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1. Doctor Outlines Global Health’s Tie to Security Operations. Defense Department efforts to improve global public health are an important and growing part of military stability operations around the world, the director of the department’s Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine said. Dr. Charles Beadling reflected on the center’s mission and operations during a recent interview with health.mil. “We do feel that there is a strong link between global health engagement and security,” he said. Such engagement adds to security by improving the ability of governments to meet the needs of their populations, thereby reducing the tendency for insurgency or terrorism, he explained.
2. Army freezes hiring, says most will be furloughed. The Army is allowing only limited exceptions to its hiring freeze now underway, while few current employees would escape unpaid furloughs if sequestration hits.
3. Navy puts ship maintenance, base repair work on hold. The Navy plans to cancel nearly all repairs at bases and maintenance on ships and planes for this fiscal year unless Congress agrees on a new budget.
4. VA is using digital system to reduce backlog of disability claims. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is using a digital Web-based system to process veterans’ disability claims, replacing its antiquated paper files in an effort to reduce the backlog of cases.
5. Why Hagel Left VA In 1980s. Army Times “In 1981, President Reagan appointed Hagel the No. 2 man at what was then known as the Veterans Administration,” and he “abruptly resigned 10 months later because he thought his boss, Veterans Administrator Robert Nimmo, wasn’t doing enough for veterans.” Charlyne Berens, author of a biography of Hagel, “said Hagel’s time at VA highlights the impact of his Vietnam experience on his approach to politics and management,” adding, “It indicates that he really would not ignore or forget about the individual who is actually out there doing the serving and the fighting.”
6. Maine Man Guilty Of Stealing VA Benefits. AP Richard Ramsdell Jr. “faces sentencing after pleading guilty to receiving Veterans Affairs disability benefits to which he wasn’t entitled.” Authorities “say Ramsdell obtained more than $200,000 in VA benefits by falsely claiming to be unemployed and unable to work because of his back and mental condition” while he was actually “working for a wreath manufacturer and as a fisherman and painter.
7. UW-Madison Researchers Looking For Participants For PTSD Study. WIHI-TV “The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center is offering free complementary and alternative programs to veterans” who served in Iraq and Afghanistan “as part of a pioneering research study that is evaluating the effectiveness of these types of programs” for returning service members adjusting to life after combat. WIHI adds, “The study’s findings could lead to a new model of care for those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
8. VA Seeks To Get The Word Out About Services For Women Vets. Mid-Hudson News “The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to get the word out to female veterans of all ages that they offer gender specific health services for them.” The “new Women Veterans Health Care website, www.womenshealth.va.gov, provides information on health care services available to women vets, including comprehensive primary care as well as specialty care including reproductive services, rehabilitation, mental health, and treatment for military sexual trauma.” The News adds, “Regional Women’s Health Program Manager Lauren Incontrera said while they are increasing the number of female vets for health services, she would like to see more enrolled.”
9. IOM Urges VA To Tailor Veterans’ Care. Healthcare IT News IOM recommended the VA “tailor treatment of veterans with chronic multisymptom illness to the needs of each patient, take a team approach to care, and employ the VA’s electronic health record to prompt caregivers to ask the right questions.” VA was also told to “harness the potential of existing programs such as post-deployment patient-aligned care teams (PD-PACTS) to improve CMI care” and create “‘CMI champions’ to help its healthcare providers better serve patients with complex symptoms and needs.” KGTV-TV The IOM report “says the initial data suggests Gulf War illness is occurring in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars.” However, UC San Diego professor Dr. Beatrice Golomb, who’s researched CMI for over 15 years, “believes those cases are rare and doesn’t believe that a large group of recent military veterans are suffering from Gulf War syndrome because most of the potential causes haven’t been present in the Iraq and Afghan theaters of war.”
10. VA Moves Mobile From Concept To Reality With Veteran Homelessness App. Federal News Radio “There may be no better example of” the impact of the Digital Government Strategy than the VA and HUD’s creation of “a mobile application to make it easier for employees to count homeless veterans as part of their annual point-in-time survey.” Dave Peters, VA’s assistant deputy CIO for development management, “said VA and HUD not only developed the app, but got it through all the major hurdles so it could be deployed in time for the two-week survey.” He added, “I would very much like more apps done in this manner, when appropriate. We were under tremendous pressure to get this out in such a short period of time that I couldn’t imagine this working in any other way.” Federal News Radio added, “The approach VA and HUD took shows the beginnings of the necessary culture change to do what the Obama administration has been pushing for, to innovate and do more with less through mobile.” Meanwhile, “VA is developing a new governance model for mobile applications. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the CIO’s office are creating a joint governance board to manage the mobile apps development process.”