June 15, 2008
Family Programs Update
This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and type “subscribe” in the subject line
- Army Family Action Plan’s 25th Anniversary
- Five College Scholarships Awarded by the AUSA Major Samuel Woodfill Cincinnati Chapter
- House Approves Bill to Protect Deployed Military Member’s Child Custody Rights
- Bill Introduced to the House Would Provide a One-Time Tax Credit to Veterans
- 4th Infantry Division Chapter Ironhorse Scholarship for Surviving Family Members
- Central Texas College Offers Free Tuition to “Wounded Warrior” Spouses
- Warrior Internship Network Established to Assist Wounded Warriors Find Civilian Jobs
- Army Increases Activity to Encourage Small Business Programs
- Army National Guard Pursues Strategies to Relieve Soldier Pressure
- Longer, Family-Friendly Tours Proposed for Forces in South Korea
- ABC Seeks Military Family Members for Pilot of New Game Show
- Army Child and Youth Services (CYS) Offers Summer Opportunities to Military Youth
- Deployments Are Tough on Military Kids
- Locations with Greatest Need Receive Additional Mental Health Care Providers
- Red Tape Effects Insurance Coverage for Service Members with PTSD
- Maryland Veterans Bill Prevents Veterans from Falling Through the Cracks
- Psychologist’s E-Mail about PTSD Draws Attention of the Court
- New National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Maryland
- The Transitional Compensation Program Provides Family Help in Abusive Situations
- DoD Formulary Now Available Electronically to Civilian Providers
- TRICARE Beneficiaries Receive Greater Access to Cancer Prevention and Clinical Trials
- Donate a Free Mammogram at the Breast Cancer Site by Clicking a Button
- Uncooked Tomatoes Linked to Salmonella
- Recently Approved Pentagon Directive May Expose Private Communications
- Security Breech Reveals Sensitive Walter Reed Patient Information
- Chase Offers Cash Back to Military Service Members Buying or Selling a Home
Army Family Action Plan’s 25th Anniversary
Director of AUSA’s Family Programs, Sylvia Kidd, attended the General Officers Steering Committee (GOSC) on June 4th. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced at the meeting that this year is the 25th Anniversary of the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP). The first AFAP conference was held in 1983 as a result of a white paper on the quality of life for Army Families. AFAP brings together delegates from all components and segments of the Army family to identify issues that will improve the quality-of-life for soldiers, retirees, Department of the Army civilian employees and family members. As of 2008, AFAP has successfully brought 102 legislative changes, achieved 152 DoD or Army policy/regulatory changes, and improved 168 programs and/or services funding. To read more about AFAP or the issues reported at the GOSC, please visit http://www.ausa.org/webpub/DeptFamilyPrograms.nsf/byid/RBOH-7FJJQ9.
Five College Scholarships Awarded by the AUSA Major Samuel Woodfill Cincinnati Chapter
The AUSA Major Samuel Woodfill Cincinnati Chapter announced the recipients of five $1,000 college scholarships. The winners include SSG Michael R. Maloney of Cincinnati, OH; Valerie L. Armbruster of Aurora, IN; Jacqueline M. Mayer of Cincinnati, OH; Rhonda M. Miller of Fort Campbell, KY and Christana L. Hein of Burke, VA. The scholarships will be used toward fall term tuition at the recipients’ respective colleges. For more information about the Chapter, please visit http://www.ausa.org/chapweb/wcc/index.html.
House Approves Bill to Protect Deployed Military Member’s Child Custody Rights
House approved a bill (H.R. 6048) proposed by Michael Turner (R-Ohio), which will protect deployed service members from losing custody of their children while deployed. The bill is a response to multiple child custody cases in which custody was changed, sometimes without notice, while service members were deployed. According to Turner, “Many cases have come to light where service members who have been deployed have had their military service used against them in custody hearings”. The bill would allow the courts to only make temporary changes to custody during a service members’ deployment and would prohibit using the possibility of deployment against a parent in court. To read the entire article, please go to the Air Force Times website at: http://airforcetimes.com/news/2008/05/airforce_vabills_053008p/.
Bill Introduced to the House Would Provide a One-Time Tax Credit to Veterans
Representatives Bilirakis and Putnam, both of Florida, proposed the American Heroes’ Homeowner Assistance Act (H.R. 6181) which would provide a one-time tax credit for up to 10% of a home’s purchase price, with a maximum credit of $7,500. All veterans with service in a combat zone since 2001, along with survivors of service members who have died in combat since 2001, would be eligible for the tax break. House and Senate aides involved in tax legislation have stated that Congress will probably not pass the bill since another military tax bill has already been passed this year. To read the full article, please visit the Army Times at http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/06/military_taxcredit_homeveterans_060608w/.
4th Infantry Division Chapter Ironhorse Scholarship for Surviving Family Members
The 4th Infantry Division Chapter Ironhorse Scholarship Program is offering a one-time $1,000 scholarship to spouses and/or children (post high school) of fallen Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom 4ID soldiers. In order to qualify for the scholarship, spouses/children must show proof of relationship to the deceased soldier and have an acceptance letter from a college, university or trade school. The recipient does not have to reside in Texas. The scholarship can be used toward tuition, books, rent or any other expense. For an application and more information regarding the scholarship program, please contact Carla Cayo at (254) 432-5088 or via email at Cayoc48@yahoo.com.
Central Texas College Offers Free Tuition to “Wounded Warrior” Spouses
Central Texas College announced they will offer free tuition for spouses of soldiers who are recipients of Purple Hearts and were injured in combat. Through the “Wounded Warrior” spouse scholarship program, free tuition will be provided for up to 30 semester hours in one year to eligible spouses. The scholarship covers in state and out-of-state tuition, along with mandatory fees. Scholarship applications will be accepted beginning August 1, 2008. For more information about the program, please visit Central Texas College at http://www.ctcd.edu/militaryspouses.
Warrior Internship Network Established to Assist Wounded Warriors Find Civilian Jobs
The Warrior Internship Network was established this spring in Fort Riley, Kansas. The network encourages soldiers wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq to learn new skills and prepare for life after the Army. Participants in the program are paid their military salaries and retain all of their benefits, but they are given the opportunity to work an unpaid internship in the private sector to help redevelop their job skills. An occupational therapist works with the soldiers and the employers to determine whether a job is appropriate. The internships are voluntary, so a soldier or employer can discontinue the internship at any time. The soldiers complete a two-week trial run before signing on for a 3 to 6 month internship. Many participates hope the internship will end with a formal job offer. To read the full article, please go to Army Times at http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/06/ap_wounded_interns_061108/.
Army Increases Activity to Encourage Small Business Programs
The Secretary of the Army issued a memorandum encouraging Army leadership to increase efforts to award contracts to small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. In 2007, the Army awarded $916 million in contracts to small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. The new 2008 goal is to increase the contracts by 3%. For more information, visit the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) website at http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/programs/veterans/index.htm.
Army National Guard Pursues Strategies to Relieve Soldier Pressure
The Army National Guard is seeking ways to provide more predictability for its Soldiers. Even though the demand for citizen-soldiers does not appear to be decreasing, the Guard is pursuing strategies to relieve the pace for its most heavily deployed forces. According to Department of Defense (DoD) data, more than 240,000 Army National Guard Soldiers have deployed in support of both operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom since September 11, 2001. Of those soldiers, 30,400 are currently deployed, while five Guard brigades are slated to deploy this fall. The Guard is working to increase the time Soldiers spend at home, re-evaluating which types of units it sends to meet war-zone demands, building more combat brigade formations and looking at the possibility of whether a maneuver enhancement brigade can be sent in place of a brigade combat team (BCT). BCT’s have the busiest operation tempo in the Guard with an average of five units deployed each year. To read more about the strategies being considered, visit http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/06/army_guard_deploy_060708w/.
Longer, Family-Friendly Tours Proposed for Forces in South Korea
Army General Walter Sharp, the new command of the forces in South Korea, believes extending the tours of U.S Troops serving in South Korea to allow them the opportunity to bring their families, is long overdue. General Sharp says it is a matter of principle to allow Troops to bring their families rather than continue the policy of unaccompanied tours. The U.S. currently stations about 28,500 Troops in South Korea. To read more about the planned transition, visit http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2008/06/ap_gateskorea_060208/.
ABC Seeks Military Family Members for Pilot of New Game Show
Producers are seeking outgoing and fun military family members for a new ABC game show offering a large cash prize. Potential contestants must apply by July 3, 2008. Although full details of the show cannot be revealed, producers have indicated it is a family friendly show that will involve general knowledge questions. Families who have children between the ages of 7-21 and who want to be considered for the game show should email email@example.com with the following information: name, contact information, picture of the family and home, brief biography of each family member with their ages, any challenges the family faces, a wish list of home improvements and a statement of why you want to be on the show. For additional information, go to http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2008/05/military_gameshow_053008w/.
Army Child and Youth Services (CYS) Offers Summer Opportunities to Military Youth
CYS is offering opportunities for Army teens to volunteer, get involved in their communities, participate in leadership development programs and meet other military teens from around the country. Teens can fill their summer days with a wide array of activities. To check out all the programs available, visit the CYS website at https://www.arfp.org/skins/cys/cys_home.aspx.
Deployments Are Tough on Military Kids
Approximately 150 people from all military branches, academics and civilian counselors, and school officials addressed the affect of deployment on military kids at the McChord Summit at McChord Air Force Base, WA. The stories shared by the participating youths provided additional insight into their struggles during deployments. For more information on the Summit and the impact of deployment on children, visit http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/379086.html.
Locations with Greatest Need Receive Additional Mental Health Care Providers
The U.S Public Health Care Service (PHS) is sending mental health professionals to locations with the greatest need in order to increase mental health services for active duty Service Members, retirees, and their families. The PHS Commissioned Corps is a uniformed service of more than 6,000 well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals who provide health care to people in need and respond to public health emergencies. PHS Corps offices care for military personnel, but they are not members of the military and do not deploy. To read more about the partnership, visit the Military Health System at http://www.health.mil/ or the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps at http://www.usphs.gov.
Red Tape Effects Insurance Coverage for Service Members with PTSD
Service Members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are running into roadblocks when they try to use their military insurance for mental health care. According to military family advocacy groups, a shortage of military health providers has caused a huge delay in treatment for patients at U.S. installations. TRICARE’s low reimbursement rates, which are linked to Medicare levels, and slow claims processing, discourage civilian doctors and psychiatrists to accept patients. Many providers accepting current TRICARE patients will not be accepting new ones. According to the latest Pentagon figures, some 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2003 and the number of cases rose by roughly 50% in 2007. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas. Read more at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/38812.html.
Maryland Veterans Bill Prevents Veterans from Falling Through the Cracks
The state of Maryland launched a $2.8 million program to assist Service Members from “falling through the cracks” of the mental health care system. State coordinators will help Maryland veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan get access to mental health treatment from the U.S Department of Veteran’s Affairs. If the response of the federal government is too slow, the new Maryland program will allow access to private providers and will pay for the services. For additional information on Senate bill 872 and House bill 984, visit http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/billfile/sb0872.htm.
Psychologist’s E-Mail about PTSD Draws Attention of the Court
A federal judge indicated that an e-mail from a Veteran’s Affair’s psychologist suggesting that counselors diagnose fewer post-traumatic stress disorder cases raises “potentially serious questions” related to a lawsuit that alleges inadequate veteran’s medical care. A coordinator of a post-traumatic stress disorder clinical team in central Texas authored the e-mail. She later indicated that it was not written properly and she merely meant to remind counselors that they could diagnose patients with a less severe stress condition known as “adjustment disorder.” Lawyers from the veteran’s groups alleging inadequate care argue that it is an indication of the VA’s indifference to treating mental health. To read more on this story, visit http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/06/ap_vetcare_email_060508/.
New National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Maryland
A new National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, MD will provide outpatient evaluation, initial treatment plans and long-term follow up care for Service Members suffering from traumatic brain injury. Built with over $75 million in funding from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the center will also feature advanced diagnostics that will assist physicians in determining if a Service Member has a mild traumatic brain injury which may not be detected on a CT scan. Officials estimate as many as 150,000 Troops have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion. For further information, read the full article in the Air Force Times at http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2008/06/military_tbi_center_060308w/.
The Transitional Compensation Program Provides Family Help in Abusive Situations
Family members involved in abusive situations can get help from the Transitional Compensation (TC) program. Family members must apply through their local Family Advocacy Program Manager, Victim Witness Liaison or Victim Advocate at the Amy Community Service (ACS) center to receive a wide array of assistance. Eligible family members receive monetary compensation payable for 12 to 36 months. More information is available at www.myarmylifetoo.com.
DoD Formulary Now Available Electronically to Civilian Providers
TRICARE Management Activity has arranged for civilian providers to receive the Department of Defense Uniform Formulary electronically though RxHub, which provides prescription information to primary care managers. The DoD formulary in an electronic format will provide civilian providers with more accurate information about the DoD pharmacy benefits and improve quality of care. For more information about the MHS, go to www.health.mil.
TRICARE Beneficiaries Receive Greater Access to Cancer Prevention and Clinical Trials
An interagency agreement between the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides TRICARE beneficiary’s enhanced options for cancer care and greater access to the latest advances in cancer prevention and treatment through clinical trials. TRICARE-eligible cancer patients are involved in NCI-sponsored Phase II and Phase III cancer clinical trials as well as cancer prevention trials. Phase II trials typically study the effectiveness of new drugs or therapies against a specific type of cancer. Phase III trials compare new treatments to existing therapies. In cancer prevention trials, patients take medications or supplements, or participate in certain activities that doctors believe will lower their cancer risk. For additional information, visit www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/TRICARE.
Donate a Free Mammogram at the Breast Cancer Site by Clicking a Button
The Breast Cancer site is asking for individuals to log on and “click” in order to donate a free mammogram each day to an underprivileged woman. To participate, go to http://www.thebreastcancersite.com and click on the ‘donating a mammogram’ pink button. Corporate sponsors and advertisers will donate funding based on the number of “clicks” the website receives.
Uncooked Tomatoes Linked to Salmonella
Over 40 illnesses in Texas and New Mexico have been linked to salmonella food poisoning from raw tomatoes, according to U.S. health officials. Several cases are under investigation by the Center for Disease Control. Salmonella is a bacterial infection that lives in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals. It is usually transmitted to humans by eating contaminated foods. Across the nation, fast food providers and restaurants have pulled tomatoes from their menu. To read more, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2008/06/04/AR2008060400589.html?referrer=emailarticle.
Recently Approved Pentagon Directive May Expose Private Communications
Attorneys expressed alarm over a recent Pentagon directive which provides permission for the government to “inspect and seize data,” and states that “communications using, or data stored on, this [government information system] are not private, are subject to routine monitoring, interception, and search, and may be disclosed or used for and government-authorized purpose”. Legal experts are concerned that the directive will have a dramatic effect on client communications. To read more about this issue, visit http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2008/06/military_attorneyclient_privilege_060308w/.
Security Breech Reveals Sensitive Walter Reed Patient Information
In the latest series of breaches of government computer records, the Army is investigating how patient information at Walter Reed was discovered on a non-government, non-secure computer. The hospital is attempting to contact all of the patients listed in the data file, but Walter Reed officials declined to reveal how many patients were affected or how many were from other military hospitals. To read the article in the Washington Post, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/02/AR2008060201274.html?referrer=emailarticle.
Chase Offers Cash Back to Military Service Members Buying or Selling a Home
Through the new Home Connect real estate assistance program, Chase is offering cash back to military members and veterans on the sale or purchase of a home using a Home Connect real estate agent. Military Service Members would receive from $175 on a home under $75,000 up to $2,500 on a $625,000 home. In order to participate in this program, please call (800) 463-3992 or visit http://chasemilitaryhomeloan.com.