Agencies

Inappropriately Shredded Claims: VA Internal Debate on Significance

 By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—How widespread is the problem of improper shredding or otherwise mishandling paper claims from veterans, and is the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) doing enough to resolve the situation? That was the topic of a recent congressional hearing… Read More

Hormone Deficiencies Common in Concussion Patients

SEATTLE—Hormonal changes related to explosive blast-related concussions often cause military veterans to suffer sleep disturbance, fatigue, depression and poor quality of life, according to a new study. The research evaluating hormone levels in 41 male veterans who had been deployed… Read More

Many Dementia Patients Have Multiple Brain Ailments

HONOLULU— New VA research offers persuasive evidence that dementia commonly results from a combination of brain ailments, rather than from a single condition, even if an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has been made. That information is based on two long-term aging studies—one… Read More

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

WASHINGTON—The Government Accountability Office has been asked to examine VA’s efforts to modernize VistA, its electronic health records (EHR) system.

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

WASHINGTON—A controversial proposal that would eliminate all eligibility requirements for use of VA’s Veterans Choice Program—essentially allowing all veteran patients access to government-paid community care—was denounced by advocacy groups and VA officials.

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are pressing VA to complete an analysis to provide more-accurate data on how many veterans take their own lives in a given time period.

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

WASHINGTON — Noting that the “window of opportunity won’t be open indefinitely,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald urged lawmakers to act on key proposals — including appeals reform.

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

WASHINGTON — While the science of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is growing, clinical understanding still lags behind conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where there is years of research.

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

SAN ANTONIO — VA psychiatrists help large numbers of veterans work through extraordinarily traumatic experiences day in and day out, so high rates of burnout aren’t really surprising.

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

HOUSTON — Pharmacists consult the free-text “Notes” field in ambulatory electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) for patient and dispensing information that physicians cannot communicate elsewhere.

Mindfulness Meditation Helps Veterans Control Pain

WASHINGTON — Pain is recognized as a significant health issue among the approximately 2.6 million servicemembers who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Gabapentin Not Effective for Chronic Low Back Pain

SAN DIEGO — The pain medication gabapentin appears to be no more effective than placebo at treating chronic low back pain, according to a study led by the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Cryoablation Promising for Phantom Limb Pain

ATLANTA — Military veterans wounded in combat, as well as patients with complex medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, make up a significant portion of those grappling with pain that seems to appear from an amputated limb.

Pulmonologist Views Affect Success of Lung Cancer Screening Programs

BOSTON — With numerous practice guidelines urging the use of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer — and the concept tested in a pilot project at the VA — how do pulmonologists feel about all of it?

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

BETHESDA, MD — When it comes to the war against lung cancer, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is on the front lines.

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

ANN ARBOR, MI — Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gained Food and Drug Administration approval in 2012, and many commentators hailed the therapy as a “once-in-a-generation” advance.

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

HOUSTON — After a decade of dramatically rising rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among veterans, aggressive treatment of hepatitis C infections (HCV) appears poised to turn the tide.

Guice Replaces Woodson as DoD Health Assistant Secretary

Guice Replaces Woodson as DoD Health Assistant Secretary

WASHINGTON — Karen Guice assumed duties last month as the DoD acting assistant secretary for health affairs with the retirement of Jonathan Woodson, MD, who stepped down at the end of April.

Bill Funds Program to Help Military Trauma Specialists Maintain Skills

Bill Funds Program to Help Military Trauma Specialists Maintain Skills

WASHINGTON — In an effort to ensure that military emergency medicine and trauma specialists are able to maintain their skills off the battlefield, a proposed program would establish a Joint Trauma Education and Training Directorate.

Colorectal Cancer at VA Similar to General Population

DURHAM, NC ‑- How does colorectal cancer incidence and survival at the VA compare with the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data?

VA Patients Receive Appropriate Scans for CRC

INDIANAPOLIS — The current standard for post-treatment surveillance of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors following curative treatment at the VA is an annual computed tomography scan for three years.

Screening Doesn’t Explain All Colorectal Cancer Drop

LEBANON, NH — Colorectal-cancer incidence among U.S. adults 50 or older has dropped by almost 40% since 1975 and by more than 45% since its peak in the mid-1980s.