Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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.

Mindfulness Meditation Helps Veterans Control Pain

WASHINGTON — Pain is recognized as a significant health issue among the approximately 2.6 million servicemembers who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Gabapentin Not Effective for Chronic Low Back Pain

SAN DIEGO — The pain medication gabapentin appears to be no more effective than placebo at treating chronic low back pain, according to a study led by the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Cryoablation Promising for Phantom Limb Pain

ATLANTA — Military veterans wounded in combat, as well as patients with complex medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, make up a significant portion of those grappling with pain that seems to appear from an amputated limb.

Pulmonologist Views Affect Success of Lung Cancer Screening Programs

BOSTON — With numerous practice guidelines urging the use of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer — and the concept tested in a pilot project at the VA — how do pulmonologists feel about all of it?

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

BETHESDA, MD — When it comes to the war against lung cancer, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is on the front lines.

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

ANN ARBOR, MI — Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gained Food and Drug Administration approval in 2012, and many commentators hailed the therapy as a “once-in-a-generation” advance.

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

HOUSTON — After a decade of dramatically rising rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among veterans, aggressive treatment of hepatitis C infections (HCV) appears poised to turn the tide.

Colorectal Cancer at VA Similar to General Population

DURHAM, NC ‑- How does colorectal cancer incidence and survival at the VA compare with the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data?

VA Patients Receive Appropriate Scans for CRC

INDIANAPOLIS — The current standard for post-treatment surveillance of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors following curative treatment at the VA is an annual computed tomography scan for three years.

Screening Doesn’t Explain All Colorectal Cancer Drop

LEBANON, NH — Colorectal-cancer incidence among U.S. adults 50 or older has dropped by almost 40% since 1975 and by more than 45% since its peak in the mid-1980s.

Antipsychotics Increase Death Risk in Veterans With Parkinson’s Disease

Antipsychotics Increase Death Risk in Veterans With Parkinson’s Disease

PHILADELPHIA — Parkinson’s disease patients prescribed antipsychotics are significantly more likely to die in the short-term, according to a new veterans study.

Tampa Rehab Director Oversaw Polytrauma Care Development

Tampa Rehab Director Oversaw Polytrauma Care Development

TAMPA, FL — It was the churches and sidewalks that did it. The James Haley VAMC in Tampa used them to coax Steven Scott, DO, the center’s current chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation, away from his position at the Mayo Clinic in 1990.

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