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The Voice for Chaplaincy – Chartered by Congress – Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram – March 2nd, 2016
Military Health Care Reform
Our Congress will begin to draft the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act in April. Leaders in both the House and the Senate have indicated they will make military health care reform a major priority.
Earlier we reported to you on the recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC). The Commission reviewed nearly every aspect of pay and benefits related to our military forces and made widespread and sometimes sweeping recommendations for change. These recommendations are being taken very seriously by our elected officials.
The Military Coalition (TMC) has been part of this process from the beginning. As a member of the TMC, we were able to meet with the Commission to voice our concerns on issues pertaining to our area of expertise. Many other organizations did the same.
After careful analysis of the Commission’s recommendations, the TMC is now taking action as the Congress considers military funding for the coming year. One example of this action is a joint statement TMC submitted on Health Care Reform. You may especially enjoy pages 8 and following discussing the claim of "spiraling health care costs." The rhetoric surrounding these claims does not always comport with reality. Read the report and see what you think.
Now is the time to take action and express yourself on recommendations related to health care for all military and family members – both those who have served previously as well as the ones in the force today. If you are a member of MOAA, the March issue of the Military Officer magazine has an over-cover to assist in sending postcards to elected Washington officials. I have scanned a sample and include it here.
Please take time to be heard now regardless of your viewpoint. Our officials deserve and desire our input. Not only are we concerned about the finances but also the fairness of the proposed actions. All our men and women should be heard. Now is the time to make your thoughts known. Your letter or phone call could make the difference.
Thank you for staying involved. Together our voice will be heard.
Lyman Smith, Executive Director
(Please send a note if you have trouble reaching any of the referenced articles. Will be glad to forward them.)
Mary Fortson-Harwell is a PhD candidate at Kennesaw State University. Mary has held social work licensure through the State of Georgia since 2010, and currently practices as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Emory University Hospital and with the Georgia Army National Guard.
Mary has begun her dissertation research on social identity and emotional wellbeing for service members,and invites MCA members and friends to take part. All survey responses are anonymous and participants can enter to win up to $100 in Amazon gift cards. The survey should take about 20 minutes on average to complete, and is open to anyone with current or prior US military service.
Kathy Sheehan is a member of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Fair Oaks, California. She has a fledgling ministry there of hand-made pocket-sized prayer shawls (Prayer Squares) that are made to be easily carried reminders that God is always with us and that people are praying for us. She would like to expand this ministry to members of our Armed Forces, both at home and abroad. As she works, she prays for each soldier, whoever that might be, that they may feel God’s presence and be assured of the love and prayers supporting them from home.
As Kathy prayed for guidance, chaplains came to mind. Who better to be able to hand out these prayer squares than religious leaders within the Armed Forces community itself. There is no cost; she is merely looking for an avenue to distribute these prayer squares to the uniformed men and women who are serving our country. Contact her at katesheehan
Here’s a link to 30 minutes of free deeply relaxing Liquid Mind® music composed by Vietnam veteran Chuck Wild, music that is used in PTSD support groups at VA hospitals, Mayo Clinic, family support groups, cancer clinics, for massage, for pre-sleep routines, meditation and rehabilitation programs. Chuck is making it freely available at the following link, and also at Pandora®, YouTube®, Amazon Prime® and most streaming services.
The Summer issue of The Military Chaplain will be themed on Religious freedom and expression in the Armed Forces. Chaplain Margaret Kibben, Navy Chief of Chaplains, is submitting the lead article expanding on her presentation at the National Institute this past fall.
Deadline for submission – May 1
We welcome your scholarly thoughts on this subject for this upcoming issue. If you know of subject-matter experts we can call on to submit good pieces, we will be happy to contact them. We want the best we can find. Preference will be given to chaplain-authored material, but articles that inform, educate, and challenge will be welcome from any source.
A Prayer Request
Chaplain (MG) David Hicks, retired Army Chief of Chaplains, has suffered a bleeding stroke. Janice, his wife, reports he is doing well but continues to undergo many tests and visits as they wait on a restoration of his health. Your prayers for the Hicks will be deeply appreciated.
South Carolina Chapter
Tuesday, March 8 – Noon
"Long Range Plans of Modernization – Fort Jackson Infrastructure"
Speaker – Colonel (Ret) Scott Nahrwold, USA
Deputy to the Garrison Commander
Fort Jackson NCO Club, 5700 Lee Road
for information or reservations call Chaplain Sam Boone – 803-751-7316 or
Indiantown Gap, Community Club
1130 – 1300
Chaplain Shawn Myers speaking
for information or reservations call Chaplain Ted Bowers – 717-259-1047
If you missed the February 24th edition of the Newsgram, click here.
SUPPORTING CHAPLAINCY IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM: Active, Retired and Former Chaplains of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Civil Air Patrol
AND THOSE THEY SERVE: military members, veterans, and their families at home and around the world