Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Final Agent Orange Report: Stronger Link to Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism

Final Agent Orange Report: Stronger Link to Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) changed the classification of three medical conditions in its last congressionally-ordered review of the evidence of health problems associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War.

Coordinator at Hines VA Significantly Reduces GI Clinic Wait Times

Coordinator at Hines VA Significantly Reduces GI Clinic Wait Times

Less than a year ago, if a physician sent a patient for a consult with the gastrointestinal clinic at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, the wait could be as long as 90 days for the appointment. Today, thanks to some simple innovations, that number is down to 30 days — sometimes as low as a week.

Legislators Focus on Concerns About Suicide ‘Epidemic’ Among Women Veterans

Legislators Focus on Concerns About Suicide ‘Epidemic’ Among Women Veterans

Suicide Rate Six Times Higher Than Civilian Peers By Annette M. Boyle DENVER — Suicide among women veterans is six times higher than among their civilian peers, according to a recently published study, and Congress wants to know why. The… Read More

Older Veterans Must Weigh Benefits of ‘Expectant Management’ in Prostate Cancer

Older Veterans Must Weigh Benefits of ‘Expectant Management’ in Prostate Cancer

By Stephen Spotswood ATLANTA — For patients diagnosed with a malignancy, the natural response is to ask the physician to do everything possible to treat the cancer. The challenge for VA clinicians and others, especially with older patients who have… Read More

VA Scheduling Role for New 'Choice Program' Raises Concerns

VA Scheduling Role for New ‘Choice Program’ Raises Concerns

The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) was created in the aftermath of a scandal involving misrepresented wait lists for healthcare appointments at the VA, so legislators said they were baffled why the agency now wants to interject itself into the appointment process as the program is revised and expanded.

GAO Report Finds Access Problems 'Persistent' at VA

GAO Report Finds Access Problems ‘Persistent’ at VA

Some Veterans Still Wait Months for Appointments By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—In response to a report finding that some patients still must wait months to see a doctor, VA officials defended their efforts to fix scheduling and access challenges for veterans… Read More

VA Contemplates Move to ‘State-of-Art’ Health Record System

VA Contemplates Move to ‘State-of-Art’ Health Record System

With the announced rollout of the new electronic health record (EHR) for military medicine, MHS GENESIS, beginning later this year, the VA said it is considering moving to a new, state-of-the-art EHR system in the future that would better meet its needs.

Bleeding Risk Greater for Veterans on Warfarin Than Previously Expected

Bleeding Risk Greater for Veterans on Warfarin Than Previously Expected

Worried that a fall might lead to traumatic intracranial bleeding, many physicians are wary of prescribing warfarin to older adults with atrial fibrillation (AFib).

VA Studies rTMS As Alternative Treatment for Depressed Veterans

VA Studies rTMS As Alternative Treatment for Depressed Veterans

How Effective Will Therapy Be for Complex Mental Health Profiles? By Annette M. Boyle PALO ALTO, CA — At one point during the 20th century, the idea of using “shock treatment” on patients who failed to respond to medications or… Read More

AMD Predicts Poorer Overall Survival in Older Women

PORTLAND, OR — What is the association between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a population of older women? Answering that question was the goal of a prospective cohort study at four U.S. clinical centers. Results… Read More

Glaucoma Increases Cataract Surgery Complications

JAMAICA PLAINS, MA — A new VA study compared visual acuity outcomes, vision-related quality of life and complications related to cataract surgery in eyes with and without glaucoma. The retrospective cohort study was published recently in the American Journal of… Read More

Massive VA Point-of-Care Trial Begins to Compare Two Diuretics

Massive VA Point-of-Care Trial Begins to Compare Two Diuretics

Study Using Primary Care Providers Touted As Much More Cost-Effective By Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — Pioneering use of “point of care” research in a new study at the VA might finally answer the question of whether hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) or… Read More

VA Care Reverses Racial Disparities in Coronary Heart Disease, Mortality

VA Care Reverses Racial Disparities in Coronary Heart Disease, Mortality

In the United States, blacks experience higher mortality than whites, in general.

Advocates Describe Difficulties in Getting Gulf War Illness Diagnosis

Advocates Describe Difficulties in Getting Gulf War Illness Diagnosis

Legislators Agree That Research on Causes Needs to Continue By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Veterans are experiencing a high number of denials of Gulf War Illness-related claims at least partly because the condition “presents itself in a way that is… Read More

IOM: VA Should Focus on Gulf War Syndrome Treatment, Not Causes

IOM: VA Should Focus on Gulf War Syndrome Treatment, Not Causes

Veterans Groups Warn That Research Could End By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — A major scientific panel has recommended that the VA stop looking for the cause of Gulf War illness and focus instead on monitoring deployed veterans and treating… Read More

CAD Linked to Macular Degeneration in Veterans

LEXINGTON, KY — VA clinicians should co-screen for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and systemic vascular disease, according to a new study. The report, published recently in the Southern Medical Journal, notes that, although AMD — the leading cause of blindness… Read More

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Pharmacists Take a Lead Role in Increasing Vaccination Rates By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — An effort in the U.S. Senate to ensure that veterans have access to all recommended immunizations was about as routine as legislation gets, simply clarifying… Read More

Draft Bill Proposes Abolishing VA Compensation Panels

Draft Bill Proposes Abolishing VA Compensation Panels

Leadership Voices Agreement with Change By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Currently, a panel composed of physicians or dentists recommends starting salaries for those professionals being hired by the VA. A draft bill in the House of Representatives would eliminate the… Read More

Lack of  VA IVF Payment for Urogenital Injured Veterans Called ‘Tragic’

Lack of VA IVF Payment for Urogenital Injured Veterans Called ‘Tragic’

Advocacy Groups Share Wish Lists with Congress By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Many veterans are unable to have children because of injuries sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan, and advocacy groups are arguing that VA should pay for in-vitro fertilization. The… Read More

Caring for Older Women Veterans Presents Unique Challenges

Caring for Older Women Veterans Presents Unique Challenges

When it comes to health issues, older female veterans aren’t always like other women,