Category: Non-Clinical Topics

TRICARE Limits on Use of Community Pharmacies Creates Firestorm

TRICARE Limits on Use of Community Pharmacies Creates Firestorm

By Annette M. Boyle ALEXANDRIA, VA – A pilot program that requires use of mail order or military pharmacies for certain maintenance medications taken for chronic conditions has sparked a firestorm of controversy, upsetting community pharmacists and some legislators. TRICARE… Read More

Repeat Colonoscopy Recommendations Usually Meet Guidelines

ANN ARBOR, MI – Physician endoscopists’ recommendations for timing of surveillance colonoscopy in average-risk patients with one to two small polyps are consistent with guideline recommendations in about 90% of cases, according to a new study. The study, which was… Read More

High MS Rates in Veterans: Don’t Blame the First Gulf War Zone

High MS Rates in Veterans: Don’t Blame the First Gulf War Zone

Military personnel serving during the first Gulf War have one of the highest incidence rates for multiple sclerosis (MS) ever reported, leading to speculation that environmental exposures in the war zone triggered the disease. Research trying to determine causes, however,… Read More

GAO Report: VA Plagued by ‘Poor Inventory Management’ of Tissue Products

GAO Report: VA Plagued by ‘Poor Inventory Management’ of Tissue Products

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — VA policies do not require staff to check the Food and Drug Administration status of its tissue vendors for most types of purchases, even though FDA registration ensures the quality of the provider. That was… Read More

VA Launches New Initiative to Recognize, Respond to Intimate Partner Violence

VA Launches New Initiative to Recognize, Respond to Intimate Partner Violence

Domestic Abuse Tied to Range of Health Issues By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — Nearly 2 in 5 female veterans report experiencing intimate partner violence, as do up to 44% of active-duty women. The high rates of domestic abuse have… Read More

VA Care Delays Implicated in Veteran Fatalities; Lawmakers Express Anger

VA Care Delays Implicated in Veteran Fatalities; Lawmakers Express Anger

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Veterans have died from delayed or never delivered medical care at VA facilities, according to lawmakers who accused the agency of not addressing the problems in a transparent way. “When errors do occur, and they… Read More

Privacy Laws Prevent Commanders’ Awareness of Potentially Violent Servicemembers

Privacy Laws Prevent Commanders’ Awareness of Potentially Violent Servicemembers

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, TX, last month, questions were once again being raised about how effectively the military can identify servicemembers with mental health issues who are prone to violence.

Distance from VA Transplant Centers Affects Survival Rates for Liver Patients

Distance from VA Transplant Centers Affects Survival Rates for Liver Patients

PHILADELPHIA — Where they live can be a life or death issue for veterans who have been deemed eligible for liver transplants, according to new research.

Congress Frustrated About Slow Progress Toward DoD/VA Shared Health Data

Congress Frustrated About Slow Progress Toward DoD/VA Shared Health Data

WASHINGTON — Slow progress by the DoD and VA in achieving the seamless sharing of standardized health data continues to frustrate members of Congress.

VA Notes Major Demographic, Technological Trends in Strategic Document

VA Notes Major Demographic, Technological Trends in Strategic Document

WASHINGTON — The VA is facing a tide of demographic and technological changes that will affect the way it will provide care in the next decades.

Military Sexual Trauma Survivors Call for More Services for Victims

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Military sexual trauma (MST) survivors told a Senate subcommittee that improvements still are needed to ensure rape victims get all the help they need in the DoD and VA healthcare systems. “Good counselors are the… Read More

Prescriptions for ‘Low T’ Therapy Vary Substantially Across VHA

Prescriptions for ‘Low T’ Therapy Vary Substantially Across VHA

Study Questions Whether Guidelines Are Being Followed By Annette M. Boyle EAST ORANGE, NJ — Across the VHA, more than 85,000 men receive testosterone supplementation therapy. The likelihood that any particular patient would be prescribed the steroid hormone, however, varies… Read More

IoM: DoD’s Programs to Prevent Mental Health Disorders Lack Evidence

IoM: DoD’s Programs to Prevent Mental Health Disorders Lack Evidence

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON — Between 2000 and 2011, almost 1 million servicemembers or veterans were diagnosed with at least one psychological disorder, either during or after deployment, with nearly half having multiple disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine… Read More

Black Servicemembers At More Hypertension Risk, Despite Equitable Healthcare

Black Servicemembers At More Hypertension Risk, Despite Equitable Healthcare

SILVER SPRING, MD — Military research is raising a new question about an old issue: Why do African-Americans have higher incidence rates of hypertension compared with servicemembers of other races and ethnicities despite equitable access to healthcare within the armed forces?

 FY 2015 Budget Seeks to Merge Three TRICARE Plans to Save DoD Costs

FY 2015 Budget Seeks to Merge Three TRICARE Plans to Save DoD Costs

WASHINGTON — In a highly controversial proposal, President Barack Obama’s FY 2015 budget request recommends merging three TRICARE health plans for those under 65 — Prime, Standard and Extra — into a “single, modernized health plan.”

 Pre-Enlistment Mental Disorders Big Contributors to Army Suicide Risks

Pre-Enlistment Mental Disorders Big Contributors to Army Suicide Risks

CAMBRIDGE, MA — About half of all soldiers reporting that they had tried to kill themselves said that their initial suicide attempt occurred before enlistment, according to a new study.

Study: VA Clinicians Should Consider Antibiotic Risks Before Prescribing

Study: VA Clinicians Should Consider Antibiotic Risks Before Prescribing

By Brenda L. Mooney COLUMBIA, SC — Veterans prescribed amoxicillin over a nearly 13-year period were less likely to be diagnosed with potentially fatal heart rhythms than those using either azithromycin or levofloxacin, according to new research. The study, published… Read More

Agent Orange Exposure Appears to Double Risk of Invasive Skin Cancer

Agent Orange Exposure Appears to Double Risk of Invasive Skin Cancer

HOUSTON — Even four decades later, veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War have twice the risk of developing unusually invasive nonmelanotic skin cancers compared with the general population, according to a recent study.

New VA Bill Fails to Clear Senate; Sanders Says He’ll Keep Pushing It

New VA Bill Fails to Clear Senate; Sanders Says He’ll Keep Pushing It

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Committee vowed to keep fighting for the passage of a sweeping veterans bill that failed to clear the Senate at the end of February.

New Defense/Veteran Guidelines Provide Recovery Path for MTBI Patients

New Defense/Veteran Guidelines Provide Recovery Path for MTBI Patients

SILVER SPRING, MD — How and when should a servicemember return to activity after a concussion?