November 2012

Physician Overcomes TBI to Return to Active-Duty Medicine

By Steve Lewis Lt. Col. Eric Holt returned to medical practice against all odds after suffering a traumatic brain injury. BETHESDA, MD – It never occurred to Lt. Col. Eric Holt, DO, that he wouldn’t fully recover from the multiple… Read More

Complementary Therapies Highly Effective for PTSD

By Annette M. Boyle “This is a gentle approach. Desensitization or exposure therapy is a rough thing; medications have side effects. Some people don’t want to see a counselor for [cognitive behavioral therapy]. In contrast, this is pleasant to do.… Read More

Invasive Fungal Infections Complicate Treatment, Increase Mortality of IED-Wounded Servicemembers

By Brenda L. Mooney U.S. Marine Cpl. Sean Grady, a dog handler and pointman with Echo Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and Ace, an improvised explosive device detection dog, pause for a break while sweeping a chokepoint during a… Read More

Despite Formulary, High-Cost Diabetes Drug Use Varies Widely Across VA Facilities

By Brenda L. Mooney PITTSBURGH — Despite a tightly managed national formulary, the use of high-cost drugs to treat diabetes shows “substantial” variation across the VA healthcare system, according to a new research letter. The VA-funded report, published online by… Read More

Many Healthcare Providers Lose VA Retention Bonuses

By Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — In response to congressional criticism and an Inspector General’s report last year, VA has restricted use of retention bonuses across its health system, in effect reducing compensation for more than 6,700 employees. ***************** Opinion poll: Should… Read More

Federal Medicine Organizational Meetings – Tarred with the Same Brush?

The recent General Services Administration (GSA) Las Vegas conference scandal, involving clowns and a mind reader (I could not dream this stuff up if I tried), must seem like manna from heaven for the likes of John Stewart and Stephen… Read More

Another Hit to Pocketbook: Federal Pay Freeze Continues

 By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON–Federal civilian healthcare professionals hoping that the federal pay freeze would be lifted this holiday season will have to wait a little longer. President Obama signed legislation at the end of September that will extend the two-year… Read More

Services in Question as Sequestration Looms

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — The clock is ticking in Washington as the January 2013 implementation of sequestration looms ever nearer. Pentagon officials warned that such drastic cuts would make it difficult to pay Defense Health Program providers and likely… Read More

Air Force Says Changes to F-22 Aircraft Will Let Pilots Breathe Easier in Flight

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Pilots will be able to breathe easier as a result of changes to the oxygen systems in the F-22 aircraft, Air Force officials recently assured a House committee. The F-22 fleet has been under intense… Read More

Removing Junk Food from Schools Could Increase Pool of Potential Military Recruits

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — With 1 in 4 young adults too overweight to join the military, a group of retired senior military leaders offers this advice: Remove junk food from the schools. “The problem of junk food sold in… Read More

Women Veterans at Risk for Heart Disease; VA Seeks to Raise Awareness

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON —The No. 1 killer of women in the United States is heart disease, and women veterans are in no way exempt. In fact, by some measures, they have higher rates of heart disease risk factors. That… Read More

Soldiers with Diabetes in Theater Increase Clinicians’ Disease Management Challenges

By Annette M. Boyle BETHESDA, MD — The Army is retaining an increasing number of personnel with diabetes, and, despite directives to the contrary, these soldiers may be deployed to active war zones where typically recommended methods for managing the… Read More

Peer Support Significantly Improves Compliance in Veterans with Diabetes

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — For the more than one million VHA patients who have diabetes, peer support and shared medical appointments offer an efficient, surprisingly effective, way to deliver care and improve disease management. The shared medical appointment… Read More

Conference Controversy Leads to Call for Ouster of VA Chief of Staff

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In the wake of an IG investigation that confirmed wasteful spending at two VA human resources conferences last year, Republican leaders are calling for the resignation of VA Chief of Staff John Gingrich. “In this… Read More

IOM: Military Response to Substance Abuse Is Outdated, Inadequate

By Sandra Basu Poster used in the Army campaign to stop widespread abuse of drugs and alcohol. WASHINGTON — The military has not done enough to accept the high level of substance misuse among its ranks or to modernize its… Read More

Keeping the Promise: VA Staffer Honored for Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness

By Steve LewisWASHINGTON — Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness within five years, saying, “No one who has served this nation as a veteran should ever be living on the street.” Thanks… Read More

Veterans’ CPAP Compliance Linked to Medication Adherence

ATLANTA–A study of veterans who were prescribed Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy after having a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)found that their compliance with the treatment had a significant  association with how regularly they also took cardiovascular medications.… Read More

Balloon Cryoplasty Effective for PAD in Diabetics

NEW YORK — The COBRA trial suggests that cryoplasty for post-dilation of nitinol stents in the superficial femoral artery is an effective adjunctive treatment for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in diabetics. “Post-dilation of SFA stents with cryoplasty can significantly reduce… Read More

Research Offers More Focused Treatment Options for AF

SAN DIEGO–Recurrence of symptoms is common for many patients treated for atrial fibrillation, at least partly because the source of the arrhythmia is unknown. New research seeks to remedy that situation. Reporting earlier this year in Journal of the American… Read More

Depression Increases Peripheral Artery Disease Risk

SAN FRANCISCO — Depression increases the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to researchers who recommend that clinicians pay more attention to mental-health issues in patients with the disease. The study from researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical… Read More