Agencies


Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Ensuring Community Providers Meet Veteran Suicide Prevention Standards

WASHINGTON—As leaders from across multiple federal agencies begin work on a roadmap to combat veteran suicide, they are searching for ways to turn existing efforts in towns, cities, counties and neighborhoods across the country into... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Manages Drug Costs Better than Medicare Part D

ST. LOUIS – Medicare Part D could save more than $14 billion annually if it paid the same prices for top medications as the VA, according to a new study. A research letter published earlier... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

House Passes Bill to Create Education/Employment Arm of VA

WASHINGTON,—Legislators have reintroduced plans to create a fourth administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs—one dedicated to overseeing veterans’ education, transition and employment benefits. Currently these operations fall under the Veterans Benefits Administration, with VBA... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Administrative Confusions Results in Little Oversight of VA’s Police Force

Suicides, Violence at VMACs Put Spotlight on Security WASHINGTON—As the number of suicides and other violent incidents at VA facilities grows, a spotlight is being thrown on VA’s internal police force and its ability to... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans Using Dual Health Systems Have More Problems With Medications

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

All VA Healthcare Facilities to Be Completely Smoke-Free by October

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Isn’t Addressing Recommendations by Oversight Agencies

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA MRSA Prevention Program Successfully Reduced Cases 43%

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Study Raises Questions About Value of Readmission Metrics

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Three VAMC Campus Suicides in a Week Heighten Concerns About Prevention

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Reverses Stance, Won’t Challenge ‘Blue Water’ Veteran Court Ruling

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Continues Efforts to Reduce Drug Diversion; Focuses on Opiates

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Struggles to Overcome Women’s Healthcare Disparities

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Researcher Seeks to Include Veterans’ Voices in Healthcare Decisions

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

House Committee Looks at Influence Trump Friends Have Had on VA

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Announces Proposed Standards for Access to Mission Act Outside Care

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Announces New Partnerships to Expand Telehealth Services

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Fails to Use All Outreach Resources to Combat Veteran Suicide

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Disabled Veteran Helps Others Like Her Get Back Into the Workforce

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Senate Blocks Agent Orange Exposure Extension to Blue Water Veterans

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA: Oversight Improving for Questionable Contracted Disability Exams

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA ‘On Track’ for Appeals Reform; GAO Questions Timetable

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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.”

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VHA Makes Progress in Improving Safety of Opioid Prescribing

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA faces healthcare staffing shortages, barriers to hiring facility leaders

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veteran nephrologist labors to improve ESRD treatment at VA

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Committee approves bill to provide agent orange benefits to ‘blue water’ vets

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

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..

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Despite Criticism, VA Healthcare as Good or Better Than Other Systems

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Inks Contract for Massive New Health Record System

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).

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Surprise! President Nominates Wilkie for Permanent VA Secretary

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

How Veterans Feel About Remote Management of Their Care

The VA is expanding remote management of patients to improve disease prevention and care.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Stick-on Monitors Help Warn of Heart Failure Exacerbation in VA Study

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: VA Needs Better Planning for ‘Complex’ Appeals System Overhaul

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Community Providers Unprepared to Serve Veterans Under Choice Program

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Former VA Secretary Nominee Claims Allegations Against Him Are False

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Shulkin Ousted, White House Physician Nominated for VA Secretary

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Congress Seeks More Oversight of VA EHR Program

WASHINGTON — Legislation under consideration by Congress would increase oversight of VA’s adoption and implementation of its forthcoming electronic health record (EHR) system.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Congress, VSOs Have Wait-and- See Position on Jackson Nomination

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Vows to Meet Deadline for Revamp of Veteran Claims Appeal Process

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Vets With Respiratory Disease More Responsive to ‘Quit’ Programs

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Long-term Opioid Prescribing Declines in VHA, Bucking National Trend

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

New VA Budget Requests Seeks Community Care Expansion

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

With New Hires, VA Has Net Increase of 8,303 Employees; Still Needs Mental Health Professionals

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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Cancer Patients Less Likely to Receive Excessive Care at End of Life

VA patients dying of cancer are far less likely to receive excessive and unnecessary end-of-life interventions than those treated by Medicare.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

DoD, VA Still Struggle with Diagnosing, Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury continues to pose challenges for clinicians, TBI experts told lawmakers.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Promises to Resolve Late Payment Issues with Community Healthcare Providers

Slow Reimbursement Frustrated Clinicians, Hurt Veterans’ Credit By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Citing the importance of providing payments in a “timely and consistent manner,” the VA announced that it has revised its regulations for payment and reimbursement... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Advanced NSCLC Patients Still Receive Aggressive Treatment

Aggressive care for cancer patients appears to be increasing at the end of life, and the VA is part of that trend, according to a new study.

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