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Washington Update, September 26th, 2016

PHOTO:  Sideways Launch - The future USS Wichita launches sideways into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wis., Sept. 17, 2016, after Kate Lehrer, the ship's sponsor and a novelist, christened it. Once commissioned, the Wichita will be the third naval vessel to honor the largest city in Kansas. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin

 

 

 

TREA, The Enlisted Association

Washington Update for Monday, September 26th 2016

 

It was grand seeing TREA members in Las Vegas last week at our 53rd Anniversary and National Convention. We got to speak about legislation, regulations and events that are affecting the entire U.S. military family. It is wonderful to directly hear your thoughts, suggestions and concerns. Next year we will be in Pittsburgh- so start planning soon. But in the meantime if you have any thoughts or concerns you would like to share please write us at info@treadc.org.

 

 

This is the week that Congress must pass a CR (Continuing Resolution) to keep the federal government running after September 30th (Friday). So there will be some drama on the Hill this week. The Senate is especially desperate to leave town as soon as possible and continue to campaign. It will be a very interesting few days.

 

VA Awards $6.8 Billion for Medical Disability Examinations

 

VA enrolled patients can get free flu shots at the VA and at Walgreens

 

 

For-Profit Schools Accreditor Stripped of Authority by Department of Education

Chairman Miller, Acting Ranking Member Takano, HVAC Members Ask DOJ to Investigate VA Officials For Perjury

 

Military Drug Take Back Program offers safe drug disposal

 

Nurse Advice Line serves as important tool for suicide prevention

 

WWII 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION at The World War II Memorial
December 7, 2016 ~ September 2, 2020

 

 

 

VA Awards $6.8 Billion for Medical Disability Examinations

 

Last week the VA awarded 12 contracts totaling $6.8 billion among 5 firms 12 contracts to provide medical disability examinations for Compensation and Pension qualification. This should reduce the wait times for veterans who are filing for service-connected benefits.

 

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald commented: “This is good news for Veterans who are waiting for VA to determine whether a condition can be considered service-connected. For these Veterans, we want the process to be smoother – from beginning to end.  When we announced the MyVA initiative in 2014 to improve Veterans’ experience with VA, that meant looking at every process and every product.  These awards represent a way for us to improve a significant process for Veterans.”

 

The  Contracts were awarded to the following firms:

 

  •  VetFed Resources, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia;
  • Logistics Health, Inc., La Crosse, Wisconsin;
  • Medical Support Los Angeles, A Medical Corporation, Pasadena, CA;
  • QTC Medical Services, Inc., Diamond Bar, California; and
  • Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc., Houston, Texas.

TREA hopes and thinks that this should speed up the process to initially qualify or increase service connected disability payments. 

 

 

 

 

VA enrolled patients can get free flu shots at the VA and at Walgreens

 

 

 

Whenever Fall approaches (in fact it arrived last week we are told to get the latest flu shot. The VA orders 2,000,000 doses of flu vaccine every year to give to its patients (and employees) at their hospitals and clinics.

But don’t have to travel to the VA if you don’t want to. Enrolled veterans can also get a free flu shot at your local Walgreens. This program runs through March 31st 2017.   

 

 

 

 

For-Profit Schools Accreditor Stripped of Authority by Department of Education

 

 

Last week the Department of Education officially stripped the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) of its authority to accredit schools and universities, and thus the eligibility of those institutions for federal funding. ACICS, the largest accrediting agency of for-profit colleges and universities in the country, has been dogged by criticism of its ability to be an effective watchdog for students as well as billions of taxpayer dollars.

 

 

TREA had warned readers of the update that this was possible several months ago.

 

 

We told you that a federal panel had voted to shut ACICS down in June amid intense criticism of the council for its loose oversight of educational institutions. ACICS was the accrediting agency for Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute campuses, which have both closed.

 

The Department of Education also issued a formal recommendation to eliminate the accrediting agency, which currently oversees about 725 institutions, oversaw $3.3 billion in federal financial aid last year, and affects roughly 800,000 students. Approximately 35,000 of those students are veterans.

 

ACICS plans to appeal the decision, the company said in a statement. It will have 30 days to file the appeal, during which it would retain its federal status. The appeal will be considered by Education Secretary John King.

 

TREA will keep you updated on the final disposition of that appeal.

For more information, check out the VA’s GI Bill comparator tool: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/comparison_tool/about_this_tool.asp

 

 

 

Chairman Miller, Acting Ranking Member Takano, HVAC Members Ask DOJ to Investigate VA Officials For Perjury

  

Sep 22, 2016 

 

Congressional Press Release:

 

For more information, contact: Curt Cashour, (202) 225-3527

 

Today, Chairman Miller, Acting Ranking Member Takano and members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into whether former VA construction chief Glenn Haggstrom and other VA officials may have committed perjury in their statements to Congress regarding cost overruns at the replacement Denver VA medical center.

 

Additionally, Chairman Miller and Acting Ranking Member Takano made the below statements.

“It is an absolute fact that numerous VA officials repeatedly misled Congress regarding cost overruns related to the replacement Denver VA medical center – the biggest construction failure in VA history. Now it’s up to the Department of Justice to do its job and ensure that justice is served. That’s why we’re calling on Attorney General Lynch to examine the overwhelming amount of damning evidence in this case and determine whether perjury charges are warranted.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

 

“The OIG’s report makes two things clear. First, the significant delays and cost overruns at the Greater Colorado VA construction project were entirely avoidable and resulted from leadership failures at the highest levels of the VA. Second, Glenn Haggstrom and other senior VA officials involved in the project likely misrepresented or withheld information in testimony provided to the Committee.” 

 

“Honest and forthright testimony is critical for this Committee to understand and address the challenges facing the VA and veterans. Any witness who deliberately misleads Congress must be held accountable and I hope the Department of Justice conducts a thorough investigation into the statements made by VA officials responsible for the failed Colorado project. If they indeed lied in their testimony they not only broke the law, they betrayed the trust of America's veterans.” – Rep. Mark Takano, Acting Ranking Member, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

 

 

Military Drug Take Back Program offers safe drug disposal

TRICARE Press Release:

Excess prescription and over-the-counter drugs can pose a serious risk in your home. The Military Health System (MHS) is helping the military community fight back against the dangers of unneeded, unused and expired drugs by offering Drug Take Back at military pharmacies in the U.S.

“Proper disposal of unneeded, unused and expired drugs lowers the risk of misuse and environmental contamination,” said Dr. George Jones, chief of Pharmacy Operations at the DHA. “The MHS Drug Take Back program accepts both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, so this is the time to clean out your medicine cabinet.”

Military pharmacies in the U.S. offer two Drug Take Back options. Most pharmacies have fixed containers in place where you can drop off your excess drugs. Others offer envelopes you can take home, fill with your drugs, and then mail in. Some have both. You can’t dispose of illegal drugs at MHS Drug Take Back locations.

Check to see if your local military pharmacy offers drug takeback at www.tricare.mil/mtf.

“Holding onto drugs past their useful life is a bad idea,” said Jones. “It could be a child accidently ingesting an over-the-counter sleep aid, or an addict finding expired pain killers. Don’t take the risk of having these drugs in your home once you don’t need them anymore.”

For more information on the Military Health System’s Drug Take Back efforts, visit the Drug Take Back Spotlight.

 

 

Nurse Advice Line serves as important tool for suicide prevention

 TRICARE Press Release:

A panicked wife made a call and said that her active-duty military husband had a gun to his head and was threatening suicide. The nurse on the line calmly went through an established procedure to try and save a life.

 

“The first thing we did was get as much information as we could and calm the wife,” said Regina Julian, chief of Primary Care, Access and Patient Experience at the Defense Health Agency and the Nurse Advice Line, a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week, toll-free number for Military Health System beneficiaries. “Then the nurse told the wife, ‘Put him on the phone, and I’ll talk to him about the medical problems he’s having, while you get the gun when he puts it down. When he does that, unload the gun and throw the bullets as far away as you can, while I message first responders.’”

 

Julian said the nurse was able to talk to the service member and find out he had back problems from carrying heavy packs during multiple deployments. The combination of pain and the medications to treat that pain were making him depressed and unable to cope with life, making him feel he was at the end of his rope. The nurse leant a sympathetic ear, while the wife unloaded the gun and first responders arrived. “It was incredible. The nurse just kept her composure, we are so pleased we had a resource to provide this active-duty member and his wife because we were able to save a life through the Nurse Advice Line,” said Julian.

 

The calm actions were a result of the training all nurses get at the Nurse Advice Line. When beneficiaries call 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273), option 1, they are connected with a professional who has been trained to use a clinically proven process to work through issues and find the best solution. According to Julian, the nurse line receives up to nine suicide threats a day.

 

U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Christopher Hunter is the Department of Defense’s program manager for Behavioral Health in Primary Care and a clinical psychologist. He said there are a variety of issues that can lead people to want to kill themselves. But the factors that might increase suicide risk can affect people differently, based on other coping measures and support systems they might have, for example family and community support.

 

“Even when we know someone is at high risk, we don’t really have a good way of predicting who in that group of high-risk individuals will try to kill themselves,” said Hunter. “Our best path is to make sure people are aware there are a variety of avenues where they can get support.”

 

A key to raising that awareness is to stay on message.

 

“The more ways we let people know they aren’t alone and there is help for them in variety of ways, the more likely they are to use those services,” he said.

 

The Nurse Advice Line is one tool the military offers to help prevent suicide. It’s a first step that needs to be followed up with physical and mental health treatments. “It’s one avenue that helps us identify and protect those at risk so we can get them the help they need,” said Hunter.

 

Other numbers military families can call when experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of suicide are: 

Julian stressed it is important to seek professional assistance if any member of the family is experiencing the following feelings or behaviors:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing himself or herself
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Unable to sleep or oversleeping
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Engaging in reckless or risky behavior
  • Experiencing excessive rage, anger or desire for revenge
  • Having feelings of anxiety, agitation or hopelessness
  • Reliving past stressful experiences
  • Experiencing dramatic changes in mood

“There are people out there in crisis, and you never know who they’re going to call,” said Julian. “We want to make sure we’re one more source they can turn to.”

 

 

WWII 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION at the World War II Memorial
December 7, 2016 ~ September 2, 2020


Starting on December 7th 2016 America will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of World War II. There will be events all over the world for the next four years. Below please find an early schedule of events and commemorations that are going to be held at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. As we get more information about other events and venues we will send it on to all of you.    
 

December 7, 2016 – September 2, 2020

Calendar of Events

2016

 

Wednesday, December 7

Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Remembrance Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

2017

 

 

Saturday, January 7

Battle of Bataan 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Friday, January 13

Battle of the Atlantic 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, April 18

Doolittle Raid 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, May 4

Battle of the Coral Sea 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, May 8

V-E Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, May 29

Memorial Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, June 3

Battle of Midway 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, August 7

Battle of Guadalcanal 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, September 2

V-J Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, October 25

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, November 8

Operation Torch 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, November 11

Veterans Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, December 7

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

 

2018

 

 

Monday, February 19

Battle of Kasserine Pass 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Friday, March 23

Battle of El Guettar 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, May 8

V-E Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, May 28

Memorial Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, July 9

Battle of Sicily 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Sunday, September 2

V-J Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Sunday, September 9

Battle of Salerno 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Sunday, November 11

Veterans Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, November 20

Battle of Tarawa 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Friday, December 7

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

 

2019

 

 

Thursday, January 17

Battle of Monte Cassino 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, January 22

Battle of Anzio 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, January 31

Battle of Kwajalein 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, May 8

V-E Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, May 27

Memorial Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, June 6

Battle of Normandy (D-Day) 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, June 15

Battle of Saipan 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Sunday, July 21

Battle of Guam 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, August 7

Battle for Brest 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, August 15

Operation Dragoon 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, September 2

V-J Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, September 5

Battle of Nancy 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Sunday, September 15

Battle of Peleliu 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, September 17

Operation Market Garden 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, September 17

Battle of Angaur 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, September 19

Battle of Hurtgen Forest 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, October 2

Battle of Aachen 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, October 23

Battle of Leyte Gulf 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, November 11

Veterans Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, December 7

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, December 16

Battle of the Bulge 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

 

2020

 

 

Wednesday, January 1

Operation Nordwind 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Thursday, January 9

Battle of Luzon 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, January 20

Colmar Pocket 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, February 3

Battle of Manila 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, February 19

Battle of Iwo Jima 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Saturday, March 7

Ruhr Pocket 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Tuesday, March 24

Operation Varsity 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, April 1

Battle of Okinawa 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, April 6

Operation Grapeshot (Spring Offensive) 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Friday, May 8

V-E Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

Monday, May 25

Memorial Day Observance at the WWII Memorial

 

Wednesday, September 2

V-J Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the WWII Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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