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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.

Opioid Use Generally Moderate in OEF, OIF, OND Veterans

LITTLE ROCK, AR — With continuing concern about opioid use in veterans, especially those serving in Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF and OND), a new study provided a detailed analysis of the issue.

VA Might Yet Move to Commercial EHR System

VA Might Yet Move to Commercial EHR System

After years of working to modernize its electronic health record internally, a senior IT official indicated last month that a shift to a commercial EHR is the likely path forward for VA.

Brachytherapy Usage Decreases in Prostate Cancer

While several prior studies have suggested that brachytherapy utilization has significantly decreased as intensity modulated radiation therapy usage has increased, a group of VA researchers sought to investigate brachytherapy utilization in a large, hospital-based registry.

Metformin Improves Colorectal Cancer Survival in Veterans

Metformin has been associated with improved colorectal cancer survival (CRC), but investigations have been limited by small numbers of patients and confounding by diabetic severity, according to a new study.

Don’t Forget Leishmaniasis When Servicemembers Have Mysterious Symptoms

Don’t Forget Leishmaniasis When Servicemembers Have Mysterious Symptoms

Military physicians stumped by a diagnosis might want to consider leishmaniasis in personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a new report.

Appointment Delays Continue at VA’s Phoenix Healthcare System

Appointment Delays Continue at VA’s Phoenix Healthcare System

Two years after the Phoenix Healthcare System came under fire for delayed patient care and wait lists, a recent VA Inspector General’s (IG) report has found that patients continue to encounter delays in care at the hospital.

VA Offers Pharmacy Staff Free Diabetes Management Certificate Course

VA Offers Pharmacy Staff Free Diabetes Management Certificate Course

A free online certificate course on diabetes made available at the VA and DoD earlier this year already has had more than 550 enrollments and awarded 15 certificates.

Types of Skin Lesions Referred by PCPs at VA

MINNEAPOLIS—Skin lesions sent to dermatology by primary care physicians (PCPs) represent a significant proportion of VA healthcare visits, according to a new study.

VHA Costs to Treat Keratinocyte Carcinoma

Keratinocyte carcinoma (KC) is by far the most common cancer in the United States, with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas accounting for about 80% and 20% of cases of KC, respectively.

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.