Category: May 2014

GAO Report: VA Plagued by ‘Poor Inventory Management’ of Tissue Products

GAO Report: VA Plagued by ‘Poor Inventory Management’ of Tissue Products

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — VA policies do not require staff to check the Food and Drug Administration status of its tissue vendors for most types of purchases, even though FDA registration ensures the quality of the provider. That was… Read More

Personalized Healthcare Earning High Marks from Veterans

Personalized Healthcare Earning High Marks from Veterans

By Robert A. Petzel, MD, Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs The results of the 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) are in, and they show that veterans using the VA healthcare system are highly satisfied with the… Read More

Periosteal Stimulation Therapy Shows Promise in Knee Pain

PITTSBURGH – Patients with painful knee osteoarthritis who received electrical stimulation of the periosteum facilitated by acupuncture needles showed modest improvement in pain, according to a study at the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS). Background in the article, published… Read More

Study Looks at PT with Different Acupuncture Techniques

PHILADELPHIA — How does the safety and effectiveness of traditional acupuncture techniques compare to nonpenetrating acupuncture combined with exercise-based physical therapy (EPT)? That was the question asked in a study that included researchers from the Philadelphia VAMC. The answer: Puncturing… Read More

New Mothers May Need Counseling, Training to Pass Postpartum Military Fitness Test

New Mothers May Need Counseling, Training to Pass Postpartum Military Fitness Test

By Annette M. Boyle FAIRFIELD, CA —Many women return to their units after pregnancy with one overriding concern: “Can I pass the fitness test?” The vast majority of those women do end up passing the six-month postpartum test, but their… Read More

Are Knee Injections by Rural Providers Cost-Effective?

SALT LAKE CITY – If enough patients are treated, training rural providers to perform knee injections for patients with osteoarthritis can be cost-effective, according to a new study funded by the VHA. Using the common threshold of $50,000 per quality-adjusted life… Read More

Gene Sequencing Helps Target Therapies for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Gene Sequencing Helps Target Therapies for Metastatic Breast Cancer

By Annette M. Boyle DURHAM, NC — Women initially diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have only a 23% overall five-year survival rate — and will spend most of their lives battling their cancer with a series of chemotherapies that might… Read More

VA Launches New Initiative to Recognize, Respond to Intimate Partner Violence

VA Launches New Initiative to Recognize, Respond to Intimate Partner Violence

Domestic Abuse Tied to Range of Health Issues By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — Nearly 2 in 5 female veterans report experiencing intimate partner violence, as do up to 44% of active-duty women. The high rates of domestic abuse have… Read More

Consolidated Pharmacy Services in New DHA to Save $2B by 2019

Consolidated Pharmacy Services in New DHA to Save $2B by 2019

WASHINGTON — The consolidation of 10 functions that have been performed separately by the Army, Navy and Air Force under the Defense Health Agency is projected to save $2 billion by 2019.

New VA Initiative Seeks to Reduce Opioid Use

New VA Initiative Seeks to Reduce Opioid Use

MINNEAPOLIS — A new initiative to reduce the use of opioids at the VA already is demonstrating some success at eight launch sites in Minnesota, where high-dose use of the painkillers has been reduced more than 50%.

VA Care Delays Implicated in Veteran Fatalities; Lawmakers Express Anger

VA Care Delays Implicated in Veteran Fatalities; Lawmakers Express Anger

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Veterans have died from delayed or never delivered medical care at VA facilities, according to lawmakers who accused the agency of not addressing the problems in a transparent way. “When errors do occur, and they… Read More

Approval of Topamax for Migraines Extended to Adolescents

TITUSVILLE, NJ — Food and Drug Administration approval of Topamax (topiramate) for migraine headaches prophylaxis has been extended to adolescents ages 12 to 17. It was the first FDA approval of a drug for migraine prevention in this age group.… Read More

New Treatment Option Approved for Leishmaniasis; Affects U.S. Troops

MONTREAL — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Impavido, for the tropical disease leishmaniasis, which has plagued U.S. troops deployed to areas such as Iraq. Leishmaniasis is caused by Leishmania, a parasite which is transmitted to humans through sand… Read More

FDA Approves Otezla for Active Psoriatic Arthritis

SUMMIT, NJ — Clinicians have a new tool in their arsenal to treat active psoriatic arthritis. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Otezla (apremilast) to treat adults with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). The drug is marketed by Celgene Corporation,… Read More

Privacy Laws Prevent Commanders’ Awareness of Potentially Violent Servicemembers

Privacy Laws Prevent Commanders’ Awareness of Potentially Violent Servicemembers

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, TX, last month, questions were once again being raised about how effectively the military can identify servicemembers with mental health issues who are prone to violence.

Distance from VA Transplant Centers Affects Survival Rates for Liver Patients

Distance from VA Transplant Centers Affects Survival Rates for Liver Patients

PHILADELPHIA — Where they live can be a life or death issue for veterans who have been deemed eligible for liver transplants, according to new research.

Could Niacin Megadoses Reduce Crohn’s Inflammation?

AUGUSTA, GA — A receptor already activated with megadoses of niacin to protect the cardiovascular system also might play a key role in preventing colon inflammation and cancer, according to a new study including researchers from the Charlie Norwood VAMC… Read More

Vitamin D3 Supplementation Improves Outcomes, Limits Costs in IBD

JOHNSON CITY, TN — The use of a vitamin D3 supplement not only improved outcomes in veterans with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to a greater extent than a vitamin D2 formulation but also was better in limiting healthcare costs and… Read More

Early Initiation of Dual Therapy Benefits Veterans with Crohn’s

HOUSTON — Patients with the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD ) Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are more likely to benefit if dual therapy with infliximab and an immunomodulator is initiated earlier in their first year of therapy, according to a… Read More

Congress Frustrated About Slow Progress Toward DoD/VA Shared Health Data

Congress Frustrated About Slow Progress Toward DoD/VA Shared Health Data

WASHINGTON — Slow progress by the DoD and VA in achieving the seamless sharing of standardized health data continues to frustrate members of Congress.