April 2012

Mental-Health Screenings Questioned After Shooting

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In the wake of a killing spree that left 17 Afghan civilians dead last month, questions were raised about whether the U.S. military is effectively diagnosing neurological and psychiatric problems that can become ticking time… Read More

Few Controls on Potentially Dangerous Supplements Widely Used by Troops

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Popularity of dietary supplements among servicemembers and the lack of formal policy on their sale or use has led to a potentially dangerous situation in the U.S. military, with two soldiers dying last year of… Read More

VA’s Difficulty in Estimating Cost-Savings Could Mean Shortfalls and Cuts to Services

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Will VA’s inability to correctly estimate savings from cost-cutting measures mean the agency ultimately will have to make difficult trade-offs? And will those trafe-offs include fewer financial resources than anticipated for healthcare services?  Those… Read More

Today we have 260 million guinea pigs for the dietary supplement industry

“Today we have 260 million guinea pigs for the dietary supplement industry.” — William T. Jarvis, PhD. William T. Jarvis, PhD, is a retired public health and preventive medicine professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California… Read More

DoD Moves Toward More Joint Medical Services While Avoiding a Unified Command

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Faced with growing pressure to consolidate medical services to control skyrocketing costs, DoD has endorsed a middle-ground measure that moves the department toward greater consolidation without dramatically changing the structure within the military services.… Read More

Legislator Complains about VA’s Construction Delays and Lack of Transparency with Congress

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — As more medical services are moved to veterans at VA’s outpatient clinics, the need for increased space in those facilities has become critical. For some communities, however, the realities of real estate and construction is… Read More

Homeless Women Veterans Face Significant Barriers in Accessing VA-Sponsored Housing

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — For most of its existence, VA’s healthcare system has been geared almost exclusively toward men. In recent years, the agency has made a concerted effort to make facilities friendlier to women veterans, including taking into… Read More

More Opioid Prescriptions Adverse Effects for Vets With PTSD

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to a recent VA study.  “Iraq… Read More

Legislators Raise Health Concerns About Low Funds for IHS Including Sanitation Improvement

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Members of a House subcommittee questioned recently whether the Obama administration’s proposed budget for the Indian Health Service is sufficient to cover critical health needs, especially the lack of adequate sanitation facilities in the majority… Read More

Innovative VA Program Provides Calm and Supportive Environment for Alzheimer’s Patients and Caregivers

By Annette M. Boyle WILKES-BARRE, PA — For staff and residents, life in a dementia-care unit often becomes a dance of frustration. The constant struggle to interpret the world around them upsets patients; the inability to keep residents from… Read More

VA Neurologist Promotes Routine Use of Screening Tool to Earlier Identify Patients with Dementia

Minneapolis – A routine primary-care visit typically includes weighing-in, blood-pressure monitoring and a body-temperature check. In some cases, the physician may also listen to patients’ heart and breathing rhythms, look down their throats or check their ears. What’s between… Read More

TXA Improves Cuagulopathy in Troops Injured in Battle

The use of Tranexamic Acid (TXA) with blood component-based resuscitation following combat injury results in improved measures of cuagulopathy and survival, a recent study has concluded, leading to the use of the agent in casualty care for U.S. troops. For… Read More

New Center Gives Researchers Access to a Century of Military Pathology Samples

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — The Spanish flu epidemic occurred 94 years ago, yet researchers were able to reconstruct the 1918 influenza virus for study. That is just one benefit of the military’s premier pathology reference center, which recently held… Read More

New Report – Expand Pharmacists’ Private Sector Scope of Practice

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Scope of practice for pharmacists in the private sector needs to be expanded to improve the quality and costs of healthcare delivery, according to a new U.S. Public Health Service report. “There has never been… Read More

DC Pharmacy Chief Finds Creative Solutions to Manage Drug Shortages

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — As government agencies struggle with an ever-increasing number of drug shortages on a national level, pharmacists at VA hospitals deal with the problem — usually very successfully — on a day-to-day basis. Terrill Washington, PharmD… Read More

VA Patients with Certain Types of Cancer Survive Longer

The survival rate for older men receiving colon cancer care and some types of lung cancer in VA was better than similar fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries, according to a study out of Harvard Medical School. 1 Prior to this research,… Read More

Advocates say 40 percent of Vets Seek Counseling From Clergy and VA Partnership Could Help

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON — According to VA statistics, four out of 10 veterans with mental-health challenges seek assistance from clergy — more than all other types of mental-health providers combined. Veteran advocates and researchers maintain, however, that VA has… Read More

Physician Creates Safe Place for Female Veterans in Emergency Area

By Steve Lewis NEW YORK – Recognizing the growing number of female veterans and their unique medical needs, a physician at VA New York Harbor Healthcare Center has created a “women-only” examination and treatment room in the emergency department (ED).… Read More