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Veterans Choice Medical Program Troubled From Start

Amanda Wirtz started her six-year Navy career in 1997. She served aboard a destroyer off Bosnia and during combat off Iraq in 1998.

When she developed a rare tumor, Wirtz, 37, was discharged in 2003 and began using the Department of Veterans Affairs Health System in San Diego. For the most part, she has been happy with her care.

Then last year, Wirtz began having headaches. When the VA couldn ...

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Physician Shortage Drives Wait Times At VA San Diego

The VA San Diego is trying to cope with the longest wait times for patients seeking mental health care of any Veterans Affairs office in the country.

For one physician, it feels like the problem has been getting worse.

Dr. Hoang Nguyen has worked as a psychiatrist for the VA San Diego for nearly 19 years. San Diego has seen the demand for mental health appointments increase 9 percent a ...

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Marines, Sailors Adjust To New Maternity Leave Policy

After years of giving women in the military six weeks of maternity leave, the Defense Department has changed the policy and will allow them to take off up to 12 weeks when they have a baby. The aim is to retain more women in the military.

For women in the Navy and Marines, 12 weeks is a step back. Last July, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, recognizing the retention problem, decided ...

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New Directory For Military Parents Of Special-Needs Kids

From DoD News, Defense Media Activity:

A permanent-change-of-station move prompts its own challenges, but family members with special-needs children face another complexity when looking for the right schools at their new home, a Defense Department official said here yesterday.

Ed Tyner, acting deputy director of DOD’s special needs program, told DoD News that service members and their families can find a comprehensive tool in the newly updated Education Directory ...

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Report: Military Hospitals More Dangerous For Childbirth Than Civilian Hospitals

Babies born at military hospitals are twice as likely to suffer injury during delivery as infants born in civilian hospitals, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

More than 50,000 babies are born in military hospitals each year.

In addition, mothers delivering babies at military hospitals were in greater danger than those in civilian medical facilities:

In 40 percent of the military hospitals, mothers were significantly more ...

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Military Families Would Pay More For Health Care Under Pentagon Proposal

The Department of Defense's new budget proposal would include an increase in Tricare fees for the family members of active-duty troops.

Defense Department Comptroller Robert F. Hale explained at the Defense Programs Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday:

“[This] will save us several hundred million dollars in administrative costs.

"We will modestly increase co-pays and deductibles … in a way that tries to guide our retirees and active duty ...

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Military Families Warned Of Scam Website

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command has a warning for military families about a website that aims to steal their personal information.

The website attempts to deceive solders and their families who are looking for information about Army benefits.

The authentic, official Army website is operated by the Army's Retirement Service office. The address for that site is myarmybenefits.us.army.mil.

The fraudulent website is also called "My ...

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No Plans In The Works To Close Base Commissaries, Says Top Military Official

The rumor mill has been circulating the same piece of information for months - that the Department of Defense plans to close all stateside base commissaries. However, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey is denying the Pentagon has such plans in the works.

Many media outlets reported recently that the Department of Defense asked the Defense Commissary Agency to develop a contingency plan that would close all of its ...

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TRICARE To Shutter Stateside Walk-In Service Centers

TRICARE Service Centers will close their doors on April 1, requiring beneficiaries to do administrative tasks either online or by phone.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren explained to American Forces Press Service the reason for the change:

“This is being driven by the fact that technology has gotten so much better...

“The change will not – let me repeat that – will not affect any TRICARE medical benefit or health care ...

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Military Same-Sex Spouses In Every State Now Eligible For DoD ID Cards

The same-sex spouses of U.S. service members are now eligible in every state to obtain their Department of Defense identification cards, according to an announcement made today by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel:

“All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country. They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law.

“I will continue to work to ensure our men and women in ...

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Same-Sex Spouses Begin Using Military Benefits (Video)

Navy Senior Chief Dwayne Beebe-Franqui proposed to his boyfriend Jonathan Beebe-Franqui at the 2012 San Diego LGBT Pride parade. The couple drove 30 hours from their home in Pensacola, Florida to attend the parade. Dwayne told The Navy Times it was important to be able to get engaged at the event:

"It was amazing, really. This is one time. This is history."

The couple legally married in Maryland in January ...

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Twins Are First Babies Born Using Tricare IVF Benefit

Ryan and Alana Matayka are just five-months-old, but they've already made history. The twins are the first children born via in vitro fertilization that was paid for by a new Tricare benefit. The benefit covers infertility treatment for severely injured service members.

The twins' father, Army Staff Sgt. Ed Matayka, lost both legs above the knee and injured his spinal cord when the vehicle in which he was riding ...

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New TRICARE Rules Will Hurt Military Children With Autism, Advocates Say

New TRICARE rules set to take affect on July 25 would prevent military children with autism from getting much-needed treatment, according to an autism advocacy group.

According to the Autism Speaks, the TRICARE changes require:

-Standardized testing every 6 months in order to continue receiving care

-Evidence of "measurable progress" as indicated by standardized testing results to receive continued therapy

-Waivers to continue care beyond two years of treatment and ...

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Defense Secretary Hagel's Statement On Supreme Court DOMA Ruling

Statement by Secretary Hagel on DOMA Ruling:

"The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses -- regardless of sexual orientation -- as ...

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How Supreme Court DOMA Ruling Affects Same-Sex Military Couples

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act clears a pathway for same-sex military couples to receive the same benefits as heterosexual married military couples.

DOMA has been used by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to guide decisions on what kind of federal benefits to offer the domestic partners and spouses of gay troops and ...

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