. 9, just 14 percent of the households that must set up payments had done so, Ellis said.

Currently there are about 850,000 beneficiaries who fall into this category, also known as Group A retiree beneficiaries and are covered by Tricare Select. Information was not immediately available about how many households those 850,000 beneficiaries represent, since in many cases, multiple beneficiaries are covered under a retiree’s Tricare Select plan.

Ellis' message to these beneficiaries: “Please don’t let coverage lapse. Please contact your regional contractor if you want to continue in Tricare Select.”

The new fees don’t affect military retirees in Tricare for Life.

 

[RELATED: TRICARE Prescription Drug Costs Won’t Rise in 2021]

 

Defense officials have sent out several mailings over the last few months, Ellis said. They’ve also taken some steps to mitigate the impact to those who don’t set up their payments.

Tricare officials have extended the grace period for people to reinstate their coverage, from 90 days to 180 days, Ellis said. That means those who are terminated can pay their missed monthly premiums, and the coverage will be retroactive. Tricare will then pay the claims that were denied because of the coverage termination.

There are concerns that this particular patient population “needs to be educated to make an informed decision about whether they want to continue their coverage or use other health insurance available outside the military health system,” Ellis said. Many of these retirees were previously in the Tricare Standard or Extra program before it was replaced by Tricare Select in January, 2018. These beneficiaries were automatically transitioned into Tricare Select at that time, and fees were not required.

Tricare officials have directed the Tricare regional contractors to make at least three phone calls to households whose coverage was terminated because they didn’t set up their payments. They’ll call the home phone, cell phone, work phone, speaking to an adult in the household, letting them know their coverage has been terminated and what they can do to reinstate the coverage, said Ellis.

 

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1) Veterans Day

2)  Prevent/Reach Program

3)  Veterans Suicide Medicine

4)  Infantry News

5)  VA News

6)   DOD ID News

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VA launches new electronic health record system, reaching milestone in Veteran care


OEHRM go live in the PNW

 Posted onTuesday, October 27, 2020 4:00 pm Posted in HealthTechnologyTop StoriesVA Medical Centers by VAntage Point Contributor

In a landmark event for Veteran health care, VA began using its new electronic health record (EHR) system at select facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Las Vegas on Oct. 24.

VA will deploy the new system at facilities across the country over a 10-year period, scheduled to end in 2028. After the implementation at Mann-Grandstaff, VA plans to roll out the EHR at sites in Alaska, Idaho, Ohio, Oregon and Washington state.

This modern EHR will help improve the health care experience for Veterans by connecting VA medical centers and clinics with the Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Coast Guard and community care providers. It will allow clinicians to easily access a Veteran’s full medical history in one location, without needing to track down information such as pharmacy or lab records.

“This is great news for our nation’s Veterans, who deserve the best health care in the world,” said John H. Windom, executive director of VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, which leads the nationwide EHR deployment effort. “This technology will help VA improve health outcomes and access to care for our Veterans.”

First locations

Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, and its associated clinics in Wenatchee, Washington; Libby, Montana; and Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint, Idaho, are the first VA medical facilities using the new EHR system. Together, these locations serve more than 24,000 Veterans. The other deployment site, the West Consolidated Patient Account Center in Las Vegas, is an administrative facility that supports Mann-Grandstaff and other VA facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

VA clinicians and administrative staff at these sites can now more easily access patient information directly within the EHR itself, rather than using multiple systems as they had before. This includes patient medications, allergies, immunizations, past medical procedures and ongoing health concerns, as well as contact information, such as addresses, phone numbers and emails.

With this information more accessible, VA care providers will be able to view patient medical histories that will support clinical decision-making and improve Veteran health results. This more complete view of a patient’s records will also allow clinicians to make better connections between Veterans’ time on active duty and potential medical issues they might experience later in life.

“Once it is fully implemented, VA’s new EHR will transform the country’s largest integrated health care system and benefit over 23.9 million Veterans, as well as their families and caregivers,” Windom said. “No other health care organization in the world is attempting something of this scale and complexity, and we are committed to getting this absolutely right for our Veterans.”

Next locations

 

For more information about VA’s EHRM program, visit https://vaww.ehrm.va.gov.


Dr. Laura Kroupa is VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization’s chief medical officer (CMO). As CMO, she represents VA and the Veterans Health Administration as a clinical leader overseeing clinical strategy and planning efforts for the EHR transformation.

2) Five Facts About REACH, the VA’s New

Anti-Suicide Effort

By: Tony Lombardo

JULY 14, 2020

 

The White House and the VA launched a new national anti-suicide campaign this month with an emphasis on supporting veterans.

The REACH campaign is part of PREVENTS, the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicides, a three-year effort President Donald Trump created by executive order in March 2019. MOAA supports PREVENTS, and we called it a “much-needed call to action” in testimony delivered in Congress earlier this year.

Here’s what you need to know about the new campaign:

1. What is REACH? It’s both an awareness campaign and a call to action – and not just for veterans. VA states the mission is “to educate all Americans that suicide is preventable and to encourage them to REACH to those in need to provide hope. It also encourages people who are hurting to REACH to find help.”

2. Who is leading the charge? The president’s executive order created the PREVENTS Task Force, which includes leadership from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. Its lead ambassador is Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence and mother of a Marine Corps officer.

We owe it to [veterans] and all Americans to play a critical role in preventing suicide,” Pence said in a PREVENTS webinar July 8.  “We’re facing an epidemic of suicide right now.”

[MOAA INTERVIEW: Second Lady Karen Pence on Helping Military Spouses Succeed]

3. What do the numbers say? Despite years of suicide prevention efforts across DoD, the data reveal a sustained challenge that needs more research and new solutions. REACH shares the following stats on its website:

  • On average, 132 Americans die by suicide each day, accounting for 47,173 suicide deaths in 2017.
  • The number of veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 each year from 2008-2017.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all ages and the second leading cause of death among those ages 10-34 in the United States.

4. Has COVID-19 affected efforts? If anything, the campaign is well-timed. A PREVENTS Roadmap summary released in June notes, “The long-term psychological stress resulting from the pandemic and the massive disruption to our mental health delivery system threatened the mental health of those already vulnerable and increased the likelihood that many more Americans would suffer — resulting in a possible increase in deaths by suicide.”

5. How can you get involved? Visit the REACH website, wearewithinreach.net. There you can sign up for campaign updates. You’re encouraged to use the hashtag #REACHnow to “tell your network, it’s time to REACH to prevent suicide.”

If you are struggling, or you are concerned about someone you know, please REACH out and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1 ), or chat online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

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3) 

Why Ketamine Could Be the All-in-One Solution to Curb Veteran Suicide Rates

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Ketamine

Ketamine was launched decades ago as an anesthetic for animals and people, then became a potent battlefield pain reliever in Vietnam and morphed into the trippy club drug Special K. Now. it is finding new life as a treatment for depression and suicidal behavior. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

23 Nov 2020

Military.com | By Gregg Peterson

Gregg Peterson is the co-founder and CEO of Bexson Biomedical.

Our society is suffering from two health crises that existed before COVID-19, but have been worsened by social distancing and quarantine conditions -- opioid addiction and suicide.

MetLife is with you.MetLife Federal Vision offers access to more than 122,000 providers, with additional coverage for children under 18. Learn More.

As is so often the case, whatever mental health consequence our society is suffering, it unfortunately affects our U.S. military population to an even greater degree.

After experiencing a small dip in 2018, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6% in 2019 to 70,980, the vast majority of which involved opioids. Studies of opioid overdoses among male Afghanistan/Iraq-era U.S. military veterans estimate that around one in seven active-duty Army service members are taking prescription opioids.

According to a September 2019 Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, between 2005 and 2017, the most common risk factor for veteran suicide was Opioid Use Disorder. The deadly link between opioids and increased mortality spans both overdose deaths and suicide, but the other key driver of veteran suicide is post-traumatic stress disorder. Prevalence of combat-related PTSD in U.S. military veterans since the Vietnam War is as high as 17%.

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All of these risk factors for suicide -- opioid use, addiction and PTSD -- are more prevalent in our active-duty military and veterans than the already high rates in the general population. A recent Associated Press article reported Defense Department numbers showing a 20% increase in active-duty suicides in 2020. But even before COVID-19, veterans, including National Guard and Reserve members, sadly took their lives at a rate of 20 per day.

The impact of these ailments can bridge generations, with the human cost of trauma, depression, addiction and suicide flowing down to a patient's children. The economic and societal impact of these diseases is astounding, with hundreds of billions of dollars in health care treatment costs and reduced economic output.

Indeed, the data all shows that U.S. active-duty service members and veterans desperately need new non-opioid therapies and pain management strategies. Injury and pain are inevitable in the work of our warrior class, and initial opioid use is where our veterans' problems can start to compound. Potent non-opioid pain treatment can allow us to prevent the inception of difficult conditions, such as chronic pain and addiction, right where they start.

In similar fashion, immediate behavioral therapy after traumatic events is key to reducing the likelihood of developing PTSD. A multi-therapeutic approach may be even more effective. In fact, early use of some non-opioid therapies, such as ketamine, for pain management may substantially mitigate the onset of PTSD.

The good news is that new therapies are in development through both public and private investment. The National Institutes of Health has funded research into new non-opioid therapies with hundreds of millions of dollars via the HEAL Initiative, and several biopharma companies have promising new drugs in development.

At Bexson Biomedical, we hope to alleviate suffering from the opioid crisis with safe and potent non-opioid therapies for pain management. We have assembled an expert team of chemists, physicians and engineers to develop new pain therapies targeting the NMDA receptor.

That receptor is involved in acute pain signaling, as well as the fundamental processes that graduate this initial process into chronic pain. At a molecular level, chronic pain is a learned process, and blocking the neurotransmitter at this receptor can help prevent the "habit of pain" that is often associated with prolonged opioid use. We are working with safe, existing drugs that block the NMDA receptor, as well as developing new compounds targeting it.

Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor and was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for anesthesia. Recently, a new formulation was approved for depression as well. While not yet FDA-approved for pain management, ketamine is used off-label by some pain management physicians and is even identified as a pain reliever in the U.S. military's Tactical Combat Casualty Care Guidelines.

And, fundamental to our larger goals at Bexson, data suggests ketamine can be effective not only in treating pain, but in preventing development of PTSD after trauma. When ketamine was administered to treat burn victims, patients not only received effective pain relief, they were less likely to develop PTSD as a result of the event.

While the FDA is rightly expediting vaccine and antiviral research for COVID-19, this cannot be at the expense of the addiction and mental health diseases waiting for solutions. With the right support, the U.S. may be only a few years away from a major breakthrough treatment for the pain and emotional trauma far too common in our veterans. Academic research, federal funding, and public and private funding support for small biotechnology companies -- so often the engine of innovation for new therapies -- can make all the difference. Our active military and veterans need and deserve these breakthroughs.

Our veterans shouldn't have to choose between pain relief and a healthy, thriving life.

JOIN NOWCORONAVIRUS RESOURCES

NEWS FOR YOU

ADVOCACY

Veterans Community Unites Around NDAA Amendment to Cover Additional Agent Orange Presumptives

JUL 15, 2020

Ask your lawmakers to support much-needed relief for Vietnam veterans facing these life-threatening conditions.

READ MORE

HEALTH CARE

TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees: What You Need to Know, and What You’ll Need to Do

JUL 15, 2020

MOAA is working to ensure beneficiaries don’t see a lapse in coverage.

READ MORE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony Lombardo

Lombardo spent 15 years working in journalism, most recently as the executive editor of Military Times. As director of audience engagement, he oversees online and print content teams for MOAA’s Communications Department. Follow him on Twitter.

 

4   

GVDA Press Release

Dear Veterans and GVDA Supporters - 

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to update everyone on this year’s Veterans Day events and to address our operations during these challenging times.

 

Like many of you, we have had to adjust our plans due to the effects of COVID-19 and the safety guidelines put in place to mitigate the risk of exposure.  After careful consideration and after reviewing input from members of our Veterans community, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 events (Veterans Day Parade, Veterans Festival, and the Freedom Ball) and replace them with a series of virtual experiences and smaller observance ceremonies.

 

The Official Theme for 2020 will honor the United States Army Infantry.  However, due to our modified event platform this year, we will continue that theme into 2021.  In continuous service since 1775, I think the accomplishments of the Infantry are worthy of two years of recognition.

 

The mission of the Georgia Veterans Day Association remains honoring all of our Veterans and educating the general public on the service and sacrifice of those who have worn our Nation’s uniform.  The change to this year’s schedule will allow us to accomplish our mission, while also ensuring the safety of our team, families, and all of our supporters. 

 

This year, we will be presenting a Veterans Day Observance Ceremony on 07 November 2020 that will recognize our Veterans and their service to our Nation.  We will release additional details of this observance in the coming weeks.

 

The GVDA will also be hosting a series of virtual events that will further honor and engage our Veterans and our supporters.  Two virtual events planned so far include a Veterans Day Parade featuring participant videos and a Veterans Festival showcasing military programs from community partners.  More activities are planned, and I encourage everyone to support and participate in these great events.

 

Our military men and women have always risen to any challenge placed before them.  As Veterans, family members and supporters, we must use that same drive and determination to ensure that our 2020 events are successful and reflect our appreciation to those who have served.

 

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact me direct at kmiller@georgiaveteransday.org.

 

Thank you for your continued support of the GVDA and all of Georgia’s Veterans.  

 

Respectfully,

 

Kevin L Miller

President

Georgia Veterans Day Association, Inc.

5)

US Department of Veterans Affairs

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#VetResources - for Veterans, their Families, Caregivers and Survivors
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Rx Refills During the Pandemic

  1. Online with MyHealtheVet 

  2. The NEW Rx Refill Mobile App 

  3. Call your local VA Pharmacy number on the prescription label

  4. By mail: VA Refill Form

LEARN MORE

PREVENTS

Q&A with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen to discuss how together, we will prevent suicide for Service members and Veterans. 

ASK A QUESTION NOW


VA Improves and Expands Caregiver Program


Largest Employers of Veterans in Your State

state largest employers

State representatives shared the largest employers of Veterans in their states. 

FIND YOUR STATE


VA Launches New Virtual Check-In Feature


Remembering 9/11 with Carry the Load

danny interview carry the load

32 year Army Veteran and former VA employee Danny Pummill, shares his story of being at the Pentagon September 11, 2001. 

The video is featured on Carry the Load's Lessons From the Front. 

WATCH THE VIDEO


Vietnam Veterans discuss managing PTSD


Healthy Plate Method: All About Fats

fresh

The fourth episode of VA's Fresh Focus podcast series is focused on fats. Learn healthy tips on adding good fat from whole foods to your plate for energy and nutrition!

LISTEN NOW 


Follow VA Careers on LinkedIn for info on VA's culture, job security and benefits.


How VA helps Veteran Business Owners

veteran business

VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is working diligently to ensure small, Veteran-owned businesses maintain the resources needed to keep their businesses afloat during these unprecedented times, with more than $8 billion awarded to date for fiscal 2020.

LEARN MORE


COVID-19 Maker Challenge


Conquering Veteran Cancer, Together

va teleoncology

VA's Dr. Richard Stone discusses Veteran cancer care, stories of Veteran cancer survivors, how TeleOncology visits work and partnerships to continuously improve care.  

 

WATCH


Discuss how Veterans can help prevent Veteran suicide on RallyPoint


Marine Alex Calfee Connects Veterans to Employers online

btb alex calfree oplign

This week's episode of Borne the Battle features Marine Corps Veteran Alex Calfree, the co-founder of OpLign, a website that uses artificial intelligence instead of keyword searches to connect Veterans to employers.

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Georgia Council of MOAA

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