CHARLESTON, SC—More than half of the patients treated by VA are also Medicare eligible, and that is increasing the risk for a range of prescription medication problems—from chronic disease medication nonadherence to opioid overdoses—among dual... View Article
New Directive Abolishes Designated Smoking Zones WASHINGTON—Starting in October, all VA healthcare facilities will be official no-smoking zones. While VA now permits smoking in designated areas, the department has issued a new policy restricting smoking... View Article
Too Many Leadership Vacancies Are Part of the Problem WASHINGTON—Deeply ingrained management problems are preventing VA from addressing priority recommendations from oversight agencies, leaving the department with long-standing weaknesses in its healthcare and disability benefits... View Article
CDC, VA Authors Reject Calls to Lessen Interventions SALT LAKE CITY—Concerned about methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most common causes of healthcare-associated infections, the VA piloted a MRSA prevention program in 18 VAMCs beginning... View Article
SAN FRANCISCO—While the VA performs well overall on key 30-day readmission rates, a study by researchers at the San Francisco VAMC questioned the utility of the measures for most of the health system’s hospitals. The... View Article
WASHINGTON—Concern over the rate of veteran suicides reached a fever pitch last month after three veterans took their lives at VA facilities over a span of five days. Two of the deaths occurred in Georgia—one... View Article
WASHINGTON—In an about-face, the VA will recommend that the federal government not challenge a recent court decision ruling that the department cannot deny benefits to Vietnam-era Blue Water Navy veterans claiming Agent Orange exposure. The... View Article
WASHINGTON—In the past two years, the VA has implemented a nine-step process to minimize drug diversion, but cases continue to slip through. In December 2018, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General reported two instances... View Article
WASHINGTON—VA is straining its capacity and struggling against a culture that can sometimes be hostile to women as it responds to what VA officials consider a “tsunami wave of women veterans” over the last decade.... View Article
SEATTLE—It’s a big job to ensure that VA’s healthcare system is equipped to provide the best possible care to veterans. It might be an even bigger job to make sure that veterans across the country... View Article
WASHINGTON—Three months into the new Democrat-led Congress, legislators are continuing to press VA on possible misconduct by high-level VA employees and consultants. That includes expanding the investigation into VA’s relationship with civilian advisers conducting meetings... View Article
WASHINGTON—VA has released its proposed new access standards, defining new eligibility criteria for veterans seeking care by non-VA providers. The standards are part of the VA MISSION Act signed into law in June 2018, and... View Article
WASHINGTON.—VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced new partnerships with several prominent companies and veterans’ organizations to make access to health services easier for veterans, regardless of their location. Collaborators announced at the recent Anywhere to Anywhere,... View Article
Despite declaring veteran suicide as its No. 1 clinical priority, VA’s suicide prevention outreach efforts dropped off in 2017 and 2018, and a lack of clear goals and inconsistent leadership has impacted its success, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Ten years ago, Coniece Washington was walking through the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center when she saw a job notice tacked to a board: certified rehabilitation counselor.
Blue Water Navy veterans who claim to be impacted by toxic exposure while serving off the coast of Vietnam were forced to grapple with disappointment once again as the 115th Congress ended without passing legislation addressing their VA benefits.
A recent audit by the Government Accountability Office has lawmakers and veterans service organizations frustrated with the Veterans Benefits Administration’s inability to track the quality of work done by outside contractors and concerned that veterans have not been receiving accurate disability ratings.
VA is “on track” to implement a law designed to give veterans more options to have their claims appeals reviewed, as well as speed up the process, agency officials assured lawmakers last month.
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.”
VHA medical facilities should ensure that its providers are following three key opioid risk mitigation strategies, including conducting urine drug screening, a recent report recommended.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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).
President Donald Trump said last month that acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie “has done an incredible job” and, in a surprise move, nominated him for the permanent Cabinet position.
Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.
The VA is expanding remote management of patients to improve disease prevention and care.
While implantable devices have shown promise in reducing rehospitalization for heart failure (HF), VA researchers sought to determine if options that are less expensive and non-invasive would have comparable results.
Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.
Gene L. Dodaro became the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on December 22, 2010, when he was confirmed by the United States Senate. WASHINGTON... View Article
Lifting weights is one way servicemembers keep in peak physical condition during deployment.
Having Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) increases mortality risk in breast cancer patients, regardless of whether diabetes was diagnosed before or after breast cancer, according to a recent study.
Among those who are exposed to combat, it’s the weapons fire that does it. In the Navy, it’s the noise levels in engine rooms and on the decks of carriers.
As the debate about increasing access for veterans to community-based provider heats up, a serious problem has emerged: Few providers outside the VA health system appear to be prepared to meet the unique challenges of the veteran population.
Veterans’ groups expressed concern last month regarding a “lack of permanent leadership at the department,” after Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, MD, withdrew his name from consideration as VA secretary amid anonymous allegations of misconduct.
WASHINGTON — After several weeks of speculation regarding his future in the Trump Administration, VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD’s tenure came to an abrupt end on March 28.
WASHINGTON — Legislation under consideration by Congress would increase oversight of VA’s adoption and implementation of its forthcoming electronic health record (EHR) system.
WASHINGTON — The military services need to develop “targeted and coordinated strategies” to alleviate military physician gaps, a recent report recommended.
WASHINGTON — Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, MD, was thrust into the spotlight with his nomination as VA secretary late last month, raising questions about the qualifications he would bring to the position.
WASHINGTON—VA has told legislators that the agency is on track with a new law that will give veterans more options to have their claims appeals reviewed.
MINNEAPOLIS — Because adults with chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) suffer from tobacco-related health issues, they sometimes have greater motivation to quit smoking. But that is not always the case, according to a report in... View Article
Extended Prescribing Dropped from 9.5% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2016 By Brenda L. Mooney IOWA CITY, IA—Long-term prescribing of opioid painkillers is on the decline at the VA, in contrast to what appears to be happening outside of federal medicine.
WASHINGTON — Calling the Trump administration’s fiscal years 2019 proposed budget for VA “very strong,” VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, told lawmakers that it “provides the resources to continue VA modernization and to respond to... View Article
By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—VA made progress in filling its vacancies last year with a net increase of 8,303 employees, but the agency still struggles to find enough mental health professionals, especially in light of a... View Article
VA patients dying of cancer are far less likely to receive excessive and unnecessary end-of-life interventions than those treated by Medicare.
Diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury continues to pose challenges for clinicians, TBI experts told lawmakers.
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