Agencies

Veteran Advocates: ‘Choice’ Eligibility Is Too Restrictive

Veteran Advocates: ‘Choice’ Eligibility Is Too Restrictive

VA should use “clinically-based access standards” to determine eligibility for community care rather than the 30-day and 40-mile eligibility standards the agency is proposing for the New Veterans Choice Program (VCP).

IoM: No Health Effects for Navy Veterans in Secret Testing

IoM: No Health Effects for Navy Veterans in Secret Testing

Veterans who took part in secret biological and chemical warfare tests on Navy ships during the 1960s showed “no significant increase in adverse health outcomes.

VA Seeks More Flexible Work Period Requirement for Healthcare Staff

VA Seeks More Flexible Work Period Requirement for Healthcare Staff

The VA is seeking to end what it considers an arbitrary 80-hour per federal work period requirement which complicates hospital staffing, especially in emergency departments.

RAND Reports Find No Evidence of Widespread Extended Wait Times at VA

RAND Reports Find No Evidence of Widespread Extended Wait Times at VA

One of the most-common complaints about VA healthcare is that veterans have to wait an inordinate amount of time for a medical appointment. A new congressionally-mandated review reveals that isn’t true in most cases.

Recreational Therapist Uses Art to Help DC Veteran Patients

Recreational Therapist Uses Art to Help DC Veteran Patients

Veterans adjusting to a disability or recovering from trauma — be it physical, mental or emotional — often feel disconnected, both from others and from their own mind or body.

Proposed Multiple Sclerosis Subtypes Could Benefit Patients, Researchers

Proposed Multiple Sclerosis Subtypes Could Benefit Patients, Researchers

VA Could Help Validate New Classifications By Annette M. Boyle BALTIMORE — Sometimes consensus sounds like controversy. In 2014, the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials in Multiple Sclerosis recommended a revision to the four subtypes of the disease in… Read More

Report Finds MHS Mental Healthcare Varies From Excellent to Inadequate

Report Finds MHS Mental Healthcare Varies From Excellent to Inadequate

By Brenda L. Mooney SANTA MONICA, CA — The MHS does an excellent job following up with patients after being discharged from mental healthcare treatment but falls short in some other areas, according to a new assessment from the RAND… Read More

High Cost of Paperless Benefits System Questioned

High Cost of Paperless Benefits System Questioned

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) officials recently defended cost increases related to development of the paperless claims processing system Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). “Scope and cost increases were planned, essential and approved to move beyond… Read More

Senators Emphasize Priorities for VA IG Nominee

Senators Emphasize Priorities for VA IG Nominee

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Michael Missal told lawmakers that, if he becomes the next VA Inspector General, one of his goals will be to work “to promote an improved environment” for whistleblowers. “I will also take the necessary steps… Read More

VA, DoD Adopting Earlier HIV Treatment to Dramatically Reduce AIDS Risk

VA, DoD Adopting Earlier HIV Treatment to Dramatically Reduce AIDS Risk

Pre-infection Immunological Health Achieved in Some Cases By Annette M. Boyle SAN ANTONIO — For years, clinicians have not recommended treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with antiretroviral therapy (ART) before they saw a significant drop in T-cell levels. Starting… Read More

Hospitals’ Routine Use of PPIs Increases Risk of Inpatient Pneumonia, C. Diff

Hospitals’ Routine Use of PPIs Increases Risk of Inpatient Pneumonia, C. Diff

VA Researchers Recommend Against the Practice in Most Cases By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI — In a case where the preventive measure might be worse than the avoided outcome, hospitals at the VHA and elsewhere often routinely provide… Read More

GAO Report Urges Clarification on VHA, DoD Drug Transition Policy

GAO Report Urges Clarification on VHA, DoD Drug Transition Policy

Last year, a new policy instructed VHA providers not to discontinue mental health medications initiated by DoD providers due to formulary differences.

Barriers to Study, Use of Marijuana for Epilepsy Treatment Continue to Fall

Barriers to Study, Use of Marijuana for Epilepsy Treatment Continue to Fall

In the last few months, several federal agencies and Congress have taken steps to eliminate obstacles to the study and potential use of marijuana for veterans with epilepsy and other conditions.

Guidelines Offer No Set Recommendations for How to Deal with First Seizures

Guidelines Offer No Set Recommendations for How to Deal with First Seizures

While veterans and servicemembers who have experienced a single unprovoked seizure and the clinicians who treat them would like clear, consistent next steps, new guidelines take them into solidly gray areas.

About 15,000 Vets Eligible for Camp Lejeune Benefits

About 15,000 Vets Eligible for Camp Lejeune Benefits

‘Presumptive’ Process Expected to Take a Year By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — About 15,000 veterans would be eligible for expanded disability compensation because of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, NC, between August 1953 and December of 1987, change… Read More

MRI Study Finds ‘Brain Scars’ in Troops With Blast-Related mTBI

MRI Study Finds ‘Brain Scars’ in Troops With Blast-Related mTBI

“Brain scars” were detected in more than half of the active-duty servicemembers who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

What Factors Increase Post-Surgical C. Diff Risk at VHA?

New Research Uncovers Some Clues to Aid Prevention By Brenda L. Mooney WASHINGTON — As the VHA works to reduce the overall post-operative rate of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), important new research has uncovered some clues to the circumstances that… Read More

Air Evacuation Could Worsen Condition of Brain-Injured Servicemembers

Air Evacuation Could Worsen Condition of Brain-Injured Servicemembers

U.S. warfighters injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan had a 90% or more rate of survival, with a substantial part of that success attributed to medical evacuation teams that swiftly flew wounded servicemembers to locations such as Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.

VA CABG Patients Increasingly Older, Sicker

Over a 14-year period, VA patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) were progressively older and sicker, with an increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, left main coronary artery disease and advanced heart failure, according to a new study.

Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Multiple Myeloma Precursor

NEW YORK — U.S. Air Force personnel who conducted aerial herbicide spray missions of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War had more than double the risk of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), according to a recent report. MGUS is… Read More