December 2014 Direct

by U.S. Medicine

January 5, 2015


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VA Removes Phoenix Healthcare Director in Wake of Wait-Times Scandal
WASHINGTON – The VA announced that it has formally removed Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA Healthcare System, from federal service. Helman had been on paid administrative leave in the wake of a patient wait-times scandal that initially centered on the Phoenix VA Healthcare System. The VA said in a statement that this decision “followed an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General in which allegations of lack of oversight and other misconduct were substantiated.”


VA Launches Largest Overhaul Ever as McDonald Pushes Reforms

WASHINGTON – New VA Secretary Robert McDonald continues to methodically tackle the issues that have caused a breakdown in efficient veteran care over the last few years, now pushing the agency to undertake the largest reorganization since its founding. In an announcement last month, McDonald said that included among the changes will be the creation of a new VA-wide division to ensure the agency provides “top-level customer service to veterans.” More

DoD Fights Multiple Front War Against Ebola Virus Disease
WASHINGTON – U.S military personnel are battling Ebola virus disease, the dreaded hemorrhagic fever, on two fronts: In West Africa, where an epidemic continues to rage, and at home in the United States, where the healthcare system is rapidly putting into place processes to treat and control any spread of the disease in this country. The Liberia mission, which began in September, was expected to last at least a year and include as many as 4,000 U.S. troops, but military officials said this month that they expect civilian agencies will soon be able to take over much of what the military has been doing. More

Walter Reed, USUHS Lead Efforts to Improve Hospital Inpatient Hand Offs
BETHESDA, MD – When researchers at Harvard University determined that standardizing communication during patient handoffs could significantly reduce medical errors and improve patient care, they reached out to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and the Uniformed Services University of Health Science (USU) for help. Together with nine civilian pediatric hospitals, the two military facilities developed the I-PASS program of bundled communication and team-building tools that reduced preventable medical errors by 30%.

Study Offers New Statistics on How Many OEF/OIF Veterans Have PTSD
WASHINGTON – A new study based on the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans finds that the presence of probable PTSD in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is 13.5%. PTSD prevalence was higher among deployed (15.7%) vs. non-deployed (10.9%) veterans, and VA healthcare users were much more likely to screen positive (24.7%) than non-users (9.8%). More

From the Editor-in-Chief:

“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” – Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904)

Editor-in-Chief, Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III,

I believe that we in federal medicine have a responsibility to strive to inform our patients and the public about the facts of Ebola. I think public service informational announcements on what Ebola is and is not are needed to counter the drama surrounding this disease as presented by the news media. I often like to tell resident physicians that there are few medical conditions for which there are no treatments, with the exception of stupidity, which often proves fatal. There is a serious ignorance and lack of understanding within this country concerning Ebola, and as federal medicine providers we would be idiots not to try and impact on that educational deficit. More

More U.S. Medicine Articles…

Brenda L. Mooney
Editorial Director,U.S. Medicine
[email protected]
39 York Street
Lambertville, NJВ  08530

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