Non-Clinical Topics

More Comprehensive Data Shows Lower Average Veteran Suicide Rate

Serious Concerns Remain About 20, Not 22, Suicides A Day By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—A recent veterans suicide analysis indicates that an average of 20 veterans died every day in 2014—slightly less than a 2010 estimate—but VA is not “declaring that… Read More

TRICARE Launches Urgent Care Pilot, Simplifies EHR Sharing

TRICARE Launches Urgent Care Pilot, Simplifies EHR Sharing

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) launched two programs this summer to ease access to care and improve communication between military and civilian healthcare providers.

VA Clinical Pharmacists Have Broader Scope, Better-Than-Average Pay

VA Clinical Pharmacists Have Broader Scope, Better-Than-Average Pay

According to job site Glassdoor, clinical pharmacists in the U.S. make about $113,000 on average. At the VA, they do a little better, averaging nearly $115,000, based on salaries reported to the site.

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

In February, five U.S. representatives from California blasted the VA in a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald, alleging the Palo Alto Medical Center failed to follow public health protocol regarding potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure.

Army Research Produces Zika Vaccine Candidate in Record Time

Army Research Produces Zika Vaccine Candidate in Record Time

Drawing on deep experience with flaviviruses that started with its namesake’s research on yellow fever in the 1800s, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and collaborators brought two Zika vaccine candidates through early testing in just four months this spring.

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

Intellectual Property: VA Tightens Research Reporting Requirements

Intellectual Property: VA Tightens Research Reporting Requirements

Congress expressed concern that VA will miss out on any future ownership rights to inventions, such as new drug therapies, but agency officials said they are revising their policies to force more complete disclosures of inventions.

Walter Reed Researchers Seek to Improve Accuracy in CVD Risk Scoring

Walter Reed Researchers Seek to Improve Accuracy in CVD Risk Scoring

Primary care physicians and cardiologists increasingly rely on risk factor-based scores to determine who should start preventive therapy for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Veteran Study Links Long Term PPI Use to Kidney Disease, Failure

By Brenda L. Mooney SAINT LOUIS—Common drugs prescribed to millions of Americans to treat heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers appear to be harmful over the long term to the kidneys and probably should be avoided, according to a new veterans… Read More

VA: Expanded Role for Advanced Practice Nurses Will Improve Care Access  Physician Group Claims That Will ‘Significantly Undermine’ Quality

VA: Expanded Role for Advanced Practice Nurses Will Improve Care Access Physician Group Claims That Will ‘Significantly Undermine’ Quality

Will granting full practice authority to advanced practice nurses (APRN) help resolve VA’s access issues and improve treatment, or will it instead do a disservice to veterans by moving away from physician-led healthcare delivery?

Patients Flip (Ratings) Over Robotic Efficiency at Cherry Point Pharmacy

Patients Flip (Ratings) Over Robotic Efficiency at Cherry Point Pharmacy

CHERRY POINT, NC—Prior to a renovation late last year, patients at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point’s pharmacy left negative feedback twice as often as positive. Installation of a robotic pharmacy system reversed those numbers, however. Today, two-thirds of comments are upbeat.

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

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

Legislators Scrutinize VA, DoD EHR Proposals

WASHINGTON—The Government Accountability Office has been asked to examine VA’s efforts to modernize VistA, its electronic health records (EHR) system.

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

Opening Choice Program to All Opposed by VA, VSOs

WASHINGTON—A controversial proposal that would eliminate all eligibility requirements for use of VA’s Veterans Choice Program—essentially allowing all veteran patients access to government-paid community care—was denounced by advocacy groups and VA officials.

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

VA Pushed to Provide More-Accurate Data on Veteran Suicide Rates

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are pressing VA to complete an analysis to provide more-accurate data on how many veterans take their own lives in a given time period.

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

McDonald Urges Congress to Act on ‘Transformational’ VA Proposals

WASHINGTON — Noting that the “window of opportunity won’t be open indefinitely,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald urged lawmakers to act on key proposals — including appeals reform.

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

Senators Get Update on DoD, VA Treatment for TBI, PTSD

WASHINGTON — While the science of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is growing, clinical understanding still lags behind conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where there is years of research.

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

Bureaucracy, Not Patient Factors, Causes Burn Out for VA Psychiatrists

SAN ANTONIO — VA psychiatrists help large numbers of veterans work through extraordinarily traumatic experiences day in and day out, so high rates of burnout aren’t really surprising.

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

Misuse of E-Prescription Notes Delays Pharmacists, Could Harm Patients

HOUSTON — Pharmacists consult the free-text “Notes” field in ambulatory electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) for patient and dispensing information that physicians cannot communicate elsewhere.

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

Lung Cancer Screening Program at Walter Reed ‘Exceeds Expectations’

BETHESDA, MD — When it comes to the war against lung cancer, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is on the front lines.

Guice Replaces Woodson as DoD Health Assistant Secretary

Guice Replaces Woodson as DoD Health Assistant Secretary

WASHINGTON — Karen Guice assumed duties last month as the DoD acting assistant secretary for health affairs with the retirement of Jonathan Woodson, MD, who stepped down at the end of April.