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VA Overall Appointment Wait Times Shorter than the Private-Sector

Despite intense scrutiny of wait times for veterans seeking VA care over the last three years, a new study pointed out that delays in the private sector weren’t statistically less in 2014 and that, possibly because of the focus, wait times now are significantly shorter for the VA compared to private-sector healthcare facilities.


Senate Blocks Agent Orange Exposure Extension to Blue Water Veterans

Blue Water Navy veterans who claim to be impacted by toxic exposure while serving off the coast of Vietnam were forced to grapple with disappointment once again as the 115th Congress ended without passing legislation addressing their VA benefits.


VA Seeks to Resolve Questions about Prazosin for PTSD Nightmares

For years, prazosin has appeared to be one of the most effective medications for treating the nightmares associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, but that treatment is being called into questions by findings from two recent studies that patients with PTSD who received a placebo did as well or better than those who received prazosin.


Most Veterans Receiving VA Mental Healthcare Support Some Gun Restrictions

A survey of veterans receiving mental healthcare through VA found that the vast majority would favor at least one option to restrict firearm access with the goal of reducing dangers of self-harm.


Featured Articles


Departments

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Senate Blocks Agent Orange Exposure Extension to Blue Water Veterans

Blue Water Navy veterans who claim to be impacted by toxic exposure while serving off the coast of Vietnam were forced to grapple with disappointment once again as the 115th Congress ended without passing legislation addressing their VA benefits.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA: Oversight Improving for Questionable Contracted Disability Exams

A recent audit by the Government Accountability Office has lawmakers and veterans service organizations frustrated with the Veterans Benefits Administration’s inability to track the quality of work done by outside contractors and concerned that veterans have not been receiving accurate disability ratings.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA ‘On Track’ for Appeals Reform; GAO Questions Timetable

VA is “on track” to implement a law designed to give veterans more options to have their claims appeals reviewed, as well as speed up the process, agency officials assured lawmakers last month.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Senate VA Committee Chair Vows to Pass 'Blue Water' Navy Benefits

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) vowed that addressing benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans “is no longer going to be a question,” but that “how we do it is the only question.”

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VHA Makes Progress in Improving Safety of Opioid Prescribing

VHA medical facilities should ensure that its providers are following three key opioid risk mitigation strategies, including conducting urine drug screening, a recent report recommended.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veteran nephrologist labors to improve ESRD treatment at VA

When Terrence O’Neil, MD, retired as chief of nephrology at the James H. Quillen VAMC in Johnson City in December 2016, he left in his wake decades of work treating kidney disease—nearly 35 years in the Air Force and DoD, plus 11 more at VA.




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Committee approves bill to provide agent orange benefits to ‘blue water’ vets

A long sought-after bill that would make it easier for Blue Water Navy veterans to receive Agent Orange benefits has been passed by a key House of Representatives committee.





Clinical Topics

Mental Health

Most Veterans Receiving VA Mental Healthcare Support Some Gun Restrictions

A survey of veterans receiving mental healthcare through VA found that the vast majority would favor at least one option to restrict firearm access with the goal of reducing dangers of self-harm.

Oncology

Hypertension, MGUS Associated with Herbicide Exposure in Vietnam Veterans

Based on a new review, two conditions–one extremely common and the other rare–appear to be related to herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War era.

Oncology

Detailed Medical History Crucial for Lung Disease Diagnosis

Both general medicine physicians and specialists can find interstitial lung disease (ILD) and pulmonary fibrosis confusing, according to a recent study.

Oncology

Melanomas Associated With Internal Malignancy Risk

Genetic and environmental risk factors have been associated with the development of multiple primary melanomas (MPM) but a new study questioned whether those patients might have increased predisposition to developing internal malignancies.

Oncology

Some RCC Risk Factors Can Be Modified

Obesity, hypertension and smoking are the three modifiable risk factors that could aggressively be targeted to reduce renal cell carcinoma, according to a new study.

Infectious Disease

DHA Releases Interim Guidance for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) has released interim guidance designed to optimize clinical use of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pre-exposure prophylaxis and reduce variability in access to prophylactic medication.





Non-Clinical Topics

News

VA Overall Appointment Wait Times Shorter than the Private-Sector

Despite intense scrutiny of wait times for veterans seeking VA care over the last three years, a new study pointed out that delays in the private sector weren’t statistically less in 2014 and that, possibly because of the focus, wait times now are significantly shorter for the VA compared to private-sector healthcare facilities.

Pharmacy

New Venous Thromboembolism Guidelines Could Change Treatment at VA

Venous thromboembolism, which includes deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is the most common preventable cause of hospital death, according to the VA.

Personnel

Efficiency at Expense of Effectiveness? Legislators Blast VBA Management

Recent problems with initiatives implemented by the Veterans Benefits Administration point to much larger, systemic issues in how the agency rolls out new programs, according to the VA Office of the Inspector General.

Pharmacy

Use of Non-VHA Pharmacies Increases Risks of Scheduled Drug Overdoses

Using multiple sources to get prescribed pain medications and other Schedule II through V drugs increases risks for veterans, a new study finds.

Pharmacy

Shared Antimicrobial Stewardship Surveillance System Saves Three VAMCs $2.3 Million

Three VAMCs that formed a collaborative group to optimize use of a shared clinical surveillance system saved more than $2.3 million in two years.

News

Report Questions Quality of Outsourced VA Benefit Examinations

A review of outsourcing by the Veterans Benefits Administration raised issues about the quality of contractor examinations and also questioned whether a proposed solution will work as intended.




News

Suicide Rates Jump Up for Younger Veterans in Recent Years

Rates of suicide among younger veterans (ages 18-34) “increased substantially in recent years,” climbing from 40.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2015 to 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2016, according to a new report.




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