Policy

NIH Releases Strategic Plan for Obesity Research

WASHINGTON—Recent months have seen a reinvigorated commitment to research targeted at curbing the obesity epidemic in the United States, including a number of completed studies from VA and DoD and the release of a new strategic plan from NIH. Plan… Read More

In Effort to Reduce Costly Medical Errors, Military Facilities Set Up Anonymous Reporting

WASHINGTON—A study published in the April issue of Health Affairs found that medical errors cost the United States more than $17 billion a year. And, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, medical errors and near miss events,… Read More

VA Improves Follow-up In Colon Cancer Screening But Still Falls Short of Goal

WASHINGTON—In 2005, VA initiated a Colon Cancer Care Collaborative (C4) to help improve the timeliness of follow-up after positive fecal blood occult tests (FOBT). The initiative was in reaction to studies released at the time showing considerable delays between screening… Read More

Schoomaker: Military Personnel Left Confused by Different Evaluation Systems at VA, DoD

WASHINGTON—Despite significant efforts by DoD and VA to revamp the disability evaluation process, the new system remains “complex and adversarial,” the top Army doctor told a congressional subcommittee. DoD and VA agreed on a new disability and evaluation system to… Read More

New House Bill Seeks to Relax Benefit Requirements for Victims of Military Sexual-Assault-Related PTSD

WASHINGTON—In June 2010, legislation was passed making it considerably easier for veterans diagnosed with PTSD to receive service-connected benefits and care from VA. Prior to the law’s passage, veterans were required to show a diagnosis of PTSD, prove that they… Read More

Study: Resistant Infections Plummet at VA Hospitals Because of MRSA Initiative

WASHINGTON—A nationwide initiative by VA to reduce the spread of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) within its facilities has resulted in a dramatic drop of more than 60% in hospital-acquired infections in less than three years, according to a recent… Read More

Army Battles Sexual Assault Within Troops, Improves Follow-Up Care of Victims

WASHINGTON—Not that long ago, a woman who had been sexually assaulted might have gone to an Army Military Treatment Facility (MTF), had a forensic examination and then would go home without anyone at the MTF knowing what became of her.… Read More

New Forms Document Radiation Exposure for U.S. Military Personnel, Families in Japan During Disaster

WASHINGTON—Military personnel and dependents who were in radiation-exposed areas in Japan during the massive earthquake, tsunami and partial nuclear reactor meltdown are being asked to fill out forms available at MTFs to document their presence in those areas. The forms… Read More

Despite Success in Managing Warfarin Usage, VA’s Anticoagulation Units’ Role Likely to Change With New Drugs

Some 148,000 patients in the VA system receive anticoagulation therapy to prevent and treat cardiac disease, stroke and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but the primary anticoagulation drug, Warfarin, which has been in use since the 1950s, is complex to manage,… Read More

With 90% of U.S. Influenza Deaths in Elderly, New High Dose Vaccine Seeks Lower Mortality, Morbidity Rates

Despite the widespread availability of seasonal flu vaccines, influenza continues to be responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in the United States. Each year, influenza causes 3.1 million hospitalization days and 34.1 million outpatient visits at an estimated direct medical… Read More

Although Herpes Zoster Rates Have Nearly Doubled in VA, Vaccination Levels Remain Extremely Low

The incidence of herpes zoster (shingles) in veterans seeking care at VA hospitals continues its steady increase, rising even since a 2010 report documented a near doubling of the rate using VHA Decision Support System data from 2000 to 2007.… Read More

Union Says Budget Proposal Increase Won’t Ease Strain on VA Medical Personnel

WASHINGTON, DC—Even though the overall 2012 budget request for VA includes $50.9 billion for medical care— a net increase of $240 million over the 2012 advance appropriations request of $50.6 billion in the 2011 budget—union representatives are worried that cost-cutting… Read More

While Most Central Line Bloodstream Infections Decline, Kidney Dialysis Bucks The Trend

WASHINGTON, DC—With a decline in the number of central line associate bloodstream infections in intensive care units, the focus is turning to an area where such infections are burgeoning – kidney dialysis clinics. The CDC reported last month that there… Read More

Legislators Call for Hearings On VA Infection Control Lapses, Hepatitis Cases

DAYTON, OH—In the latest VA infection control lapse to come under public scrutiny, Ohio-based legislators are pushing for both U.S. House and Senate investigations into practices at a Dayton VAMC dental clinic that may have resulted in nine cases of… Read More

List of Goals Guiding VA, DoD in Integrating Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC—VHA and DoD have already recognized that they serve the same patients, just at different times during their lives. But it is only during the last few years that the two departments have thought of themselves as a true… Read More

Republican-Led VA Committee Sets Oversight Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC—At the top of the agenda for the 112th Congress’s House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC ) is stricter oversight of VA, something that the new Republican leader of the committee believes has been allowed to lapse. “It will be… Read More

Military Leaders Emphasize Need to Build Resilience in Troops and Families

WASHINGTON, DC—Building resilience in servicemembers must start when they enter basic training and must include their families, said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm Michael Mullen. Mullen spoke at the annual Warrior Resilience Conference held by the… Read More

VA Perfecting Disease Management System for COPD

MINNEAPOLIS, MN—The difficulty with treating COPD—as with any chronic disease—is that much of the care must be placed in the hands of the patient. The patient needs to be properly educated about their illness, not just about the pathophysiology, but… Read More

Military Tackles COPD Care

WASHINGTON, DC—In 2005, CDC estimates COPD caused an estimated 126,005 deaths in people 25 years and older in the US. This was an 8% increase from 116,494 in the year 2000. Just as COPD is a concern in the civilian… Read More

Future of Genome Research: More Therapies, Scarcer Funding

BETHESDA, MD—This past October saw the 20th anniversary of the start of the Human Genome Project; and this year marks the 10th anniversary of the publishing of the draft human genome sequence. To commemorate what it describes as the start… Read More