Military News

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

VA and DOD Senior Leaders Commit to Aligned Electronic Health Records System Rollout


The U.S. Secretaries of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD) signed a joint statement Sept. 26 pledging that their two departments will align their plans, strategies and structures as they roll out a new electronic health records (EHR) system that will allow VA and DOD to share patient data seamlessly.

Signed by Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the joint statement reinforces both departments’ commitment to ensuring the successful transition from a legacy patient-data system to a modernized one that will continue to support active-duty service members, Veterans and their families.

“The joint statement between DOD and VA represents tangible evidence of our commitment to change how we deliver Veteran-focused, provider-friendly care,” Wilkie said. “The new EHR system will be interoperable with DOD, while also improving VA’s ability to collaborate and share information with community care providers. This will ease the burden on Service members as they transition from military careers and will be supported by multiple medical providers throughout their lives.”

VA signed a contract with Cerner Corp. May 17 to replace VA’s 40-year-old legacy Veterans Integrated System Technology Architecture (VistA) health care records technology over the next 10 years with the new Cerner system, which is in the pilot phase at DOD. Collaborating with DOD will ensure that VA: understands the challenges encountered as DOD deploys its EHR system called Military Health System Genesis (MHS GENESIS); adapts an approach by applying lessons learned to anticipate and mitigate known issues; assesses prospective efficiencies to help deploy faster; and delivers an EHR that is fully interoperable.

"We are committed to partnering with the VA to support the lifetime care of our Service members, Veterans and their families," Mattis said. "This modern electronic health record will ensure those who serve our nation have quality health care as they transition from Service member to Veteran."

“The EHR will give health care providers a full picture of patient medical history, driving better clinical outcomes,” Wilkie said. “It will also help us identify Veterans proactively who are at higher risk for issues, such as opioid addiction and suicide, so health care providers can intervene earlier and save lives.”

Newman’s Own Distributes $200K to 5 Vets Organizations


By Jim Garamone, Defense.gov

WASHINGTON -- The nation, writ large, has a moral responsibility to ensure the needs of veterans are met, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at a ceremony where the Newman’s Own Foundation distributed funds to charities serving service members, their families and veterans.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford praised Newman’s Own for its dedication to service members, veterans and their families. The group distributed $200,000 to five organizations during the Oct. 5 ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

Actor and World War II veteran Paul Newman founded Newman’s Own in 1982 with the goal of donating all of the company’s after tax profits to charities. In the years since, Newman’s Own has donated more than $530 million to thousands of charities. In 1999, the company partnered with the Fisher House Foundation and Military Times publications to aim donations at innovative groups that improve the quality of life for service members, veterans and their families. Since it started, Newman’s Own has recognized 179 programs with awards totaling $1,925,000.

Quality Service Members

“The reason the United States military has been able to do the things it does … throughout my career is because of the quality of young men and women we’ve been able to recruit over time,” the general said at the ceremony.

When Dunford entered the military, the all-volunteer force, which began in 1973, was in its infancy. There were many critics who believed the force would fail. The all-volunteer military has become the superb force of today.

The American people do appreciate the military and the sacrifices military families make, Dunford said. “But I am concerned about keeping this up,” he said. “It goes back to something George Washington said … ‘The manner in which we treat our veterans will determine the willingness of future generations to serve.’”

He said the recipients of the Newman Own Awards this year cover the full spectrum of services Americans want their vets to have. “We would want them to have housing. We would want them to have a job. We would want them to have health care, and a piece of that is we would want them to be connected to men and women with which they served so they don’t feel isolated when they leave active duty,” he said.

Appreciation of Troops’ Service

What these groups -- and many more like them across the nation -- do “really does send a loud and clear message that we really do respect, we value, we appreciate the service of those in uniform,” he said.

This year, the Warrior Reunion Foundation of Cockeysville, Maryland, received a $50,000 grant from Newman’s Own. The group looks to help combat vets reconnect with their comrades they served in combat with. It lets veterans sit down with each other knowing that they experienced the same conditions, same uncertainties and sometimes the same traumas.

The Vets on Track Foundation of Garrisonville, Virginia, received a grant of $37,500. The foundation furnishes homes for vets and their families who were previously living in shelters or the streets.

Code Platoon of Chicago received $37,500 to educate vets and spouses to become software developers.

The West Virginia Health Right of Charleston received $37,500 to provide free dental care for West Virginia vets without dental coverage.
And finally, Healing Warriors Program of Boulder, Colorado received $37,500 to help provide non-narcotic therapies for the treatment of pain and symptoms of post-traumatic stress for vets.