News

VSOs Raise Concerns About Proposed VA Smoking Bans

VSOs Raise Concerns About Proposed VA Smoking Bans

If a new law is passed, veterans living in facilities such as VA nursing homes would have only 90 days to phase out smoking in their rooms, according to veteran service organizations expressing concern about the proposal.

Veterans’ End-of-Life Preferences Not Well-Communicated to Surrogates

Veterans’ End-of-Life Preferences Not Well-Communicated to Surrogates

With a substantial number of older patients treated at the VA—more than 2 million World War II and Korean War veterans were among the patient population in 2015—how to manage their end-of-life care is an increasingly critical question.

VA Defends Crisis Line Amid Criticisms from Congress, Recent Reports

VA Defends Crisis Line Amid Criticisms from Congress, Recent Reports

Despite criticism from recent government reports, VA officials insisted last month that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) “is the strongest it has been since its inception in 2007.”

VA Vows Quick Response to DC VAMC Patient Safety Issues

VA Vows Quick Response to DC VAMC Patient Safety Issues

VA Secretary David Shulkin vowed last month that his agency will “act as rapidly as possible” to hold accountable those responsible for “serious and troubling deficiencies” at the DC VAMC.

Military Physicians Unprepared to Treat Transgender Patients as Deadline Approaches

Military Physicians Unprepared to Treat Transgender Patients as Deadline Approaches

When the DoD lifted the ban on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces last year, it set an aggressive goal of June 2017 for proficiency in treating personnel with gender dysphoria.

Outdated Processes Hamper VHA in Hiring Medical Staff

Outdated Processes Hamper VHA in Hiring Medical Staff

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — VHA is hampered by outdated human resources processes, as well as competition from the private sector, when it comes to hiring medical professionals, agency officials told lawmakers. “We are striving to update not only internal… Read More

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.

VA Research: Vancomycin Lowers Death Rates in Severe C. Diff Infection

VA Research: Vancomycin Lowers Death Rates in Severe C. Diff Infection

SALT LAKE CITY — Severe illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is now the most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States. A new VA-led study suggests, however, that it is not always being treated appropriately.

VA Extends Mental Healthcare to Veterans Not Honorably Discharged

VA Extends Mental Healthcare to Veterans Not Honorably Discharged

WASHINGTON — In his first appearance before Congress as VA Secretary, David Shulkin, MD, said that “there is no other clinical issue” that concerns him as much as veteran suicides.

VA Pharmacist-Led Diabetes Clinic Improves Glycemic Control, Reduces Costs

VA Pharmacist-Led Diabetes Clinic Improves Glycemic Control, Reduces Costs

SAN DIEGO — Many veterans drift for years with out-of-control diabetes, despite regular visits with their primary care physician and prescriptions for anti-glycemic agents.

VA Researchers Show How Imatinib Improves Prognosis for Hard-to-Treat Cancer

VA Researchers Show How Imatinib Improves Prognosis for Hard-to-Treat Cancer

PORTLAND, OR — Not long ago, less than a third of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients survived five years and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) patients had an even shorter life expectancy, according to the National Cancer Institute. Now significant numbers of patients with these cancers live for another 10 years after diagnosis.

System to Smooth Out VBA Claims Backlog Creates Other Issues

System to Smooth Out VBA Claims Backlog Creates Other Issues

WASHINGTON — Implementation of a new process to distribute disability claims to offices with capacity to process them will benefit veterans, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) told lawmakers in an effort to reassure them.

Bill Gives VA Secretary New Powers to Fire, Demote, Suspend Employees

Bill Gives VA Secretary New Powers to Fire, Demote, Suspend Employees

WASHINGTON—A bill that would provide the VA Secretary with enhanced authority to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including senior executive service employees, for performance or misconduct is making its way through Congress.

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.

How Low To Go: The Continuing Controversy on BP Targets

How Low To Go: The Continuing Controversy on BP Targets

After the release of the SPRINT research in 2015, the question about treating hypertension in older adults appeared to be, “How low can you go?”

Shulkin Sails Through Senate on Promise of VA Changes

Shulkin Sails Through Senate on Promise of VA Changes

David J. Shulkin, MD, stepped into the role of VA secretary last month after receiving unanimous support from the U.S. Senate.

Change in Law Allows IVF at VA for Wounded Veterans Left Infertile

Change in Law Allows IVF at VA for Wounded Veterans Left Infertile

Veterans whose combat-related trauma left them infertile now have access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment covered by VA, thanks to implementation of a new interim final rule.

GAO: Quality of Care Oversight Is Lacking at IHS

GAO: Quality of Care Oversight Is Lacking at IHS

The Indian Health Service’s “oversight of the quality of care in its federally-operated facilities has been limited and inconsistent,” according to a new report pointing out the agency’s mission is to “raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.”

VA Accountability Tops Legislative List in New Congress

VA Accountability Tops Legislative List in New Congress

House lawmakers wasted no time beginning the 115th Congress last month with legislation addressing VA accountability.

VA Urgent Care, ED Staffing Helped By New Legislation

VA Urgent Care, ED Staffing Helped By New Legislation

VA soon will be able to implement flexible work schedules for certain medical professionals to better accommodate patients.

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.

VA Epilepsy Video Series Offers Hope to Patients Struggling With The Disease

VA Epilepsy Video Series Offers Hope to Patients Struggling With The Disease

For many veterans, the onset of epilepsy is terrifying, and a confirmed diagnosis does little to provide relief.