2018 Issues

January 2018

Is Stroke Hospitalization Higher for Mentally Ill Veterans?

A recent study raises questions about whether stroke survivors with severe mental illness are at risk for increased nonpsychiatric hospitalization at the VHA compared to stroke survivors without prior psychiatric diagnoses.

January 2018

Better Sleep Metrics Can Identify CVD Risk in Sleep Apnea

MIAMI—Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is known to increase the risk of early mortality, stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). A study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology noted that OSA is defined by the apnea–hypopnea... View Article

January 2018

Using EMR to Improve Statin Adherence in MHS

DURHAM, NC — Even though HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease, nearly half of patients stop taking statin medications one year after they are prescribed. A study published by PLoS One noted... View Article

January 2018

VA Reduces Email Burden for Clinicians to Allow More Time, Focus on Patients

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—Concerned about how much time clinicians spend reading and responding to emails, the VA is changing its messaging system so that more of their focus can be on patient care. The... View Article

January 2018

Veterans Treated by VA Often Have Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

The VHA should take a lead role in combatting elder abuse, which affects at least 10% of older adults in the United States, according to a recent medical journal article.

January 2018

Hospitalized COPD Patients More Likely to Also Have PH

HOUSTON — Having comorbid chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH-COPD) increases the risk of hospitalizations and death compared to COPD alone, according to a new study. Identifying PH in COPD is challenging,... View Article

January 2018

Longer LOS Doesn’t Reduce COPD Readmissions

Recent financial penalties for high risk-adjusted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) readmissions have pushed hospitals to search for ways to reduce readmissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new study notes.

January 2018

Study Looks at Soldiers’ Pre-Deployment Respiratory Health

The respiratory health of military personnel deployed to Southwest Asia continues to be an issue of great concern in light of their exposures to a variety of environmental hazards.

January 2018

VA Promises Changes After Widespread Failure to Report Clinician Safety Issues

VA officials sought to reassure lawmakers that the agency is responding appropriately to an oversight report finding that several medical providers who gave harmful care to patients were never reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) or state licensing boards (SLB).

January 2018

Surveys Show Why VA Good Prescribing Practice Also Should Include Deprescribing

Amy Linksy, MD, MSc, of the VA Boston Healthcare System said VA patients sometimes complain that taking too many drugs is a burden. Photo from Twitter BOSTON — For years, physicians have had one primary... View Article

January 2018

Post-Menopausal Veterans Frequently Prescribed Long-term Opioid Therapy

The VA has focused on reducing the risk of opioid abuse and addiction by issuing guidance that strongly recommends against the use of the painkillers for chronic pain since the implementation of the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2013.

January 2018

Change in VA/DoD Guidelines for Low Back Pain Surprising Even for Authors

If VA clinicians are surprised by the significant changes in the updated recommendations recently issued by the VA and DoD for the diagnosis and management of low back pain, they are not alone. The evidence review even shocked many members of the work group that wrote the new clinical practice guidelines.

January 2018

Shortage of Supplies Might Have Delayed Medical Procedures at VAMCs

In response to complaints that clinicians at VAMCs lack adequate medical and surgical products to care for veterans, VA conceded it needs to make its product formulary more robust.

January 2018

‘Hacking’ to Improve Care for Wounded Warriors

Hacking isn’t always a bad thing, especially if the result is devices that can help protect servicemembers from injuries.

January 2018

VA, DoD Slash Time for Disabled Servicemembers to Get Through Evaluation Process

The time for injured and ill servicemembers to get through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System process from their date of referral to their notification of benefits has been slashed more than half in the last decade.

January 2018

Congressional Efforts Seek to Improve, Expand Veterans Choice Legislation

Lawmakers have approved a continuing resolution that included $2.1 billion to temporarily continue VA’s Choice program.

January 2018

VA Study Resolves Debate Over Renal Protective Agents Used in Angiography

Is it better to use sodium bicarbonate or -N-acetylcysteine to prevent acute kidney failure related to common angiography procedures?

January 2018

Annual DC ‘Stand Down’ Brings Homeless Veterans Into VA Healthcare’s Fold

During the Vietnam War, in order to help battle-weary soldiers obtain a moment of reprieve from combat operations, the military held stand downs at secure base camps.

January 2018

Apology is Only Egotism Wrong Side Out

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) Despite our best efforts, bad things often happen to good people in medicine. Healthcare professionals are human and prone to error, as much as they would like to deny that... View Article

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