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VA Studies Raise Key Issues about Trends in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

VA Studies Raise Key Issues about Trends in Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Early Insulin, Singular Focus on HbA1c Not Always Best By Brenda L. Mooney NASHVILLE — New VA research soon might change the way clinicians treat veterans with type 2 diabetes. Despite the increased push for early initiation of insulin in… Read More

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

By Brenda L. Mooney DALLAS – The suspected link between azithromycin and an increased incidence of cardiovascular events was borne out in a recent VA study of veterans hospitalized with pneumonia, but that was only part of the story: The… Read More

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

Institute of Medicine: DOD, VA Fail at Tracking Outcomes of PTSD Treatments

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – One of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), affected 13.5% of soldiers and caused 502,000 veterans to seek treatment in 2012. Despite the ubiquity of the… Read More

VA Treats Schizophrenia More Consistently Than Other Healthcare Systems

VA Treats Schizophrenia More Consistently Than Other Healthcare Systems

By Annette M. Boyle TEMPLE, TX – While taking antipsychotic medication often benefits patients, evidence increasingly challenges the assumption that more is better, even as the rate of prescriptions for multiple antipsychotics continues to rise in the VA and other… Read More

Nearly 65% of VA Execs Got Bonuses Despite Long Waits for Veteran Care

Nearly 65% of VA Execs Got Bonuses Despite Long Waits for Veteran Care

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – How could nearly 65% of VA senior executives have received performance awards in fiscal year 2013, while the healthcare system was engaging in widespread misconduct related to waiting lists for treatment?                       That is what… Read More

Clinicians Can Play Critical Role in Getting VA Care Back on Track

Clinicians Can Play Critical Role in Getting VA Care Back on Track

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON - As a general internist at the Boston VA, Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, believes that the voices of VA physicians are of critical importance in shaping veterans’ care in the future. “Now that we are getting a much… Read More

Caregivers for New Veterans Provide Critical Service with Little Support

Caregivers for New Veterans Provide Critical Service with Little Support

By Brenda L. Mooney SANTA MONICA, CA – More than 5.5 million spouses, other relatives and friends care for injured and disabled veterans in the United States, and about 20% of those are aiding current and former servicemembers who served… Read More

DoD Seeks to Revise Alcohol Policies To Help Address Sexual Assaults

DoD Seeks to Revise Alcohol Policies To Help Address Sexual Assaults

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON - In a stepped-up effort to address sexual assaults after a 50% increase in reports over one year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the military departments to review and revise their alcohol policies to protect potential victims.… Read More

Advisory Group: Exposures, Not Stress Caused Gulf War Illness

Advisory Group: Exposures, Not Stress Caused Gulf War Illness

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – Exposures to pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide are causally associated with Gulf War illness, according to a new report which also said evidence continues to demonstrate that Gulf War illness is not the result of psychological… Read More

New Mothers May Need Counseling, Training to Pass Postpartum Military Fitness Test

New Mothers May Need Counseling, Training to Pass Postpartum Military Fitness Test

By Annette M. Boyle FAIRFIELD, CA —Many women return to their units after pregnancy with one overriding concern: “Can I pass the fitness test?” The vast majority of those women do end up passing the six-month postpartum test, but their… Read More

Gene Sequencing Helps Target Therapies for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Gene Sequencing Helps Target Therapies for Metastatic Breast Cancer

By Annette M. Boyle DURHAM, NC — Women initially diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have only a 23% overall five-year survival rate — and will spend most of their lives battling their cancer with a series of chemotherapies that might… Read More

Military Sexual Trauma Survivors Call for More Services for Victims

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Military sexual trauma (MST) survivors told a Senate subcommittee that improvements still are needed to ensure rape victims get all the help they need in the DoD and VA healthcare systems. “Good counselors are the… Read More

Prescriptions for ‘Low T’ Therapy Vary Substantially Across VHA

Prescriptions for ‘Low T’ Therapy Vary Substantially Across VHA

Study Questions Whether Guidelines Are Being Followed By Annette M. Boyle EAST ORANGE, NJ — Across the VHA, more than 85,000 men receive testosterone supplementation therapy. The likelihood that any particular patient would be prescribed the steroid hormone, however, varies… Read More

IoM: DoD’s Programs to Prevent Mental Health Disorders Lack Evidence

IoM: DoD’s Programs to Prevent Mental Health Disorders Lack Evidence

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Between 2000 and 2011, almost 1 million servicemembers or veterans were diagnosed with at least one psychological disorder, either during or after deployment, with nearly half having multiple disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine… Read More

VA Pharmacy Reengineering Project Plagued by Ongoing Problems

VA Pharmacy Reengineering Project Plagued by Ongoing Problems

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — Originally launched in March 2003 and restarted in October 2009, the Pharmacy Reengineering (PRE) software development project continues to miss deadlines, stumble in deployment and suffer from project management failures. That’s according to a… Read More

Veteran Advocates Warn of Unintended Consequences to Digitizing Disability Claims

Veteran Advocates Warn of Unintended Consequences to Digitizing Disability Claims

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — While VA is taking significant steps to digitize the disability claims process, advocacy groups warned lawmakers that the technological advances could have unintended consequences for veterans. “We recognize the importance of technological advances to improve… Read More

In-House Breast-Conserving Surgery Lower in VHA Facilities

TAMPA, FL — Looking just at procedures performed in house, rates of breast-conserving surgery (BCS) are much lower at the VHA than in the private sector, according to a new study led by researchers from the James A. Haley Veterans’… Read More

DoD Partners with Industry to Produce Own Bioterrorism Countermeasures

DoD Partners with Industry to Produce Own Bioterrorism Countermeasures

WASHINGTON — For the first time, DoD is partnering with an outside company to build a facility to manufacture countermeasures to fight bioterrorism and other medical threats.

Building the VA Healthcare System of the Future

By Robert A. Petzel, M.D., Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs The Affordable Care Act has ushered in a new era of choice in healthcare coverage for many Americans, including the men and women who’ve served our nation… Read More

Military Sexual Assault Reforms Stop Short of Bypassing Command Structure

Military Sexual Assault Reforms Stop Short of Bypassing Command Structure

WASHINGTON — Signaling their disapproval of the state of sexual-assault prevention and prosecution in the military, lawmakers approved legislation containing more than 30 provisions or reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice aimed at addressing sexual assault in the military.