March 2014 Direct



President’s Budget Proposal Seeks VA Funding Increase

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama proposed a $163.9 billion FY 2015 budget for VA, which is a 6.5% increase over FY 2014. The budget includes $68.4 billion in discretionary funding, of which $59.1 billion is for the medical care budget, and $95.6 billion for mandatory programs. The agency said that this funding will support its goals to “expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among veterans.”



Veteran receiving an EEG at Durham VAMC

VA Epilepsy Rates Rising with Returning Servicemembers

WASHINGTON – U.S. veterans deployed since 2001 suffer high rates of epilepsy and other neurological disorders, and the VA is challenged in both diagnosing and treating them. Recent studies document that those veterans are at a particularly high risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological nonepileptic seizures (PNES) and epileptic seizure diagnoses. According to a study by the VA’s Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence and Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, 87,377 veterans with seizures diagnoses were managed within the VHA during fiscal year 2011.

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? That question has troubled clinicians, especially with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) so common during recent military actions. Now, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is offering advice on how healthcare providers can help patients navigate this process safely.


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Does the military need more consistent and effective procedures for getting mild traumatic brain injury patients back to activity?

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Army Pain Management Program Director Col. Kevin Galloway

Internet Tool Uses Patient Feedback to Improve Army Pain Management

WASHINGTON – A new Internet tool is a powerful weapon to combat pain, and the DoD is now launching it in a pilot location. The Pain Assessment Screening Tool and Outcomes Registry (PASTOR) recently was rolled out to the warrior transition clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The electronic pain data registry and clinical support tool allows for the collection of relevant information from patients about their pain prior to their medical appointment. Proponents of the system say it will not only improve treatment decisions, but also will facilitate population-based pain research in the future.

From the Editor-in-Chief:

“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine”

~ Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO

Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III,


I would suggest that the need for quality data to drive medical practice is more important than ever as the complexity and technology that drives modern medical practice seems to be in an exponential growth phase. In my own field of pain medicine, the need for better evidence to drive current clinical practice has been seen as the primary focus of efforts to improve pain care in America. It is for these reasons that I am pleased to report on the initial rollout of the Pain Assessment Screening Tool and Outcomes Registry (PASTOR) in the warrior transition clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, MD.

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Brenda L. Mooney

Editorial Director,U.S. Medicine

[email protected]

39 York Street

Lambertville, NJ  08530

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