Category: Agencies

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

Should Digoxin Be Prescribed for Atrial Fibrillation?

Should Digoxin Be Prescribed for Atrial Fibrillation?

VA Study Latest in Debate about Old Drug’s Safety By Brenda L. Mooney PALO ALTO, CA – A new study is calling into question the practice of treating atrial fibrillation with digoxin, finding that patients on the digitalis derivative were… Read More

VA Studies Raise Key Issues about Trends in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

VA Studies Raise Key Issues about Trends in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Early Insulin, Singular Focus on HbA1c Not Always Best By Brenda L. Mooney NASHVILLE — New VA research soon might change the way clinicians treat veterans with type 2 diabetes. Despite the increased push for early initiation of insulin in… Read More

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

By Brenda L. Mooney DALLAS – The suspected link between azithromycin and an increased incidence of cardiovascular events was borne out in a recent VA study of veterans hospitalized with pneumonia, but that was only part of the story: The… Read More

Pesticides Plus Gene Variant Increase Parkinson’s Risk

LOS ANGELES – Exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, and certain gene variants may make some people even more susceptible to the disease, according to a new study. The research, published recently in the journal Neurology,… Read More

TBI Increases Dementia Risks for Older Veterans

MINNEAPOLIS – Experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) ups the risk 60% for older veterans to later develop dementia, according to a recent study. The report, published recently in the journal Neurology, also found that, among all veterans developing dementia,… Read More

VA More Likely To Treat Geriatric Veterans with Older AEDs

DURHAM, NC – Despite the availability of newer therapies, phenytoin remains the most prescribed antiepileptic drug (AED) within the VHA, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence at the Durham, NC, VAMC and Duke… Read More

VA Physicians Testify about Harsh Retaliation for Blowing Whistles on Care Issues

VA Physicians Testify about Harsh Retaliation for Blowing Whistles on Care Issues

WASHINGTON – Retaliation against physicians and other employees who voice complaints is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the agency, a senior VA official emphasized to lawmakers at a House hearing last month.

Bereaved Family Members of Suicide Victims Testify about VA Care Lapses

Bereaved Family Members of Suicide Victims Testify about VA Care Lapses

WASHINGTON – A parade of grieving family members testified last month before a House of Representatives committee trying to determine why significant increases in VA’s mental health and suicide prevention resources have not stemmed the tide of suicides

Are VA Benefits Processed More Efficiently? Congress Gets Conflicting Answers

Are VA Benefits Processed More Efficiently? Congress Gets Conflicting Answers

WASHINGTON – The work of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) was vehemently defended before lawmakers last month, with VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey testifying that the agency had reduced the claims backlog from a high of more than 600,000 last year to 271,000 as of last month.

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

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

By Annette M. Boyle MILWAUKEE – Many patients prefer the devil they know. When asked whether they want to go on or switch to a novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) that requires little monitoring, has few drug-drug or food interactions, appears… Read More