Category: Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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

VA More Likely To Treat Geriatric Veterans with Older AEDs

DURHAM, NC – Despite the availability of newer therapies, phenytoin remains the most prescribed antiepileptic drug (AED) within the VHA, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence at the Durham, NC, VAMC and Duke… Read More

VA Physicians Testify about Harsh Retaliation for Blowing Whistles on Care Issues

VA Physicians Testify about Harsh Retaliation for Blowing Whistles on Care Issues

WASHINGTON – Retaliation against physicians and other employees who voice complaints is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the agency, a senior VA official emphasized to lawmakers at a House hearing last month.

Bereaved Family Members of Suicide Victims Testify about VA Care Lapses

Bereaved Family Members of Suicide Victims Testify about VA Care Lapses

WASHINGTON – A parade of grieving family members testified last month before a House of Representatives committee trying to determine why significant increases in VA’s mental health and suicide prevention resources have not stemmed the tide of suicides

Are VA Benefits Processed More Efficiently? Congress Gets Conflicting Answers

Are VA Benefits Processed More Efficiently? Congress Gets Conflicting Answers

WASHINGTON – The work of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) was vehemently defended before lawmakers last month, with VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey testifying that the agency had reduced the claims backlog from a high of more than 600,000 last year to 271,000 as of last month.

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

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

By Annette M. Boyle MILWAUKEE – Many patients prefer the devil they know. When asked whether they want to go on or switch to a novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) that requires little monitoring, has few drug-drug or food interactions, appears… Read More

New VA Secretary Robert McDonald Vows to Reform Healthcare Delivery

New VA Secretary Robert McDonald Vows to Reform Healthcare Delivery

WASHINGTON – Robert McDonald, the former Procter & Gamble president and CEO, was ushered in as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs last month with unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate and hopeful optimism from advocacy groups and others.

White House Review Calls for Restructuring of VHA

By Sandra Basu  WASHINGTON – The VHA needs to be “restructured and reformed” according to a scathing White House review released late last month. “The VHA leadership structure is marked by a lack of responsiveness and an inability to effectively… Read More

Abnormal Lung Function in Recent Veterans Raises Respiratory Disease Risks

Abnormal Lung Function in Recent Veterans Raises Respiratory Disease Risks

SAN DIEGO ─ Veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan and the Gulf War with pulmonary function abnormalities have a significantly greater risk of developing chronic respiratory disease years later, according to a new study presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Diego.

Mostly Preventable Surgical-Site Infections Double VA Treatment Costs

Mostly Preventable Surgical-Site Infections Double VA Treatment Costs

By Brenda L. Mooney IOWA CITY, IA – In addition to increasing mortality and morbidity, surgical-site infections (SSIs) nearly double the cost of treatment of patients at the VA yet usually are preventable with good infection-control practices, according to a… Read More

Corporate Executive Tapped to Head VA, Help Restore Veterans’ Trust

Corporate Executive Tapped to Head VA, Help Restore Veterans’ Trust

WASHINGTON – Robert A. “Bob” McDonald, a West Point graduate who served as chief executive of Procter & Gamble, was nominated last month as secretary of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs and was expected to be approved by the Senate.