May 2017

Unintended Pregnancy More Likely in Active-Duty Troops

Unintended pregnancy is reportedly to be higher in the military population, according to a new study seeking to determine the rates of unintended pregnancy among active duty servicemembers compared to other military healthcare beneficiaries.

Study Urges More Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception

Long-acting reversible contraception is more effective for pregnancy prevention than shorter-acting contraceptive methods and has the potential to reduce healthcare disparities and costs, yet is generally underused, pointed out a new military study.

Breast Cancer Surgery Increasing at VA

Women will make up approximately 10% of the VA healthcare system by 2020 and 15% by 2030, meaning that the need for women’s health services, including breast cancer treatment, will increase.

VSOs Raise Concerns About Proposed VA Smoking Bans

VSOs Raise Concerns About Proposed VA Smoking Bans

If a new law is passed, veterans living in facilities such as VA nursing homes would have only 90 days to phase out smoking in their rooms, according to veteran service organizations expressing concern about the proposal.

Veterans Choice Program Increases Burden on VA Pharmacists

Veterans Choice Program Increases Burden on VA Pharmacists

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act in 2014 allows veterans to receive covered care and prescriptions from non-VA providers in a variety of situations.

Depression Is 60% More Common in Women Veterans Compared to Men

Depression Is 60% More Common in Women Veterans Compared to Men

Recent research uncovered some good news and bad news when it comes to female veterans and depression: Women experience depression at much higher rates than men but also are more likely to receive adequate care and report symptom improvement.

To the Editor-in-Chief:

In reference to “How Low To Go: The Continuing Controversy on BP Targets” published in the March 2017 issue:

MHS Implements Multiple Programs to Improve PTSD and Depression Care

MHS Implements Multiple Programs to Improve PTSD and Depression Care

In the year since the release of a RAND report critical of follow-up within the Military Health System (MHS) for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, the DoD has released results of several new programs to improve screening, increase the number of therapeutic visits and track mental health measures.

TKI Persistence Rates at VHA Over Time

How is chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treated over an extended period at the VHA, including the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy with imatinib, dasatinib and nilotinib?

Lymphoma, Other Cancers Linked to HCV

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is known to cause hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Sickle Cell Trait Skews Hemoglobin A1c Results

Hemoglobin A1c might be underestimating glucose levels in a meaningful percentage of African-American and other patients.

Veterans’ End-of-Life Preferences Not Well-Communicated to Surrogates

Veterans’ End-of-Life Preferences Not Well-Communicated to Surrogates

With a substantial number of older patients treated at the VA—more than 2 million World War II and Korean War veterans were among the patient population in 2015—how to manage their end-of-life care is an increasingly critical question.

VA Defends Crisis Line Amid Criticisms from Congress, Recent Reports

VA Defends Crisis Line Amid Criticisms from Congress, Recent Reports

Despite criticism from recent government reports, VA officials insisted last month that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) “is the strongest it has been since its inception in 2007.”

TBI Specialist Seeks to Customize Treatment for Brain-Injured Veterans

TBI Specialist Seeks to Customize Treatment for Brain-Injured Veterans

For the past eight years, Joel Scholten, MD, has enjoyed both a ground-level, exam-room view of traumatic brain injury (TBI) care in VA, as well as a bird’s-eye view of national policy, and both perspectives reveal the same thing: There are as many appropriate treatment plans for TBI as there are veterans suffering from the injury.

VA Vows Quick Response to DC VAMC Patient Safety Issues

VA Vows Quick Response to DC VAMC Patient Safety Issues

VA Secretary David Shulkin vowed last month that his agency will “act as rapidly as possible” to hold accountable those responsible for “serious and troubling deficiencies” at the DC VAMC.

Military Physicians Unprepared to Treat Transgender Patients as Deadline Approaches

Military Physicians Unprepared to Treat Transgender Patients as Deadline Approaches

When the DoD lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces last year, it set an aggressive goal of June 2017 for proficiency in treating personnel with gender dysphoria.

Outdated Processes Hamper VHA in Hiring Medical Staff

Outdated Processes Hamper VHA in Hiring Medical Staff

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — VHA is hampered by outdated human resources processes, as well as competition from the private sector, when it comes to hiring medical professionals, agency officials told lawmakers. “We are striving to update not only internal… Read More

My Life Needs Editing

My Life Needs Editing

My commute to work in the Washington, DC, area is hell, to put it mildly. According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2015, Washington area drivers spent 75 hours on average in traffic, second only to Los Angeles drivers who averaged 81.

Alcohol, Drug Problems Dramatically Increase Veterans’ Suicide Risk

Alcohol, Drug Problems Dramatically Increase Veterans’ Suicide Risk

Solving the devastating issue of veteran suicide depends, at least partly, on being able to identify former servicemembers at the highest risk.