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Surgical Wait Times Decrease at VAMC After ‘Lean’ Process Implementation

Surgical Wait Times Decrease at VAMC After ‘Lean’ Process Implementation

While automobiles and patient health might seem to involve very different processes, what Japanese car maker Toyota achieved in quality improvement in the 1980s has intrigued hospitals for decades.

Wider Use of Biosimilars Promise Significant Savings for VA

Wider Use of Biosimilars Promise Significant Savings for VA

Even as biologics offer new options for patients suffering from a wide range of diseases today, their steep prices pose a significant challenge to healthcare system budgets.

White House, VA Oppose Oversight From Independent Board

White House, VA Oppose Oversight From Independent Board

Transforming the VHA does not require an independent board of directors overseeing the healthcare system, as recommended in a recent report, according to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

VA Pushes for Presumptive Coverage for Camp Lejeune Veterans

VA Pushes for Presumptive Coverage for Camp Lejeune Veterans

Under a newly-proposed regulation, thousands of veterans could have an easier time obtaining disability benefits for certain conditions linked to service at Camp Lejeune.

VA Explores Pain Management Alternatives to Delay Opioid Use

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—Since the rollout of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative in 2014, the department has aggressively focused on developing non-narcotic alternatives to reduce opioid use for chronic pain. Now, attention is turning to options that delay or… Read More

VA Healthcare Workers Have Relatively Low Flu Vaccine Rates

ANN ARBOR, MI—Multiple national recommendations encourage all healthcare workers to get the influenza vaccination, thereby reducing the chance they will pass the virus on to their patients. Despite a patient population of older and sicker patients more likely to develop… Read More

GAO: VA, DoD ‘Years Away’ From EHR Interoperability

GAO: VA, DoD ‘Years Away’ From EHR Interoperability

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—A modernized VA electronic health record system that is fully interoperable with DoD’s system “is still years away,” according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “Uncertainty and important questions remain about what the department is prepared to… Read More

Commission Report Calls for Overhaul of VHA Structure

Commission Report Calls for Overhaul of VHA Structure

Panel Suggests Most Care Be Community-Based By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Calling the Veterans Choice Program “flawed,” a key report puts forward an alternate framework for VA to broaden provider options: an “integrated, community-based health care network” in what would become the… Read More

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

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

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.

Tampa Rehab Director Oversaw Polytrauma Care Development

Tampa Rehab Director Oversaw Polytrauma Care Development

TAMPA, FL — It was the churches and sidewalks that did it. The James Haley VAMC in Tampa used them to coax Steven Scott, DO, the center’s current chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation, away from his position at the Mayo Clinic in 1990.

Proposal to Phase Out VA Healthcare Upsets Veteran Groups

Proposal to Phase Out VA Healthcare Upsets Veteran Groups

A controversial proposal to give all current VA-enrolled veterans the option of community care and to transition the rest of veterans to private market healthcare during the next two decades is making veteran service organizations (VSO) and others uneasy.

Older Veterans Must Weigh Benefits of ‘Expectant Management’ in Prostate Cancer

Older Veterans Must Weigh Benefits of ‘Expectant Management’ in Prostate Cancer

By Stephen Spotswood ATLANTA — For patients diagnosed with a malignancy, the natural response is to ask the physician to do everything possible to treat the cancer. The challenge for VA clinicians and others, especially with older patients who have… Read More

IOM: VA Should Focus on Gulf War Syndrome Treatment, Not Causes

IOM: VA Should Focus on Gulf War Syndrome Treatment, Not Causes

Veterans Groups Warn That Research Could End By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — A major scientific panel has recommended that the VA stop looking for the cause of Gulf War illness and focus instead on monitoring deployed veterans and treating… Read More

CAD Linked to Macular Degeneration in Veterans

LEXINGTON, KY — VA clinicians should co-screen for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and systemic vascular disease, according to a new study. The report, published recently in the Southern Medical Journal, notes that, although AMD — the leading cause of blindness… Read More

VA Care for Common Conditions Compares Favorably With Medicare Hospitals

Patients treated at the VA had a lower 30-day all-cause mortality rate for heart attack and heart failure than those treated at other hospitals, according to a new study.

RAND Reports Find No Evidence of Widespread Extended Wait Times at VA

RAND Reports Find No Evidence of Widespread Extended Wait Times at VA

One of the most-common complaints about VA healthcare is that veterans have to wait an inordinate amount of time for a medical appointment. A new congressionally-mandated review reveals that isn’t true in most cases.

GAO Report Urges Clarification on VHA, DoD Drug Transition Policy

GAO Report Urges Clarification on VHA, DoD Drug Transition Policy

Last year, a new policy instructed VHA providers not to discontinue mental health medications initiated by DoD providers due to formulary differences.

Comorbid Mental Disorders Increase VHA Diabetes Costs

CHARLESTON, SC — Costs of treating diabetes increase when patients also have mental health issues, according to a new VHA study. The study, which was published recently in the American Journal of Managed Care, looked at the prevalence and specific… Read More

VA CABG Patients Increasingly Older, Sicker

Over a 14-year period, VA patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) were progressively older and sicker, with an increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes, left main coronary artery disease and advanced heart failure, according to a new study.

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