2016 Issues

February 2016

Do proposed national guidelines on opioid prescriptions give enough consideration to chronic-pain patients?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll: Do proposed national guidelines on opioid prescriptions give enough consideration to chronic-pain patients? Yes No Not SureCurrent Results

February 2016

High Cost of Paperless Benefits System Questioned

By Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) officials recently defended cost increases related to development of the paperless claims processing system Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).“Scope and cost increases were planned, essential and approved... View Article

February 2016

Senators Emphasize Priorities for VA IG Nominee

By Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — Michael Missal told lawmakers that, if he becomes the next VA Inspector General, one of his goals will be to work “to promote an improved environment” for whistleblowers.“I will also take... View Article

February 2016

VA, DoD Adopting Earlier HIV Treatment to Dramatically Reduce AIDS Risk

Pre-infection Immunological Health Achieved in Some CasesBy Annette M. Boyle SAN ANTONIO — For years, clinicians have not recommended treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with antiretroviral therapy (ART) before they saw a significant drop... View Article

February 2016

Early PT Reduces Costs in Military Low Back Pain

SAN ANTONIO — Early, guideline-adherent physical therapy following an initial episode of acute, nonspecific low back pain (LBP) resulted in substantially lower costs and reduced use of healthcare resources over a two-year period.That’s according to... View Article

February 2016

How Effective Is Nicotine for Post-Operative Pain?

PORTLAND, OR — With acute pain a frequent problem after surgical procedures, nicotine has been explored as an adjunctive medication for management of postoperative pain.A research analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews... View Article

February 2016

Long-Term Opioid Use Increases Depression Risk

LOUIS — While opioids can cause short-term improvement in mood as patients experience pain relief, long-term use of the drugs increases risk of new-onset depression, according to a new study.The research, published recently in the... View Article

February 2016

Hospitals’ Routine Use of PPIs Increases Risk of Inpatient Pneumonia, C. Diff

VA Researchers Recommend Against the Practice in Most CasesBy Brenda L. MooneyANN ARBOR, MI — In a case where the preventive measure might be worse than the avoided outcome, hospitals at the VHA and elsewhere... View Article

February 2016

CDC Opioid Guidelines Could Cause Problems for VA Patients, Clinicians

VA clinicians and their patients might find themselves in a difficult position related to proposed opioid prescribing guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

February 2016

GAO Report Urges Clarification on VHA, DoD Drug Transition Policy

Last year, a new policy instructed VHA providers not to discontinue mental health medications initiated by DoD providers due to formulary differences.

February 2016

Barriers to Study, Use of Marijuana for Epilepsy Treatment Continue to Fall

In the last few months, several federal agencies and Congress have taken steps to eliminate obstacles to the study and potential use of marijuana for veterans with epilepsy and other conditions.

February 2016

Guidelines Offer No Set Recommendations for How to Deal with First Seizures

While veterans and servicemembers who have experienced a single unprovoked seizure and the clinicians who treat them would like clear, consistent next steps, new guidelines take them into solidly gray areas.

February 2016

Web Program Promising for Women Vets With Pre-Diabetes

LOS ANGELES — Diabetes prevention is especially important at the VHA where 1 in 4 veterans has the disease, according to a small study citing growing evidence for the use of Web-based diabetes prevention program... View Article

February 2016

Veterans With Diabetes Benefit From Lowering Both HbA1c, LDL-C

NEW ORLEANS — Most diabetes patients don’t have levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) under control, either individually or in combination, according to a new study seeking to determine the value... View Article

February 2016

Comorbid Mental Disorders Increase VHA Diabetes Costs

CHARLESTON, SC — Costs of treating diabetes increase when patients also have mental health issues, according to a new VHA study.The study, which was published recently in the American Journal of Managed Care, looked at... View Article

February 2016

About 15,000 Vets Eligible for Camp Lejeune Benefits

‘Presumptive’ Process Expected to Take a YearBy Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — About 15,000 veterans would be eligible for expanded disability compensation because of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, NC, between August 1953 and December... View Article

February 2016

MRI Study Finds ‘Brain Scars’ in Troops With Blast-Related mTBI

“Brain scars” were detected in more than half of the active-duty servicemembers who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

February 2016

Nurse Spearheads Effort to Increase Diabetes Control at CBOC

The Zanesville Community Based Outpatient Clinic is pretty typical when it comes to VA community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs).

February 2016

Clearly there are always unintended consequences

...of any legislative or regulatory act that’s taken in the heat of battle.” Richard “Dick” Grasso was chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange from 1995 to 2003 and is credited for his efforts to restart the Exchange following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


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