DoD Budget Proposal Targets TRICARE Fees WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama’s proposed FY 2013 budget would provide $48.7 billion for the DoD Unified Medical Budget, a decrease from the current $52.8 billion. Specifics of the president’s proposed budget plan for DoD healthcare included proposals recommending increases in health care fees, co-pays and deductibles that would be phased in. The proposed fees will not increase for active duty troops, survivors of troops who died on active duty or medically retired troops, according to DoD officials. More
New Campaign Targets Obesity and Nutrition in Military WASHINGTON—Troops can soon expect to find healthier food choices at military dining halls. The dining changes were announced as part of a new Military Health System obesity and nutrition awareness campaign directed towards servicemembers and their dependents. The MHS obesity and nutrition awareness campaign will ensure healthier foods are available in dining facilities; DoD schools, and other places where troops and their families purchase food on base, including vending machines and snack bars. More
Committee Recommends Mandatory Flu Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers WASHINGTON—In a controversial recommendation, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) voted recently to recommend that hospitals mandate flu shots for employees. Arguing against mandatory vaccination were labor unions and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which suggested that hospitals should not mandate vaccination without exemptions, and that there is not enough evidence that vaccines provide adequate protection against influenza. More
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FEBRUARY ISSUE
New Eye Center’s Goal is Vision Rehabilitation, Restoration for Injured Troops WASHINGTON - Eye wounds are devastating for deployed troops, and the past decade’s conflicts have created ample opportunities for that type of injury, with the prevalence of explosive devices, projectiles, chemicals, biohazards, lasers and extreme environmental conditions. With the opening of a new Vision Center of Excellence, military and congressional leaders are seeking to leverage integration across VA and DoD to develop new strategies for vision rehabilitation and restoration. More
Montana VA Program Replaces Insulin Syringes with Pens to Increase Compliance FORT HARRISON, MT - For some veterans, “insulin resistance” is not only a physiological condition, it is a state of mind - one the VA Montana Healthcare System in Fort Harrison hopes to overcome with a program that pilots the use of insulin pens. A plan to offer insulin pens to patients as a way to raise insulin adoption rates and improve disease management received funding as one of the 30 winning ideas proposed in the 2011 VHA Employee Innovation Competition. More
Report Prompted by Fort Hood Shooting Calls DoD Physician Credentialing Inadequate WASHINGTON - Reporting the results of an investigation begun after an Army physician opened fire and shot more than 40 people at Fort Hood in 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the military services need to do a better job of complying with physician and privileging requirements. DoD has protocols in place to check physician credentials, and the services have their own procedures and processes to ensure that the MTFs meet the DoD requirements. A GAO investigation found, however, that the military services’ requirements in some cases are inconsistent with DOD’s and each other’s requirements. More
Continuing Afghanistan Conflict, More Severe Injuries Keep Landstuhl Busy WASHINGTON - While military action in Iraq may have ended in 2011, military medical centers such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany continue to be busy caring for seriously wounded from Afghanistan. In 2011, the medical center received 7,615 wounded troops from theater, with the complexity and severity of injuries increasing overall. More
“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”Albert Einstein
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
I recently learned through the evening news that a Dutch scientist has genetically engineered a deadly form of the H5N1 bird flu virus into an easily transmissible form that has the potential to cause lethal human pandemics.
The naturally occurring H5N1 bird flu is deadly in humans with a 50% mortality rate in those who have contracted it. Fortunately, this virus exists naturally in a form that is not easily transmissible from person to person.
That has now changed with those research efforts, which were partially funded by the United States. More