News Briefs, Nov. 1, 2014

Marines postpone uniform changes

The Corps has decided against the proposed insignia modification that would have changed the enlisted rank worn on woodland utilities from black to brushed brass, and against the proposed requirement for all officers to own and wear the Sam Browne belt while in the dress blue uniform. The uniform board had sent out a survey to Marines on these proposed uniform changes. After reviewing the survey results, Amos made his decision not to change the current regulation. Currently there has not been a decision regarding the utility changeover dates. The decision is slated to be revisited in the future.

VA ‘Choice Card’: Uncertainties swirl as deadline nears

Congress last August gave the Department of Veteran Affairs 90 days to issue medical “Choice Cards” to 9.1 million veterans enrolled in VA care. The tight deadline of Nov. 5 won’t be met, say representatives of major veteran organizations who attend periodic VA briefings on plans for rollout of the Choice Card. The card will ensure veterans have access to private sector health care if they reside more than 40 miles from a VA clinic or hospital, or if they face unacceptable waits, usually longer than 30 days, to access VA healthcare. The simple guarantee, centerpiece of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, is not so simple to deliver, at least in 90 days.

Some seek to rename PTSD

Physicians Eugene Lipov, M.D. (developer of Stellate Ganglion Block for treatment of PTSD) and Frank Ochberg, M.D. Of East Lansing, Mich. agree that the word “disorder,” when associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), completely misses the mark because the condition is medically and technically a biological phenomenon. In recent years, Dr. Ochberg has led a movement to drop “disorder” and replace it with “injury,” essentially rebranding the acronym as Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). Dr. Lipov, along with U.S. military physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, were able to demonstrate that a biologic effect of numbing the nerves in the neck via a sympathetic ganglion block treatment appears to reboot the brain to a pre-trauma state with a 72-percent success rate. The results were published in the October 2014 edition of AMSUS, Military Medicine’s International Journal.

Beware of Medicare scammers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that some scammers claimed to be calling on behalf of the government to verify information for a new Medicare card or Medicare-related package. In fact, it was a ruse to get people’s bank account information to make unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts. The callers said they needed to verify people’s identities using information that included the consumers’ bank account numbers. According to the FTC, the scammers told people that their information would not be used to debit their bank accounts and that there was no charge for their services. But the FTC alleges that was a lie as bank accounts were debited for $400 or more within a couple of months. Never give out your bank account information to someone who contacts you over the phone.

For more on credit and debt, and personal finance tips, visit the Money section at www.military.com.

Team for America wants veterans

Teach For America, the nonprofit organization that sends recent college graduates and professionals to teaching positions at low-income schools, wants to enlist military veterans into its ranks. The organization helps its “corps members” earn teaching certifications in exchange for a two-year teaching commitment. Participants who go on to become TFA alumni have access to additional resources such as leadership training and job opportunities provided by TFA and its vast network of alumni. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

New Marine in charge of Corps

After nearly four years as commandant, Gen. James F. Amos on Oct. 17, 2014, passed command to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. in a ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington. Amos, who is retiring, has a long record of leadership and impressive accomplishments in his 44 years of military service.

Gen. Dunford becomes the 36th commandant of the Marine Corps after a storied career as an infantry officer.

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