Agencies

Rates of BRCA Testing for Veterans Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

In 2012, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of leading cancer care centers, recommended that women with breast cancer be offered BRCA1/BRCA2 testing if they were 45 or younger or 50 or younger with a family history or an additional primary case.

Healthcare Advocates Argue for More Unified Military Medical Command

Healthcare Advocates Argue for More Unified Military Medical Command

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Healthcare advocates weighed in on the controversy over governance of military medicine, arguing for a unified command in which all the medical assets of the three services are under a single authority. “We fight wars… Read More

VA Revises Veterans Choice Program to Improve Access

Rules for veterans receiving non-VA care through the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) were relaxed recently, and, while some members of Congress applauded the changes, others argued VA still had not done enough to repair the troubled program.

Changes in Veterans Choice Program

Under the old policy, a veteran was eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she met the following criteria.

Veterans with Schizophrenia, Other Serious Mental Illness Less Likely to Have Surgery

Veterans with Schizophrenia, Other Serious Mental Illness Less Likely to Have Surgery

For veterans with serious mental illness, high rates of multiple comorbidities and poor care would seem to create situations that increase the need for surgery, but a recent study indicates that these veterans are significantly less likely to have surgery than their peers without serious mental illness.

Pharmacist Calls to Cognitively Impaired Veterans Lowers Readmissions

Pharmacist Calls to Cognitively Impaired Veterans Lowers Readmissions

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — For many older veterans, the transition from hospital to home can create confusion about which medications to take when. For veterans with cognitive impairment, the challenge increases — and so does the risk of… Read More

Retiring CIO Changed 'Do Your Own Thing' Mindset of Military Medicine

Retiring CIO Changed ‘Do Your Own Thing’ Mindset of Military Medicine

When David Bowen arrived as chief information officer of the Military Health System (MHS), he was challenged with assisting to consolidate the armed services’ medical organizations into a single agency.

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.