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VA’s Draft Legislation Seeks to Expand Criteria for Choice Program

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—The VA has sent draft legislation to Congress that would revamp criteria for outside care, including eliminating the controversial “30-day/40-mile” rule. “We want veterans to work with their VA physicians to make informed decisions that are best… Read More

Draft Bill Calls for ‘BRAC’-like Commission on VA’s Outdated Infrastructure

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Draft congressional legislation is calling for a commission to make recommendations regarding VA’s infrastructure. Even supporters admit the “deck is stacked against” it. In introducing the bill, which potentially could lead to the closing of some VA… Read More

Device Developers ‘Kicked a Hornet’s Nest’ in Hemorrhage and Shock Treatment

Device Developers ‘Kicked a Hornet’s Nest’ in Hemorrhage and Shock Treatment

For Air Force Col. Todd Rasmussen, MD, and Jonathan Eliason, MD, the idea for a new way to treat internal hemorrhaging on the battlefield was hard-won.

Severe Side Effects Rare in Elderly Veterans Receiving High Dose Influenza Vaccine

Severe Side Effects Rare in Elderly Veterans Receiving High Dose Influenza Vaccine

Patients over the age of 65 face an increased risk of severe complications and death if they contract influenza.

Funding Extends Veterans Choice Program for Another Six Months

Funding Extends Veterans Choice Program for Another Six Months

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Calling it another “tangible improvement” for veterans, VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, lauded the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which was signed into law last month. The law authorizes $2.1 billion in Choice funding,… Read More

Law Requires Reconsideration of Mustard Gas Claims by WWII Veterans

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump signed a bill directing VA and DoD to reconsider and make new determinations for all previously denied claims for benefits related to exposure to mustard gas or lewisite, a compound used as a chemical… Read More

VA Makes Public List of Adverse Actions Against Employees

With persistent questions of accountability and transparency dogging VA in recent years, the agency became the first federal agency to post public information on disciplinary actions taken against employees.

VA Seeks to Fill Graduate Medical Education Positions in Next Seven Years

VA Seeks to Fill Graduate Medical Education Positions in Next Seven Years

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—VA officials told lawmakers that they anticipate filling, by 2024, all of the graduate medical education (GME) positions authorized in a 2014 law. “We believe within the 10-year milestone we will be able to fill the 1,500… Read More

VA Antimicrobial Stewardship Helps with UTIs

BUFFALO, NY—Implementation of an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) appeared to significantly decrease duration of antibiotic therapy and length of hospitalization for complicated urinary tract infection at the Buffalo, NY, VAMC, without adversely affecting 30-day readmission rates. The study, published in… Read More

Navy Functional Restoration Pain Program Shows Success

Chronic pain is the leading cause of medical discharge from active duty military service. Disability payments related to the condition also are a significant economic cost to the DoD.

Spinal Manipulation Modestly Effective for Low-Back Pain

Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a treatment option for acute low-back pain, but randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses have reported different conclusions about its effectiveness, according to a new study.

Veterans Choice Program Increases Burden on VA Pharmacists

Veterans Choice Program Increases Burden on VA Pharmacists

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act in 2014 allows veterans to receive covered care and prescriptions from non-VA providers in a variety of situations.

Alcohol, Drug Problems Dramatically Increase Veterans’ Suicide Risk

Alcohol, Drug Problems Dramatically Increase Veterans’ Suicide Risk

Solving the devastating issue of veteran suicide depends, at least partly, on being able to identify former servicemembers at the highest risk.

VA’s Fails to Follow Own Requirements for New Hire Drug Testing

VA’s Fails to Follow Own Requirements for New Hire Drug Testing

WASHINGTON — VA is “committed to 100% testing of all final selectees” for its safety-sensitive occupations prior to their appointment, lawmakers were told recently.