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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Last year, a new policy instructed VHA providers not to discontinue mental health medications initiated by DoD providers due to formulary differences.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Establish a governance board to develop fundamental policy, define the strategic path, insulate VHA leadership from direct political interaction, and ensure accountability for the achievement of established performance measures. Congress should consider the following alternatives for such a governance board:… Read More
By Brenda L. Mooney HOUSTON — Over the last years, the VA has struggled with ways to reduce follow-up delays for patients, such as those being evaluated for cancer. Researchers at the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC and Baylor College of… Read More