Category: 2014 Issues

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The maximum rates of annual pay for incoming VHA physicians and dentists would be increased as much as $35,000, under a VA proposal announced last month. The updated pay tables would allow physicians and dentists… Read More

VA IG: Wait-Time Manipulation Went Far Beyond VAMCs  in Headlines

VA IG: Wait-Time Manipulation Went Far Beyond VAMCs in Headlines

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The problem of wait-time manipulation for patient appointments went far beyond facilities such as the Phoenix VAMC, which became the center of a nationwide controversy,  the VA acting general inspector told lawmakers last month. Acting… Read More

Veterans Appeals Delayed Months; Whistleblower Suggests Leadership Issues

Veterans Appeals Delayed Months; Whistleblower Suggests Leadership Issues

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — A VA whistleblower told lawmakers last month that veterans’ cases waited hundreds of days for a final decision at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, even though some of them required nothing but a signature to… Read More

What Is the Link Between RA and Peridontal Disease?

OMAHA – Could the periodontal region, much like the joints, be targeted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Or does periodontal disease (PD) set off immune responses that are more severe in some forms of RA? Those are questions raised by a… Read More

Effectiveness, Cost Not Linked in Some RA Therapies

SALT LAKE CITY – Dose escalation was higher within the VA for some rheumatoid arthritis therapies, even when greater costs were not accompanied by increases in effectiveness. That’s according to a new study published recently in the Journal of Rheumatology… Read More

Infection Risk Similar with Non-Anti-TNF Agents for RA

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The comparative risk of infection associated with non-anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) biologic agents appeared to be similar to anti-TNF biologic agents in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new veterans study. TheArthritis Care & Research study, led… Read More

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

SALT LAKE CITY – The roots of the rising suicide rates in servicemembers and veterans reach back into childhood home environments and pre-military experiences, according to a quartet of recent reports.

Training Program Prepares Military Pharmacy Techs for Assignment Anywhere

Training Program Prepares Military Pharmacy Techs for Assignment Anywhere

SAN ANTONIO – A newly minted Navy pharmacy technician could find herself working alone on a ship with no pharmacist within hundreds of miles. Daunting?

Male Breast Cancer at the VA Much Rarer Than the Female Disease, but More Deadly

Male Breast Cancer at the VA Much Rarer Than the Female Disease, but More Deadly

Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – Men are diagnosed with less than 0.1% of all breast cancers, but for those unfortunate few, the disease extracts a high toll — and a 65% increase in mortality risk compared to women. The interpretation… Read More

Increasing Cancer Treatment Delays Have Plagued VAMCs for Nearly a Decade

Increasing Cancer Treatment Delays Have Plagued VAMCs for Nearly a Decade

Some Long Wait Times Attributable to Treatment Modalities Annette M. Boyle CHICAGO – The news media frenzy of the last six months might suggest otherwise, but concerns about delays in treatment for veterans are nothing new at the VA, especially… Read More

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

By Brenda L. Mooney SILVER SPRING, MD – A new study raises critical questions about the change in the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and… Read More

What Is The Best Predictor of Heart Disease in CKD Patients?

BALTIMORE – The best indicator of the risk of heart disease in kidney disease patients appears to be calcium buildup in the coronary arteries as opposed to other risk factors, according to a new study. The findings were reported recently… Read More

New Guidelines Published for Renal Artery Stenting

CLEVELAND – Patients traditionally excluded from modern clinical trials could benefit from renal artery stenting to open blockages in the renal arteries, according to new recommendations. The report, published online by the journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, was led by… Read More

Too Low Systolic BP Dangerous for CKD Patients

MEMPHIS, TN – Lower is not better when it comes to systolic blood pressure in veterans with chronic kidney disease (CKD). That’s according to a new study published ahead of print recently in JAMA Internal Medicine. Noting that the effect… Read More

New White House Initiatives Seek to Reduce Military Suicide Rates, Improve Care

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – A revision in the VA drug formulary and an expansion of suicide prevention training were among 19 new executive actions announced recently by President Barack Obama to improve mental healthcare for troops and veterans. “So… Read More

The DoD and Global Health Engagement

The DoD and Global Health Engagement

David Smith, MD Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Health Protection and Readiness) The common view of military medicine usually centers on a few vivid images. Our medics fearlessly race to provide combat casualty care on the field of battle… Read More

After Lackland Bat Infestation, 200 Air Force Trainees Received Rabies Prophylaxis

After Lackland Bat Infestation, 200 Air Force Trainees Received Rabies Prophylaxis

SAN ANTONIO – The largest ever military investigation of rabies exposure involved more than 900 Air Force personnel interviewed and 200 receiving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) at a cost of about $400,000.

Montana Nurse Manager Introduced ‘Navigator’ to Guide Patients Through VA Care

Montana Nurse Manager Introduced ‘Navigator’ to Guide Patients Through VA Care

By Steve Lewis FORT HARRISON, MT – As a cancer survivor herself and with two sisters who are cancer patients, Debera Charlton, RN, was acutely aware of the benefits of having a nurse navigator.“The nurse navigator is used widely in the… Read More

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” — George Washington (1732-1799) In 2009, I was deployed as an anesthesiologist to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, with the British combat support hospital (CSH) established there,… Read More

Celebrating U.S. Medicine’s 50th Anniversary

Tell us what you think are the most important advances in federal medicine over the last five decades.  Please don’t forget to identify yourself by degree, specialty and practice location. We will choose some of the responses for inclusion in the… Read More