TRICARE Changes Specialty Prescription Program

Apr 23 2015

Published by under Health & Living

Effective May 1, specialty TRICARE prescriptions will be available only through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery, military treatment facilities, Wal-mart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Target. Under this new arrangement, beneficiaries have three options to fill specialty medications:

  • Use the free TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery service. Visit www.express-scripts.com/tricare or call (888) 455-4342 to transfer a prescription.
  • Visit a retail pharmacy in the specialty network. Choose among Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Target.
  • Go to a military treatment facility pharmacy. Call ahead to make sure they have your medication.

Transfer your prescription as soon as possible to avoid any interruptions. TRICARE explains specialty medications at http://1.usa.gov/1Da7ciF.

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Veterans Hike as Therapy

Apr 23 2015


Proposed in 1921, the Appalachian Trail (AT) was built by private citizens, and by 1937 it covered 2,185 miles from Maine’s Mount Katahdin to Springer Mountain in Georgia. As one of 11 National Scenic Trails, it’s now maintained by federal and state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

Many people hike portions of the AT, and intrepid “thru-hikers” hike it all in a season. Thru-hiking is no new undertaking. In 1948, World War II veteran Earl Shaffer — seeking to “walk off” his war — became the AT’s first thru-hiker.

Over the years, more veterans have taken up hiking to walk off their war, and several programs assist those journeys. Warrior Hike (www.warriorhike.org), founded by former Marine Corps Capt. Sean Gobin of Charlottesville, Va., provides equipment, supplies, and community support on six National Scenic Trails. After a hike, the group helps veterans with job placement.

Gobin finds hiking has three main therapeutic benefits: “First, hiking eight hours a day with no cell[phone] or computer, your brain has no choice but to process the trauma of experiences. Next, you’re with other combat vets who’ve had similar experiences. Finally, there’s great support from little towns we pass with people you don’t know giving you a hot shower, meals, and a bed. It helps reconnect with normalcy.”

Many of the hosts Warrior Hike depends on are veterans’ groups who provide mentorship and crucial insight, Gobin says.

The 2015 Warrior Hike group started on the AT March 15 and will spend May hiking through Virginia. Not every thru-hiker — veteran or civilian — makes it all the way. The typical attrition rate is 80 percent, says Gobin. “We’re closer to 50.” But, he says, those who only hike for a month still experience transformation.

— Col. Glenn Pribus, USAF (Ret), and Marilyn Pribus

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TBI Implant Coming

Apr 23 2015

In the past seven years alone, more than 270,000 servicemembers have been affected by traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and many suffer long-term effects of this unpredictable medical issue. Researchers at several U.S. universities might soon have a novel answer for these servicemembers. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded $40 million to the University of Pennsylvania; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for a Restoring Active Memory project to design and test a “neuroprosthesis” — a fully implantable wireless brain chip to bridge broken neural pathways. The chip will allow patients to access old memories while encoding new ones.

The goal, says Dr. Justin Sanchez, a biomedical engineer and program manager at DARPA, is to “demonstrate in patients that this integrated device can effectively restore memory function in a human after having been implanted for at least 14 days.”

A project of this difficulty is no easy feat. First, scientists must understand exactly how the brain encodes memories such as events, times, and places. Then they must determine how to help the brain reestablish memories. Finally, they’ll develop an implant that accurately delivers targeted neural stimulation.

Does this sound like science fiction? Researchers don’t think so. DARPA aims to have a prototype within four years. “In the end,” says Sanchez, “we hope to have accelerated research that can minimize the long-term impacts of traumatic brain injuries, helping servicemembers and others overcome memory deficits.”

— Deborah Huso

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MOAA Military Family Initiative Sees Early Success

Apr 23 2015

The MOAA Military Family Initiative is off to a flying start from its late-2014 Giving Tuesday and $25-in-’15 campaigns. The foundation has raised $554,505 during the past six months. Foundation Director Col. Mike Turner, USAF (Ret), and MOAA thank all who have contributed to help the association support more than a dozen programs that aid servicemembers and veterans of all ranks and services and their families and survivors. Programs like the MOAA VA claims assistance program, Lawyers for Heroes, MOAA military spouse symposia, and MOAA career fairs provide more than 15,000 military family members with valuable, hands-on training and information in areas of critical need each year.

Learn about the foundation in the February 2015 feature “A Growing Need” at www.moaa.org/moarchive.

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MOAA Endorses National Service Program

Apr 23 2015

In February, MOAA leadership took a pledge with the Franklin Project reinforcing the association’s commitment to never stop serving by ensuring every young American — military or civilian — has a chance to become civically engaged in national service through projects like the Peace Corps (above), Teach for America, military service, and many others. The Franklin Project, a private initiative sponsored by the Aspen Institute, intends to reenergize the notion of citizenship and create 1 million civilian national-service opportunities every year for Americans between the ages of 18 and 28.

MOAA President Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., USN (Ret), met with representatives from the Franklin Project and says he is proud to get MOAA involved in an initiative with potential to bridge the military-civilian disconnect.

“When less than 1 percent of our nation has served in the military, many Americans remain unaware of what military service means and how to talk about service,” Ryan says. “This is a worthy initiative that can help bring the country together through a shared experience.”

In addition to supporting MOAA’s pledge, individual servicemembers and veterans are encouraged to pledge support at www.franklinproject.org/pledge.

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