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Thursday Three Is Here!

Does it seem like another week has passed? Perhaps as kids head back to school (either virtually or in-person), we’ll get one step closer to the good old days when we remembered what day it was when asked!

 

In last week’s Thursday Three, we talked about continued tensions between DoD and DHA over the handover of military medical facilities. In an update to that story, House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders responded that reform efforts will continue as planned despite a plea from service chiefs to reconsider. However, they committed to working with DoD and the services to maintain the focus on quality care. You can read more about it here.

 

It has been another busy, but productive week. MFAN Executive Director Shannon Razsadin was featured in the Providence Business News talking about the importance of flexibility in the workplace in these challenging times.

 

The Military Family Food Insecurity Coalition met on Monday and the Military Housing Roundtable convenes tomorrow. We’ll be sharing more information about the work of both coalitions in the days to come.

 

Yesterday, MFAN joined Dog Tag Bakery, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, The Rosie Network, and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) as panelists for the virtual SBA Military Spouse Entrepreneur Summit, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Hiring Our Heroes.

 

And tomorrow, we’ll celebrate Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that grants women the right to vote. Many others before us fought for that right and we encourage you to exercise it – whatever your political views might be.

 

Here’s what we’re hearing about this week:

 

Photo by Cpl. Sarah Cherry/Marine Corps

 

The Health of the Military Mental Health Care System

 

Does the DoD meet outpatient mental health access to care standards for active duty service members and their families? According to auditors with the DoD Inspector General, the answer is no.

 

One of the most concerning findings of the audit was that “an average of 53% (4,415 of 8,328 per month) of all active duty service members and their families, identified as needing mental health care and referred to the purchased care system, did not receive care and the MHS did not know why.”

 

The MHS did not track the reasons for unused referrals and therefore could not respond as to why this failure to provide service occurred. However, interviews with personnel and a review of the appointment and referral data revealed a pattern of delays for urgent care visits, routine mental health visits, and specialty care referrals. This aligns with MFAN’s research findings, showing that the greatest obstacle to mental health care was access to appointments.

 

You can access the full DoD IG Report on Mental Health here.

 

Photo by Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 

 

Infertility Is Hard Enough Already

 

Amidst continued contention over the handover of military medical facilities to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), the service chiefs are speaking up.

 

Together, the branch chiefs of the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Space Force, and secretaries of the Navy, Air Force, and Army, are insisting that future transfers be suspended and those facilities already under DHA control be returned back to the military.

 

They contend that the COVID pandemic and response indicates that the reform effort “introduces barriers, creates unnecessary complexity and increases inefficiency and cost.”

 

DHA asserts that the reforms will save money and improve quality of care and remains committed to proceeding as planned. We will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed.

 

Photo by Devon Suits, Defense Media Activity – Army

 

Amendment to SCRA Signed into Law

A bipartisan proposal to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), introduced in both the Senate and the House, was signed into law by the President on August 14th.

 

While the final text has not yet been published, the intention of the amendment was to protect servicemembers in the
event of a stop movement order due to an emergency, like the current COVID-19 pandemic or any number of other such local or global crises. Under the proposal, a servicemember would be able to terminate a residential or vehicle lease under those circumstances.

 

Tech Sgt. Charlie Cornacchio’s story is just one example of why SCRA protections are important. According to the Justice Department, while Cornacchio was deployed, a moving and storage company auctioned off precious keepsakes and other belongings they were storing for him. Read more here:

 

MFAN is tracking the recently signed SCRA amendment and will continue to bring you up-to-the-minute information about the issues that most impact military families.

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About The Author

Randi Cairns

https://militaryfamilyadvisorynetwork.org/staff/randi-cairns/

As the communications manager, Randi Cairns brings more than 25 years of nonprofit experience to the team. She is a nonprofits expert, organizational and personal growth consultant, and author.

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