VA cancer treatment update: Age, not overall health or prognosis, plays too large a role in determining what patients get cancer treatment, according to a new study from the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. The study focused on more than 20,000 patients 65 and older with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and found that younger patients were more likely to receive treatment than older patients, regardless of their health status or chance for improvement.
In fact, for all stages of the cancer, treatment rates decreased more in association with advancing age than with the worsening of other illnesses. As a result, patients between the ages of 65 to 74 who were severely ill from other illnesses received treatment at roughly the same rates as those in the same age range with no co-morbidities. Yet, the authors noted, the patients who were severely ill from other conditions were less likely to benefit and more likely to be harmed from cancer treatment.
The study, based on an analysis of the electronic health records of veterans who were in the VA Central Cancer Registry from 2003 to 2008, was published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. [Source: U.S. Medicine | Oct 2012]
Tricare prime update: This October retirees have seen their Tricare Prime enrollment fees increased to $269.28 per year for individuals and $538.56 per year for retirees with families. Retirees should know that Tricare is warning that these enrollment fees could increase again when Congress passes the final FY 2013 budget. Retirees can choose to pay the enrollment fees annually, quarterly or monthly. Tricare Prime enrollment fees are non-refundable, in most cases. Tricare is recommending that retirees pay either monthly (through automatic deduction/charge) or quarterly due to the chance enrollment fees may increase again before the end of the fiscal year. Note: To date there have been no changes to Tricare for Life – enrollment remains free to retirees over age 65. The current fee payments for Tricare Prime are:
• Annual payment: Individual: $269.28 - family: $538.56
• Quarterly payment: Individual: $67.32 - family: $134.64
• Monthly payment: Individual: $22.44 - family: $44.88
An exception to the fee increase applies to survivors of active duty deceased sponsors and medically retired uniformed service members and their dependents. Their fees remain frozen at the rate in effect at the time they are classified in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) as survivors or medically retired and enrolled. Fees remain frozen as long as there is no break in their Tricare Prime enrollment. Refer to tricare.mil/mybenefit/Download/Forms/PrimeFee_FS.pdf TRICARE Prime Fact Sheet for additional info. [Source: Military.com | Terry Howell | 11 Oct 2012]
PTSD Update: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is pushing the Pentagon to move forward with its military-wide review of how soldiers are diagnosed with PTSD and other behavioral health. Murray, the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Oct. 18. In June, Panetta called for the review after it was disclosed that medical screeners at the Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have reversed since 2007 hundreds of diagnoses of PTSD based on the expense of providing care and benefits to members of the military. The evaluations are the key first step in determining soldiers’ disability benefits. In the letter, Murray calls on Panetta to provide a timeline of the review and requesting the next steps. [Source: Associated Press article 19 Oct 2012]
Vet jobs update: The “Get Skills to Work” program — which will be run by the Manufacturing Institute — will launch with 15,000 veterans immediately and work to train 85,000 more over the next three years. According to industry experts, roughly 600,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the United States, but hiring managers have difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills.
The initiative goes beyond government training programs for separating troops and is the latest push by corporate America help bridge the gap between veterans’ military skills and the ones they’ll need to succeed in business. On Oct. 27, Home Depot will host a career workshops for veterans at stores across the country, to cover resume writing and interview techniques for any job.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has hosted more than 300 “Hiring our Heroes” job fairs in the last year, and offered a host of resources to help connect unemployed veterans and understaffed companies. And the White House’s Joining Forces campaign has teamed with hundreds of businesses to find jobs for more than 175,000 veterans over the last 18 months, with a goal of more than 250,000 by 2016. The new “Get Skills to Work” program will offer accelerated skills training, through regional community colleges, for veterans with a range of technical military skills — a population primed to succeed in the industry, Timmons said.
More information is available online at www.GetSkillstoWork.org. [Source: Stars and Stripes | Leo Shane | 15 Oct 2012]
Times Square V-J day kiss: World War II iconic photo under attack. Feminist bloggers are saying the iconic image of a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day in Times Square depicts an act of sexual assault.
At least two people, however, disagree — the sailor and the woman, who was actually a dental assistant, in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous Life magazine photo. George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman — identified as the kissing couple by “The Kissing Sailor,” a book published this year by the U.S. Naval Institute — called the moment an act of unbridled celebration. “I can’t think of anybody who considered that as an assault,” said Friedman, who exchanges Christmas cards with Mendonsa every year and has appeared with him at several reunion events. “It was a happy event.”
London-based blogger “Leopard” wrote a post titled “The Kissing Sailor, or ‘The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture,’ ” on Sept. 30 at www.cratesandribbons.com. In her blog, Leopard cites a 2005 interview with Friedman conducted by the Veteran’s History Project of the Library of Congress about the kiss between strangers. In the interview, Friedman says she was “grabbed by a sailor” and that she “felt that he was very strong. He was just holding me tight.” “It seems pretty clear, then, that what George had committed would be considered sexual assault by modern standards. Yet, in an amazing feat of willful blindness, none of the articles comment on this.
The former sailor, who was stationed aboard the destroyer The Sullivan, said, “I happened to be glad the war was over and grabbed a nurse because I saw what the nurses did on the hospital ships out there in the Pacific.” [Source: Various]
Flags: The American Legion Post 70 has on hand American flags, all of the military service flags, POW/MIA flags, and SC State flags. Contact a member of Post 70 to purchase flags; the cost is $5.
American Legion Post 70 - Meeting at 1800 on the third Tuesday of the month. For more information, please contact Thomas Crisp at 940-2793.
American Legion Post 24, of Newberry, meeting is on the second Tuesday of the month at 1830. The American Legion Auxiliary – unit 24 meet the same day at 3 p.m. at Post 24.