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Current Issue

VA Evaluates Form to Improve Function in Medication Labels

When time is of the essence, good design saves lives. That was the lesson of a recent experiment in Pittsburgh that tested whether anesthetist trainees would grab the right medication in a stressful simulated operating room scenario or make a potentially fatal mistake.

Current Issue

Lawmakers Continue to Push VA to Meet Benefits Modernization Deadline

VA remains on track for implementing its new disability appeals system by the February 2019 deadline, VA officials told lawmakers at a recent hearing.

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

DC VAMC Resolves Some of ‘Dysfunction’ Cited By VA Inspector General

The DC VAMC has addressed or resolved six of 25 recommendations made by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) and is working to resolve the remaining ones, the facility announced last month.

Current Issue

Milwaukee VA Specialist Seeks to Make Radiology More Patient-Friendly

Ian Weissman, a radiologist with the Milwaukee VA, can trace his desire to be a doctor back to one source. “I grew up watching 'The Waltons.' There, the primary care doc was part of the community,” he explained. “That was my dream.”

Current Issue

As DHA Takes More Control, Military Medicine Undergoes Changes

In a bill recently signed into law, Congress signaled its intent to give the Defense Health Agency (DHA) greater control over the administration of military health care and medical research.

August 2018

Better Retention and Outcomes With One Tablet Therapy for HIV Patients

Patients taking a single tablet to control HIV had better viral suppression and stayed in care at higher rates than patients who took multiple pills.

August 2018

VA Vows to Stop Whistleblower Retaliation; Some Lawmakers Skeptical

VA leaders said loud and clear that the agency “will not tolerate” whistleblower retaliation.

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

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

VA secretary nominee promises opposition to healthcare privatization

VA Secretary nominee Robert L. Wilkie promised lawmakers he would not privatize VA healthcare if he is confirmed.

Current Issue

House subcommittee pushes for burn pit exposure answers

The VA and its partners are pursuing research, including six major studies, to better understand the potential health effects of burn pit exposures.

Current Issue

Despite Shulkin ouster, VA continues with VISN restructuring plans

Despite changes in leadership, VA is planning to move forward with restructuring efforts, including redesigning its VISN system.

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.

Current Issue

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

Current Issue

VA Takes the Lead to Prevent Spread of Multi Drug-Resistant Organisms

The VA is leveraging its position as the country’s largest integrated healthcare system to slow the development and spread of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO).

Current Issue

Legislation: Clinicians Must Be Involved in Formulary Design, Purchasing

Legislation to prevent VA from outsourcing creation of its drug formulary and to require more input from medical professions is being considered in Congress.

Current Issue

GAO: VA Needs Better Planning for ‘Complex’ Appeals System Overhaul

Gene L. Dodaro became the eighth Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on December 22, 2010, when he was confirmed by the United States Senate. WASHINGTON... View Article

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.

April 2018

Military E-Prescriptions Exceed 50% Goal Set Three Years Ago

FALLS CHURCH, VA — As of January 2018, 54% of prescriptions filled by MTFs were submitted electronically, exceeding the initial goal of 50% set when the e-prescribing program first rolled out three years ago.

April 2018

Congress Seeks More Oversight of VA EHR Program

WASHINGTON — Legislation under consideration by Congress would increase oversight of VA’s adoption and implementation of its forthcoming electronic health record (EHR) system.

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.

Current Issue

Congress Urged to Find a Cost-Effective Way to Expand Benefits to Pre-9/11 Veteran Caregivers

WASHINGTON — Veterans from earlier eras should have expanded benefits related to family caregiver, but only if they are severely injured, VA officials have told Congress.

March 2018

Engineer Seeks to Make VAMCs More Energy Efficient Without Interrupting Their Mission

WASHINGTON—Anyone who’s ever worked in a hospital knows how much energy a facility of that size consumes. From the electricity to keep the lights on and the technology running to the water used to keep everything sterile, medical facilities can be far from energy efficient.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Cancer Patients Less Likely to Receive Excessive Care at End of Life

VA patients dying of cancer are far less likely to receive excessive and unnecessary end-of-life interventions than those treated by Medicare.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

New Executive Order Guarantees a Year of Mental Healthcare After Separation from Service

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order directing the DoD, VA and Homeland Security departments develop a plan to ensure that all new veterans receive mental healthcare for at least one year following their separation from service.

February 2018

San Diego Revises Alert System in Wake of Administration of Compromised Flu Vaccine

In the fall, failure of a pharmacy refrigerator and its monitoring system resulted in 1,540 veterans and staff receiving potentially ineffective shots.

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

Current Issue

VA Promises Changes After Widespread Failure to Report Clinician Safety Issues

VA officials sought to reassure lawmakers that the agency is responding appropriately to an oversight report finding that several medical providers who gave harmful care to patients were never reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) or state licensing boards (SLB).

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Shortage of Supplies Might Have Delayed Medical Procedures at VAMCs

In response to complaints that clinicians at VAMCs lack adequate medical and surgical products to care for veterans, VA conceded it needs to make its product formulary more robust.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: Applications for VHA Healthcare Benefits Frequently Mishandled

VHA does not have the right protocols in place to ensure applications for enrollment are processed in a timely manner or that enrollment determinations are accurate, according to a new report.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA End-of-Life Care Push Increases Hospice Use Among Veterans

An intense effort by the VA to improve end-of-life care is paying off, with hospice use increasing more among veterans than nonveterans.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Army Pharmacy Finds Shorter Hours Reduces Wait Times

The pharmacy team at McDonald Army Health Center (MCAHC) on Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia had a common problem—longer than desired wait times for patients to pick up prescriptions.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Paliperidone Palmitate Helps Some Schizophrenia Patients

Even though nearly half of all patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have a history of substance abuse (SA), data on treatment of schizophrenia with paliperidone palmitate (PP) among patients with comorbid SA have been limited.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

How Do VA PCPs Respond to Insomnia Complaints?

Veterans have even higher rates of insomnia than other adults in the United States, and many seek treatment from their primary care physicians.

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)

Biomarkers Different in Acute HF Patients With, Without Diabetes

How diabetes affects pathophysiological processes among patients with acute heart failure (AHF) is unclear, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Heart Failure.1

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.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Leads Nation in Addressing Healthcare Disparities

Shifting demographics and commitment to creating an integrated network that combines community providers and VA facilities has propelled the agency into a leadership position in addressing the healthcare disparities that continue to cost lives and drive up medical expenses.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA’s ‘Homegrown’ Mailing Processes Raise Drug Diversion Concerns

Citing unreliable mail data and even the potential for drug diversion, lawmakers admonished VA to do a better job overseeing its mail system.

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.

Agencies Home

Severe Side Effects Rare in Elderly Veterans Receiving High Dose Influenza Vaccine

Patients over the age of 65 face an increased risk of severe complications and death if they contract influenza.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Altus AFB Pharmacy Speeds Care With Cold and Flu Packs

The program not only saves time, it also is saving money.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Transgenders in Military Debate Preceded Surprise Trump Announcement

President Donald Trump recently announced that he was reinstating a ban on transgenders in the military.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Barriers Fall for VA’s Ability to Provide Telehealth Across State Lines

President Donald Trump and VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, announced three initiatives that will expand access to health care for Veterans across the country.

Agencies Home

VA Makes Public List of Adverse Actions Against Employees

With persistent questions of accountability and transparency dogging VA in recent years, the agency became the first federal agency to post public information on disciplinary actions taken against employees.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Mail Order Pharmacy Policies Put Nearly Half of Veterans with HIV at Risk of Missing Doses

By Annette M. Boyle MADISON, WI—Antiretroviral medications have transformed HIV from a death sentence into a chronic disease, but the drugs’ effectiveness depends on rigorous adherence to sometimes-complex regimens. For veterans with HIV, adherence is... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

House Legislation Seeks to Modernize Veterans Appeals Process

A bill passed by the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support will modernize the veterans’ appeals process, supporters maintained.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Phoenix VA Partners With CVS MinuteClinic to Provide In-Pharmacy Healthcare

When CVS Health became an authorized provider under the Veterans Choice Program, several VAMCs considered using the company’s retail medical clinic, MinuteClinic, to help relieve long waits and offer routine medical services nearer to veterans’ homes.