News

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?

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.

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.

Bill Funds Program to Help Military Trauma Specialists Maintain Skills

Bill Funds Program to Help Military Trauma Specialists Maintain Skills

WASHINGTON — In an effort to ensure that military emergency medicine and trauma specialists are able to maintain their skills off the battlefield, a proposed program would establish a Joint Trauma Education and Training Directorate.

Final Agent Orange Report: Stronger Link to Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism

Final Agent Orange Report: Stronger Link to Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) changed the classification of three medical conditions in its last congressionally-ordered review of the evidence of health problems associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War.

GAO Report Finds Access Problems 'Persistent' at VA

GAO Report Finds Access Problems ‘Persistent’ at VA

Some Veterans Still Wait Months for Appointments By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—In response to a report finding that some patients still must wait months to see a doctor, VA officials defended their efforts to fix scheduling and access challenges for veterans… Read More

Proposal to Phase Out VA Healthcare Upsets Veteran Groups

Proposal to Phase Out VA Healthcare Upsets Veteran Groups

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.

VA Contemplates Move to ‘State-of-Art’ Health Record System

VA Contemplates Move to ‘State-of-Art’ Health Record System

With the announced rollout of the new electronic health record (EHR) for military medicine, MHS GENESIS, beginning later this year, the VA said it is considering moving to a new, state-of-the-art EHR system in the future that would better meet its needs.