November 2011

RelayHealth wins Blue Button Contest

WASHINGTON – And the winner is….. VA announced that RelayHealth, McKesson’s connectivity business is the winner of the “Blue Button for All Americans” contest. In the content, sponsored by VA’s Innovations Initiative (VAi2), RelayHealth won the $50,000 contest… Read More

Anonymous Surveys Can Be Valuable in Military Mental-Health Screening, Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Despite intensive efforts by the military to reduce the stigma of seeking help, troops still might be reluctant to report mental-health problems, suggests a new study of U.S. Army soldiers from one infantry brigade combat team. Troops undergo… Read More

1918 Flu Virus Circulated Silently Before Becoming Killer

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the flu virus that killed 50 million people worldwide in 1918 “circulated silently” at least four months before the 1918 influenza reached pandemic levels in… Read More

Researchers Building a Better Weight-Loss Simulator

A model created by NIH researchers challenges some commonly held diet beliefs, including that eating 3,500 fewer calories, or burning them through exercise, always results in a pound of weight loss. The mathematical model takes into consideration patient weight, diet… Read More

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” —unknown If I were unfortunate enough to sustain a severe trauma, I would prefer to be taken to a U.S. Military Combat Support Hospital (CSH) over nearly all other medical institutions in… Read More

November Progress Notes

THE WASHINGTON  VA MEDICAL CENTER (DCVAMC) opened its newly constructed Southern Prince Georges County Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) last month near Joint Base Andrews. This CBOC will offer veterans a variety of healthcare services including: primary and preventive care,… Read More

Army Expected to Name First Women as Surgeon General

WASHINGTON — The Army is expected to name its first female and first U.S. Army Nurse Corps Officer as the Army surgeon general in December. Maj. Gen. (P) Patricia Horoho, RN, was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the… Read More

Indian Health Services Emergency Director Engineers Vigilance with Harmony

WASHINGTON — Most people probably prefer not to think about floods, tornadoes and other natural and unnatural disasters, but Capt. Darrell LaRoche, USPHS, always is thinking about ways to plan for catastrophes. As the director of Emergency Services for… Read More

GAO: Veterans Not Given Enough Information to Appeal Benefits Denials

WASHINGTON — Veterans have difficulty understanding the procedures through which they appeal VA decisions on their benefits, and time-saving measures put in place by VA have done little to improve the review process, according to a recent government report. In… Read More

VA, Paralympic Partnership Successful but Not Yet Available Everywhere

WASHINGTON — The partnership between VA and U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) has gotten veterans nationwide involved in adaptive sports as a further step in rehabilitation and to better re-enter society after a grievous physical… Read More

VA Looks at New Weapons in War Against Antibiotic Overuse, Resistant Infections

The war against overuse of antibiotics and the resulting resistant infections is constantly being fought at the VA. Sometimes battles are won – such as a successful program that decreased rates of healthcare associated MRSA infections 67% – and sometimes… Read More

Do HHS Proposed Changes to Common Rule Go Far Enough, Critics Ask

BETHESDA, MD — This summer, HHS announced a proposal to improve the rules governing the protection of human research subjects — a system usually referred to as the Common Rule, which has been in place since 1991. While the proposed… Read More

Treating a Million Diabetes Patients, VA Stays at Cutting Edge

With responsibility for treating diabetes in more than a million veterans in its primary-care population, VA is at the leading edge of care for the metabolic disease. For example, an article this spring in the Annals of Internal Medicine focused… Read More

Best-Practice Programs Reduce Diabetes Rate Among Native Americans, Alaskans

Following encouraging results from a demonstration project that involved 36 Indian Health Service (IHS), tribal and urban Indian health programs, the IHS has added “Youth and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Treatment” to its list of best practices. That program… Read More

National Drug Shortages Plague VA – Pharmacy Officials Detail Response at Public Hearing

SILVER SPRING, MD — VA is not immune to the effects of drug shortages, and even small problems in the drug pipeline can have serious effects on the department’s ability to get the right pharmaceutical to the right patient, VA… Read More

Powerful New Scanner Improves Diagnosis, Treatment of TBI, PTSD

WASHINGTON — A cutting-edge scanner that combines a whole-body, simultaneous positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be invaluable in helping them better understand what changes are occurring in the brains of those suffering from TBI and… Read More

Military Battles Flu Every Year to Ensure Troop Readiness

WASHINGTON — Every year, the military has to do battle with an especially cunning and adaptable foe: seasonal influenza. During the 2010-2011 flu season, more than 600 cases of the flu were reported among troops on active duty (80.1% had… Read More

Concussions in Pro Football Players Provide Clues to Military TBI Treatment

Head Injury Leading Killer Among All-Americans WASHINGTON — Concerns about the long-term effects of repeated head trauma go far beyond military personnel injured in battlefield blasts. More than 50,000 Americans, most of them civilians, die each year from TBI, according… Read More

VA Tests Innovative Solutions to Veteran Unemployment

WASHINGTON — Unemployment among veterans is higher than the civilian sector, as servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have a difficult time finding a place in the work force. This has legislators attempting to understand the root causes of the… Read More

Faced With Lawsuit, TRICARE Reviews Policies After 4.9 Million Patient Data Breach

WASHINGTON — TRICARE is reviewing its current data protection security policies and procedures in response to a data breach that involved personal information on an estimated 4.9 million military clinic and hospital patients. A $4.9 billion class-action lawsuit that was… Read More