Air Force

August 1, 2014

People First – August 1, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.

Military mail ops change to save $4 million annually

Changes to military postal operations will save the Defense Department $4 million annually while providing services comparable to those of any U.S. Postal Service office, a senior Military Postal Service Agency said.

James Clark, chief of the agency’s operations division, said the changes will go into effect during October and November.

The MPSA facilitated the transition to a more efficient system that’s in line with the U.S.P.S.

Taken into account are labor and transportation costs, he said, noting that the savings likely will be greater, given the time that has passed since the case study was conducted.

The current redirection process is manual, Clark said, with mail shipped from the United States to overseas servicing military post offices, who then manually redirect it somewhere else — whether that’s to another military installation overseas or back to the U.S.

Clark noted when the new process goes into effect domestically, the automated equipment is going to intercept that letter if a change-of-address is on file and redirect it to the new address.

 

TRICARE nurse advice line offers health care guidance

TRICARE beneficiaries in the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii can now access the Nurse Advice Line to receive health care guidance and advice.

The service, launched in April 2014, offers professional help by phone at a moment’s notice, officials said.

The Nurse Advice Line is manned by a team of registered nurses — available 24/7 — prepared to answer questions about a variety of acute health care concerns. A nurse will help beneficiaries decide whether self-care or seeing a health care provider is the better option, officials said.

Beneficiaries are routed to the appropriate nurse, who will follow up when necessary or requested. Same-day appointments with a primary care manager are available for TRICARE Prime beneficiaries who are enrolled at military treatment facilities.

If a same-day appointment is not available, the Nurse Help Line will redirect the beneficiary to the closest urgent care center without any point-of-service co-payment, officials said.

 

Social media requires care, caution with political material

Most Americans are born with a political rattle in their hands and learn to shake it early.

While U.S. culture promotes opinions and debate, Airmen should be reminded that, while on active duty — and even for reservists who may be perceived as active military representatives, participating in politics on social media is exactly the same as it is in person: strictly prohibited.

According to a list of Defense Department and Air Force Instructions longer than the average Airman’s arm, which includes the 2014-2015 Voting Assistance Guide, DODI 1000.04, Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Office of U.S. Special Counsel FAQ page, regarding social media and the Hatch Act, participating in politics is prohibited for members of the DOD and Department of Homeland Security when that participation can be interpreted as an official endorsement.

For active-duty Airmen, that’s any Facebook share, Twitter retweet or other repost of material from a political party, partisan candidate or campaign profile to friends, or even to post on those sites in a way that would constitute political activity. Nor can Airmen suggest their friends “like” those sites.

 

Officials declare overseas polio as health emergency

A resurgence of polio virus in 10 overseas countries has prompted the World Health Organization to declare the spread of the wild virus as a public health emergency of international concern, the director of the Military Vaccine Agency, Vaccine Healthcare Centers Networks, recently said.

Polio was eradicated in the United States decades ago, but Army Col. (Dr.) Margaret Yacovone told DOD News that while strides were being made in overseas countries, Cameroon, New Guinea, Syria and Pakistan are classified as exporting wild polio.

The other six countries — Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria — have “serious, ongoing polio infections,” she said.

When polio outbreaks are classified as endemic in a country, it is called wild polio, she said.

Polio is a viral infectious disease, and while 90 percent of those infected have no symptoms, about 1 percent have a very severe illness leading to muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, paralysis and sometimes death, Yacovone said.




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