Hello and greetings from the Defense Health Agency!
We hope you have all had a great start to the new year. This message is intended to be the first of a regular email we will distribute to you to highlight select stories and articles from around the Military Health System and other topics that may be of interest to you and your networks.
As is fitting with the start of any new year, January was a month where the DHA puts some attention on healthy living and encourages our readers to set goals, create healthy habits, and instill a sense of service that can buoy us through the coming months. Subjects like weight management for lasting health, good sleep, and blood donation are enduring topics that translate not only to each individual, but also to military readiness as well.
Our news center teams have worked hard all month on pieces in each of these areas and more. DHA has also sent a call to action to our beneficiaries to donate blood through the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) to curtail shortages, reminding readers that any eligible donor can make an donation appointment at https://www.militarydonor.com/. And a great way to start off the new year is to increase understanding of the TRICARE benefit. Check out our TRICARE 101 articles and TRICARE For Life podcast series that explain more. These are great reference resources vital to our beneficiaries.
Below we highlight some of these articles and includes direct links to web pages and spotlight sections. We hope you find this information valuable to you and potentially to your communication efforts.
Thanks for all you do to support our service members, veterans and their families!
STORIES AND TOPICS OF INTEREST:
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT FOR LASTING HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL FITNESS
Featured Health Topic: Weight Management for Lasting Health
Communication Toolkit: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/MHS-Toolkits/Weight-Management-for-Lasting-Health
Spotlight -- Nutritional Fitness
Articles of interest:
JAN. 14: Six Immediate Health Benefits You Will See If You Lose a Little Weight
Did you know that dropping just 10 pounds of body weight takes 40 pounds of pressure off your knees? That's equivalent to not carrying around a cinder block.
JAN. 20: You’d Be Surprised How Eating Habits Affect You and Your Readiness
Physical fitness is more than just a set of scores measuring your body-mass index, run times, or how many push-ups you can do. Optimizing your physical fitness requires a good diet, healthy lifestyle, strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance all working together.
JAN. 26: Ask the Doc: The Dangers of Yo-Yo Diets and How to Avoid Them
Physical activity is a key component of maintaining one's health. A mix of cardiorespiratory, resistance, and flexibility training should be included as a part of an ongoing exercise plan. However, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Therefore, you must also have a healthy eating pattern that you can maintain long-term. In doing so, foods should not be labeled as 'good' or 'bad.' Instead, a healthy eating pattern should be centered on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, with other foods added in moderation.
JAN. 27: Need Help Managing Your Weight? See what TRICARE Covers
Keeping a healthy weight can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. And with the right support, it’s possible. Whether you’re a service member, retiree, or a family member, you can work with a health care provider. They can help you understand your weight and its impact on your health. And get you started toward diet and exercise goals to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Here are some of the services TRICARE covers and tips to help you with weight management.
JAN. 31: How a Dietitian Can Help You Lose Weight and Maintain Readiness
If you've struggled unsuccessfully to lose weight in the past, it might be time to try getting some professional help. A trained nutritionist can help you reach your goals by designing a personalized plan based on your health status, your individual needs, and your lifestyle.
NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH
JAN. 12: Blood Needed: Armed Services Blood Program Urges Donors to Step Up
The Armed Services Blood Program says donations are down and is encouraging volunteers to step up and donate blood to replenish the supply. "Blood supply is critically low across the nation," not only for the ASBP, but for civilian organizations as well, said Army Col. Audra Taylor, the ASBP's division chief. "’Historically, donations decrease in the holiday and winter months due to schedule changes, people taking leave, families going on vacation, weather conditions or illnesses impeding people from donating,’ Taylor said. ‘This year, it's all of those things in addition to COVID-19 restrictions and overall health and safety concerns for potential donors and ASBP blood donor center team members.’"
JAN. 24: Saving Lives Starts with You: Celebrating and Thanking Donors during National Blood Donor Month
This January marks the annual observance of National Blood Donor Month. Donations from generous individuals allow the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) to continue to provide lifesaving blood products to service members and their families in their times of need. For 70 years, voluntary donations have allowed the ASBP to source and deliver safe and effective blood products to warfighters at the edges of the battlefield and to their families all around the world.
Sign up to donate!: https://www.militarydonor.com/
TRICARE 101 AND TRICARE FOR LIFE
TRICARE is the uniformed services health care program for active duty service members (ADSMs), active duty family members (ADFMs), National Guard and Reserve members and their family members, retirees and retiree family members, survivors, and certain former spouses worldwide. TRICARE brings together the health care resources of the Military Health System—such as military hospitals and clinics—with a network of civilian health care professionals, institutions, pharmacies, and suppliers to foster, protect, sustain, and restore health for those entrusted to their care.
JAN. 13: New to TRICARE? Check Out TRICARE 101:
Are you a recent TRICARE enrollee, newly eligible to enroll, or even a seasoned user? If you have any questions about your TRICARE benefits, you should first check out the TRICARE 101 page. Here, you can find information and resources to help answer questions about TRICARE and your coverage. “The TRICARE 101 page can point you to every aspect of TRICARE you might have questions about,” said Robert Agnello, deputy chief of the Digital Communications, TRICARE Web and Publications at the Defense Health Agency. “The page is a helpful resource, especially if you’re new to TRICARE and just trying to understand how TRICARE works.”
ICYMI: Review Your TRICARE Health Plan Costs for 2022:
Annual cost changes for most TRICARE health plans started Jan. 1. Cost changes reflect decisions made by Congress, cost-of-living adjustments, changes to the cost of health care services and drugs, and more. This affects enrollment fees and premiums for some individuals, as well as certain out-of-pocket costs.
Direct Link to 2022 TRICARE Costs and Fees Sheets:
TRICARE FOR LIFE:
TRICARE For Life Handbook
A handbook that provides an overview of the TRICARE For Life (TFL) program—Medicare-wraparound coverage for beneficiaries who are eligible for both TRICARE and Medicare. The handbook describes how TFL works, getting care, TFL coverage, pharmacy coverage, dental coverage, claims and keeping DEERS information up to date during life changes. Contact information is also included.
TRICARE For Life: Choosing Your Provider Option
Do you have medical coverage under the TRICARE For Life (TFL) program? Will you soon be eligible for TFL? If so, it’s important to become familiar with your choices of Medicare providers, whatever your needs may be. There are two main categories of Medicare providers: participating and non-participating. A third category is opt-out providers, which are your most expensive option. If you wish to make the best choice for your coverage, it’s important that you learn the differences between each provider type.
“Get to Know TRICARE” Podcast – TRICARE For Life
Get to Know TRICARE” is an educational podcast created to provide TRICARE benefit information to the nearly 9.6 million beneficiaries worldwide—including active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, and military family members.
TRICARE has published 16 episodes focused on TRICARE For Life, an excellent resource that can go with you via Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or listen to it right on the TRICARE podcast page.
Listen to how to understand the claims process, MEDICARE vs. TRICARE, what is and isn’t covered, starting a TFL checklist, and 12 other TFL topics.
NEWS FROM AROUND THE MHS
Our latest newsroom feature – News Around the MHS – brings in stories from around the Military Health System, an interconnected network whose mission is to care for those who support our country. These are just a few articles highlighting news and accomplishments that don't always make it to the front pages.
JAN. 13: Optimizing sleep as a Soldier: The science, challenges, and significance
Sustained mental health is critical to establishing and maintaining a medically ready force, and sleep can play a part in protecting that readiness. If a Soldier is suffering from burnout and mental exhaustion, they are more likely to leave the Army earlier and seek more health treatment while on active duty, both of which can financially strain the Army. Those negative feelings can be caused – or exacerbated – by poor sleep habits.
JAN. 14: Stay Healthy, Stay Ready
Having a healthy lifestyle is a major part of Army life; it is ingrained into the minds of Soldiers early on in their careers. While Soldiers may begin to struggle once they leave the controlled training environment, U.S. Army National Guard Capt. Michael Owens, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-181st Field Artillery Regiment, 30th Troop Command is successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a busy schedule and has set a personal goal to max the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), an undertaking few have achieved in the best circumstances.
JAN. 18: Lejeune medical personnel get ready for a new type of patient care: MHS GENESIS
With the New Year comes a new electronic health record for Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune beneficiaries. On March 19, 2022, NMCCL will officially transition to using MHS GENESIS, the Military Health System’s new structure for electronic health records, or EHR, for service members, retirees, and their families. MHS GENESIS will become the standard for medical facilities serving the Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs’ health care facilities. According to U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jeremy Moore, MHS GENESIS means easier navigation for beneficiaries through the military health care system.
JAN. 19: Oregon National Guard surging to support hospitals again
SALEM, Ore. - Hundreds of Oregon National Guard members are increasing support of hospitals throughout the state in their second hospital relief mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new activation beginning Jan. 18 will put about 1,200 Oregon Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen in as many as 40 hospitals facing a surge of patients with the coronavirus.
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM WATER UPDATES
The Navy has a dedicated web site -- https://www.cpf.navy.mil/JBPHH-Water-Updates/ -- that delivers up-to-date information to families and all of those who live and work on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam who use the Navy's water safe and healthy. It includes videos and transcripts of town halls with leaders, medical experts, and other subject matter experts. In addition, a dedicated news and information site on Defense Visual Information Distribution Service currently features more than 44 videos, 384 images, and 17 features stories.
The views expressed in the articles in this publication are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizations for which they work, CWOAUSCG, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.