Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
How we found out about a shocking loophole in a military policy meant to protect victims of domestic violence
How We Found Out explores recent reporting from Task & Purpose, answering questions about how we sourced our stories, what challenges we faced, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how we cover issues impacting the military and veterans community.
In December, Task & Purpose published a longform feature that explored domestic abuse in the military, the Pentagon's attempts to curb it, and how a policy loophole meant to support victims of spousal abuse has left the very people it's meant to help in dire straits.
Written by our Pentagon-based Army reporter, Haley Britzky, the story focused on Ellizabeth Grimes, who was allegedly assaulted by her husband, Army. Col. Jerel Grimes.
In the wake of the alleged attack, Ellizabeth was left to deal with a number of physical injuries that still require medical attention. Hospital records from that night say her injuries included a "closed head injury, hematoma, concussion, cervical strain, extremity contusion or fracture." She also was put on medication she'd never needed before, to help with anxiety, depression, and nausea, as well as to help her sleep at night.
However, as a dependent of a service member, her health coverage is through Tricare, and once she divorces her husband — which she filed to do almost immediately after the attack — she'll no longer be a dependent, and no longer have Tricare. This will leave her to start over with new doctors. Additionally, because her husband hasn't been charged with anything, and hasn't been separated from the Army, she's unable to qualify for transitional compensation, which exists to help abused dependents retain their Tricare coverage.
Given the sensitive nature of reporting on domestic abuse, combined with navigating a nebulous Pentagon policy, Task & Purpose spoke with Britzky about how she found the story, what obstacles she faced while reporting it, and how we as a news site handle allegations of wrongdoing when criminal charges have been filed but no verdict has been reached in a court of law.
This is the third installment in the recurring column How We Found Out.
An Army colonel's alleged abuse saddled his wife with ongoing medical needs. Escaping him could bring that care to a screeching halt.
Katherine Burton was sitting on her couch when she heard a scream.
Though she had not yet met her upstairs neighbors, Army. Col. Jerel Grimes and his wife Ellizabeth, Burton went to investigate almost immediately. "I knew it was a cry for help," she recalled of the August 1 incident.
Above her downstairs apartment in Huntsville, Alabama, Jerel and Ellizabeth had been arguing. They had been doing a lot of that lately. According to Ellizabeth, Jerel, a soldier with 26 years of service and two Afghanistan deployments under his belt, had become increasingly controlling in the months since the couple had married in April, forcing her to share computer passwords, receipts for purchases, and asking where she was at all times.
"I was starting to realize how controlling he was, and how manipulative he was," Ellizabeth said. "And he'd never been this way towards me in the 15 years that I've known him."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
An Army vet's widow got her meds from a South Carolina naval hospital for 12 years. Then a $10,000 bill arrived
Claretha Singleton, widow of an Army veteran who died of lung cancer years after exposure to Agent Orange, filled her prescriptions at the Naval Hospital Beaufort for 12 years. Last November, the hospital told her that not only was she not eligible to get her medicine there, but she owed money for all the drugs she'd obtained there previously.
The bill, due in one month: $10,630.
Congressman Ron Wright (R-TX-6) introduced H.R. 5081, the K-9 Hero Act, Thursday.
This legislation creates a grant program to assist nonprofits that take in retired working dogs or provide financial assistance to owners of retired working dogs. Specifically, the grants will help cover medical costs, such as veterinarian office visits, medical procedures, diagnostic tests, and medications.
(Reuters) - Apple Inc on Wednesday said that U.S. military veterans who use its iOS devices and get medical care from the Veterans Health Administration will be able to access their health records on the devices.
The Department of Veterans Affairs runs the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, with 9 million veterans enrolled and more than 1,200 facilities. Apple began working with the department this summer to allow access to health records from the system on iPhones and other Apple mobile devices running its iOS operating system.