Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

In February, five U.S. representatives from California blasted the VA in a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald, alleging the Palo Alto Medical Center failed to follow public health protocol regarding potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure.

GAO: VA, DoD ‘Years Away’ From EHR Interoperability

GAO: VA, DoD ‘Years Away’ From EHR Interoperability

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—A modernized VA electronic health record system that is fully interoperable with DoD’s system “is still years away,” according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “Uncertainty and important questions remain about what the department is prepared to… Read More

Telehealth Found Equally Effective in Lowering Blood Sugar

DENVER—Endocrinology telehealth consultations improved short-term glycemic control as effectively as traditional face-to-face visits in a veteran population with diabetes, according to a new study. The article published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology noted that rates of diabetes… Read More

CVD Rates Higher in Black Patients With Diabetes, CKD

SEATTLE—Blacks have high rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, as well as diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and risk factors for cardiovascular mortality in the general population are common among blacks. A report published recently in the Clinical Journal of… Read More

How Treatment Intensification Affects Veterans’ HbA1c

NASHVILLE—How do common type 2 diabetes treatment intensification regimens  at the VA affect glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and body mass index (BMI)? A study published recently in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders sought to answer that question.1 A study team led… Read More

Commission Report Calls for Overhaul of VHA Structure

Commission Report Calls for Overhaul of VHA Structure

Panel Suggests Most Care Be Community-Based By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Calling the Veterans Choice Program “flawed,” a key report puts forward an alternate framework for VA to broaden provider options: an “integrated, community-based health care network” in what would become the… Read More

Intellectual Property: VA Tightens Research Reporting Requirements

Intellectual Property: VA Tightens Research Reporting Requirements

Congress expressed concern that VA will miss out on any future ownership rights to inventions, such as new drug therapies, but agency officials said they are revising their policies to force more complete disclosures of inventions.

Veterans More Likely Than Other Americans to Put Off Medical Care

Veterans More Likely Than Other Americans to Put Off Medical Care

When a scandal involving the falsification of records to hide long wait times by veterans seeking VA care came to light in 2014, the short-term consequences were fairly obvious: Among them, more than 120,000 veterans had been left waiting or never got care

Relationship Between AFib, Diabetes Critical to Veteran Care

Relationship Between AFib, Diabetes Critical to Veteran Care

WASHINGTON—The VA treats about a million veterans for diabetes, nearly one-fourth of its patient population.

VA Study Questions Pathogenesis of GERD

VA Study Questions Pathogenesis of GERD

DALLAS—A small, single-center study led by researchers from the Dallas VAMC suggests that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) might be caused by an immune reaction, rather than direct chemical injury from stomach acids. Results were published online recently as a “Preliminary… Read More

Veteran Study Links Long Term PPI Use to Kidney Disease, Failure

By Brenda L. Mooney SAINT LOUIS—Common drugs prescribed to millions of Americans to treat heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers appear to be harmful over the long term to the kidneys and probably should be avoided, according to a new veterans… Read More

VA: Expanded Role for Advanced Practice Nurses Will Improve Care Access  Physician Group Claims That Will ‘Significantly Undermine’ Quality

VA: Expanded Role for Advanced Practice Nurses Will Improve Care Access Physician Group Claims That Will ‘Significantly Undermine’ Quality

Will granting full practice authority to advanced practice nurses (APRN) help resolve VA’s access issues and improve treatment, or will it instead do a disservice to veterans by moving away from physician-led healthcare delivery?

Inappropriately Shredded Claims: VA Internal Debate on Significance

 By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—How widespread is the problem of improper shredding or otherwise mishandling paper claims from veterans, and is the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) doing enough to resolve the situation? That was the topic of a recent congressional hearing… Read More

Hormone Deficiencies Common in Concussion Patients

SEATTLE—Hormonal changes related to explosive blast-related concussions often cause military veterans to suffer sleep disturbance, fatigue, depression and poor quality of life, according to a new study. The research evaluating hormone levels in 41 male veterans who had been deployed… Read More

Many Dementia Patients Have Multiple Brain Ailments

HONOLULU— New VA research offers persuasive evidence that dementia commonly results from a combination of brain ailments, rather than from a single condition, even if an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has been made. That information is based on two long-term aging studies—one… Read More

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

WASHINGTON—The Government Accountability Office has been asked to examine VA’s efforts to modernize VistA, its electronic health records (EHR) system.

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

WASHINGTON—A controversial proposal that would eliminate all eligibility requirements for use of VA’s Veterans Choice Program—essentially allowing all veteran patients access to government-paid community care—was denounced by advocacy groups and VA officials.

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are pressing VA to complete an analysis to provide more-accurate data on how many veterans take their own lives in a given time period.

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

WASHINGTON — Noting that the “window of opportunity won’t be open indefinitely,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald urged lawmakers to act on key proposals — including appeals reform.

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

WASHINGTON — While the science of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is growing, clinical understanding still lags behind conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where there is years of research.

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

SAN ANTONIO — VA psychiatrists help large numbers of veterans work through extraordinarily traumatic experiences day in and day out, so high rates of burnout aren’t really surprising.

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

HOUSTON — Pharmacists consult the free-text “Notes” field in ambulatory electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) for patient and dispensing information that physicians cannot communicate elsewhere.