DVIDS – News – Military public health experts provide tips for leaders to improve medical readiness


By V. Hauschild, MPH, Defense Centers for Public Health-Aberdeen

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – For more than a decade, military medical surveillance data analyzed by the Army Public Health Center, now Defense Centers for Public Health–Aberdeen, identified the same two leading reasons for Soldiers’ seeking medical care:

• Outpatient visits for injuries, especially overuse injuries to the bone and soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system, and

• Health encounters for behavioral health conditions that include adjustment disorders, depressive disorders, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders and sleep disorders.

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Army data repeatedly show the number of Soldiers affected by injuries and behavioral health conditions exceeds that for all other groups of medical conditions combined.

“These conditions not only require many clinical visits for treatment but also result in profiles for more days of limited duty than all other medical conditions,” says Dr. Bruce Jones, a medical doctor and retired Army colonel, now the senior injury scientist with the DCPH-A. “The temporary profiles for injuries and behavioral health conditions can affect readiness to deploy.”

Army data show approximately one out of five Soldiers may not be mission ready due to temporary medical profiles resulting from either injuries or behavioral health conditions.

The Army’s 2020 Health of the Force report, also known as the HoF, found musculoskeletal, or MSK, injuries such as overuse injuries resulted in an average of over two months of lost or limited duty time per injury. Behavioral health conditions required an average of almost three months of lost or restricted duty per Soldier receiving care.

“Reducing the severity or impact of overuse injuries and behavioral conditions on Soldiers’ health may enhance a unit’s medical readiness and fighting capability,” says Army Col. Mark Reynolds, director of the DCPH-A Clinical and Epidemiology Directorate.

Reynolds and other CPHE health experts advise commanders and leaders to optimize their unit’s health with the following tips:

TIP 1. Be a More Proactive and Engaged Leader

Leading by example and staying in touch with Soldiers is the first step toward maximizing unit strength.

According to a 2016 APHC study, less than one half of Soldiers surveyed felt leadership prioritized injury prevention and kept them informed of key injuries and risk factors. They felt many leaders were unaware of the magnitude of the adverse impacts of injury to the Army, and/or did not recognize what they as leaders can do to reduce these injuries.

According to one respondent noted in the report, “Changing the mentality of injury is a must within the military. … It starts with the drill sergeants not wanting to look weak in front of their trainees and extends up through the [Chain of Command].”

Another respondent, a medical provider, noted “Leaders … play a direct role in helping the junior Soldiers prevent and recover from injury…For example, I am treating a patient with an ankle fracture. He is in a cast and on crutches yet was made to walk for PT.”

Inconsistent leadership support or awareness

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Beginning Tuesday, all U.S. military services veterans in suicidal disaster will be suitable for free care at any VA or private facility

Commencing Tuesday, U.S. armed service veterans who locate by themselves in suicidal crisis will be qualified for cost-free emergency healthcare care at any Department of Veterans Affairs facility or any non-public facility. 

Unlike for most other professional medical positive aspects, veterans do not have to be enrolled in the VA system to be suitable. More than 18 million veterans in the U.S. could be suitable. 

The new policy, which the VA will announce Friday, will include things like up to 30 days of inpatient or disaster residential care and up to 90 days of adhere to-on outpatient care.

The VA previously delivers crisis suicide care, but with the new reward, veterans will not have to pay out any copays or costs for their care. If the veterans receive care at a personal facility relatively than at a VA facility, the federal government will deal with the charges. The VA will also reimburse veterans for ambulance rides to hospitals.

“Veterans in suicidal crisis can now obtain the cost-free, planet-course crisis health treatment they deserve — no subject wherever they need to have it, when they will need it, or whether they’re enrolled in VA treatment,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough reported in a assertion. “This enlargement of treatment will conserve Veterans’ life, and there’s practically nothing additional critical than that.”

The VA has about 9 million veterans enrolled in medical care and an estimated 9 million much more who are not enrolled and are perhaps qualified for treatment. Below the new policy they will be qualified for the exact care at no price tag. 

The VA documented that 6,146 veterans died by suicide in 2020, or an typical of 16.8 per day. Whilst that variety was 343 much less than in 2019, suicide and veterans in disaster remain the VA’s prime scientific priority.

About 5,000 veterans are hospitalized in acute psychiatric units just about every thirty day period, frequently at imminent threat for hurt, stated Cliff Smith, the director of analytics, innovation and collaboration within VA’s Office environment of Mental Wellness and Suicide Prevention. 

One particular of the problems about getting veterans care is they fret they can’t afford to pay for it, he claimed, and he hopes the new plan will relieve that barrier to treatment.

“There have been a whole lot of conditions where we know a veteran is in crisis someplace but they’re not at the clinic,” Smith claimed. “There were lots of predicaments where we understood there was a have to have, but due to the fact of fiscal problems we weren’t able to join that require to a facility.

“We are addressing the anxiety linked with a bill or value. That is off the table,” Smith said, contacting the new coverage “hopefully daily life-transforming for numerous veterans.” 

The new coverage was needed by a legislation handed in 2020 and signed by then-President Donald Trump named the Veterans In depth Prevention, Accessibility to Care, and Cure (COMPACT) Act of 2020.

“I am thrilled by Secretary McDonough’s announcement,” said

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Explain to us your superior, undesirable, and horribly distressing stories about military dentists

The least complicated way to locate out if individuals have ever served in the armed forces is to ask them to open up their mouths: If you see a bunch of metallic fillings and other dental get the job done that employs Civil War technological know-how, you know that individual has been taken care of by a navy dentist.

Whilst armed service drugs has manufactured terrific innovations in managing concussions, traumatic brain accidents, and other signature wounds from the earlier 20 many years of war, navy dentistry stays trapped in a time someplace all over the age of “Dances with Wolves,” or so the laundry listing of prior-provider critics would say.

We’re not stating that all military dentists are lousy, but an unscientific poll of veterans who are now affiliated with Task & Reason exposed that more than a few company customers have absent through hair-elevating situations in dental chairs that can rival combat experiences. (All of these veterans served in the Maritime Corps due to the fact Marines are in excess of-represented in the two traditional and social media.)

Scott Murdock, a previous Marine initial lieutenant, was when taken care of by a Navy dentist who explained to him he experienced a cavity that needed to be filled straight away. But the tooth proved to be so really hard that the dentist needed to change to a more effective drill for the duration of the lengthy method.

Tell us your good, bad, and horribly painful stories about military dental procedures
An Army officer receives a dental cleansing. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Conversation Professional Seaman Luke Cunningham)

When he was subsequently witnessed by a different dentist, his X-rays indicated that he in no way experienced a cavity in the to start with area, stated Murdock, a contributor to Task & Purpose’s Gear section.

“I would rather split my own knees with a hammer than go to a further Navy dentist,” Murdock stated.

Many of the stories gathered as component of this cursory (and unscientific) poll of veterans on workers implies that everyone thinking of signing up for the armed service ought to have their knowledge tooth taken out by a civilian dentist just before they ship to boot camp.

Task & Purpose’s deputy editor James Clark, a previous Maritime corporal, remembers acquiring to run the Self confidence System through boot camp, the day immediately after having two of his knowledge teeth eliminated, even while his mouth was grotesquely swollen. Usually, recruits would be supplied light-weight duty soon after obtaining these types of a process, but Clark fell target to negative timing.

“I do distinctly keep in mind obtaining stopped by a drill instructor in the middle of the schooling party, who requested me, with a mix of problem and anger, ‘What the hell is wrong with your deal with, recruit!?’” Clark recalled. “By that time my neck and jaw experienced swollen up and it possibly looked like I was choking on a grapefruit I’d eaten whole.”

Anecdotes are not facts, nevertheless they do present how horror tales about dental appointments are as

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