2018 Issues



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Current Issue

Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past. Tryon Edwards (1809-1894)

The Department of Defense recently underwent an internal review of opioid use within three major military treatment facilities through the Inspector General office. The report remains preliminary and has not yet been released to the... View Article

Clinical Topics

New Device Improves Balance in 100% of Veterans with Gulf War Illness

A new device that corrects vestibular dysfunction could be a key to treating many of the symptoms affecting the approximately 300,000 veterans who suffer from Gulf War Illness.

Current Issue

‘Severe’ 2017-18 Influenza Season Hit VA Especially Hard

This likely will come as little surprise to healthcare professionals who soldiered through it, but the 2017-18 influenza season was the most severe since VA surveillance was initiated in 2009.

Current Issue

VA Examines Ways to Lessen Care Disruption During EHR Implementation

Clinician input will play an important part in decisions that need to be made regarding VA's new EHR, VA officials assured lawmakers last month.

Current Issue

Unions Go to Court to Stop VA Changes in ‘Official Time’ Policy

VA's announcement that it would eliminate paid union-related official time for medical professionals, as of Nov. 15, has drawn a lawsuit from unions representing the agency's employees.

Current Issue

Better Survival for NSCLC Patients Treated by Military Medicine

Does universal healthcare access provided by the MHS translate into improved patient outcomes for non-small cell lung cancer?

Current Issue

Increasing Usage of SSRIs for Dementia Symptoms

Emerging data has suggested effectiveness for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Current Issue

PhARMD Program Continues to Expand Pharmacists’ Clinical Role in VA

A tool developed by the VA has raised the profile of pharmacists as critical members of patient care teams at the VA, leading to a doubling of the number of pharmacists serving as providers.

Current Issue

Caution Urged in Use of Sulfonylureas in Some T2 Diabetes Patients with CAD

VA clinicians should exercise caution with use of sulfonylurea in some patients with co-morbid type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to new research.

Current Issue

Hypoglycemia Concerns Help Drive Use of Continuous Glucose Monitoring at VA

As the VA increases its focus on minimizing hypoglycemia in veterans with type 2 diabetes, it expects that more physicians and veterans will consider using continuous glucose monitors to meet that goal.

Current Issue

Richmond VAMC Nurse Develops Interventional Radiology Manual

When Jennifer Farrell, RN, arrived at the Richmond VAMC in February 2015, the interventional radiology department was in its infancy.

Current Issue

Veterans Study Calls for Better Guidance on Lung Cancer Treatment

With increased imaging now detecting lung cancer nodules in sicker patients, a new report suggested that guidelines should be more directive in how to maximize benefit and minimize harm, while taking into account comorbidities and life expectancy.

Current Issue

Benzodiazepines Increase Suicide Risks in Veterans With Co-Morbid COPD/PTSD

Many clinical guidelines specifically recommend against prescribing benzodiazepines to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Current Issue

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.”

Current Issue

VA, DoD Formally Agree to Create ‘Seamless’ EHR System

After years of pressure from Congress and advocacy groups, the DoD and VA have formally agreed to work together to implement “a single, seamlessly integrated electronic health record that will accurately and efficiently share health data.”

Current Issue

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” — Henry Ford (1863-1947)

October is Operation Bushmaster season for Uniformed Services University (USU) medical and nursing students.

Cardiology

NASA Partners with Academia for CVD Prediction Tool in Younger Adults

Federal medicine played a crucial role in the development of a new online tool to better predict which middle-aged adults are at the greatest risk of having acute myocardial infarction or stroke over the next decade.

Current Issue

Intensive Short-Term Therapy More Effective for PTSD in Veterans

Short-term intensive outpatient treatment is more effective for post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans than longer-term therapy, a new study suggested.

Current Issue

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.

Current Issue

Two-Thirds of VAMCs Improved Quality, Efficiency in Recent Assessment

More than half of 15 VAMCs classified as “high risk” in the October 2017 Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning report moved out of that category in the most recent update. But one, the DCVAMC in Washington declined and is now considered “critical.”

Current Issue

Decision Tool Helps Decide Who Should Get Lung Cancer Screening

A new online decision tool helps clinicians determine when to recommend lung cancer screening for their patients.

Current Issue

Cost Matters Most in Patient Preference for ED Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing is often used during emergency department (ED) visits. But, in the rush to diagnosis and treat patients, often not much attention is paid to patient preferences for such testing, according to a recent study.

Current Issue

A ‘Trigger’ Can Make Sure Abnormal TSH Levels Are Followed Up

In busy outpatient clinics, following up on abnormal test results too often falls by the wayside, according to a new study.

Current Issue

RA Fracture Risk Affected by Glucocorticoid Treatment

How much does systemic glucocorticoid exposure increase fracture among patients with newly-diagnosed inflammatory and immune-modulated conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Current Issue

Obesity, Weight-Loss Both Worsen RA U.S. Medicine

Obese patients with rheumatoid arthritis report greater disability in cross-sectional studies, but what that means over the long term has not been studied often.

Current Issue

Opioid Prescription Delays DMARD Initiation

What factors can cause delays in initiation of initial disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, or DMARD, in patients newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Current Issue

Outcomes of Genitourinary Injuries in Recent Veterans

The diagnosis and coordination of care for veterans with genitourinary injury can be improved, a new study found.

Current Issue

E. Coli in Poultry Linked to UTI Outbreaks

Gastrointestinal upset isn't the only risk from a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) found in retail chicken and turkey products.

Current Issue

Most Patients Have Issues With In-Dwelling Catheters

Patients have more issues than healthcare providers might realize with complications from indwelling urethral catheters, including both infectious and non-infectious problems.

Current Issue

Is It Time to Abandon One-Size-Fits-All Dosing for Antibiotics?

Increased obesity among veterans and the general population might be leading to more hospitalizations for infections and greater instance of failed treatment in patients who have been hospitalized.

Current Issue

VA/National Cancer Institute Partnership Increases Veteran Access to Trials

Thanks to a new partnership between the National Cancer Institute and the VA, veterans with cancer will now have greater access to potentially lifesaving clinical trials.

Current Issue

VA Continues Hepatocellular Screening, but Study Questions the Value

Although a recent study determined that screening veterans with cirrhosis for hepatocellular carcinoma did not reduce the risk of death associated with liver cancer, the VA has no plans to change its screening practices.

Current Issue

VHA Accountability Unclear for Assuring Medical Equipment Sterility

Who is responsible for VHA's sterile processing reusable medical equipment is unclear, and the lack of accountability needs to be addressed, agency officials told lawmakers.

Current Issue

Could Bilirubin Measurements Predict, Prevent CV Events in HIV Patients?

For most people, mention of bilirubin, which is formed after the breakdown of red blood cells and is eliminated by the liver, elicits thoughts of jaundice—which occurs when the compound is too high.

Current Issue

VA Pilots Automated Nationwide MDRO Alert System

The VA has successfully piloted a nationwide system to alert VA facilities when patients are admitted with a history of infection with two challenging multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs).

Current Issue

House Passes Bill to Improve Hiring, Retention at VHA

A three-year pilot program to provide undergraduate students a clinical observation experience within VA is called for in a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives.

Current Issue

Testosterone Therapy Not Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer in Veterans

Clinicians prescribing supplemental testosterone in men with low levels always have a nagging concern about the possible link between increasing hormone levels and prostate cancer.

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Legislators Question Governance of VA EHR Implementation

How much will implementation and integration of a new electronic health record slow down processes at the VA, which already struggles with delays in care?

Current Issue

Protocols to Prevent Pathogen Transmission Often Violated in Hospitals

Precautionary practices to prevent infectious agent transmission in hospitals often fail, according to a study looking at 325 patient rooms, including some at a VAMC.

Current Issue

“The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”—Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)”

The doctor of the future will give no medication but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”—Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)

Current Issue

No Prior Mental Health Diagnosis for Many Soldiers Attempting Suicide

While mental health conditions are a strong predictor of who is likely to try to take their own life, that doesn't account for a sizeable percentage of soldiers at risk of suicide, according to a new study.

Current Issue

Rural Veterans With MS Benefit from Clinical Video Telehealth Rehabilitation

Of the more than 28,000 veterans with multiple sclerosis (MS) who receive care at the VHA, almost 45% of them live in rural or highly rural areas, a recent conference presentation pointed out.

Current Issue

Flu Vaccination Rates Up for VA Health Care Staff, But Still Lag National Average

While the VA significantly lags behind other healthcare systems in mandating influenza vaccinations for healthcare workers, according to recent research, it is moving closer to the national average because of a directive issued last fall.

Current Issue

DoD Analysis Shows Flu Vaccine More Effective Than Expected in 2017

Predictions that the influenza vaccine would be largely ineffective in the U.S. based on results seen in Australia the previous summer troubled many federal infectious disease specialists going into last year's flu season.

Current Issue

VA Evaluates Form to Improve Function in Medication Labels

When time is of the essence, good design saves lives. That was the lesson of a recent experiment in Pittsburgh that tested whether anesthetist trainees would grab the right medication in a stressful simulated operating room scenario or make a potentially fatal mistake.

Current Issue

Lawmakers Continue to Push VA to Meet Benefits Modernization Deadline

VA remains on track for implementing its new disability appeals system by the February 2019 deadline, VA officials told lawmakers at a recent hearing.

Current Issue

Side-effects Differ Between Radiation Therapies for Prostate Cancer

A recent study compared patient-reported disease-specific functional outcomes after external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and EBRT combined with low-dose-rate brachytherapy prostate boost (EB-LDR) among men with localized prostate cancer.

Current Issue

Parkinson’s Drug Not Associated With Higher Prostate Cancer Risk

An increased incidence of prostate cancer was observed in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with entacapone during a pre-approval randomized clinical trial, according to a new study which noted that the relationship had not yet been intensely investigated.

Current Issue

Metformin Promising for Improving Prostate Cancer Survival

Metformin, a commonly used drug for patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), has shown promise in helping to treat prostate cancer (PCa), according to a new study.

Current Issue

Despite Unanimous House Support, VA Opposes ‘Blue Water’ Legislation

VA officials told lawmakers last month that it opposes a bill that would expand the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to Vietnam veterans who served offshore because the "science is not there."