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Washington update for August 15th, 2016

The Voice of the Enlisted for 53 years!

TREA Washington Update for Monday, August 15th 2016

During these hot, sleepy, dog-days of August DC is not making much news. So today the Update is short. Don’t worry everything will go wild again after Labor Day.


VA to Look for Electronic Health Record Help in Private Sector


Immunizations Offer Protection for All Stages of Life

Army prepares to administer 1.6 million flu shots

Former Navy fullback and wide receiver start their play this year in the NFL


 PHOTO:  Stranded Residents- Coast Guardsmen rescue stranded residents from high water during severe flooding around Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 14, 2016. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles


VA to Look for Electronic Health Record Help in Private Sector


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is considering companies in the private sector to manage the massive database of veterans’ health records.


The VA asked for “industry feedback, guidance and recommendations” regarding it's electronic health record (EHR) system in an official request for information, according to the government contracting website


The VA’s current EHR system has become complex and each region works differently. If the records aren’t easily transferred between hospitals, it undermines a key advantage of electronic records.

While an update to the system is needed, the fact that each region has added its own elements to the software over the years makes “modernization and standardization efforts extremely complicated, expensive and time consuming,” the request says.


TREA: The Enlisted Association has been pushing for an upgrade, or a replacement, of the existing 1970s-era Vist-A system for seemingly decades now. Hopefully VA finds the information that they need from the new Request for Information (RFI) and VA's EHR system can be brought into the 21st century. We will keep you updated when there is more information.



Immunizations Offer Protection for All Stages of Life


Believe it or not August is National Immunization Awareness Month (as well as American Adventures Month, American Artists Appreciation Month, American Indian Heritage Month,
American History Essay Contest (8/1 - 12/15, Boomers Making A Difference Month,
Bystander Awareness Month ,National Breastfeeding Month as well as National Catfish Month
National Goat Cheese Month, National Panini Month and National Minority Donor Awareness Month) Some topics are much more important than others. And Immunization actually is very important. Below is an article from TRICARE telling you why it is so important.

 August is Immunization Awareness Month and is a great time to find out which vaccines you and your need to be protected at different ages and stages in life. 


Immunization typically starts at birth. At 2 months old, infants start receiving a series of six primary immunizations that protect against disease. 


These diseases can be spread in a variety of ways. Flu and other diseases spread through the air or on surfaces. Hepatitis B is spread through exposure to infectious blood or bodily fluids. Rotavirus is spread when the virus is shed by an infected person and then enters another person’s mouth. Babies frequently use their mouths to explore the world around them, so this vaccine is extremely important. For more information, visit the Rotavirus page on 


Some vaccines require multiple doses for lifelong protection. These may start in infancy and continue in later stages of childhood. Toddlers and school-age children typically get immunized again for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis A and chickenpox. 


Recommendations for middle school aged and older kids include vaccines to enhance protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and protect against meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a leading cause of cervical and other cancers.

More vaccines may be needed during adulthood based on factors like age, occupation, lifestyle, high-risk medical conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous vaccine history. For older beneficiaries, vaccines are available and recommended to protect against pneumonia and other infections, as well as shingles, a very painful condition caused by the same virus as chickenpox. 


TRICARE covers, at no cost, age-appropriate doses of vaccines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information visit the TRICARE website. 


Through the expanded TRICARE pharmacy vaccine program, you may receive certain covered vaccines for zero copayment at participating network pharmacies. For more information, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or search for participating pharmacies online


For more information on immunizations, please visit the DHA Immunization Healthcare Branch’s website at



Army prepares to administer 1.6 million flu shots


Here is an article from the Army outlining what they are doing about the flu.

8/11/2016By: Ellen Crown, USAMRMC Public Affairs


The Army estimates it will use approximately 1.6 million doses of the injectable influenza vaccine (i.e., flu shot) – more than half of the total number of doses ordered by the Department of Defense annually – to keep both active duty and reserve Soldiers, civilian staff, and family members healthy during the upcoming flu season.  


For the 2016-2017 flu season, only injectable flu shots will be provided to Soldiers, federal civilians, and beneficiaries. No live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), known as FluMist, will be offered based on effectiveness recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Army's flu shot supplies will start arriving at military medical treatment facilities as early as September.  


While some people only think about flu vaccines during the fall and winter months, Army Flu Manager Miguel Rivera Jr. said preparing is a year-long mission. Each year Rivera, who is assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency which is a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, reaches out across the Army to work with other preventive medicine experts and logisticians to estimate the number of vaccines needed for the upcoming season. This calculation starts in February to allow the Defense Logistics Agency enough time to tally the total number of doses needed across the DOD and order supplies.  


The goal is to immunize with flu shots at least 90 percent of service members and health care professionals by Dec. 15, 2016.  


"If people do not get their flu shots by December, we still encourage them to get immunized," said Army Lt. Col. Charlene L. Warren-Davis, USAMMA's Pharmacy Consultant and Distribution Operations Center director. "The flu vaccine is usually viable until June 30." 


August is National Immunization Awareness Month, which is sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them.  


Most people over the age of six months will benefit from influenza vaccination. In most cases, according to the CDC, the risks of getting vaccinated are significantly lower than the benefits. By getting vaccinated, each person can keep their loved ones safe. Getting vaccinated protects others who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, such as older adults, people with chronic health conditions and young children – especially infants younger than six months old who are too young to get vaccinated. Also vaccination has shown to make the flu milder, which may reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes such as hospitalizations. 



Former Navy fullback and wide receiver start their play this year in the NFL


During last May’s Naval Academy graduation Secretary of Defense Carter announced that both Navy fullback Chris Swain and Wide receiver Keenan Reynolds were being granted their requests to defer their military obligations until their time playing with the NFL. During the first exhibition games last week both Reynolds with the Baltimore Ravens and Swain with the San Diego Chargers started their professional football careers.


Last year, Swain ran for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns on 211 carries as part of the No. 2-ranked rushing offense in major college football. Reynolds had 1,373 yards and 24 touchdowns to cap a record-setting career in Annapolis. Navy finished 11-2, including a 14th straight win against Army to extend the series record. The Midshipmen also won a third consecutive bowl game for the first time in program history.


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