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Current Issue

VA Reverses Stance, Won’t Challenge ‘Blue Water’ Veteran Court Ruling

WASHINGTON—In an about-face, the VA will recommend that the federal government not challenge a recent court decision ruling that the department cannot deny benefits to Vietnam-era Blue Water Navy veterans claiming Agent Orange exposure. The... View Article

April 2019

Personalization, In-Home Adaptation Necessary to Improve CPAP Adherence

INDIANAPOLIS—To improve adherence to continuous positive airway pressure treatment, more emphasis needs to be put on support for sleep apnea patients in their homes, where the equipment actually is used. That’s according to a new... View Article

April 2019

Executive Order Creates Task Force to Combat Veteran Suicide

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at lowering the rate of veteran suicides. The order—the President’s Roadmap To Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide—creates a Cabinet-level task force led... View Article

April 2019

VA Announces Plans to Create 3D-Printed Artificial Lung

3D Printing Already Personalizes Care in Other Ways ANN ARBOR, MI—VA scientists in Michigan recently announced they are working to create a three-dimensional-printed artificial lung. The lab-created lung could transform treatment for some of the... View Article

April 2019

Legislators Express Outrage Over Military Sexual Trauma Issues Subhead: Senator Describes Her Experience as Air Force Rape Victim

WASHINGTON—A recent survey of the military service academies found that sexual assault has spiked over the last two years, up 50% since 2016. This news sparked fresh outrage from legislators, resulting in a hearing focusing... View Article

2019 issues

Physician Documents, Promotes Veteran Honor Guards in VA Hospices

PHILADELPHIA—Michelle Brassil, MD, had been warned when she began her fellowship at the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center’s Community Living Center in Philadelphia. “Don’t be surprised if you’re emotional,” her supervisor told her.... View Article

2019 issues

Democrats Look at VA Role of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Associates

WASHINGTON—Congress announced last month that it will be opening an investigation into alleged improper influence by three civilian consultants to President Donald Trump on administration of the VA. The three men—Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel... View Article

2019 issues

Surgery Delay Does Not Explain Racial Differences in Breast Cancer Survival

BETHESDA, MD—Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women, but exactly why remains unclear. A new study from the Military Health System just shot down one of the leading explanations... View Article

Current Issue

VA Announces New Partnerships to Expand Telehealth Services

WASHINGTON.—VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced new partnerships with several prominent companies and veterans’ organizations to make access to health services easier for veterans, regardless of their location. Collaborators announced at the recent Anywhere to Anywhere,... View Article

Current Issue

Legislators Question Governance of VA EHR Implementation

How much will implementation and integration of a new electronic health record slow down processes at the VA, which already struggles with delays in care?

Current Issue

Despite Unanimous House Support, VA Opposes ‘Blue Water’ Legislation

VA officials told lawmakers last month that it opposes a bill that would expand the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to Vietnam veterans who served offshore because the "science is not there."

Current Issue

VA Launches Study to Address Liver Fluke/Bile Duct Cancer Concerns

A recently launched VA study of mortality in Vietnam veterans will examine whether exposure to liver flukes, a parasitic worm, increased the risk of cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer in those veterans.

Current Issue

Algorithm Proposed to Improve Detection of MS Lesions

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered crucial for in vivo detection and characterization of white matter lesions (WMLs) in multiple sclerosis.

August 2018

VA Surgeon Sees His Role as ‘Pillar of Hope’ for Veteran Patients

The theme of this year’s Harlem Fine Arts Show—the largest touring African diasporic art show in the United States—is “Health and the Healing Power of Art.”

August 2018

Too Little Sleep? Army Research Suggests Correct Caffeine Dosage

The Army's Performance Triad promotes quality sleep, physical activity and good nutrition, but when sleep suffers, a new tool developed by the Army can help.

August 2018

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to Make Robert L. Wilkie the New VA Secretary

Robert L. Wilkie took office as the 10th VA Secretary after the U.S. Senate voted 86-9 to confirm him.

Current Issue

Demand surges for popular army clinical pharmacy course

With pharmacists from across the DoD and VA clamoring for spots in the Clinical Pharmacy Course at Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDCS) in Fort Sam Houston, TX, organizers offered back-to-back programs this spring, with another scheduled for August.

Current Issue

Psychologist works to make mental health units safe for suicidal veterans

Most people looking at a hospital room will see an environment specifically designed to keep human beings alive through even the most traumatic circumstances.

Current Issue

Veteran nephrologist labors to improve ESRD treatment at VA

When Terrence O’Neil, MD, retired as chief of nephrology at the James H. Quillen VAMC in Johnson City in December 2016, he left in his wake decades of work treating kidney disease—nearly 35 years in the Air Force and DoD, plus 11 more at VA.

Current Issue

Committee approves bill to provide agent orange benefits to ‘blue water’ vets

A long sought-after bill that would make it easier for Blue Water Navy veterans to receive Agent Orange benefits has been passed by a key House of Representatives committee.

2018 Compendium of Federal Medicine

New Agents Extend Options for Increased Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Accounting for nearly a third of all cancer diagnoses, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the VHA, where past research has suggested that the malignancy is caught earlier than in other healthcare systems.

2018 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Undertreatment of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Treatment, Despite Guidelines

While many other cancers have seen dramatic improvement in outcomes in the past 20 years, pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest malignancies, regardless of stage at diagnosis, with an overall five-year survival rate of only 8%, according to the American Cancer Society.

Current Issue

EMR Alert Helps Reduce Opioid/Benzodiazepine Co-Prescribing Risk at VAMCs

Since the launch of the Opioid Safety Initiative in 2012, the VA has implemented a number of steps designed to reduce the use of opioids and the risk of addiction and overdose among veterans.

2018 Compendium of Federal Medicine

New Therapy Options Recently Approved for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

While the availability of novel therapies is making the future brighter for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients, new treatments also are coming on line for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a hematological cancer distinct from NHL.

Current Issue

Despite Overall Longevity Trends, Mortality Increases for Schizophrenia Patients

Since the 1970s, mortality rates have declined, extending average lifespan by almost a decade.

Current Issue

No Link Found Between H. Pylori Infection, Unexplained Anemia

Despite limited evidence to support the practice, testing for Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection is recommended for work-up of unexplained iron deficiency anemia (IDA).

Current Issue

Now Hear This: Otolaryngologist Leads Effort to Prevent Auditory Issues

Among those who are exposed to combat, it’s the weapons fire that does it. In the Navy, it’s the noise levels in engine rooms and on the decks of carriers.

Current Issue

Community Providers Unprepared to Serve Veterans Under Choice Program

As the debate about increasing access for veterans to community-based provider heats up, a serious problem has emerged: Few providers outside the VA health system appear to be prepared to meet the unique challenges of the veteran population.

Current Issue

Former VA Secretary Nominee Claims Allegations Against Him Are False

Veterans’ groups expressed concern last month regarding a “lack of permanent leadership at the department,” after Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, MD, withdrew his name from consideration as VA secretary amid anonymous allegations of misconduct.

Current Issue

VSOs Express Concerns About Making Caregiver Program More Restrictive

Draft legislation that would expand the Family Caregiver Program but make eligibility for the program more restrictive raised concerns for several veterans’ groups.

Current Issue

VA-Led Study: Absenteeism Drops With Mandatory HCP Influenza Vaccines

New research is raising questions about whether the VA is doing enough to promote influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel.

April 2018

White House Physician Nominated as VA Secretary After Shulkin Ouster

The nominee for new VA secretary has served as the White House physician for the last three presidential administrations.

Depression

VA Study Addresses Concerns About Anti-Epileptic Drugs, Suicidal Behavior Link

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert about increased risk for suicidal ideation and behavior for patients taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

Diabetes

VHA Data Helps Validate Tool for Hypoglycemia Risk ID

OAKLAND, CA—Data from more than 1.3 million VHA patients was used to help validate a practical tool for identifying people with diabetes who are at the highest risk for being admitted to an emergency department... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Reduces Email Burden for Clinicians to Allow More Time, Focus on Patients

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON—Concerned about how much time clinicians spend reading and responding to emails, the VA is changing its messaging system so that more of their focus can be on patient care. The... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA, DoD Slash Time for Disabled Servicemembers to Get Through Evaluation Process

The time for injured and ill servicemembers to get through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System process from their date of referral to their notification of benefits has been slashed more than half in the last decade.

December 2017

Shulkin Pushes for Funding so VA Can ‘Piggyback’ on DoD’s EHR Implementation

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—After announcing VA’s decision earlier this year to replace VistA with the same electronic health record (EHR) that DoD is using, VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, made a trip to Capitol Hill... View Article

Cardiovascular Disease

Previous VA Research Borne Out: PCI Provides No Symptom Relief in Stable Angina

In a move that reanimated a long-standing controversy in cardiology, a recently published study supports and extends the findings of landmark research done by the VA more than a decade ago.

Late Breaking News

Procedure Determines How Long Post-Surgical Patients Should Receive Opioids

Study Uses MHS Data to Create Guidelines for Painkillers BOSTON – How long should patients use opioids after common surgical procedures? Until now, there hasn’t been much consensus on the answer. A new study analyzing... View Article

Late Breaking News

Be Aware of New Clinical Recommendations on Diabetes, Back Pain, PTSD, Amputation, Opioids

Diabetes Guidelines Don’t Include Specific Pharmacotherapy Advise By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON —The VA and DoD Evidence-Based Practice Work Group has recently released five updated clinical practice guidelines. They cover common conditions such as Type... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

In-Person Cognitive Therapy Better for Insomnia

Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy appears to be an effective alternative to regular in-person meetings with a therapist for military personnel with insomnia, but it still is only about half as effective as traditional methods.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VSOs Are Helping to Speed Veteran Claim Processing

An initiative that promises faster processing of certain claims has now been made available at all VA regional offices, the agency announced last month.

Late Breaking News

Law Seeks to Resolve Veterans Claims Backlog by Creating Multiple ‘Lanes’

President Donald Trump signed a bill last month aimed at reforming a backlogged claims appeal process by creating three “lanes” for veterans’ appeals.

Cardiovascular Disease

INVESTED Trial Tests High-Dose Flu Vaccine for Veterans With Cardiovascular Disease

Influenza hits veterans hard, and older veterans with cardiovascular disease face a substantially increased risk of complications and death from the common ailment.

August 2017

E-consults Drive Increased Involvement of VA Infectious Disease Specialists

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON—VA physicians in facilities across New England increasingly turn to infectious disease specialists at the VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) with questions about antibiotic resistance, Lyme disease and other issues, but... View Article

August 2017

Will Review of VA’s Capital Assets Be Return of BRAC?

The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has called for a “top-to-bottom review” of all VHA capital assets.

July 2017

POWER Training Rapidly Improves Muscle Power Following Stroke in Veterans

By Annette M. Boyle CHARLESTON, SC—Each year about 15,000 veterans suffer a stroke. For many stroke survivors, regaining walking ability and, ultimately, walking speed is a primary goal of rehabilitation. Recent research might offer a... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Shulkin: ‘Significant Challenges’ Continue for VA in Care Access, Staffing

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON—VA has done a “significant job in improving access to care for clinically urgent veterans,” but veterans are still waiting too long for new appointments in primary care and mental health at... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

HIV Infection Linked to 40% Increase in Veterans’ Risk of Developing Heart Failure

Antiretroviral therapy has extended the lives of veterans with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by decades, but a new threat could cut back their longevity.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Could Soon Achieve ‘Near Complete Eradication’ of Hepatitis C

Over the next year or so, the remarkable transformation of hepatitis C (HCV) treatment at the VA will likely reach some type of equilibrium, a new study suggested.