Category: June 2011

Despite Official Honors, Navy Corpsman Considers Mentoring Her Greatest Reward

Washington DC—Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (HM1) Erin Lawlor tried leaving active-duty service for a while but re-enlisted, missing the “esprit de corps” her Naval career gave her. Now, she has earned multiple honors as Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) at… Read More

Turning Disaster Into Opportunity

“I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” – John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) As scenes of devastation from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 continue to play on the world’s media… Read More

Sexual Assault Victims Now Can ‘Click, Call or Text’ to Access DoD Services

Military victims of sexual assault have new options for getting support. They can just “click, call or text” victim support services 24-hours a day, seven days a week, according to DoD. The helpline, accessible worldwide, is free and anonymous and… Read More

Army Brings Behavioral Health Programs Into Schools to Better Reach Children Struggling With Parental Deployment

Washington – More than 700,000 children have had one or more parent deployed to the Iraq or Afghanistan theaters of operation, and recent studies indicate that those children suffer significant rates of behavioral and stress disorders, according to a recent… Read More

DoD Officials Say Retiree TRICARE Fee Increase Essential, Despite Some Strong Objections from Congress

Washington – The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee told DoD leaders that he had “strong reservations” about the Obama Administration’s proposed plan to raise TRICARE health-care fees for working-age retirees. Calling it a “moral contract”… Read More

VA Researchers Educate Physicians on Using Genetic Information to Improve Patient Care

Washington – Genomics may be the field where big health innovations will occur in the future, but translating current genomic knowledge into better patient care is a challenge that physicians are struggling with today. Few patients who could benefit… Read More

IOM Panel: Early Nutrition Therapy Can Be Benefit to Wounded Warriors with Severe TBI

Washington – Severe traumatic brain injusry (TBI) may be a complex medical condition with serious long-term consequences, but the latest recommendations are for a relatively simple change in diet to improve morbidity and mortality. A recently released Institute of Medicine… Read More

Researchers Warn: Use of Last-Resort Antibiotics on Rise at VA, Could Lead to More Hospital-Acquired Resistant Infections

Use of carbapenems, a powerful class of antibiotic sometimes referred to as “last-resort” antibiotics has risen significantly over the last five years, according to a large study of VA hospitals. Carbapenems are often the last treatment option for severe infections… Read More

San Diego VA Pharmacy Service Leads the Way in Fast-Emerging Field of Pharmacogenomics

Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the first draft of the human genome, which was officially completed in 2003 with the mapping of 3.1 billion base pairs. This project, conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the NIH,… Read More

Study: Much of Sleep Disruption in Returning Troops May Be Normal Reaction to Combat Stress, Not PTSD, Other Conditions

Washington – A normal reaction to combat stress may explain many of the sleep disturbances experienced by troops, not PTSD, TBI, major depression or other psychiatric disorders, according to new research. That retrospective study, based on data from Walter Reed… Read More

Researchers Test Innovations to Reduce Hemorrhage Deaths on Battlefield

Washington – Military scientists want to make sure that injured troops in the battlefield receive the same standard of care as they would receive in a stateside U.S. hospital, especially when it comes to managing hemorrhage. Hemorrhage is a… Read More

DVT Improvement Project: More Than Technology Tweaks Required to Change VAMC Culture on Prophylaxis

Portland, OR – When Blake Lesselroth, MD, assistant professor of medicine and medical informatics at the Portland VAMC, and colleagues were asked to spearhead a hospital-wide implementation of computerized decision support for post-surgical deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis, it seemed… Read More

Despite Goal to Smooth DoD-to-VA Care Transition, Conflicting Systems Still Complicate Process for Wounded Warriors

Washington – In what is not really a joke, severely-injured veterans sometimes quip, “I need a case manager to manage my case managers.” In a case of good intentions gone awry, efforts to smooth wounded warriors’ transition from DoD to… Read More

VA Seeks Open-Source IT Infrastructure in Departure from Typical Proprietary Government Software

Washington, DC – VA’s information technology infrastructure, as well as the joint electronic health record that is being planned between VA and DoD, will be primarily based on open-source software, officials revealed last month. Open-source software permits users to study,… Read More

Appeals Court Ruling Allows Judicial Oversight of VA Programs, Raises Separation of Powers Issues with President, Congress

San Francisco – In a case that has raised questions about the appropriate role of the three branches of the U.S. government, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that veterans may look to the courts to… Read More

VA Says Infection Control Problems Being Remedied, Defends Response Against Congressional Accusations of Secretiveness

Washington – Despite the VA’s efforts to improve oversight in areas such as the cleaning and reprocessing of medical equipment, infection risks still exist for patients, according to a recent government report. Members of a congressional committee blamed a “culture… Read More

DCOE to Providers: No Simple Shortcuts to PTSD Treatment

Washington – One of the greatest challenges for the Defense Centers for Excellence (DCoE) is educating providers on the complexities of PTSD, which is far more difficult to treat than routine illnesses for which patients can just pop a pill.… Read More

Struggling with PTSD? There’s an App for That

From maps to the weather to tracking how far they’ve walked today, people are relying more and more on their Smartphones. “There’s an app for that,” has grown from novel phrase to punchline to a simple fact of life. Now,… Read More

Million Veterans’ Data Sought to Compile Database for Study on Genomics and Exposures

Washington – VA officially kicked off a massive genomic research project last month, one the agency believes will be a “game changer” for health care at VA. The Million Veteran Program (MVP) is an effort to consolidate genetic, military exposure,… Read More

Physician Fired for Political Activity Under Law Little Understood by VA Staff

Washington – A VA physician in Phoenix was recently terminated for violating the Hatch Act, a 70-year-old statute governing how and when a federal employee can engage in political activity. While such terminations are relatively rare, many federal employees, including… Read More