October 2021 Newsletter—MHCE

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News from MHCE


Colin Powell

Died of COVID

See page 13

Monthly Newsletter


become disqualified from some

veteran benefits.

Sailors may apply for an

exemption from the vaccine on

medical or religious grounds.

The Navy says 94 percent

of active-duty sailors and 89

percent of the total force are fully

vaccinated, while 99 percent of

active-duty sailors and 94 percent

of the total force have received

at least one COVID-19 shot,

according to figures released Oct.


Navy Unveils Discharge Plans for

Sailors Who Refuse COVID-19 Vaccine

The Navy has announced

the formation of a COVID

Consolidated Disposition

Authority to separate sailors

who refuse to comply with the

mandatory vaccination policy.

Active-duty sailors must receive

their final dose of the vaccine by

Nov. 14 — and those in the Navy

Reserve by Dec. 14 — in order

to meet the deadlines for fully

vaccinated status, which are Nov.

28 and Dec. 28, respectively.

The shot deadlines provide a

two-week buffer for sailors to

become fully immunized against


“In order to maximize readiness,

it is the policy goal of the U.S.

Navy to achieve a fully vaccinated

force against the persistent and

lethal threat of COVID-19,” a

naval administrative message

released Tuesday states.

For those who don’t comply,

the Navy is standing up the

COVID Consolidated Disposition

Authority to “ensure a fair and

consistent process” handling

separation determinations,

and has tapped Chief of Naval

Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell

Jr. and Chief of Naval Reserve

Vice Adm. John Mustin to head

the effort.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations

Adm. William Lescher is in

charge of nonjudicial punishment

and courts-martial.

“Commands shall not allow those

refusing the vaccine to promote/

advance, reenlist, or execute

orders, with the exception of

separation orders, until the CCDA

has completed disposition of their

case,” the NAVADMIN said.

“Transfer orders may be cancelled

by Navy Personnel Command.”

Reporting seniors also must

submit a special evaluation or

fitness report no later than 30 days

after a sailor rejects the vaccine to

document circumstances of the

rejection and other misconduct

information related to the Uniform

Code of Military Justice Article

92, that is, failure to comply with

a regulation, the guidance said.

Administrative actions against

sailors who deny the COVID-19

vaccine or won’t be fully

vaccinated by the deadline may

commence immediately if the

sailor doesn’t already have a

pending or approved exemption


Sailors could receive as low

as a general discharge under

honorable conditions if they are

separated only for their vaccine

refusal. A Navy news release

on the guidance notes that this

potentially causes the sailor to

More than 65 service members

across all branches have died due

to complications from COVID-19,

according to Pentagon data, with

at least 14 of those from the Navy.

That number grows to nearly 165

when factoring in Navy civilians,

dependents and contractors.

“Tragically, there have been 164

deaths within the Navy family due

to COVID-19, far exceeding the

combined total of all other health

or mishap related injuries and

deaths over the same time period,”

the NAVADMIN said. “144 of

these were not immunized and 20

had an undisclosed immunization


Service leaders have voiced strong

support for the vaccine, noting

that the vaccine is imperative to

protect the force and paves the

way for normalcy.

“We would not send our folks into

combat without flak and Kevlar,”

Navy Surgeon General Rear

Adm. Bruce Gillingham said at

a panel at the the Sea Air Space

symposium in August. “The

enemy this time is a virus, and we

have a biological body armor for

them to take and use to protect

them … this is biologic body

armor. Put it on, be protected.”

2 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

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Focus on Oversight a Key for Success at


In the corrections industry, maintaining high standards of

operation is imperative to meeting the needs of the individuals

in our care. That's why CoreCivic adheres to a stringent set of

guidelines set forth by our own standards, as well as those of our

government partners and the American Correctional Association


Founded in 1870, the ACA is considered the national benchmark

for the effective operation of correctional systems throughout

the United States. To become accredited, a facility must achieve

compliance with ACA mandatory standards and a minimum of

90 percent non-mandatory standards. CoreCivic facilities adhere

to ACA standards, and in 2020, CoreCivic earned an average

ACA audit score of 99.6 percent across all facilities.

Key ACA audit areas include facility personnel, resident reentry

programs, resident safety, health care, and more.

holds our facilities and staff to a high standard. To be able to

represent our facility and receive reaccreditation in person is an


Adhering to ACA standards is only one part of CoreCivic's

commitment to robust oversight. When government partners

utilize CoreCivic's services, we are held not only to our own

high standards and those of the ACA, but we are often held to

the same or higher accountability of our public counterparts

through stringent government contracts, unfettered access to

our facilities for our partners, and hundreds of on-site quality

assurance monitors.

We provide access to our government partners, with most of

our facilities having government agency employees known as

contract monitors who are physically on-site to ensure we are

operating in line with partner guidelines.

Recently, the ACA held in Nashville, Tennessee, its 151st

Congress of Corrections, an annual convention that brings

together corrections professionals from across the country. In

addition to various workshops and events at the convention, the

ACA Commission on Accreditation also held panel hearings to

award accreditation to correctional facilities that meet the ACA's

rigorous requirements. Listed below are the seven CoreCivic

facilities that earned reaccreditation this year, with mandatory/

non-mandatory scores:

• Bent County Correctional Facility - 100/99.0

• Citrus County Detention Facility - 100/100

• Eloy Detention Center - 100/100

• Lake Erie Correctional Institution - 100/99.3

• Saguaro Correctional Center - 100/99.8

• Stewart Detention Center - 100/100

• Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility - 100/100

"The accreditation process is very important," said Warden

Fred Figueroa from Eloy Detention Center, one of the seven

CoreCivic facilities that was awarded reaccreditation. "ACA

To maintain our own high standards, annual on-site audits covering

all operational areas are administered to ensure compliance with

contractual and regulatory obligations and corporate-mandated

requirements. Each CoreCivic Safety facility is audited by our

internal quality assurance division, which is independent from

our operations division. Facilities are expected to be audit-ready

year-round, maintaining continuous compliance with numerous

applicable standards.

CoreCivic employs 75 staff members dedicated to quality

assurance, including several subject matter experts with extensive

experience from all major disciplines within our institutional


"A lot of hard work goes into preparing for these audits,"

Figueroa said. "Once they're complete, the staff can see their

accomplishments and feel proud."

Having multiple levels of oversight helps CoreCivic maintain

a safe environment for those in our care. By holding ourselves

accountable to our own high standards, along with our

government partners' and ACA's standards, CoreCivic continues

to be a trusted partner working to better the public good.

6 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

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contact Nathan.Stiles@mhce.us



10 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION


contact Kyle.Stephens@mhce.us

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 11

“They are the burden of the heart and the mind that over

generations in America that have really gone on spoken of,”

Pence said. “But I’m proud to say now we’re recognizing as a

nation the unseen injuries of our heroes.”

About 30 horses and rides followed the full 20-mile route through

Fort Wayne — a distance referring to the estimated 20 veterans a

day who die from suicide.

Pence Joins Horse

Ride to Raise

Awareness of Veteran


FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Former Vice President Mike Pence

climbed on horseback during an Indiana ride by a veterans group

trying to reduce suicides among military veterans.

Pence joined members of the nonprofit organization BraveHearts

during a Saturday ride in Fort Wayne aimed at raising awareness

about the suicide issue. The national group uses the riding and

care of horses in therapy for veterans suffering with depression

or other emotional troubles.

Pence rode for part of the route, talked and posed for photos with

residents and riders and spoke during a ceremony at the ride’s


The former Indiana governor said he was inspired by the group’s

recognition that some veterans have wounds “that can’t be seen

with the human eye.”

12 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

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WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 13

Colin Powell Has Died of

COVID-19 Complications,

Family Says

WASHIINGTON — Colin Powell, who served Democratic and Republican

presidents in war and peace but whose sterling reputation suffered when he

went before the U.N. and made faulty claims to justify the U.S. war in Iraq,

has died of COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

In 1989 Powell became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In

that role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion

of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991.

But his reputation suffered a painful setback when, in 2003, Powell went

before the U.N. Security Council and made the case for U.S. war against Iraq.

He cited faulty information claiming Saddam Hussein had secretly stashed

away weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s claims that it had not represented

“a web of lies,” he told the world body.

In an announcement on social media, the family said Powell had been fully


“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and

a great American,” the family said.

Former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush

were “deeply saddened” by Powell's death.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,”

Bush said. "And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura

and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember

the life of a great man.”

14 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

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Fall 2022 Semester: Applications will be accepted

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The survey, "The Military Teen Experience: A

Snapshot of America's Military

Teenagers and Future Force," was conducted

by Bloom: Empowering the Military Teen

and the National Military Family Association

to understand the impact of the pandemic,

the military lifestyle and the high operational

tempo on the teenage children of service


Given that military children learn toward

serving themselves, knowing how they are

holding up mentally and physically should

be of paramount importance to the Defense

Department and advocacy groups, explained

Besa Pinchotti, executive director and CEO at

the NMFA.

The survey found that 65% of respondents

said they planned to join the military.

"We always say military kids serve too, and

they do, but this is also the population that's

going to be serving and protecting our country

in the future, so it's an important point,"

Pinchotti said Thursday in an interview with


The poll asked questions about the respondents'

sense of mental well-being, including whether

they had adequate nutrition and felt supported

in their communities and safe in their homes

and schools.

In many of those areas, the survey found that

teenage military dependents weren't faring


• More than one-third of the respondents

worried about whether their families had

enough food or the money to buy more.

• 45% said they'd endured at least one to

four parental deployments, and 62% had

Military Teens

Are Struggling

With Mental Well-

Being, Food

Insecurity, Survey


Pandemic aside, military teens are stressed


That's a key takeaway from a new survey

that should concern the Defense Department.

A majority of those polled plan to join the

military as adults.

The survey of more than 2,000 teens aged 13

to 19 years old who are in military families

found that 42% reported low mental wellbeing

during the pandemic and 45% reported

being of moderate well-being. It was published

Thursday by the National Military Family

Association, or NMFA.

Just 13% said they were better than fine.

It's difficult to determine how the military

teen population is holding up compared with

the general high school population, since

the latest data published by the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention is from prepandemic

2019 and showed that 37% reported

persistent sadness or hopelessness.

But the military survey still indicates that

military "kids are not okay," according to the

authors of the report.

"Military teens' well-being is low," wrote the

researchers. "We wanted to get an accurate

understanding of military teens' mental health.

The results weren't good."

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 17

moved at least one to five times, leaving

them less connected to family and their


• 11% reported domestic abuse or violence

in their homes.

"This really tracks with everything that we

hear. We talk to military parents and families

really regularly, but not so much directly with

the teens," Pinchotti said.

The organization Bloom: Empowering the

Military Teen is an online site founded by

military teens Elena Ashburn and Matthew

Oh to give the military teen community a

platform to share their experiences, writing,

artwork, memes and more.

"We wanted to know straight from the source,"

Pinchotti said.

They reported enduring frequent moves and

the loss of community every time they were

uprooted, as well as long-term separations

from their parents.

In terms of schools, one-third said they had

attended six to 11 schools in their lifetimes.

Nearly a third said they weren't able to

participate in an extracurricular activity

because they were in a military family or

expected to move, and 20% felt they had been

treated differently or teased for their military


Nearly half said they had experienced at least

one deployment, with about 14% saying they

had gone through five to 10 deployments.

Fifteen respondents reported 19 or more

deployments among one or both of their


Not surprisingly, the survey confirmed that

deployments can take a toll on mental health.

"Military teens who reported experiencing

more deployments or separations lasting three

months or longer generally reported lower

mental well-being," the researchers wrote.

While most children, or 57%, said they did

not experience or witness any domestic abuse

or violence in their homes, 11% said they had.

Roughly 5% reported having been abused by

a parent, and 5% said they experienced dating


The results also reflected food insecurity, an

issue that advocates say is a growing problem

among military families and veterans. Of

the respondents, 36% said they experienced

food insecurity during the pandemic year,

including nearly 40% of active-duty dependent


That may be much higher than the national


According to the report, the Department of

Agriculture said 10.5% of American families

were food insecure in 2020, while the

Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution

think tank found that 27.5% of families with

children experienced food insecurity during

the pandemic.

Congress has taken notice, and this year the

House and Senate versions of the National

Defense Authorization Act contain provisions

for struggling families to receive extra pay to

cover food costs.

The bill has yet to be finalized or signed into

law, but it currently contains a "basic needs

allowance" that would provide the benefit

to troops if their household income does not

exceed 130% of the federal poverty level.

Pinchotti said abolishing food insecurity

among military families would "go a long

way toward helping our military teens' wellbeing."

This community warrants more research not

only for its own well-being but for the national

defense, since they are more likely to become

the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardians and

Marines of tomorrow, the authors noted.

A 2019 DoD poll showed that only 13% of

Americans aged 16 to 24 said they would

likely join the military in the next couple of

years. But two-thirds of the study respondents,

or 1,379 teens, said they planned to serve.

Given their willingness to join, Pinchotti said

the DoD and advocacy groups should do more

to support them, including expanded access to

mental health services and wellness initiatives,

and more programs tailored to their needs.

"We're asking the Department of Defense to

make the well-being of our military kids a

priority," Pinchotti said.

18 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

What Happens

to Your TSP


When You Leave

the Military?

There's a lot of stuff happening when

you leave the military. (Is that not the

biggest understatement ever?) One

little tidbit that often gets missed is

that there is no contribution to the

Thrift Savings Plan during your last

month of active duty. If you're trying

to cram some more money into this

low-cost, tax-advantaged retirement

account before you leave the service,

you'll need to plan to do it before that

last month.

I'm not exactly sure why this works

out this way, but I have a hunch.

Deductions are made from your

military pay during each month, but

the contributions aren't sent to your

Thrift Savings Plan account until

the beginning of the next month. For

example, if you have money deducted

from your military pay in May, that

money will be contributed to your

TSP account in June. But you have

to be serving currently to contribute

to TSP. Because of the delay between

the deduction and its transfer to the

TSP, if money were deducted from

your last month's pay, the TSP would

be receiving the money after you no

longer were serving. I think this is the




contact Paul.Randall@mhce.us

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 19

reason that you can't contribute during your last

month of service. But whether I'm right or not,

the fact is that you can't contribute. The Defense

Finance and Accounting Service will suspend

your TSP contributions automatically after the

end-of-month paycheck for the month prior to

your separation.

So what does this mean for you as you plan your

transition? Well, it means that you're going to

have a bigger paycheck during that last month.

That's a nice thing and can help increase your

transition fund right before you need it.

But it also means that you will miss that

opportunity to make a contribution for that

month. And, if you are in the Blended Retirement

System, you won't receive government matching

contributions for that last month. Depending

on your overall financial plan, you may want

to adjust your contributions for the months

prior to separation so that you reach the desired

contribution amount for the time you're serving.

If you are planning to pursue work after leaving

the military, you may want to consider how your

military TSP contributions may impact your

ability to contribute to your new employer's

retirement plan. The total annual limit for

contributions is combined between the military

TSP and a civilian TSP account, or a private

employer's 401(k) plan. This may be important

if your new employer offers an employee match.

While most of us don't know for sure what

sort of benefits will come with post-military

employment, it's a good idea at least to think

about how things might unfold so that you're

making informed decisions along the way. In the

most extreme example, if you contribute a ton

to TSP before separating, you may find yourself

unable to contribute to an employer plan and you

could miss out on their matching funds, which

may be a large part of their retirement package.

If that entire last paragraph is making your head

spin, consider meeting with a fee-only financial

adviser who understands military pay and


There's no single right way to handle the curtailing

of TSP contributions before leaving the military,

but understanding that it will happen is the first

step in making sure that you're using your money

in exactly the way that you want to use it. And

congratulations on your new phase of life!

20 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION


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Retirees to Pay More for

Tricare Enrollment While

Pharmacy Copays Rise for

All in 2022

Military families and retirees who

use retail pharmacies or the Tricare

mail-order delivery system for their

medications will see an increase in

copayments in 2022, according to

a notice to be published Tuesday in

the Federal Register.

Likewise, military retirees still

considered to be working age --

those under age 65 who are not old

enough for Medicare and Tricare

for Life -- can expect to pay more

in health care enrollment fees,

although the exact amount of the

bump has yet to be determined.

Prescriptions for all Tricare

beneficiaries at retail pharmacies

will cost $14 for a 30-day supply for

a generic drug, up from $11; $38 for

a brand-name medication, up from

$33; and $68 for a non-formulary

drug not listed in Tricare's list of

covered medications, up from $60.

Eligible patients can save money

by using military pharmacies,

which charge no copayments, or

they can trim costs of regularly

prescribed medications by using

Tricare's mail-order pharmacy,

managed by Express Scripts.

Copayments for the mail-order

pharmacy also will see an increase.

The cost of a generic prescription

will rise from $10 to $12 for a 90-

day supply, and from $29 to $34

for a brand-name drug for a 90-day

script. Non-formulary drugs will

cost $68.

Annual enrollment fees for Tricare

Prime and Select also are expected

to rise for career retired service

members and their families, but the

amount of the increase has yet to

be determined because it is based

on the calculated cost-of-living

adjustment for retired military pay,

which is usually published in mid-


by that percent as well, give or take

a few tenths.

Currently, military personnel who

retired before Jan. 1, 2018, known

as Group A retirees, pay $303 per

year for an individual and $606 per

year for a family.

Those designated as Group B

retirees entered service on or

after Jan. 1, 2018, and have left

military service, mainly medical

retirees and their family members.

This group currently pays annual

enrollment fees for Tricare Prime

of $366 per individual and $732

per family.

Retirees in Group A who use

Tricare Select began paying annual

enrollment fees this year, $150 for

an individual and $300 for a family,

while Group B retirees' enrollment

fees for Select are $471 for an

individual or $942 for a family.

Both groups are subject to the

COLA adjustment and will see

increases to their fees.

Surviving family members of

sponsors who died on active duty

or service members who medically

retired before Jan. 1, 2018, and

their families who are enrolled in

Tricare Prime are exempt from the

increases as long as they remain in

that health program.

Tricare for Life beneficiaries don't

pay anything for that program,

which acts as a secondary payer

to Medicare. But they are likely

to see increased cost in their

health care as well, since they are

required to have Medicare Part B,

which carries monthly premiums

based on income. Medicare Part B

premiums are expected to increase

based on the COLA.

In addition to pharmacy copay

increases and enrollment fee hikes,

some specialty populations within

the Tricare system also will pay

more, including reservists, young

adults and transitioning service


Open Season this year is scheduled

to begin Nov. 8 and end Dec.

13. During this period, eligible

beneficiaries can enroll in Tricare

Prime or Select if they have other

insurance or change plans. If they

are satisfied with their current

Tricare health plan, they can do

nothing and remain enrolled.

If they don't make a change

during Open Season, beneficiaries

must wait until a "qualifying

life event," such as losing health

insurance provided by another

insurer, retiring, getting married

or divorced, having a baby or

adopting, moving or aging out of


More than 4.7 million beneficiaries

are enrolled in Tricare Prime, and

nearly 1.7 million patients use

Tricare Select. An additional 2.1

million beneficiaries use Tricare

for Life.

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The enrollment fee increase is

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as military retirees could see the

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projected cost-of-living, or COLA,

increase was 5.1%, meaning that

both retirement pay and Tricare

Prime enrollment fees could rise

Learn more at frontier.edu/military

22 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

The Enemy Is Lurking in Our

Bodies' -- Women Veterans

Say Toxic Exposure Caused

Breast Cancer

As Kate Hendricks Thomas sat one night with her second-grade

son Matthew, he placed his hands on the table as if he were an

adult girding up for an important conversation.

"Mom," Kate remembers him saying, "I'm not going to cry when

I say this."

And then, she says, he started to cry, but just a little bit. Her heart

tightened in her chest as she waited.

"He said, ‘I just want you to know, when you die, I'm going to

cry so hard because I love you so much,'" she remembers.

Hendricks Thomas shines fiercely: A former Marine Corps

officer, she hit Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005, when the living was still

dirty and the second battle of Fallujah had just reached its end.

To stay healthy, she ran laps around the burn pit on base. After

she got out of the military, she earned her doctorate -- and a

reputation for helping others through the hard stuff.

WWW.MHCE.US Monthly Newsletter | 23


contact Kyle.Stephens@mhce.us

24 | MHCE - News www.mhce.us OCTOBER 2021 EDITION

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• Cardiovascular

• Oncology

• Palliative Care

• Nursing Education

• Lipid Management

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