Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA, DoD Remain on Front Lines in Ongoing War Against Cancer

VA, DoD Remain on Front Lines in Ongoing War Against Cancer

FORT LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA – The DoD’s leadership in cancer research started accidentally, but funding from Congress has ensured that both the Army and VA have remained on the front lines in the war on cancer during the past 50 years.

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The maximum rates of annual pay for incoming VHA physicians and dentists would be increased as much as $35,000, under a VA proposal announced last month. The updated pay tables would allow physicians and dentists… Read More

VA IG: Wait-Time Manipulation Went Far Beyond VAMCs  in Headlines

VA IG: Wait-Time Manipulation Went Far Beyond VAMCs in Headlines

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The problem of wait-time manipulation for patient appointments went far beyond facilities such as the Phoenix VAMC, which became the center of a nationwide controversy,  the VA acting general inspector told lawmakers last month. Acting… Read More

Veterans Appeals Delayed Months; Whistleblower Suggests Leadership Issues

Veterans Appeals Delayed Months; Whistleblower Suggests Leadership Issues

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — A VA whistleblower told lawmakers last month that veterans’ cases waited hundreds of days for a final decision at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, even though some of them required nothing but a signature to… Read More

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

Better Recruit Screening Probably Won’t Solve Military Suicide Crisis

SALT LAKE CITY – The roots of the rising suicide rates in servicemembers and veterans reach back into childhood home environments and pre-military experiences, according to a quartet of recent reports.

Male Breast Cancer at the VA Much Rarer Than the Female Disease, but More Deadly

Male Breast Cancer at the VA Much Rarer Than the Female Disease, but More Deadly

Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – Men are diagnosed with less than 0.1% of all breast cancers, but for those unfortunate few, the disease extracts a high toll — and a 65% increase in mortality risk compared to women. The interpretation… Read More

Increasing Cancer Treatment Delays Have Plagued VAMCs for Nearly a Decade

Increasing Cancer Treatment Delays Have Plagued VAMCs for Nearly a Decade

Some Long Wait Times Attributable to Treatment Modalities by Annette M. Boyle CHICAGO – The news media frenzy of the last six months might suggest otherwise, but concerns about delays in treatment for veterans are nothing new at the VA,… Read More

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

Who Has PTSD Now? New Definition Creates Challenges for Clinicians

By Brenda L. Mooney SILVER SPRING, MD – A new study raises critical questions about the change in the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and… Read More

New White House Initiatives Seek to Reduce Military Suicide Rates, Improve Care

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – A revision in the VA drug formulary and an expansion of suicide prevention training were among 19 new executive actions announced recently by President Barack Obama to improve mental healthcare for troops and veterans. “So… Read More

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.”

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

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’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