Agencies

VA’s Prescription Management Practices Come Under Fire From Legislators

VA’s Prescription Management Practices Come Under Fire From Legislators

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Lawmakers charged that the VA is not doing enough to ensure that medication use is properly managed among veterans — particularly those already struggling with mental health issues. VA officials were questioned on prescription mismanagement… Read More

Army Polypharmacy Program Posts Outstanding Return on Investment

Army Polypharmacy Program Posts Outstanding Return on Investment

Clinical Pharmacists Help Optimize Medication Use By Annette M. Boyle HONOLULU — A pilot program at Tripler Army Medical Center that manages patients taking multiple drugs appears poised to post a financial return on investment of 5:1. As a result,… Read More

Some Non-Federal Physicians Express Discomfort Treating Veterans

Some Non-Federal Physicians Express Discomfort Treating Veterans

By Brenda L. Mooney ATHENS, OH — The push to allow veterans more access to non-VA care — or even to bifurcate the system, as some have suggested, so that specific types of care always are provided by private-sector clinicians… Read More

TRICARE Changes Could Damage Military Readiness, Training

TRICARE Changes Could Damage Military Readiness, Training

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—DoD and military healthcare officials warned lawmakers last month that a recent report’s recommendation to replace TRICARE with a selection of commercial insurance plans would be detrimental to medical training and readiness of military medical personnel. “The… Read More

Senators: VA Insufficiently Responsive to Oversight Recommendations

Senators: VA Insufficiently Responsive to Oversight Recommendations

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) put the VA on its “high risk” list for the first time, noting that the agency needs oversight to make sure “its resources are being used in… Read More

DoD Seeks to Stem Retaliation After Sexual Assault Reports

DoD Seeks to Stem Retaliation After Sexual Assault Reports

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of women said they experienced some type of retaliation after informing military officials they had been victims of unwanted sexual conduct, according to newly finalized data from a DoD report. In response, Secretary… Read More

VA Lags on Women’s Health; No Gynecologists at Some VAMCs

VA Lags on Women’s Health; No Gynecologists at Some VAMCs

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — With 29% more women accessing VA healthcare in the past three years, the agency has a way to go to make sure it meets the needs of female veterans, advocates testified at recent congressional hearings.… Read More

Subdural Hemorrhage Predicted to Increase More Than 50% in VA Patients

By Brenda L. Mooney NEW YORK — Over the next 15 years, chronic subdural hemorrhage (SDH) will become the most common adult brain condition requiring neurosurgical intervention in the United States, but healthcare systems may not be prepared to care… Read More

Heart Failure Is Latest Serious Health Condition Linked to PTSD

Chronic Conditions Also Associated With Past Combat Experience Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — Serious health conditions linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to mount. Researchers recently uncovered a significant link between the condition and the risk of developing heart… Read More

New Guidelines: Six-Step Recovery Program Recommended for Military mTBI

New Guidelines: Six-Step Recovery Program Recommended for Military mTBI

Annette M. Boyle CHAPEL HILL, NC — Traumatic brain injury has been a signature injury of recent military engagements, with nearly 300,000 documented since 2000. Four out of five of those were mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) or concussions. Despite… Read More

Pillbox Program Helps Improve Adherence for Hypertensive Patients

Annette M. Boyle ASHEVILLE, NC — Screening, frequent appointments and other interventions enabled the VA by 2010 to bring blood pressure under control in more than three-quarters of patients with hypertension. Helping the remaining one-quarter adhere to medication regimens to… Read More

VA Tops in Experience With Rare Lymphomas, Looks for More Effective Treatments

VA Tops in Experience With Rare Lymphomas, Looks for More Effective Treatments

As the healthcare system with the most experience treating older men, the VA has special expertise in treating uncommon diseases that plague them, such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma. The current challenge for clinicians is to find ways to raise the… Read More

Early Physical Therapy Reduces Back Pain Costs

SAN ANTONIO — Following an initial episode of acute, nonspecific low-back pain (LBP), early and guideline-adherent physical therapy resulted in substantially lower costs and reduced use of healthcare resources over a two-year period, according to a study conducted within the… Read More

Duration of Opioid Action Affects Unintentional Overdoses

BOSTON — Clinicians weighing the risks and benefits of prescribing different opioid regimens should take not only the daily dose into consideration but also the duration of the opioid action, according to a new study. That study, published recently in… Read More

With Prostate Cancer Diagnosed Younger, Treatment Options Under Fierce Debate

With Prostate Cancer Diagnosed Younger, Treatment Options Under Fierce Debate

Since the mid-1980s, six times as many men under 55 now are receiving prostate cancer diagnoses, and the younger patients face considerably higher mortality rates. With the stakes even greater, the debate continues on whether too much screening is being… Read More

‘Undiagnosing’ Multiple Sclerosis: Managing Patients Who Really Don’t Have It

‘Undiagnosing’ Multiple Sclerosis: Managing Patients Who Really Don’t Have It

As many as 10% of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis actually don’t and are receiving treatment for the wrong condition.

Programs Help Veterans Achieve Their Goals, Not Just Recover from Illness

Programs Help Veterans Achieve Their Goals, Not Just Recover from Illness

Beyond the ‘Find It, Fix It’ Mentality By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — A story Tracy Gaudet, MD, was told years ago not only changed her approach to medicine but, now that she is director of the VA’s Office of… Read More

VA Study Finds High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better Only for Veterans 85 or Older

VA Study Finds High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better Only for Veterans 85 or Older

Research Contradicts Other Recent Findings By Brenda L. Mooney PHILADELPHIA — As the latest influenza season finally abates, a new VA study raises questions about how effective the high-dose vaccine really is for the 65 or older cohort. Beginning at… Read More

Despite Outcry About Cost, New HCV Therapies Likely to Save Money at VA

Despite Outcry About Cost, New HCV Therapies Likely to Save Money at VA

Amid all the outcry over the high cost of new hepatitis C therapies, including congressional hearings, a simple fact has been overlooked: The VA expects to save money in the long run because of the drugs’ high cure rates. By… Read More

Epilepsy Risk 18 Times Greater Wiith Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury

Epilepsy Risk 18 Times Greater Wiith Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury

More than 300,000 military servicemembers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000, and those suffering a penetrating or severe TBI have an 18 times greater chance of being diagnosed with the neurological condition, according to a new study.… Read More