Late Breaking News

AMD Predicts Poorer Overall Survival in Older Women

PORTLAND, OR — What is the association between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a population of older women? Answering that question was the goal of a prospective cohort study at four U.S. clinical centers. Results… Read More

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Bill Expanding Veteran Access to Immunizations Ignites Controversy

Pharmacists Take a Lead Role in Increasing Vaccination Rates By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — An effort in the U.S. Senate to ensure that veterans have access to all recommended immunizations was about as routine as legislation gets, simply clarifying… Read More

VA Urged to Assert Ownership Rights to Employee Inventions

New Hepatitis C ‘Cure’ Is One issue By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Is VA doing enough to assert ownership rights of inventions made by VA employees using federal funds? The question was raised recently by lawmakers, who focused mostly on… Read More

VA Seeks More Flexible Work Period Requirement for Healthcare Staff

VA Seeks More Flexible Work Period Requirement for Healthcare Staff

The VA is seeking to end what it considers an arbitrary 80-hour per federal work period requirement which complicates hospital staffing, especially in emergency departments.

Senators Emphasize Priorities for VA IG Nominee

Senators Emphasize Priorities for VA IG Nominee

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Michael Missal told lawmakers that, if he becomes the next VA Inspector General, one of his goals will be to work “to promote an improved environment” for whistleblowers. “I will also take the necessary steps… Read More

About 15,000 Vets Eligible for Camp Lejeune Benefits

About 15,000 Vets Eligible for Camp Lejeune Benefits

‘Presumptive’ Process Expected to Take a Year By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — About 15,000 veterans would be eligible for expanded disability compensation because of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, NC, between August 1953 and December of 1987, change… Read More

VA Revises Veterans Choice Program to Improve Access

Rules for veterans receiving non-VA care through the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) were relaxed recently, and, while some members of Congress applauded the changes, others argued VA still had not done enough to repair the troubled program.

Opioid-Related Death at Tomah VA Leads to Legislation

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Legislation that was created in response to the death of a veteran at the Tomah, WI, VAMC would help provide safer and more effective pain management for patients, supporters said. The Senate bill, the Jason… Read More

New Gout Classification Criteria Released Recently

The American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism recently came out with new 2015 Gout Classification Criteria.

VA-Led Study: NPs, PA Provide Comparable Cardiac Care to Physicians

VA-Led Study: NPs, PA Provide Comparable Cardiac Care to Physicians

All Fail to Consistently Meet Performance Measures By Brenda L. Mooney HOUSTON — Cardiac patients and even some medical staff might assume they will receive the best ongoing care when they see a physician, not an advanced practice provider such… Read More

McDonald: Proposed Board ‘Abrogation’ of Congress’ Role

Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — An independent governance board, as defined in a recent report, would be redundant with the role of the congressional committees overseeing the VA, according to Secretary Robert McDonald. The recently released review was mandated by the… Read More

Maps and Much More Are Changing at VA

Maps and Much More Are Changing at VA

Five Regions with 18 VISNs by Late 2017 By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON — For the VA, form affects function. Secretary Robert McDonald recognized that as soon as he stepped into the agency’s top leadership role. He made it clear… Read More

GAO Points to DHA Challenges

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that, while DoD has made progress in addressing concerns it highlighted in prior reviews regarding DHA’s implementation process, some issues will remain “unresolved into late… Read More

Veterans Benefits Administration Leader Resigns

WASHINGTON—The VA has announced that Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey has resigned.  In a statement VA Secretary Robert McDonald said that “with regret” he accepted her resignation. “The Department of Veterans Affairs, and I personally, appreciate all that Allison… Read More

VA Unsure Why Adverse-Event Analyses Have Declined

VA Unsure Why Adverse-Event Analyses Have Declined

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Fewer root-cause analyses (RCA) to identify and evaluate what went wrong in adverse events are being conducted at the VA, and no one seems quite sure whether that is good or bad news. VAMCs use… Read More

VHA Review Suggests BRAC-Like Commission on Closing Facilities

VHA Review Suggests BRAC-Like Commission on Closing Facilities

Asks If Only Service-Related Conditions Should Be Treated By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—The VA should consider establishing a board or commission similar to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to address policy issues like hospital closures in an “objective… Read More

GAO Warns VA/DoD Medical Record Interoperability Could Take Years

GAO Warns VA/DoD Medical Record Interoperability Could Take Years

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Despite recent moves to improve their technology, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has concluded that DoD and VA still are behind schedule when it comes to key activities related to “the deployment of their modernized… Read More

VA: Disability Claims Backlog Reduced to Lowest Ever

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—Calling it a “historic milestone,” the VA announced last month that it has reduced the disability claims backlog to the lowest it has ever been.  As of last month, the claims backlog stood at 98,535 — an… Read More

Study: Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Test Would Be Feasible

LOS ANGELES — A new study provides the first evidence that a simple blood test could be developed to confirm the presence of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, which could help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. No reliable… Read More

Statins Increase Diabetes Risk 87% in TRICARE Study

Statins Increase Diabetes Risk 87% in TRICARE Study DALLAS — Even for generally healthy patients, statins substantially increase the risk of developing diabetes. That’s according to a new database study of nearly 26,000 beneficiaries of the Military Health System’s insurance… Read More