Non-Clinical Topics

VA Grapples With Federal Hiring Freeze, Exemption Sought

VA Grapples With Federal Hiring Freeze, Exemption Sought

WASHINGTON—Shortly after taking office last month, President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees across the executive branch, raising questions on how the VA would be affected.

Telehealth Device Helps Avoid Suicide in Veterans With Schizophrenia

Telehealth Device Helps Avoid Suicide in Veterans With Schizophrenia

Telehealth tools are showing promise in helping save the lives of schizophrenic veterans with a high risk of suicide, but the VA is facing a setback in using them.

Forum Describes Alternatives to Treat Veteran Pain

Forum Describes Alternatives to Treat Veteran Pain

A pilot program integrating complementary and integrative health approaches in pain management and mental health services at 15 VA facilities has the potential to help facilitate the understanding of nonpharmacological approaches to treating pain.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Gets Former Military Doctor as Chairman

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Gets Former Military Doctor as Chairman

The influential House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will welcome a new leader this month.

Goolsby Uses Variety of Tools to Prepare Military Physicians for Challenging Roles

Goolsby Uses Variety of Tools to Prepare Military Physicians for Challenging Roles

Maj. Craig Goolsby, MD, wears a lot of hats at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).

Increasing Use of Community Care Risks Poor Coordination With VA

Increasing Use of Community Care Risks Poor Coordination With VA

In less than a decade, the number of veterans receiving care at community health centers rose 43%, in part reflecting increased access to local providers through the Veterans Choice program, according to researchers at the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at George Washington University.

VA Expands Practice Authority for Three High-Level Nurse Categories

VA Expands Practice Authority for Three High-Level Nurse Categories

The VA has granted full practice authority to three roles of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their education, training and certification, regardless of state restrictions.

David Shulkin Gets Promotion, Appointed New VA Secretary

David Shulkin Gets Promotion, Appointed New VA Secretary

David J. Shulkin, MD, who currently serves as under secretary for health and heads VHA, has been picked by the incoming Trump Administration as new VA Secretary.

What Will New Trump Administration Mean for VA’s Future?

What Will New Trump Administration Mean for VA’s Future?

Questions abounded last month about what changes were in store for VA healthcare with the election of President-elect Donald Trump and both the House and Senate maintaining their Republican majority.

McDonald Pushes for Passage of Key VA Bills Before Clock Runs Out

McDonald Pushes for Passage of Key VA Bills Before Clock Runs Out

With the clock ticking on the Obama administration, VA Secretary Robert McDonald implored lawmakers last month to pass “key pieces of legislation” before the end of the congressional session.

TRICARE Switches to Walgreens Pharmacy Network from CVS

TRICARE Switches to Walgreens Pharmacy Network from CVS

At the beginning of this month, the TRICARE retail pharmacy network changed to Walgreens from CVS as a result of a new contract with Express Scripts, TRICARE’s pharmacy contractor. The new network has more than 58,000 locations nationwide.

GAO: VHA Fails to Evaluate, Respond to Many Report Recommendations

GAO: VHA Fails to Evaluate, Respond to Many Report Recommendations

A major realignment of VISN boundaries has been occurring with “little monitoring” from VHA’s central office, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Bottom-Up VA Innovations Improve Veteran, Staff Experiences

Bottom-Up VA Innovations Improve Veteran, Staff Experiences

The VA’s recent Innovation Day highlighted 32 projects designed to help VA employees address problems faced every day by them and the veterans they serve.

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.

VA Lags on Revamping Medical Product Catalog

VA Lags on Revamping Medical Product Catalog

VA must ensure that a revised, narrower product catalog being implemented has the medical and surgical items that the healthcare system’s medical professionals actually need, lawmakers insisted at a recent hearing.

VA, Legislators Debate Owning vs. Leasing Medical Buildings

VA, Legislators Debate Owning vs. Leasing Medical Buildings

Should VA own or lease its medical facilities and, when it does decide to rent, is it overpaying?

VA Battles Legislative, Media Criticism of Veterans Crisis Line

VA Battles Legislative, Media Criticism of Veterans Crisis Line

The VA is pushing back hard against accusations last month that calls to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) were not being handled appropriately.

More Research Sought on Health Effects of War Zone Burn Pits

More Research Sought on Health Effects of War Zone Burn Pits

The U.S. government must do more to help troops who were exposed to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan

Honored Nurse: No Plans to Retire After 37 Years on Midnight Shift

Honored Nurse: No Plans to Retire After 37 Years on Midnight Shift

Drema Bratton, RN, has made it very clear that she has no plans to retire. “They’re going to have to pry me out of here,” declared Huntington VAMC’s Nurse of the Year.

VA Program Seeks to Disseminate Best Practices Throughout System

VA Program Seeks to Disseminate Best Practices Throughout System

An iPad questionnaire completed in the waiting rooms of VAMCs is helping clinicians more quickly identify patient suicide risk.

Refill Synchronization Significantly Improves Adherence Among Some Groups

Refill Synchronization Significantly Improves Adherence Among Some Groups

As every pharmacist and physician knows, medications only work if patients take them as prescribed—and increasing consistent adherence remains one of the biggest challenges in medicine.