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Report: Department of Defense organizes Defense Health Agency to streamline military healthcare

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — The Department of Defense has been working on consolidating its health systems under one roof — the Defense Health Agency — according to a Military Times report published Tuesday

Headed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas Robb, the organization was formed a little more than three months ago and "is supposed to make the military health system more efficient by standardizing medical practices and consolidating support services once run by the Army, Navy and Air Force and managing joint facilities in six major military medical regions," the report read. 

“Before you ask retirees or anyone to share the burden of rising health costs, you better get your house in order. And that’s what we’re doing, figuring out how we can best deliver care for the best value,” Robb said in a meeting with Military Times reporters and editors.

DHA was organized to take responsibility for common health services supporting operational forces, such as the Tricare health program and pharmacy benefits. It also was tasked with establishing and managing medical markets in parts of the country with high military populations and numerous military medical facilities. In these areas, medical facilities will be run under one manager leading a joint-service staff, according to the Military Times report.

 

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NRF: Retail industry committed to protecting consumer data

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — In a letter to congressional leaders, the National Retail Federation underscored the retail industry’s commitment to protecting sensitive consumer data in the wake of the recent international cyber attacks and thefts.

“The National Retail Federation and our 12,000 members are committed to combating this criminal threat to our industry and our customers, and we strongly recommend the adoption of meaningful steps to fight cyber theft and credit card fraud,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The letter reiterated the retail industry’s support for replacing current credit and debit cards with cards that would store data in an embedded computer micro-chip and require the use of a PIN rather than a signature. Current cards use easy-to-hack 1960s technology, the NRF stated.

“For years, banks have continued to issue fraud-prone magnetic stripe cards to U.S. customers, putting sensitive financial information at risk while simultaneously touting the security benefits of next-generation PIN and chip card technology for customers in Europe and dozens of other markets,” Shay said.

NRF expressed its support for an immediate transition from magnetic-stripe cards to more-secure and advanced PIN and chip cards to better protect consumer data from theft, hacking and skimming. PIN and chip cards are widely used in more than 80 countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.

“The retail industry is eager to work with banks and card companies to fight cyber attacks and reduce fraud,” Shay said. “These efforts include installation of sophisticated new PIN-enabled point-of-sale-systems and readiness to adopt cards with more secure microchip technology, but the fact remains that retailers cannot do this alone.”

 

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Wegmans raises $1.6 million in hunger relief donations

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — During the fall 2013 checkout scanning campaign at 47 Wegmans stores in Maryland, New Jersey, the Greater Rochester region of New York , Eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia, hunger relief donations soared to a record $1.6 million, a 14% increase over the fall 2012 total, the grocer reported. 

“We’re grateful to our customers and employees for recognizing the vital role that food banks play in communities,” Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans community relations manager, said. “These results are a testament to remarkable generosity.”

Check Out Hunger and Care About Hunger programs allow customers to donate $1, $2 $3, $5 or any other amount at checkout with 100% of the proceeds going to each store’s local food bank.

The fall campaign ran at various dates from September to December. Timing of the annual checkout scanning campaigns varies by region. The remaining Wegmans stores in Buffalo, Syracuse, the Southern Tier, Massachusetts, and parts of Pennsylvania run annual checkout campaigns during the winter months.

Hunger relief scanning campaigns raised a total of $2.7 million at Wegmans in 2013. Since these programs began in 1993, Wegmans has raised more than $23 million for hunger relief.

In addition to money raised for emergency food services in 2013, Wegmans also donated 16.5 million pounds of food to local food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens across all of its market areas. 

 

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