Category: Agencies

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

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

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.

New VA Secretary Moves Quickly to Remedy Access to Care Issues

New VA Secretary Moves Quickly to Remedy Access to Care Issues

WASHINGTON – VA Secretary Robert McDonald hit the ground running last month, reaffirming the message that VA could turn its challenges into an opportunity to do “what we could never have done otherwise.”

Researchers Target Sleep to Improve Outcomes in Servicemembers with Mild TBI

Researchers Target Sleep to Improve Outcomes in Servicemembers with Mild TBI

ARLINGTON, VA – Up to 93% of servicemembers who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) or concussions experience insomnia and more than a third develop obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep disturbances also can exacerbate other symptoms such as pain and irritability as well as impair cognition and social functioning.

PTSD Still Plagues More than 1 in 10 Vietnam Veterans 40 Years Later

PTSD Still Plagues More than 1 in 10 Vietnam Veterans 40 Years Later

WASHINGTON – Thousands of Vietnam-era veterans continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 41 years after the war ended, a recent congressionally mandated study shows.

Statins Reduce Barrett’s Esophagus; Cancer Precursor Affects About 10% of Veterans

Statins Reduce Barrett’s Esophagus; Cancer Precursor Affects About 10% of Veterans

By Annette M. Boyle BETHESDA, MD – Veterans on statins have another good reason to continue to take their medication, according to new research. Statins not only reduce cholesterol, combat cardiovascular disease and potentially reduce the risk of prostate cancer,… Read More

Telecare Program Effectively Manages Pain, Reduces Opioid Use in VA Patients

Telecare Program Effectively Manages Pain, Reduces Opioid Use in VA Patients

By Brenda L. Mooney INDIANAPOLIS  –  A yearlong VA telecare program to manage chronic pain due to arthritis or other musculoskeletal disorders not only doubled the likelihood of improvement for veterans in the intervention program but also demonstrated that patients… Read More

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

Research Finds Unexpectedly High Rates of Pain, Opioid Use in Recently Deployed Soldiers

By Annette M. Boyle SILVER SPRING, MD – Skyrocketing prescription opioid use in the civilian population has attracted widespread medical and media attention. While the DoD and VA implemented a pain management task force in 2010, relatively little research has… Read More

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – One of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affected 13.5% of soldiers and caused 502,000 veterans to seek treatment in 2012. Despite the ubiquity of the… Read More

DoD Plays Role in Helping Contain Ebola Outbreak; Seeks a Cure

DoD Plays Role in Helping Contain Ebola Outbreak; Seeks a Cure

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. public health community desperately seeks to help contain what experts say is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa, DoD also is monitoring the situation closely and has created an internal task force to “further review the situation.”

DoD’s Slow Transfer of Service Records Contributes to VA Claims Backlog

DoD’s Slow Transfer of Service Records Contributes to VA Claims Backlog

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – While VA is under heavy pressure from lawmakers to reduce the claims backlog and process claims faster, the agency is not the only one to blame for these delays, according to the DoD Office of… Read More