Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Diabetes Overtreatment Continues for Older VA Patients

Diabetes Overtreatment Continues for Older VA Patients

Some Clinicians Worry More About Malpractice Than Hypoglycemia By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI — Despite a VA campaign to raise awareness of hypoglycemia and recommendations from the national Choosing Wisely campaign to less aggressively treat older patients with… Read More

Winter Event Director Promotes Fitness for Disabled Veterans

Winter Event Director Promotes Fitness for Disabled Veterans

By Stephen Spotswood GRAND JUNCTION, CO — When Teresa Parks arrived at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in 1999, she brought with her a lifelong belief that sports and recreational activities could be used to help strengthen and… Read More

For Treated Patients, HIV Status No Greater Risk for Surgery Than Older Age

For Treated Patients, HIV Status No Greater Risk for Surgery Than Older Age

Subhead: Post-operative Mortality Rates Low Among ART Users By Annette M. Boyle WEST HAVEN, CT — Historically, high post-operative mortality rates among HIV-infected patients caused many physicians and patients to defer or avoid surgery all together. For today’s veterans with… Read More

VA Researchers Look at Offering Some Post-Op Follow-up Through Telehealth

VA Researchers Look at Offering Some Post-Op Follow-up Through Telehealth

As difficult as it is for some veterans to get to routine healthcare appointments, doing so after surgery — even with a low-complexity procedure — can be much worse.

VA’s CKD Patients Lack Knowledge About Their Condition

VA’s CKD Patients Lack Knowledge About Their Condition

CHICAGO — Chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients at the VA have insufficient knowledge about their condition, which is associated with poorer health outcomes, according to a recent study. The report, published in the Clinical Kidney Journal, suggests that effective patient-provider… Read More

How Obesity Affects Kidney Function, Mortality in Veterans

MEMPHIS, TN — A new study investigated the association of body mass index with progressive loss of kidney function and all-cause mortality in U.S. veterans, finding that those who were overweight but not obese had the best clinical outcomes. The… Read More

Dialysis Timing Tends to Be Different for VA Patients

SEATTLE — The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) tends to be lower at the VA when dialysis is initiated compared with other healthcare systems, according to a new study. The report, published recently in the Clinical Journal of the American… Read More

'Yuck Factor' Notwithstanding, Maggots Highly Effective for Diabetic Foot Wounds at VA

‘Yuck Factor’ Notwithstanding, Maggots Highly Effective for Diabetic Foot Wounds at VA

The VA is proving that “everything old is new again” with an unusual medical device — medicinal maggots.

Philadelphia VAMC Pharmacy Focuses More on Customers to Increase Satisfaction

Philadelphia VAMC Pharmacy Focuses More on Customers to Increase Satisfaction

When outpatient pharmacy customer satisfaction scores plunged below 40% on a recent survey, pharmacists in Philadelphia responded with several quality-improvement initiatives and were rewarded with significantly improved ratings.

Recommendations to Improve Governance at VA

Establish a governance board to develop fundamental policy, define the strategic path, insulate VHA leadership from direct political interaction, and ensure accountability for the achievement of established performance measures. Congress should consider the following alternatives for such a governance board:… Read More

McDonald: Proposed Board ‘Abrogation’ of Congress’ Role

Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — An independent governance board, as defined in a recent report, would be redundant with the role of the congressional committees overseeing the VA, according to Secretary Robert McDonald. The recently released review was mandated by the… Read More

Maps and Much More Are Changing at VA

Maps and Much More Are Changing at VA

Five Regions with 18 VISNs by Late 2017 By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — For the VA, form affects function. Secretary Robert McDonald recognized that as soon as he stepped into the agency’s top leadership role. He made it clear… Read More

Electronic Triggers Speed up Follow-up for Cancer Diagnosis, Care at Houston VAMC

Electronic Triggers Speed up Follow-up for Cancer Diagnosis, Care at Houston VAMC

By Brenda L. Mooney HOUSTON — Over the last years, the VA has struggled with ways to reduce follow-up delays for patients, such as those being evaluated for cancer. Researchers at the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC and Baylor College of… Read More

Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water Associated with Higher Cancer Incidence

Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water Associated with Higher Cancer Incidence

Recent Study Finds Link to Early Onset Male Breast Cancer By Annette M. Boyle JACKSONVILLE, NC — Marines, sailors and their families who sought refreshment with a cool glass of water at Camp Lejeune got a little something extra with… Read More

VA Opposes Expansion of Hearing Aid Tech’s Scope of Practice

VA Opposes Expansion of Hearing Aid Tech’s Scope of Practice

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Legislation granting a greater scope of duties for licensed hearing-aid specialists at VA facilities is opposed by agency leadership, even though supporters argue that it would create better access to care for veterans. VA currently… Read More

VA Leads Nation in Using Big Data to Improve Healthcare

VA Leads Nation in Using Big Data to Improve Healthcare

Developers Caution Against Too Much of a Good Thing By Annette M. Boyle SEATTLE — Now that nearly every hospital in the United States uses electronic health records, healthcare systems across the country are wrestling with how to use all… Read More

New Veteran Study Further Complicates Testosterone Replacement Issue

New Veteran Study Further Complicates Testosterone Replacement Issue

VA Researchers Find Normalizing ‘T’ Levels Lowers Heart Risks By Brenda L. Mooney KANSAS CITY, MO — The question over how testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) affects cardiovascular health became even more contentious with a new U.S. veterans study finding that… Read More

VA Unsure Why Adverse-Event Analyses Have Declined

VA Unsure Why Adverse-Event Analyses Have Declined

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Fewer root-cause analyses (RCA) to identify and evaluate what went wrong in adverse events are being conducted at the VA, and no one seems quite sure whether that is good or bad news. VAMCs use… Read More

Common Dementia Drugs Linked To Dangerous Weight Loss in Veterans

Common Dementia Drugs Linked To Dangerous Weight Loss in Veterans

By Brenda L. Mooney SAN FRANCISCO – New research on cholinesterase inhibitors is reducing the already limited options VA clinicians have to treat VA patients with dementia. More than a half-million veterans have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia, with most… Read More

Veterans Choice Program Eases Process Somewhat for Outside Prescriptions

Veterans Choice Program Eases Process Somewhat for Outside Prescriptions

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — Veterans who receive care through the Veterans Choice Program may not have many choices when it comes to prescriptions from those outside providers, but they do have more than those who receive prescriptions from… Read More