January 2018

Is Stroke Hospitalization Higher for Mentally Ill Veterans?

A recent study raises questions about whether stroke survivors with severe mental illness are at risk for increased nonpsychiatric hospitalization at the VHA compared to stroke survivors without prior psychiatric diagnoses.

Better Sleep Metrics Can Identify CVD Risk in Sleep Apnea

MIAMI—Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is known to increase the risk of early mortality, stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). A study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology noted that OSA is defined by the apnea–hypopnea index, a severity index that… Read More

Using EMR to Improve Statin Adherence in MHS

DURHAM, NC — Even though HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease, nearly half of patients stop taking statin medications one year after they are prescribed. A study published by PLoS One noted that discontinuation of the medication… Read More

VA Reduces Email Burden for Clinicians to Allow More Time, Focus on Patients

VA Reduces Email Burden for Clinicians to Allow More Time, Focus on Patients

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—Concerned about how much time clinicians spend reading and responding to emails, the VA is changing its messaging system so that more of their focus can be on patient care. The new approach to the inbox… Read More

Veterans Treated by VA Often Have Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

Veterans Treated by VA Often Have Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

The VHA should take a lead role in combatting elder abuse, which affects at least 10% of older adults in the United States, according to a recent medical journal article.

Hospitalized COPD Patients More Likely to Also Have PH

HOUSTON—Having comorbid chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH-COPD) increases the risk of hospitalizations and death compared to COPD alone, according to a new study. Identifying PH in COPD is challenging, however, because performing right heart catheterization, the… Read More

Longer LOS Doesn’t Reduce COPD Readmissions

Recent financial penalties for high risk-adjusted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) readmissions have pushed hospitals to search for ways to reduce readmissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new study notes.

Study Looks at Soldiers’ Pre-Deployment Respiratory Health

The respiratory health of military personnel deployed to Southwest Asia continues to be an issue of great concern in light of their exposures to a variety of environmental hazards.

VA Promises Changes After Widespread Failure to Report Clinician Safety Issues

VA Promises Changes After Widespread Failure to Report Clinician Safety Issues

VA officials sought to reassure lawmakers that the agency is responding appropriately to an oversight report finding that several medical providers who gave harmful care to patients were never reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) or state licensing boards (SLB).

Surveys Show Why VA Good Prescribing Practice Also Should Include Deprescribing

Surveys Show Why VA Good Prescribing Practice Also Should Include Deprescribing

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON—For years, physicians have had one primary question about the medications they prescribe: Will the patient take them? But, now, as awareness of the dangers of polypharmacy increases, more clinicians struggle to determine the best way… Read More

Post-Menopausal Veterans Frequently Prescribed Long-term Opioid Therapy

Post-Menopausal Veterans Frequently Prescribed Long-term Opioid Therapy

The VA has focused on reducing the risk of opioid abuse and addiction by issuing guidance that strongly recommends against the use of the painkillers for chronic pain since the implementation of the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2013.

Change in VA/DoD Guidelines for Low Back Pain Surprising Even for Authors

Change in VA/DoD Guidelines for Low Back Pain Surprising Even for Authors

If VA clinicians are surprised by the significant changes in the updated recommendations recently issued by the VA and DoD for the diagnosis and management of low back pain, they are not alone. The evidence review even shocked many members of the work group that wrote the new clinical practice guidelines.

Shortage of Supplies Might Have Delayed Medical Procedures at VAMCs

Shortage of Supplies Might Have Delayed Medical Procedures at VAMCs

In response to complaints that clinicians at VAMCs lack adequate medical and surgical products to care for veterans, VA conceded it needs to make its product formulary more robust.

'Hacking' to Improve Care for Wounded Warriors

‘Hacking’ to Improve Care for Wounded Warriors

Hacking isn’t always a bad thing, especially if the result is devices that can help protect servicemembers from injuries.