Articles, Videos and Items of General Interest
Army, Navy and Air Force medical personnel care for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and all who come in harm's way -- on and off the battlefield.
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From Burn Pits to The Pact Act
Spread the word about
PACT Act eligibility
You can help spread the word about expanded eligibility to enroll in VA health care for your Veteran friends who have not previously enrolled. Here are all the details you need to know to help them get the care they earned and deserve. Read Further HERE
VA continues aggressive
PACT ACT hiring push
VA is hiring qualified individuals to join the benefits team as it begins processing PACT Act claims starting in January 2023. These new VA employees will help ensure Veterans and survivors get the PACT Act-related benefits they’ve earned in a timely manner. Read more HERE
Relief is on the way for millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the historic passage of the Honoring our PACT Act, the biggest expansion of VA benefits in recent history. Find benefits, ratings and assistance HERE
PACT Act Passes Senate, Heads to President’s Desk
By: Kevin Lilley
AUGUST 02, 2022
The Senate voted 86-11 the night of Aug. 2 to pass the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, moving the comprehensive toxic exposure legislation to the desk of President Joe Biden, who has pledged to sign it into law.
MOAA joined veterans groups, servicemembers and military families affected by toxic exposure, on Capitol Hill in recent days as part of a final push to secure Senate approval.
"MOAA has backed this bill throughout the legislative process, and we're pleased it has cleared these last-minute hurdles," said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). "We thank the advocates, lawmakers, and legislative staffers who've seen this bill through to the finish line. We call on President Biden to sign the legislation immediately, and we look forward to working with VA on its speedy implementation."
A July 27 cloture vote that needed 60 votes failed 55-42, despite the Senate’s passage of nearly identical legislation by an 84-14 margin about a month earlier.
The Aug. 2 bill included no changes from the July 27 vote and only a technical correction from the version that passed the House in May and the Senate in June. The final bill included the correction, which is related to a tax benefit available to some health professionals as part of the bill’s efforts to improve VA staffing; it passed the House 342-88 on July 13.
In a statement issued after the June Senate passage, Biden said the bill “makes good on our sacred obligation to care for veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors,” and that he planned to “sign it into law right away.”
Ensuring veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned related to toxic exposure has been a long-term legislative priority for MOAA. Among the recent work on the topic:
Legislative attempts at securing omnibus toxic exposure reforms were part of MOAA’s 2021 Advocacy in Action campaign.
MOAA members and other grassroots advocates logged more than 10,000 actions – calls and/or letters to House and Senate members – via MOAA’s Legislative Action Center.
Stories from veterans facing toxin-related illness have been shared in Military Officer and at MOAA.org.
"While the legislative hurdles have been cleared, our work on this bill is far from over," Atkins said. "We will ensure the benefits outlined in this critical legislation reach those who've earned them, and their families, and that veterans will realize these changes sooner rather than later."
The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce in 2022 whether some forms of cancer and a rare lung disorder seen in patients exposed to burn pits and other forms of pollution should entitle veterans to expedited benefits and disability compensation.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough said Thursday that the VA will announce "early next year" whether some cancers will be deemed as connected to military service, and for constrictive bronchiolitis -- a rare disease that affects the lungs' smallest passageways -- by summer 2022. Read more on this ruling HERE
Young and Dying: Veterans Are Getting Brain Cancer and Struggling to Get Benefits
"We're all assuming it's the burn pits," said Noah Feehan, who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. "It was disgusting what they threw in there. Tires, jet fuel, body parts, plastics."
While traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder have been called the "signature wounds" of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, affecting nearly half a million troops, thousands of veterans also have been diagnosed with diseases possibly connected to environmental hazards and toxic waste.
Hundreds, like Feehan, are fighting or have succumbed to glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer, striking roughly 12,000 Americans each year. Read further on this horrific story HERE
Are Burn Pits the new Agent Orange of this generation?
MOAA'S NEVER STOP SERVING PODCAST
From Agent Orange to Burn Pits: Toxic Exposure Advocacy with Cory Titus
NOV 21, 2021 SEASON 1 EPISODE 4
Lt. Col. Olivia Nunn, USA (Ret)
Veterans have routinely reported illnesses and disabilities long after they return home from deployments, triggering a battle with the VA for health care and financial benefits. As many as 2.6 million veterans of the Vietnam War were exposed to Agent Orange, a tactical herbicide sprayed to destroy thick vegetation, according to ProPublica. The toxin has been recognized by the VA as a cause of certain presumptive diseases — a status that eliminates the burden of proof of servicemembers as they file claims for benefits — but studies linking other diseases have yet to be recognized.
Most recently, veterans exposed to open-air burn pits and other environmental dangers during deployments in support of the war on terrorism are eligible to register their service with the VA. However, researchers, including VA staff, have not completed studies on hazards related to burn pits and other military environmental exposures, according to the VA.
Listen to Olivia Nunn speak with teammate Cory Titus, the Director of Veteran Benefits and Guard and Reserve Affairs at MOAA about the importance of understanding the work behind the push for policy and legislation surrounding toxic exposures for our military members.
Click below image to list to podcast
The PACT Act and your VA benefits
The PACT Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.
The PACT Act adds to the list of health conditions that we assume (or “presume”) are caused by exposure to these substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve. Visit HERE for facts and more on benefits.
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Nurse Salary Research Report 2022
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Military Health System
MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM REFORM AND LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
MHS Transformation results continue during COVID-19
Although MTF transition efforts were paused this past April so the Services and DHA could support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition was formally restarted this past November. The DHA will continue to transition ADC of all hospitals and clinics to the DHA through September 2021. Read further HERE
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Veterans and Opioids
Military making headway on Opioid Epidemic among servicemembers, vets, official say But military retirees who use opioids remain a concern. The majority of long-term opioid patients – 83 percent – are older than 45 years old, most likely to be a retiree or a relative of one and they seek care outside military hospitals and clinics.
Defense Health Agency Director: Progress in Preventing Opioid Abuse, More Needs to Be Done
The Military Health System is making progress in preventing and managing opioid abuse among its beneficiaries, but further actions in education and prevention are needed, the director of the Defense Health Agency said.
See additional articles and information on the Veterans Opioid Crisis and what is being done. Click button below
Featured Item of Interest
Is the United States Dependent on China for Pharmaceuticals?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic revealed weak links in global supply chains, US policymakers have expressed concern about an overreliance on China for critical medical supplies, particularly active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used to manufacture drugs. However, there is insufficient data on total API production in the United States and abroad. Official collection of the volume and dollar value of APIs produced per country would be necessary to determine dependence on China with certainty. Find out more HERE
S.2495 - Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act of 2021
Latest Senate Bill introduced to reduce our reliance on China for medications
Today, most active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used for drugs in the United States are made in China, including 95% of U.S. imports of ibuprofen, 70% of acetaminophen, and 40-45% of Penicillin. This vulnerable state of affairs is due to the Chinese Communist Party having spent a generation cornering this strategic market. After China covered up the spread of COVID-19 which lead to a global pandemic, a Chinese Communist Party organization asserted that Beijing could “announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then, the United States will be caught in the ocean of viruses.” China’s duplicity and hostility to the United States has shown that it is past time to move pharmaceutical production out of China.
The Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act would:
1. Track Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients: Require the Food and Drug Administration to create a registry of all drugs and corresponding APIs that are produced outside the United States and are determined to be critical to the health and safety of Americans.
2. Prohibit purchases from China: Require that the Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and all other federally qualified health facilities purchase pharmaceutical products that have no APIs produced in China. • This requirement will be phased in over two years. The FDA may issue waivers if the APIs are only available in China, however, no waivers may be issued after 2026.
3. Create transparency in the supply chain: Require drug companies to list the APIs and their countries of origin on the labels of imported and domestically produced finished drug products.
4. Provide incentives for manufacturing in the U.S: The legislation will allow immediate expensing for firms that incur costs associated with expanded pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing within the United States.
Read the Bill and find out more HERE