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June 2015

VA Lags on Women’s Health; No Gynecologists at Some VAMCs

By Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — With 29% more women accessing VA healthcare in the past three years, the agency has a way to go to make sure it meets the needs of female veterans, advocates testified... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Goal: Reducing Heart Failure Admissions 10% in Two Years

The national readmission rate for veterans hospitalized with heart failure within 30 days is 20.87%, but the VA is working to ratchet that percentage down while still providing all necessary care for the patients. Key... View Article

Late Breaking News

VA Vows Improved Security in Wake of El Paso Shooting

WASHINGTON-VA Secretary Bob McDonald visited the El Paso Veterans Affairs clinic at Fort Bliss, TX, and vowed to improve security there after a shooting left two dead, including VA psychologist Timothy Fjordbak, 63. The shooter, who apparently killed himself, was identified  by... View Article

COPD

Lifestyle Changes, New Drugs Promising Tools for COPD at DoD, VA

SEATTLE — In pursuit of the twin goals of COPD treatment — maintaining maximum lung function and improving quality of life — military and VA clinicians customize a mix of therapies that range from recently... View Article

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VA Medical Facilities Earn “Top Performer” Distinction

WASHINGTON— The Joint Commission recently recognized 32 of VA’s 151 medical facilities as “top performers.” The “top performer” list is based on the organization’s annual review of the performance of Joint Commission accredited hospitals “in... View Article

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Should pay-for-performance be used to improve healthcare quality at the VA?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll. Yes No Undecided Current Results

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VA Meets Mental Health Peer Support Hiring Goal

WASHINGTON—The VA announced this week that it has hired 815 peer specialists and peer apprentices, exceeding a hiring goal for peer to peer counselors set in a 2012 presidential executive order that aims to expand... View Article

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Did you or any of your co-workers leave or consider leaving DoD employment because of furloughs?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll. Yes No Undecided Current Results

Pharmacy

Use of Bladder Antimuscarinics Questioned at VA Nursing Homes

LEXINGTON, KY — Should bladder antimuscarinics (BAMs) be used in elderly residents at VA Community Living Centers? That is the question presented by a recent study evaluating the risks and benefits of the drugs. The... View Article

Pharmacy

New Defense Health Agency Will Streamline Military Functions

Maj. Gen. Douglas Robb, ND By Military Health System Communications Staff The Defense Department is grappling with many complex decisions as they transform a post-war military force. One of the more immediate actions the department... View Article

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DoD Announces Furloughs to End for Most Employees

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced that most of DoD’s civilians who have been placed on furloughs will return to work this week. Hagel explained that the basis of his decision is the Pay... View Article

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Federal Workers Face Furloughs

WASHINGTON—Thousands of federal workers were furloughed today after lawmakers were unable to agree on a spending bill for the federal government by Monday night. Calling it “one more blow to the morale of our civilian... View Article

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VA Announces Commission to Seek Next VHA Undersecretary for Health

WASHINGTON—The VA announced that it is convening a commission to recommend candidates to President Obama for appointment of the next VHA Undersecretary for Health. Dr. Robert A. Petzel, the current VHA undersecretary, is set to... View Article

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Committee Chairman Seeks Gunman’s VA Records

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other officials laid a wreath at the U.S. Navy Memorial today to honor the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. The rampage, which resulted in the death of... View Article

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Do you think the DoD will continue with civilian employee furloughs in the next fiscal year or will they find other ways to cut costs?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll. Yes No Undecided Current Results

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DoD Announces New Initiatives to Combat Sexual Assaults

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced several new initiatives designed to strengthen support for military victims of sexual assault. Among those initiatives include the creation of a legal advocacy program in each military service to... View Article

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DoD Reduces Furlough Days

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that civilian furloughs will be reduced from 11 to 6 days.   In a written statement, Hagel explained that the reduction in days is a result of savings and... View Article

Mental Health

Is VA adequately prepared to offer necessary care for servicemembers with TBI and PTSD over the long term?

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll. Yes No Undecided Current Results

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VA Named on ‘Most Wired’ Hospitals List

WASHINGTON—VA, representing its 152 facilities, was recently recognized on the 2013 “Most Wired” hospitals list. The annual survey was released by Hospitals & Health Networks, in partnership with McKesson, the College of Healthcare Information Management... View Article

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Hagel Warns of Impact of DoD Funding Cuts in FY 2014

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned DoD employees during recent townhall meetings to brace for the likelihood of sequestration in FY 2014. “And as we roll into fiscal year 2014, which begins October 1st, we... View Article

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VA Announces ‘Milestone’ In Digitizing Disability Claims

WASHINGTON—VA announced this week that over 30% of the current disability claims inventory is now digital and accessible to claim raters in VA’s electronic claims processing system. Calling it a “milestone,” VA said in a... View Article

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DoD Now Will Fund Abortions in Pregnancies from Rape, Incest

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll weather the DoD should be required to pay for abortions in cases of rape and incest as well as danger to the life... View Article

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Increasing Concentration of Veterans In Rural Areas Poses Challenges for VA

Most Vets Now Settle in Only a Few States Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll wether VA offers a full range of services where beneficiaries actually live? What is... View Article

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Strict Federal Conference Limits Affect CME, Staying Current

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll. Will the federal conference restrictions make it difficult for you to satisfy continuing education requirements and keep up in your clinical area? What... View Article

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Many Healthcare Providers Lose VA Retention Bonuses

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll about whether VA should be allowed to rescind retention bonuses for healthcare providers without explanation or recourse? What is your opinion? Yes No... View Article

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VA’s MOVE! Initiative Plagued by Lack of Participation

Please read this article and participate in this month’s online opinion poll about whether VA provided enough resources to make the MOVE! weight-loss initiative successful? What is your opinion? Yes No Undecided Current Results

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Inconclusive Report Does Little to Cool Down Burn-Pit Controversy

A recent Institute of Medicine (IoM) report done at the request of the VA concluded that it could not say whether troops’ exposures to emissions from open-air burn-pits cause ongoing health effects.  Read the full... View Article

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Drug Shortages Tripled in Last Five Years; Critical Medications Unavailable

Should pharmaceutical manufacturers be required to inform FDA six months in advance if they are discontinuing any drug? Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Do you... View Article

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States Shift Medical Costs to VA by Identifying Overlooked Vets

Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Is VA doing enough to inform all veterans about the health benefits due them? Yes No Undecided Current Results

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Study Reports Findings From Malaria Vaccine Trial

WASHINGTON, DC—A vaccine targeting malaria did not provide significant protection in a Phase 2b human trial against clinical malaria, but on the basis of secondary results, it may have strain-specific efficacy, a recent study published... View Article

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AFHSC Funds New Flu Diagnostic Kits for Deployed Medical Facilities

Silver Spring, MD–The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) has funded the development of two new kits recently cleared by the FDA that it expects will enhance its ability to diagnose flu in troops in... View Article

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Bioethics Commission Reports on “Unconscionable” Guatemalan Studies

WASHINGTON, DC—The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues publically released the results of its investigation into Public Health Service studies conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s. The research involved deliberately exposing and infecting... View Article

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VA Hospital Have Same Readmission Challenges As Other Facilities

WASHINGTON, DC—New data released to the public this week shows that VA has just as much trouble as private health facilities in controlling the number of unnecessary patient readmissions. Last month VA announced that it... View Article

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System To Compensate Injured Research Subjects Needed in U.S., Commission Finds

WASHINGTON, DC—The federal government should create a system to compensate medical research subjects for injuries related to the trials they were a part of, according to a panel presenting recommendations to President Obama’s Commission for... View Article

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VA Launches Open Source Operations

WASHINGTON, DC—VA announced this month that it has chosen a custodian for its open source software initiative, and will be launching the operation immediately. Under a contract awarded in June, The Information Applications Group will... View Article

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Over $2 Billion in Retroactive Benefits Paid to Agent Orange Victims

WASHINGTON, DC–More than $2.2 billion in retroactive benefits have been paid to approximately 89,000 Vietnam veterans and their survivors who filed claims related to one of three new Agent Orange presumptive conditions in the last... View Article

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For years on the various cruises we have taken on Family Knot, I have maintained a daily log of our travels. I dutifully record our position, direction, speed, sail changes, and include any significant weather... View Article

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Army Battles Sexual Assault Within Troops, Improves Follow-Up Care of Victims

Army Battles Sexual Assault Within Troops, Improves Follow-Up Care of Victims Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Should Congress relax requirements for proving the occurrence of... View Article

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Union Says Budget Proposal Increase Won’t Ease Strain on VA Medical Personnel

Cost-cutting measures may be putting too much strain on VA’s already overburdened medical personnel, according to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Read the full article and let us know what you think: What... View Article

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Administration Report Outlines Efforts to Help Families Deal with Stress of War

Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Do you believe military families need to receive more psychological support? Yes No Undecided Current Results

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Outreach and Communication Key to Fighting Vet Homelessness

We want to hear from you. Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Should VA direct more resources to prevent homelessness or to care for those already homeless? Yes... View Article

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DoD Expands Smoking Cessation Efforts

Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Should the DoD set a date for a tobacco-free military? Yes No Undecided Current Results

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Task Force Recommends OSD-Level Suicide Prevention Policy Office

Do you believe that a suicide prevention office established at the OSD level, as a DoD Task Force has suggested, would improve suicide prevention efforts for the military?Read the full article and let us know... View Article

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Legislators, Military, and Veterans Advocates Clash Over Discharges

The possibility that servicemembers suffering from service-connected ailments were being falsely diagnosed with PD first arose three years ago. Read the full article and let us know what you think: What is your opinion? Do you... View Article

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