2013 Issues



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2013 Issues

Army Rolls Out Major Upgrade of Electronic Health Record System

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — This month the Army will begin rolling out a major upgrade to its electronic health record system — the Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) system. The rollout will... View Article

2013 Issues

Universal Screening Key to Continued MRSA Rate Decline at VAMCs

By Brenda L. Mooney LEXINGTON, KY —  The VA requirement to obtain nasal surveillance swabs on all patients at hospital admission, unit-to-unit transfer and discharge appears to be a key component of the continued decline... View Article

2013 Issues

Ethics Abandoned? Task Force Member Says Not Anymore

By Annette M. Boyle NEW YORK — A controversial report about medical ethics violations at Guantanamo Bay and Central Intelligence Agency secret prisons has gotten wide play in the general media, but at least one... View Article

2013 Issues

Gout Inflammation Associated with Metabolic Issues

HOUSTON — Comorbidity factors including hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes are significantly associated with the inflammatory cells in gout tissues, according to a study from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and other medical institutions... View Article

2013 Issues

Hyperuricemia Ups Diabetes Risk in Veterans with Gout

STANFORD, CA — Among veterans with gout, hyperuricemia was associated with excess risk for developing diabetes, according to a Stanford University-led study using records from the VA’s South Central region. In fact, according to the... View Article

2013 Issues

High Serum Rate Levels Raise Kidney Disease Risk in Gout

RIDGELAND, MS — Higher serum rate levels (sUA) are associated with an increased risk of incident kidney disease among veterans with gouty arthritis, according to a study based on records from a database at the... View Article

2013 Issues

Few HIV Patients at VA Reduce Risks by Achieving Undetectable Viral Loads

By Annette M. Boyle Jeffery McCombs, PhD LOS ANGELES — While achieving undetectable viral loads reduces the risk of death associated with hepatitis C by 45% and other adverse liver-related complications by 27%, only 4%... View Article

2013 Issues

VA Clinicians Optimistic about Effectiveness of New HCV Drugs

By Annette M. Boyle David Ross, MD, PhD WASHINGTON — New therapies for hepatitis C (HCV) are pouring out of the pharmaceutical pipeline and promising effective treatment with fewer side effects for many of the... View Article

2013 Issues

With HIV Treated as Chronic Disease, Adherence Challenges Develop

By Annette M. Boyle Amy Justice, MD, Ph.D NEW HAVEN, CT — With human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) now being treated more like diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases, HIV patients face some of the same... View Article

2013 Issues

Court Strongly Condemns Feres Doctrine in Case Involving Newborn’s Death

By Brenda L. Mooney SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court opinion that a case involving a newborn’s death cannot go forward because of the... View Article

2013 Issues

New Discoveries Could Broaden Topical Antihistamine Use

SAN FRANCISCO – New discoveries could change the way antihistamines are used from a predominantly systemic to a topical approach, according to an article from the San Francisco VAMC and the University of California in... View Article

2013 Issues

Melanoma Increasing; Detection, Prevention Needed

HARTFORD, CT – Melanoma is on the increase, and more needs to be done to promote prevention and early-detection of the sometimes deadly disease, according to a new study. The authors pointed out that melanoma... View Article

2013 Issues

Web-Based Course Failed to Change PCP Melanoma Detection

PROVIDENCE, RI – Can a Web-based learning program be an effective way to improve melanoma detection by primary care physicians (PCPs)? That is a question raised by a recent study from the Providence, RI, VAMC... View Article

2013 Issues

Warrior Transition Units Go Beyond Physical Recovery for Wounded Soldiers

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — For Capt. Edward “Flip” Klein, Oct. 22, 2012, was a life-changing moment. Deployed in Afghanistan, he was struck by a roadside bomb that resulted in the loss of both of... View Article

2013 Issues

AMSUS Members Donate Lodging to Wounded Warriors

WASHINGTON – Thanks to donations since February by members of a nonprofit organization representing federal health professionals, wounded warriors and their families have access to another 105 nights of free lodging. Inspired by Rep. Charles... View Article

2013 Issues

‘Brutal Honesty’ Aids Medical Recruitment Efforts for Honored Colonel

By Steve Lewis FORT BRAGG, NC — Army Col. Frank Christopher, MD, got an early start in his recruiting career. While still in medical school, he filled in for the area recruiting station office and... View Article

2013 Issues

Uniformed Pharmacists Take Half of Next Generation Pharmacist Awards

By Annette M. Boyle LAS VEGAS, NV — Of the 30 finalists in this year’s Next Generation Pharmacist awards, 30% worked in military or public health pharmacies, the strongest representation seen in the awards program.... View Article

2013 Issues

Fixing healthcare and fixing the economy are two sides of the same coin

“Fixing healthcare and fixing the economy are two sides of the same coin.” — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) As I ponder this editorial, the country is in the grip of its second day of government... View Article

2013 Issues

VA Backlog Elimination Slowed, Not Stopped by Government Shutdown

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Despite dire warnings by VA officials, last month’s 16-day government shutdown did not halt progress on eliminating VA’s disability claims backlog. In fact,the number of pending claims list declined despite... View Article

2013 Issues

First-in-Class Product Approved for Rosacea-Caused Facial Redness

FT. WORTH, TX — The first treatment for facial erythema in adults caused by rosacea has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Galderma Laboratories announced the approval of Mirvaso (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33%*... View Article

2013 Issues

Expanded Options Available for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

SUMMIT, NJ — The approved uses of Abraxane — paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension, albumin-bound — have been expanded by the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer in late... View Article

2013 Issues

New Therapy Approved for Adults Suffering Major Depressive Disorder

DEERFIELD, IL — Brintellix (vortioxetine) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). “Major depressive disorder can be disabling and can keep a person from functioning... View Article

2013 Issues

How Effective is Pay-for-Performance In Improving VA Healthcare Outcomes?

By Brenda L. Mooney Laura Petersen, MD, MPH HOUSTON — Should pay-for-performance be more widely used to incentivize VA clinicans to improve healthcare quality? That was the question raised by a new study finding that... View Article

2013 Issues

Legislators Call on VA to Stop Over-Prescription of Powerful Painkillers

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In the wake of accusations that veterans are over-prescribed powerful painkillers, a House of Representatives subcommittee chairman called on VA to adopt more effective pain management protocols.  “The stakes are... View Article

2013 Issues

New ‘Roadmap’ Seeks Better Tools for PTSD, TBI, Suicide Research

By Sandra Basu FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The newly released National Research Action Plan has created a “common roadmap” for federal agencies to tackle mental health research to include PTSD, TBI and suicide, DoD and... View Article

2013 Issues

Proteinuria Lowering Can Adversely Affect Some CKD Patients

MEMPHIS, TN — Proteinuria-lowering interventions in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) should be implemented cautiously, considering the potential for adverse outcomes, according to a new study led by researchers from the Memphis, TN,... View Article

2013 Issues

New Model Helps Predict ESRD Onset

MINNEAPOLIS — A newly-developed risk model can be used to predict the occurrence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and appropriately prepare for renal replacement therapy in veterans with advanced chronic kidney disease, according to a... View Article

2013 Issues

‘Ideal’ Blood Pressure Not Always Best for CKD Patients

MEMPHIS, TN — What’s considered ideal blood pressure measurement in most situations actually was linked with higher mortality rates in chronic kidney disease compared with patients with moderately elevated BP. A study led by Csaba... View Article

2013 Issues

New Bill: VA Must Provide for Veterans Seeking Outside Mental Health Services

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Amid controversy about treatment backlogs at some medical centers, VA recently announced a new initiative to ensure timely healthcare, including mental healthcare, to its veteran patients. The program also supplements... View Article

2013 Issues

VA Provides Racially Equitable Lung Cancer Care

DURHAM, NC –  The VA healthcare system is providing racially equitable care in terms of time to initiation of treatment and referral to supportive care for lung cancer patients, according to a new analysis.1 Researchers... View Article

2013 Issues

Veterans Overwhelmingly Want Lung Cancer Screening

CHARLESTON, SC – Nearly all surveyed veterans said they would be interested in being scanned for lung cancer and would willingly undergo surgery if the disease were diagnosed, according to a study published recently in... View Article

2013 Issues

Low Radiation Scans Detect Very Early Lung Cancer

PHILADELPHIA – Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can be extremely valuable for identifying tiny lung nodules which can indicate the earliest stages of lung cancer, according to a study of veterans at high risk of the... View Article

2013 Issues

VA Patients’ Special Challenges Often Reduce Glioblastoma Survival

By Annette M. Boyle David Cory Adamson, MD ATLANTA — Because of unique challenges faced by many veterans treated at VA, their median survival rate with Stage IV glioblastoma multiforme is half that reported by the... View Article

2013 Issues

Emphasizing Tradition to Reduce Diabetes in American Indians/Alaska Natives

By Annette M. Boyle Judy Goforth Parker, PhD, RN TAHLEQUAH, OK – Fifty years ago, the Cherokee had no word for diabetes. Today, American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults have 2.3 times the risk... View Article

2013 Issues

Hypoglycemia Poses Risk for All Blood Glucose Levels in Diabetes

By Annette M. Boyle Candis Morello, PharmD SAN DIEGO — For the more than one million veterans with diabetes, recent research raises new concerns about the risks of severe low blood glucose levels or hypoglycemia.... View Article

2013 Issues

Conference Cancellations Push DoD, VA Clinicians to Find Other CME Sources

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — With stricter oversight of government conference spending, medical and pharmacy components within DoD and VA are working to ensure providers are still getting their necessary continuing medical education. “In response... View Article

2013 Issues

More Screening Likely to Lead to Increased Breast Cancer Treatment Delays at VA

By Brenda L. Mooney BALTIMORE — Women are the fastest growing demographic among U.S. veterans, and the VA sometimes is challenged in keeping up with their needs. A new study from the Baltimore VA Medical... View Article

2013 Issues

Novel Use of Technology Helps Decrease Impact of Wounds of War

By Stephen Spotswood SAN ANTONIO, TX – That soldiers come back from the battlefield bearing permanent reminders of their time there – scars they will live with for the rest of their lives – is... View Article

2013 Issues

Honored LPN Enjoys ‘Family Experience’ of Working With Veterans

By Steve Lewis Lisa Lang ORLANDO, FL — Lisa Lang, who recently received the 2013 Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Award for Excellence in Nursing, clearly believes her career is “all in the family.” “My mother... View Article

2013 Issues

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”  General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (1934-2012) Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho recently... View Article

2013 Issues

Bladder Cancer Unexpectedly High in LUTS Minus Hematuria

ATLANTA — Bladder cancer occurs more often than previously expected in patients presenting solely with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) but without hematuria, according to a presentation at the 2013 meeting of the American Urological... View Article

2013 Issues

Medication Use Increases in VA LUTS/BPH Patients

IOWA CITY, IA — The proportion of men who were prescribed pharmacotherapy within 90 days of diagnosis of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and related benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) at the VA increased from 32.2%... View Article

2013 Issues

PTSD Linked to Greater Risk of Autoimmune Disorders

SAN FRANCISCO — Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) creates greater vulnerability to developing autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to University of California, San Francisco, researchers. The research was presented last year at the American... View Article

2013 Issues

Regular Alcohol Use Leads to Faster Rate of RA Joint Damage

OMAHA, NE — A dose-dependent relationship exists between alcohol use and radiographic disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study led by researchers from the Omaha, NE, VAMC and the University of Nebraska Medical... View Article

2013 Issues

Less-Expensive RA Drugs Can Be As Effective As Costlier Ones

OMAHA, NE — Less-expensive combination disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) produced the same clinical benefits as much costlier biological treatment, according to a large VA study comparing the effectiveness of drug therapies for rheumatoid arthritis. Results... View Article

2013 Issues

Higher Risk of Brain Lesions For High-Altitude AF Pilots

By Brenda L. Mooney SAN ANTONIO — High-flying U-2 pilots may be paying a neurological price for their service. The elite Air Force pilots flying at high altitudes increase their risks for developing brain lesions,... View Article

2013 Issues

VA Researchers Identify Biomarkers for Possible ‘Suicidality Blood Test’

By Brenda L. Mooney INDIANAPOLIS, IN — What if it were possible to identify veterans at risk for suicide through a simple blood test? Research from the Richard L. Roudebush VAMC in Indianapolis and Indiana... View Article

2013 Issues

Congress: Why Did Leaders Get Bonuses at VAMCs with Safety Issues?

By Sandra Basu PITTSBURGH — In the wake of emotional testimony given by family members seeking accountability for patient fatalities at VAMCs, lawmakers sharply questioned VHA officials about performance bonuses for leaders in the facilities... View Article

2013 Issues

Providing Quality End-of-Life Care for Veterans Is Personal Mission for Director

Scott T. Shreve, DO By Steve Lewis LEBANON, PA — Scott T. Shreve, DO, National Director, VA Hospice and Palliative Care, takes providing high quality end-of-life care for veterans personally. He recounts how he was... View Article

2013 Issues

Colorectal Cancer Procedure Wait Times: Deadly Delays or Just Good Medicine?

Martin D. McCarter, MD By Annette M. Boyle DENVER — Are increased wait times at the VA for colorectal cancer procedures because patients are receiving more appropriate care, or are they simply dangerous delays that... View Article

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