Military Health System/Defense Health Agency Outreach Partners:
Hello and greetings from the Defense Health Agency! The end of meteorological winter brings the second edition of the MHS RoundUp, our new, regular monthly email we distribute to our partners to highlight select stories from around the Military Health System and other topics we believe may be of interest to you.
First, the latest initiative to share is a recent change to the at-home COVID-19 testing policy. You may have seen the announcement last Friday that the Department of Defense will now offer at-home COVID-19 tests for military beneficiaries at military hospitals or clinics in the coming weeks. Supplies may be limited, as the Department must use its limited allotment of at-home tests to first meet clinical and operational testing requirements. We have updated our Q&A on TRICARE.mil to reflect these changes, as well.
Read more at these links:
Headline: Defense Department Announces Distribution of COVID-19 Tests for Military Beneficiaries
Headline: Answering Your Questions About COVID-19 Testing
We dedicated some effort in February to focus on dental health, a key component to the overall health of our service members and all beneficiaries, and often one that may not rise to the level it needs to. We highlighted why dental health is important along with new dental technology in military health. Below is just a sample of some of the articles produced this month. We also promoted information on TRICARE qualifying life events, using the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool, and a reminder why it’s important to keep DEERS current. We hope you find these pieces informative.
PS: Be on the lookout for another email by week’s end on our March focus area: Brain Injury Awareness. We will share our toolkit and will also send out a roundup resource guide that will display the work we do around the MHS to help support our service members.
Thanks for all you do to support our service members, veterans and their families!
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MHS/DHA Speaker’s Bureau: Is your organization looking for an interesting speaker for an upcoming event? Military Health System (MHS) speakers are experts in their fields and can offer informative and timely presentations on a wide range of topics. It’s best to submit requests as early as possible – 90 days or more -- to allow for coordination with our leaders and subject matter experts. Use our online form to initiate the request process: https://www.health.mil/About-MHS/OASDHA/Defense-Health-Agency/Speakers-Bureau
RECENT STORIES AND TOPICS OF INTEREST:
Feature Page: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/MHS-Toolkits/Weight-Management-for-Lasting-Health
Total Force Fitness Medical and Dental Preventative Care page: https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Preventive-Health
TRICARE Resources for Dental Health:
TRICARE Active Duty Dental Program page: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Dental/ADDental
TRICARE Dental Program page: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Dental/TDP
TRICARE Find a Dentist page: https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Dental/FindDentist
Articles of interest:
FEB. 1: Ask the Doc: Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist
Dear Doc: I have several colleagues in my unit who don't like – or even fear – visiting the dentist. Some go as far as to live with a toothache or other oral problem for months just to avoid seeing their dentists. I wonder if you could share a few tips for how my colleagues and others can overcome this fear? Could you also provide a few tips related to oral health you wished everyone knew or kept in mind?
FEB. 4: Why Dental Health is Essential for Warfighters and Military Readiness
To help service members understand the importance of healthy teeth, some dentists use military-style terminology. Tooth decay is an "enemy you are fighting" and you need to "execute a plan to eliminate that foe," said Air Force Col (Dr.) Robin Fontenot, a consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General for expeditionary dentistry. Fontenot compares routine dental check-ups to aircraft maintenance. By all criteria, dental health is a key component of "readiness," both for individuals and for units.
FEB. 15: How 3D-Printed Teeth and Other New Tech are Transforming Dental Care
Dentistry and the tools to improve the dental field have come a long way from the days of George Washington, when he endured painful metal dentures made with horse and cow teeth. Thanks to technology, the evolution of dentistry is improving patient care. One key milestone for the Department of Defense came in November 2020 when doctors conducted the first jaw reconstruction surgery DOD website article: Marine Receives DOD's First Jaw Reconstruction Using 3D-Printed Teeth using 3D-printed teeth.
FEB. 24: Tobacco and Your Oral Health
There’s a great deal of scientific information that proves using tobacco products is seriously harmful to your health. Nicotine products can increase your risks for cancer of the throat, lungs, and stomach. Also, tobacco products can negatively impact your oral health in several ways.
FEB. 28: Teeth Grinding: You Won't Believe How Harmful it Really Is https://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2022/02/28/Teeth-Grinding-You-Wont-Believe-How-Harmful-it-Really-Is
Are you a teeth grinder or a jaw clencher? You might not even realize that you’re doing it, especially while you’re sleeping. But your jaw can grit and grind with as much as 250 pounds of force. Ouch! Chronic, involuntary teeth grinding – technically called bruxism – can lead to all sorts of health problems. You could crack or fracture your teeth, which may require crowns or dental implants. You could also wear down the enamel on your teeth, leading to periodontal disease or lost teeth.
FEB. 1: What You Need to Know About TRICARE Qualifying Life Events
The new year is upon us. Will 2022 be a year of big changes? If so, how will those changes affect you and your health care coverage? It isn’t uncommon for military families to experience lots of change. That’s why TRICARE allows you to enroll in, or change your TRICARE coverage after certain events, known as Qualifying Life Events (QLEs).
FEB. 8: 5 Reasons to Check Your Prescription on the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool
Do you have questions about your prescription drug? Maybe you don’t know where you can fill your new prescription, or how much it will cost. TRICARE and its pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts, provides an online tool where you can search for information on specific drugs to see whether they’re available through the TRICARE pharmacy benefit. It’s called the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool.
FEB. 15: Is Your DEERS Information Up to Date?
When is the last time you checked to see if your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is up to date? If it’s been a while, take time to log in to DEERS and review your information. Keeping information on you and your family current in DEERS is important. Inaccurate information in the DEERS database could prevent you from being able to use your TRICARE benefits properly.
Heart Health Month 2022:
Please check out our video message on heart health – from the heart!
OTHER NEWS AROUND THE MHS
FEB. 4: Air Force Invisible Wounds Initiative helps build a supportive culture
As part of the ongoing Invisible Wounds Initiative Campaign launched by Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., chief of staff of the Air Force, and Air Force Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, chief of Space Operations, the service is working to improve the perception of invisible wounds, remove barriers to care, enhance the continuum of care process, and provide an equitable and supportive environment for those living with invisible wounds. The campaign, launched in October 2021, calls on each command team to act - to lead, support, and engage Airmen and Guardians living with invisible wounds.
FEB. 9: Surgeon devotes career to battlefield trauma care
Col. Jennifer Gurney, a surgeon with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at the Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, Texas, says that her reason to continue her 20-year career is to help build the training and standards it takes to maintain Soldier readiness on the battlefield. While her passion and drive for providing acute care to combat casualties developed early on her military career, Gurney said she made the decision to join for a very straightforward reason.
FEB. 10: Navy Names Top Dietitian of the Year
The Navy's newest named top Registered Dietitian of the Year is U.S. Navy Medicine Readiness Command Guantanamo Bay's, Lt. Daniel Chase Williams, Medical Service Corps, who says there is nothing more rewarding than helping others reach their dietary and nutrition goals. "I love to see others achieve what they believed was impossible and I can do that by helping people translate nutrition science into sustainable healthy dietary behaviors," Lt. Williams said. “Whether it’s for weight management, performance enhancement, or reducing the risks for chronic conditions, I can help people achieve their goals.”
FEB. 16: MHS Video Connect Offers Convenience, Efficiencies for Providers
Virtual health is not only well-established within the medical community, but it will also continue to expand and improve how providers deliver quality care. As a neurosurgeon with the Military Health System, my goal is to provide our beneficiaries with the best possible care. So – in this era of a global pandemic, how do we leverage technology to continue providing that world-class care and maintain medical readiness?
FEB. 25: How to Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea
Do you sometimes wake up feeling tired, headachy, or have a sore or dry mouth? These could be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA. It's one of several common sleep disorders.
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.