Improving Care and Safety When Managing Pain

With patient safety as a top priority, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs have updated their clinical guidance on opioid therapy used to manage chronic pain. Since opioids like Vicodin, OxyContin, and morphine are powerful pain relievers, they can lead to dependence, misuse, or overdose if theyre not managed properly. Updates in the 2017 guideline reflect a continued commitment to beneficiaries for safety and safe opioid prescribing, which will result in better quality of care.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2rxksKT

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Ways for Veterans to Appeal Their Disability Status

The Department of Defense‘s Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) serves as a means for veterans to appeal their cases with the possibility of modifying their assigned rating or disability retirement status.  (Read more:  http://bit.ly/2iw0SuZ) .  If vets disagree with the decision Veterans Affairs (VA) made on their disability compensation claim, the first step is to formally tell VA that they  disagree.  Vets can seek assistance from their local Veterans Service Organization (VSO), sit down with a representative at their local VA office, or call …

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Department of Defense Unveils Redesigned National Resource Directory

The National Resource Directory (www.nrd.gov), a website that provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels, has unveiled an updated design and layout. The updates were implemented to make the site more user- friendly for the thousands of service members, veterans and family members who use the Directory each month.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2gHo6vV

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DoD Needs to Fully Assess Health Effects on Use of Burn Pits for Waste Disposal

The effects of exposing individuals to burn pit emissions are not well understood, and the Department of Defense (DOD) has not fully assessed these health risks, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.  DOD officials stated that there are short-term effects from being exposed to toxins from the burning of waste. However, the officials also stated that DOD does not have enough data to confirm whether direct exposure to burn pits causes long-term health issues.  GAO recommends establishing policies and procedures and ensuring research …

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Department of Defense Makes Major Contribution to Cancer Moonshot

For more than 25 years, the Department of Defense (DoD) has collected and stored blood serum from all of its members, and the tissues of many. Those millions of samples are being stored at the DoD Serum Repository in Silver Spring, Maryland, along with a tumor bio-repository run by the Murtha Cancer Center at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  These efforts are paying off for the national Cancer Moonshot, the White House-led effort to make 10 years of progress against cancer in just …

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VA/DoD/NCI are Partnering to Tailor Cancer Care Based on Genes, Proteins

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to tailor cancer care for patients based on the genes and proteins associated with their tumors. The tri-agency program will create the nation’s first system in which cancer patients’ tumors are routinely screened for gene and protein information, with the goal of finding targeted therapies for each individual patient. The process will also continually generate new information to boost clinicians’ ability to treat the disease.

Read …

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DoD and VA Initiate Coordination on Complex Care Issues

The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) have announced their  ongoing effort to ease the transition for service members who require complex care management as they transition from the DoD system of health care to VA or within each system.  The effort is designed to ease the burden for service members and veterans who have suffered illnesses or injuries so severe as to require the expertise provided by multiple care specialties throughout both Departments.

Read More: http://1.usa.gov/1oTsuwv

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Operation Live Well

The Department of Defense’s Operation Live Well program aims to improve the health and wellness of the entire defense community.  This month, the Military Health System is focusing on overall health and wellness through a variety of programs.

Read More:
http://1.usa.gov/1HM7kl5

and
http://1.usa.gov/1MXsxuV

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The Path Forward for Delivering Better Healthcare

Time and again, leadership in the Department of Defense asks the Military Health System (MHS): How can we get more value for our 9.5 million beneficiaries? How can we serve them better? How can we spread improvement across the military community?

Read more about measures identified for evaluating and improving the MHS:

http://1.usa.gov/1QUfKRm

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Congressional 2016 Budget Proposal including DoD and VA Budgets

The omnibus appropriations bill completed by congressional leaders and signed by President Obama will provide $573 billion for defense operations in fiscal 2016, and another $163 billion for Department of Veterans Affairs programs.  The bill contains almost $700 million in additional funds related to the VA’s first-time disability claims backlog, which has fallen from about 612,000 cases in spring 2013 to fewer than 78,000 claims this month.

Read More: http://bit.ly/1TS5HtR

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