People First

Deployed electronic health records training available

The Air Force Medical Service is developing an Electronic Health Record that will enable medical Airmen to treat those who are wounded while deployed in a harsh or isolated environment.

Electronic Health Records track Airmen’s medical needs and document real-time data at every point of the Airman’s journey from when the injury occurred, to anything that happened in transit, to the treatment received at the hospital or clinic.

The Theater Medical Information Program — Air Force project management office at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama, currently tests, updates and trains the Deployed EHR for the AFMS, called Armed Forces Longitudinal Technology Application 3 Theater. It’s used in the back of aeromedical evacuation aircraft, staging and receiving facilities and many deployed locations.

There is a significant gap, however, between successfully training Airmen on the use of this application and providing the operating system to deployed medics, even though this system currently provides the best method of creating a consistent EHR for patients.

2016 Federal Benefits Open Season runs through Dec. 12

The Office of Personnel Management has set the dates for the 2016 Federal Benefits Open Season from Nov. 14 through Dec 12, which includes the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance program and the Federal Flexible Spending Accounts program.

Open season gives federal employees and retirees the opportunity to review the 2017 rates and benefits and enroll in or change their health care coverage. They also have the opportunity to select supplemental dental and vision coverage as well as elect to participate in a tax-deferred Flexible Spending Account for health care and dependent care.

New for 2017, all FEHB carrier plans will offer clinically appropriate and medically necessary treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Most FEHB plans will see benefit and rate changes for 2017. Some plans are dropping out of the program, others are changing their service areas or coverage options while some new plans are entering the FEHB program. OPM encourages all employees to review their coverage during open season to decide what coverage and premiums best suit their needs for the upcoming year.

2-year probationary period now in effect for new civilians

All new federal employees appointed within the Defense Department to permanent positions in the competitive service are now required to serve a two-year probationary period.

The new requirement took effect Nov. 26, 2015, as part of the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The change does not apply to employees appointed prior to that date or to those appointed in excepted service. The Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum Sept. 27, 2016, highlighting the change.

The probationary period is used to determine an employee’s competence for continued employment in the federal government. During that time, supervisors monitor their work and track their overall job performance.

To ensure all Air Force civilian employees are aware of the change, the Air Force Personnel Center recently sent out more than 8,000 automated emails to Air Force employees who may be affected.

“We want to be proactive in getting the word out to our Air Force employees,” said Robbie Brown, the Civilian Force Management Branch chief. “Our goal is to ensure our civilians have the right information at the right time so they can manage their careers more effectively.”

Wounded warriors given avenues during CARE event

Nearly 130 Air Force wounded warriors and caregivers attending the latest Air Force Wounded Warrior Program’s CARE event at Joint Base Andrews from Nov. 14-18 received tools and resources to help them deal with their individual challenges.

The event took a holistic approach at meeting and strengthening the four domains — physical, mental, spiritual and social — of Comprehensive Airman Fitness for Airmen and their families.

Tailored to the wounded, ill and injured, the event served as an introduction to rehabilitative sports, and those who attended one of the six annual regional events are qualified to compete in the Air Force Trials at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Airmen compete at the trials for a spot on the Air Force team that goes on to compete in the annual Warrior Games.

According to Troy Foster, the AFW2 adaptive sports program manager, CARE events focus on getting wounded warriors back on track in regaining self-confidence they may have lost.

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