Friday, September 1, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Sept. 1, 2006

DoD Electronic Health Records Provide Better Care

The Defense Department is using electronic medical record keeping to better the quality of medical care, the flow of medical information for the military and for cost monitoring. The Web site for Tricare, the department's managed health care system, now displays the maximum allowable charges it pays for certain types of vendor-provided health care services, said Dr. William J. Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Aug. 24. "If people want to better understand the price and the cost of what they're receiving - maybe shop around a little bit," Dr. Winkenwerder said. He noted that active duty military members aren't required to pay for their personal medical care. However, it's educational for everyone to realize how much health care costs today. "Part of keeping that cost down is to create some competition and to create the incentives for people to use health care efficiently," Dr. Winkenwerder said.

President Bush's Aug. 22 order, "Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care In Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care Programs," stipulates that health care programs administered or sponsored by the federal government "promote quality and efficient delivery of health care through use of health information technology, transparency regarding health care quality and price, and better incentives for program beneficiaries, enrollees and providers." It also stipulates that federal health-care providers "make relevant information available to these beneficiaries, enrollees and providers in a readily usable manner and in collaboration with similar initiatives in the private sector and non-federal public sector."
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Women Choose Family Over Military After Five Years

The Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is now examining why female military doctors, lawyers and chaplains have higher rates of separation after five to eight years of service, compared to their male counterparts. Mary Nelson, DACOWITS chairwoman, spoke about this issue Aug. 25. She said it's important to retain more women; finding out why they leave during that time frame may help with retention. So far, the main reason women are getting out after five to eight years of service is to start a family. A possible solution is establishing opportunities for service members to take a leave of absence. "If we have these off-ramps, where people can get out and take a two-year leave, then it becomes an issue of when they come back, where are they?" she said. "Are they still with their same class they entered with? If so, then they're at a great disadvantage and aren't going to be promoted through the ranks." That means adjustments to date of rank. She mentioned provisions for service members leaving for educational reasons and then returning and suggested the possibility of extensions. Committee members question female service members in focus groups about their reasons for wanting separation. The committee's 2005 report studied issues related to work/life balance and found that most women put their families first. Numerous high-ranking military officials of both genders have stressed to Ms. Nelson that women offer something the military would not have without them - a different perspective.
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Pentagon Implements Changes for Improved Agency Cooperation

Pentagon officials unveiled a reorganization of the Defense Department's policy office Aug. 28. The reason: more interagency cooperation needed. The reorganized office changes the geographic responsibility for policy, and it places cross-cutting functions under one chief. Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, said that the reorganization will allow DoD to better partner with colleagues in other agencies as well as focus on developing the capabilities needed for the war on terror. The geographic area of responsibility regarding policy has shifted. Europe and NATO, the Middle East and Africa will come under the assistant defense secretary for international security affairs. Asia Pacific, South Asia and Central Asia will come under the assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Western hemisphere policy decisions will come under the assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' security affairs.

The assistant secretary for special operations/low intensity conflict will pick up responsibility for strategic capabilities and forces transformation. The reorganization calls for appointing an assistant secretary for global security affairs. This cross-cutting office will oversee policy guidance for building partners capabilities, security cooperation, technical security policy, detainee affairs and POW/MIA affairs. This is the first reorganization of the policy office since the fiscal 2002 National Defense Authorization Act established the assistant secretary for Homeland Defense. Mr. Edelman said the reorganization will be phased in beginning Oct. 1, and conclude by March 2007.
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NGAUS Seeks Deputy Legislative Director

NGAUS is looking for a deputy director of legislative programs. The candidate will be responsible for assisting legislative director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda. Duties include direct lobbying, strategy development and implementation, conducting and overseeing administrative duties and assisting in staff management. The successful candidate will have three to five years of legislative and/or political experience and a strong knowledge of the defense community. The candidate must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in political science and government affairs. Strong advocacy and communication skills are a must; experience in legislative campaign project development and the ability to supervise personnel and lobbying efforts are also required. Closing Date: September 15, 2006. Send cover letter and resume to:
National Guard Association of the United States
Legislative Director
One Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001.
You can also send a resume and cover letter via e-mail to: Richard Green.
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NGAUS History

Maj. Gen. Thomas E. Rilea, a former NGAUS president and adjutant general of Oregon, gave 45 years of service to his state and the nation. He served as president of NGAUS from 1935 to 1936, as vice president from 1934 to 1935, and on the executive council for 13 years. His active-duty service record bracketed the Mexican Border Campaign and both World Wars. His awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Commendation Ribbon, Purple Heart, and Legion of Merit. At the NGAUS "Diamond Jubilee" General Conference in 1953, General Rilea received the association's gold Distinguished Service Medal for "outstanding and distinguished service to the National Guard of the State of Oregon, the National Guard of the United States, the Army of the United States and the National Guard Association of the United States."
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This Week in Guard History

Sept. 2, 1995: Oahu, Hawaii - In a special ceremony held in the National Memorial Cemetery (commonly referred to as the "Punchbowl"), NGAUS, in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau, dedicates a plaque honoring the tens of thousands of National Guard personnel who have served in Pacific conflicts from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to the present. This plaque was dedicated following an earlier such event in Normandy, France, to honor Guard members who served in Europe during the two world wars.
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