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VA faces healthcare staffing shortages, barriers to hiring facility leaders

A facility-specific survey found that 138 of 140 VA facilities reported shortages of medical officers, with psychiatry and primary care positions being the most frequently listed.


As burn pit registry grows, VA expands research into related lung disease

The potential cost to the VA for lung disease associated with deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan shot up this year when an administrative law judge with the U.S. Department of Labor ruled that exposure to open-air burn pits caused a veteran’s lung disease.


VA secretary nominee promises opposition to healthcare privatization

VA Secretary nominee Robert L. Wilkie promised lawmakers he would not privatize VA healthcare if he is confirmed.


Featured Articles


Departments

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA faces healthcare staffing shortages, barriers to hiring facility leaders

A facility-specific survey found that 138 of 140 VA facilities reported shortages of medical officers, with psychiatry and primary care positions being the most frequently listed.

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.

Department of Defense (DoD)

DoD acknowledges its medical adverse event reporting is ‘unreliable’

The process for tracking the DoD’s most serious adverse medical events is “fragmented, impeding the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) ability to ensure that it has received complete information,” according to a new review.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Automation Speeds Results and Increases Accuracy for Point-of-Care Testing at Walter Reed NMMC

With a long history of point of care testing at both of its predecessor organizations, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) laboratory services staff were keenly aware of the advantages of using portable testing devices to obtain rapid patient assessments.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Despite Criticism, VA Healthcare as Good or Better Than Other Systems

The good news from a recent consultant study is that, overall, the VA healthcare system is generally equal or better than others when inpatient and outpatient quality is measured.




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Inks Contract for Massive New Health Record System

Calling it one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, with a ceiling of $10 billion over a decade, then-VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that the agency signed a contract with Cerner for its new electronic health record (EHR).





Clinical Topics

Mental Health

Psychologist works to make mental health units safe for suicidal veterans

Most people looking at a hospital room will see an environment specifically designed to keep human beings alive through even the most traumatic circumstances.

Neurology

Even mild TBI increases veterans' dementia risk

The risk of dementia is increased even in veterans who suffer mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) without loss of consciousness.

Neurology

Deep brain simulation extends Parkinson's survival

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) not only improves motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as demonstrated in earlier studies, it also appears to extend life, according to new VA research.

Neurology

Gene variant plus TBI worsens symptoms

A gene variant used to predict Alzheimer’s disease also appears to signal worse psychiatric symptoms in patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a new study reported.

Kidney Disease

Thyroid status affects death risk in veterans with CKD

Patients with nondialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (NDD-CKD) have a disproportionately higher prevalence of hypothyroidism compared with their non-CKD counterparts.

Oncology

New Agents Extend Options for Increased Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Accounting for nearly a third of all cancer diagnoses, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the VHA, where past research has suggested that the malignancy is caught earlier than in other healthcare systems.





Non-Clinical Topics

Legislation

VA secretary nominee promises opposition to healthcare privatization

VA Secretary nominee Robert L. Wilkie promised lawmakers he would not privatize VA healthcare if he is confirmed.

Legislation

House subcommittee pushes for burn pit exposure answers

The VA and its partners are pursuing research, including six major studies, to better understand the potential health effects of burn pit exposures.

Legislation

Despite Shulkin ouster, VA continues with VISN restructuring plans

Despite changes in leadership, VA is planning to move forward with restructuring efforts, including redesigning its VISN system.

Pharmacy

EMR Alert Helps Reduce Opioid/Benzodiazepine Co-Prescribing Risk at VAMCs

Since the launch of the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2012, the VA has implemented a number of steps designed to reduce the use of opioids and the risk of addiction and overdose among veterans.

Legislation

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

Legislation

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.




Pharmacy

Military E-Prescriptions Exceed 50% Goal Set Three Years Ago

FALLS CHURCH, VA — As of January 2018, 54% of prescriptions filled by MTFs were submitted electronically, exceeding the initial goal of 50% set when the e-prescribing program first rolled out three years ago.




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