High Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Class Action Lawsuit Against VA WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that claimed VA does not provide mental healthcare in a timely factor. That ended more than five years of litigation on the issue. Plaintiffs responded that, “VA remains mired in crisis, and veterans will continue fighting to reform VA so that no veteran waits for VA healthcare or benefits.” More
Burn Pit Registry Bill Signed into Law WASHINGTON—VA must create an Open Burn Pit Registry, according to a new law recently signed by President Obama. The Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 requires VA to establish and maintain an open burn pit registry for veterans who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes caused by open burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan. The bill directs VA to include any information to be put in the registry that the agency determines is necessary to monitor the health effects caused by open burn pits. More
BELLINGHAM, WA - Changing demographics for veterans in the United States, with most now settling in the South and the Southwest, often in rural areas, has potentially profound implications for how and where VA offers services. It also raises questions about the future of the broad base of political support that traditionally has existed for veterans’ programs. Those concerns were underscored by a recent study which graphically illustrates the growing divide between veterans and civilians who have never served. More Please read this article and participate in this month's online opinion poll: With changing demographics of veterans, does VA offer a full range of services where beneficiaries actually live?
PITTSBURGH - An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a VA hospital in Pittsburgh has led to at least one death and sent hospital administration searching for the source of the contamination. News of the outbreak broke in November, when it was discovered that at least four patients at the University Drive VA Medical Center in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ (Legionellosis), a potentially fatal disease caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella. The bacteria usually are transmitted through a contaminated water source and then reside in a victim’s respiratory tract. More
New CTE Study Categorizes Stages of Degenerative Brain Disease in Veterans, Athletes BOSTON - For the first time, researchers have categorized chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease associated with repeated brain trauma in military combat and contact sports, into four stages of severity. In a recent study, 68 cases of CTE were identified among deceased athletes and military veterans whose brain and spinal cords were donated to the VA CSTE Brain Bank. Of those cases of CTE found in males between 17 and 98 years old, 64 were athletes, and 18 of those were also military veterans. The group included three additional veterans who did not have a sports background. More
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill 1874-1965
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
As I ponder this editorial, the specter of the impending “fiscal cliff” looms large in the news, following, perhaps, one of the more contentious presidential elections in history. One need not be a rocket scientist to understand the impact these Draconian cuts to the military budget would have on federal medicine.
So, why do people make a career in federal medicine? I believe for many, and certainly for me, there is an ingrained need to try to make some positive difference in the human condition, no matter how insignificant it may seem compared with larger world events. More