Armed Forces News

The House Armed Services Personnel subcommittee bill also addresses key issues affecting overall healthcare services, to include tackling the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. It bars the Pentagon from reducing or realigning military medical-manning end strength, requires that Congress be notified of any intention to restructure or realign military medical treatment facilities, and addresses opioid addiction and eating disorders. Other provisions:

* Care providers in emergency rooms would be able to use ultrasound technology to determine if strangulation victims have sustained any subdermal injuries. The deadline for consolidation of military medical research under the Defense Health Agency (DHA) would be extended three years, to Sept. 30, 2025.
* The Defense Department also would be authorized to share information relating to prevention of infant and maternal mortality with state and local health authorities.
* The Pentagon would work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to study cancer-related incidence and mortality among past and present military pilots.

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Provisions related to COVID-19 include:

* Requiring the Pentagon to ensure that military treatment facilities and research laboratories have adequate supplies of diagnostic equipment, testing capabilities, and personal protection equipment. The defense budget also must include a section that addresses research and development of vaccines for infectious diseases.
* Modifying the pilot program on civilian and military partnerships to enhance their ability to work together, surge when necessary, and ensure there is capacity to treat patients in the event of national disaster.
* Allowing the recall of more than 1,000 retirees to active duty during wartime or a national emergency.
* Requiring the National Security Strategy for National Technology and Industrial Base to include the capability to provide the drugs, biologics, vaccines and critical medical equipment necessary to foster combat readiness.