Upcoming Dates of Interest for 2023

Virtual Zoom meetings will be used for some events. Board meetings begin at Noon; Monthly meetings begin with social time that starts at 11 AM. The business meeting, luncheon, and a speaker follow beginning at 11:30 AM.

  • Monthly Board Meeting Tuesday, March 7, 2023 via Zoom at Noon
  • Monthly Luncheon Friday, March 24, 2023 at Bangor Plaza. Speaker: Dave Rasmussen, Public Educator and Public Information Officer with Kitsap County Emergency Management
  • Monthly Board Meeting Tuesday, April 4, 2023 via Zoom at Noon
  • Monthly Luncheon and Annual Chapter Meeting, Friday, April 28th at Bangor Plaza
  • Monthly Board Meeting Tuesday, May 2, 2023 via Zoom at Noon
  • Armed Forces Day Luncheon, Friday, May 19th at Bangor Plaza Conference Center. Five outstanding Junior Officers in the area will be honored. Local area commands and community leaders will be invited to attend. Keynote Speaker: CWO5 Phyllis Wilson, President of the Military Women’s Memorial of Arlington, VA.
  • Email KitsapMOAA@gmail.com to get an invitation to Zoom for Virtual meetings and to reply to attend Luncheons. Members who fail to cancel and are “no-shows” will be expected to pay for the meal.

4 Changes Coming to TRICARE Pharmacy Program in 2023

By TRICARE Communications. FALLS CHURCH, Va.  –  As the new year approaches, make sure you’re aware of changes to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program that may affect you. While these changes offer several enhancements, some of the changes may require action on your part. This will ensure you have access to the prescription drugs you and your family members need. “Some of the changes you’ll see next year result from changes to the contract with Express Scripts, the company that manages the TRICARE Pharmacy Program,” said U.S. Public Health Service Cmdr. Teisha Robertson, a pharmacist with the Defense Health Agency’s Pharmacy Operations Division. “

Here are the four pharmacy changes to prepare for in 2023.

  • Kroger leaves TRICARE network. Kroger pharmacies will no longer be a part of the TRICARE retail pharmacy network. This includes all Kroger’s family pharmacies. If you recently filled your prescriptions at a Kroger family pharmacy, you must move to a TRICARE in-network pharmacy before Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Prescriptions require your approval. You’ll need to approve each refill when enrolled in the TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery automatic refill program.
  • More options for electronic notifications. By logging in to your Express Scripts account, you can choose the way you’d like to receive information: email, phone call, or text.
  • Add caregivers to your account. Do you have caregivers you’d like to give access to your Express Scripts account? You can now add them.

Are you budgeting for 2023? Remember, your pharmacy costs aren’t changing. As outlined in the TRICARE Costs and Fees Fact Sheet, pharmacy costs remain the same through the end of 2023.

To learn more about the TRICARE Pharmacy Program, refer to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program Handbook. For more details about the upcoming changes or if you have questions, contact Express Scripts.

For more details on this information go to: https://newsroom.tricare.mil/Articles/Article/3252509/4-changes-coming-to-tricare-pharmacy-program-in-2023

DOD Announces Six New Measures to Enhance Well-Being of Military Force and Their Families

On March 22, 2023, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at improving the lives of our dedicated military force and their families. The new plan consists of six additional actions that address essential needs in education, childcare, parental leave, and career advancement. The Department of Defense (DoD) is committed to working with Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of these measures.

Secretary Austin is directing the implementation of the following:

  • Universal Prekindergarten at DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools
  • New Military Parental Leave Benefits
  • Improvements to the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
  • Expanded Spouse Eligibility for My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Financial Assistance
  • Portability and Best Practices for Professional Licenses

For details go to: https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3338023/dod-announces-six-new-measures-to-enhance-well-being-of-military-force-and-thei/

Honoring the 50th Anniversary of Women Military Chaplains

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Women Military Chaplains, the Military Womens Memorial (MWM) is highlighting the collection of Navy chaplain Lieutenant Commander Diana (Van Buren) Lantz. The New Zealand native served in the Navy Chaplain Corps from 1994 to 2019. She ministered to Marines and served on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism.

For more details go to: https://womensmemorial.org/mwm-collection-feature-march-2023/

DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2021-2022

The report includes analysis of data collected from the Military Service Academies (MSAs) self-assessments, an analysis of Sexual assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and sexual harassment reporting data, review of compliance assessments conducted by the military departments, and the preliminary result for the Office of People Analytics facilitated 2022 Service Academy Gender Relations Survey.

According to the report sexual harassment and sexual assault remain persistent challenges across the MSAs and the results from this year’s report highlight critical challenges. In the survey conducted for APY 2021-2022, 21.4 percent of female cadets and midshipmen and 4.4 percent of male cadets and midshipmen indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact in the year prior to being survey (i.e., since June 2021). This is an increase compared to the 2018 rate. Estimated rates of sexual harassment also increased.

For the detailed report including actions in place and going forward, go to: https://www.sapr.mil/sites/default/files/public/docs/reports/MSA/DOD_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Harassment_and_Violence_at_MSAs_APY21-22.pdf

7 Badass Women Who Made Military History

Women have been fighting and sacrificing for this country much longer than you may think — one even going as far as disguising herself as a man to serve.

In September 2017, a Marine officer passed the rigorous requirements to become the very first female infantry officer. In addition, two officers made history by becoming the first women to graduate from the traditionally all-male U.S. Army Ranger School.

Women have blazed a trail of innovation and made military history. Below are some pioneering women who forever changed the modern military landscape including our own MOAA Kitsap Chapter Secretary Commander Darlene Iskra. They are

  • Private Cathay Williams, aka William Cathay, Post-Civil War
  • Private Opha May Johnson, World War I
  • Rear Adm. Grace Brewster Murray Hopper, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam
  • Col. Ruby Bradley, World War II and Korean War
  • Commander Darlene Iskra, Gulf War
  • Lt. Col. Martha McSally, Iraq War
  • Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, Iraq War

For details on these trail blazing women go to: https://www.military.com/history/7-bad-ass-women-who-made-military-history.html?ESRC=mr_230227.nl&fbclid=IwAR1K7nOGDeCuAaNs05njR0wXSq5gyHDIqlLnnruy8BrYSymcTCzE263eIm0

Pentagon Rethinking $65.1 Billion TRICARE Management Contract

The Defense Department is reconsidering its decision to award a $65.1 billion contract to run Tricare‘s West Region to a different company than the one that currently manages it.

Officials with Health Net Federal Services told Military.com on Monday that they had received “positive news” that the DoD is reevaluating the award of the next-generation Tricare West Region contract to TriWest Health Alliance. Health Net Federal Services currently runs the health care system for the DoD in the region.

They said they were informed Feb. 6 that the DoD has decided to reevaluate the TriWest decision, announced in December, and make a “new award decision.”

It is unclear how the delay will affect the timeline for the new contracts, which were scheduled to start in 2024, or whether the $70.8 billion contract award for the East Region to Humana Military Services, also announced in December, is affected.

For more information go to: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2023-news-articles/health-care-and-earned-benefits/pentagon-rethinking-$65.1-billion-tricare-management-contract/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TMNsend&utm_content=fAFBQILutWoAMHJh1eJHNA==+WA+AFHRM+1+Ret+L+CC

MOAA Staff Meets with White House Officials to Discuss DoD, VA, TRICARE Priorities

MOAA staffers, including President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret), met with representatives of President Joe Biden’s executive office and the Office of the First Lady on Feb. 10 to outline a series of advocacy priorities, including those at the heart of MOAA’s upcoming spring campaign.

The meeting allowed MOAA advocates to provide specifics on issues critical to both members and the wider uniformed services community, with White House staffers offering feedback and their own priorities for helping veterans and military families.

Topline issues MOAA addressed at the meeting included:

  • Continued support of the all-volunteer force, including the preservation of earned benefits for retirees and veterans, who are instrumental in shaping future generations’ desire to serve.
  • Restoration of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to cover 100% of housing costs (instead of the current 95%) to better combat skyrocketing rental and housing prices.
  • Reversal of recent cuts to the TRICARE Pharmacy network, which disrupted care for many rural beneficiaries and those with special medication needs who could no longer rely on long-term relationships built with thousands of local pharmacies.

How You Can Help

Visit MOAA’s Legislative Action Center and let your legislators know you support MOAA’s ongoing advocacy efforts. And keep up with new pushes, early activity in the 118th Congress, and other critical updates via MOAA’s Advocacy News page.

For more details about this meeting go to: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2023-news-articles/advocacy/moaa-staff-meets-with-white-house-officials-to-discuss-dod,-va,-tricare-priorities/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TMNsend&utm_content=fAFBQILutWoAMHJh1eJHNA==+WA+AFHRM+1+Ret+L+CC

TRICARE FOR LIFE Benefits targeted by Congressional budget office (CBO) Report

MOAA reports that a biennial report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) takes aim at TRICARE for Life (TFL), offering two proposals among options to cut the federal deficit that would significantly increase costs for seniors using the TFL benefit. Both TFL options would reduce the federal government’s mandatory spending by unacceptable plans to shift health care costs from DoD to uniformed services retirees.

While these are not legislative proposals, MOAA believes we must address them as serious threats, given recent cuts to the TRICARE pharmacy program and the series of TRICARE fee increases associated with military health system reforms. We must address them as serious threats, given recent cuts to the TRICARE pharmacy program and the series of TRICARE fee increases associated with military health system reforms.

MOAA recommends we ask our lawmakers to protect our earned TFL benefits. Use the information below to contact them today!

AdvocacyContact your Congressional Representatives! Switchboard: (866) 272 6622

Kitsap Chapter members are encouraged to use MOAA’s mission advocacy website https://moaa.quorum.us/ and stay in contact with your elected representatives concerning MOAA’s legislative priorities. You can also call the above hot line. Use code WA02 when asked for chapter number.

Did You Know?

Since 2003, our chapter has been given numerous MOAA awards for excellence and service to our military community.

  • 4-Star Level of Excellence (LOE) awards in 2005 and 2009.
  • 5-Star Level of Excellence (LOE) awards in 2003, 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • 4-Star Communications Award for Newsletter and 5-Star Communications Award for Website in 2020.
  • 5-Star Communications Award for Website and Newsletter in 2021.


Military Working Dog Registry Established to Improve Care

The Department of Defense established a registry for military working dogs, referenced in the military as MWDs, because it recognized a need for a database to keep track of morbidity and mortality during deployment.

In January 2022, the Military Working Dog Trauma RegistryOpens JTS.health.mil was launched by the Department of Defense Center of Excellence for Trauma Joint Trauma SystemOpens JTS.Health.mil and “captures military working dog casualty care epidemiology, treatment, diagnostics, and outcomes from point of injury through recovery,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Sarah Cooper, chief of animal medicine with the Defense Health Agency Veterinary Service Division. The database will improve care.

In the last two decades, more than 4,000 MWDs dogs were injured in combat, but detailed information on the dogs’ injuries and treatments were not captured in any existing database, making it difficult to do any research and analysis. When a human warfighter is injured, their injuries are tracked and researched so this information can help improve treatments, recovery, and prevention in future similar incidents.

Seeing a need to keep track of this information, “in 2017, the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps established a community of interest to identify MWD trauma care gaps, and the need for an MWD Trauma Registry was established,” said Cooper. In addition, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal YearOpens Congress.gov 2022 requires development of a comprehensive trauma care registry that includes MWDs. 

For more details, go to https://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2023/01/06/Military-Working-Dog-Registry-Established-to-Improve-Care?utm_medium=govdelivery&utm_source=email

Starting Jan. 17, Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for free emergency health care

WASHINGTON – Starting Jan. 17, Veterans in acute suicidal crisis will be able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

For more information go to: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5852