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Editor's note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
For those who saw a loophole, it was easy money.
In 2013, a handful of pharmacy companies that make compounded medications — personalized dosages or formulas normally crafted for patients who can't tolerate certain ingredients — discovered they could make treatments such as pain and scar creams, wound ointments and erectile dysfunction drugs, and market them to patients enrolled in Tricare.
Then, they could bill the government a hefty sum, between $400 and $10,000 per prescription, making enough to cover the cost of beneficiaries' co-payments, provide kickbacks to participating physicians and middlemen, and generously pad their own pockets.
When the Defense Health Agency's losses caused by these specious prescriptions topped nearly $1.5 billion in the first half of 2015, the Pentagon moved to restrict its coverage of all compounded medications.
And the Justice Department began pursuing the unscrupulous pharmacists, doctors, marketers and salesmen involved, including military troops who saw the largest case of medical fraud in the Pentagon's history as a chance to make cash on the side.
A federal court has ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly denied reimbursements to veterans who received emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, a decision that could result in payouts to veterans totaling billions.
The Trump administration's new citizenship policy will only affect 25 military children a year, officials say
Following the disastrous rollout of a policy this week that delineates U.S. residency requirements for the purpose of U.S. citizenship as it applies to children born abroad, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Thursday sought to clarify the changes, saying in a conference call with reporters that its data indicate the measure would have affected only "20 to 25 children a year."
The policy, issued Wednesday, spells out what the department deems residency in terms of U.S. citizenship considerations of offspring born overseas.
Editor's Note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
A trial date has been set for the Coast Guard officer charged earlier this year with stockpiling weapons and drug possession and who also allegedly maintained a hit list of prominent Democrats and journalists and told friends he dreamed of ways "to kill almost every last person on the earth."
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson will appear in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, on Oct. 21 for what is scheduled to be a six-day jury trial. The officer, whom government officials called a "domestic terrorist" in initial court filings, has remained in custody since his arrest Feb 15.
As the military services each roll out new policies regarding hemp-derived products like cannabidiol, or CBD, the Defense Department is not mincing words.
"It's completely forbidden for use by any service member in any of the services at this point of time," said Patricia Deuster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
The warning, along with the policies issued recently by the Air Force, Coast Guard and Department of the Navy, comes as CBD is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the country in many forms, from coffee additives and vaping liquids to tinctures, candies and other foods, carrying promises of health benefits ranging from pain and anxiety relief to sleeping aids and inflammation reduction.
A new bill would help keep low-income military families from going hungry. The White House isn't on board
Erika Tebbens remembers her early years as a Navy wife, struggling to make ends meet at a new duty station near pricey Seattle.
College educated but unable to find a full-time job in her field, she settled into work as a part-time bank teller and, when she became pregnant, began worrying how the family would make ends meet.
"A civilian co-worker of mine informed me we would probably qualify for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. ... I was honestly shocked. I did not think that any military family in our country would [need to] apply for any type of government assistance," she said.
Tebbens and her new baby qualified for WIC. But later, unable to afford child care, the couple decided she would reduce her hours to one day a week so they could swap parental duties. With bills mounting, she applied for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, but was denied.
Tebbens is one of several advocates pushing to help military families in financial straits, supporting a proposed bill that would furnish a basic needs allowance for service members whose gross household income does not exceed 130% of the federal poverty guidelines.