Agencies

House Committee, VA Debate Link Between Discipline, Accountability

House Committee, VA Debate Link Between Discipline, Accountability

True accountability can’t be achieved by simply firing individuals who fall short in upholding VA policies, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson told lawmakers recently.

Making the Diagnosis: PTSD With Psychosis, Schizophrenia or Both?

The psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia appear in a significant number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, raising the following question: Do these patients have a subtype of PTSD, comorbid schizophrenia or prodromal schizophrenia?

High Percentage of Soldiers with Mental Illness Undiagnosed, Not Being Treated

High Percentage of Soldiers with Mental Illness Undiagnosed, Not Being Treated

In the wake of record-high suicide rates, the Army instituted a number of programs to identify and treat mental illness among soldiers.

Opioid-Related Death at Tomah VA Leads to Legislation

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Legislation that was created in response to the death of a veteran at the Tomah, WI, VAMC would help provide safer and more effective pain management for patients, supporters said. The Senate bill, the Jason… Read More

Enhanced Screening Seeks to Prevent Military Suicides

Enhanced Screening Seeks to Prevent Military Suicides

Is it possible to prevent military suicide by regularly monitoring troops’ resilience, just as their physical fitness is now measured?

VA Questioned on Handling of Presumptive Status for Toxic Exposures

VA Questioned on Handling of Presumptive Status for Toxic Exposures

Senators questioned VA on how it is determining presumptive status for veterans with conditions liked to topic exposures and pressed the agency to move quickly to ensure veterans receive benefits.

Cirrhosis Expected to Peak by 2021 in VA; Liver Cancer Epidemic Continues

Cirrhosis Expected to Peak by 2021 in VA; Liver Cancer Epidemic Continues

For the VA, the combination of effective treatment options and much lower prevalence of HCV in younger veterans may offer a light at the end of the tunnel — and a turning point in the steady rise of HCV-associated complications such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in only a few years.

DoD, VA Scolded Again for EHR Interoperability Delays

DoD, VA Scolded Again for EHR Interoperability Delays

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — DoD informed Congress last month that it has met key interoperability requirements set forth in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. DoD Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendell wrote in a… Read More

'Big Data' Helps Predict Which Soldiers Most Likely to Commit Violent Crimes

‘Big Data’ Helps Predict Which Soldiers Most Likely to Commit Violent Crimes

Technology Could Help DoD Better Address Workplace Violence By Annette M. Boyle CAMBRIDGE, MA — As the DoD struggles with implementing a uniform workplace violence program that includes prevention and response protocols, a key tool has been lacking: How to… Read More

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