Genetic Mutations Affecting Response to Drugs Are Common in Veterans

VA Debates Who Should Receive Pharmacogenetic Testing SALT LAKE CITY—A massive VA study revealed that 99% of veterans have at least one genetic mutation known to affect response to specific drugs, including some commonly prescribed... View Article


From the Editor in Chief

Year Supply of Contraceptives Prevents More Unintended Pregnancies

Birth Control Pill Change Could Save VA $2 Million Annually PITTSBURGH—What if there was a method to prevent nearly 600 unintended pregnancies and save the VA about $2 million a year in prenatal, birth and... View Article


Feds Investigate 11 Unexplained Deaths at West Virginia VAMC

CLARKSBURG, WV – Law enforcement officials announced recently that a criminal investigation has been launched to look into the unexplained deaths of as many as 11 patients at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center... View Article


VA Pathologist Indicted In Connection Veteran Deaths in Arkansas

Investigators Say Impaired Clinician Recorded Wrong Diagnoses FAYETTEVILLE, AR – A physician employed by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks here was indicted by a federal grand jury on a range of charges,... View Article

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Genetic Mutations Affecting Response to Drugs Are Common in Veterans

VA Debates Who Should Receive Pharmacogenetic Testing SALT LAKE CITY—A massive VA study revealed that 99% of veterans have at least one genetic mutation known to affect response to specific drugs, including some commonly prescribed... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Year Supply of Contraceptives Prevents More Unintended Pregnancies

Birth Control Pill Change Could Save VA $2 Million Annually PITTSBURGH—What if there was a method to prevent nearly 600 unintended pregnancies and save the VA about $2 million a year in prenatal, birth and... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Feds Investigate 11 Unexplained Deaths at West Virginia VAMC

CLARKSBURG, WV – Law enforcement officials announced recently that a criminal investigation has been launched to look into the unexplained deaths of as many as 11 patients at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Pathologist Indicted In Connection Veteran Deaths in Arkansas

Investigators Say Impaired Clinician Recorded Wrong Diagnoses FAYETTEVILLE, AR – A physician employed by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks here was indicted by a federal grand jury on a range of charges,... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

GAO: VA Still Lags in Ability to Track Veteran Wait Times for Care

WASHINGTON—Five years after scandal rocked the VA, the agency still does not have a reliable way of tracking patient wait times according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. In 2014, whistleblowers at the Phoenix... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Ensuring Community Providers Meet Veteran Suicide Prevention Standards

WASHINGTON—As leaders from across multiple federal agencies begin work on a roadmap to combat veteran suicide, they are searching for ways to turn existing efforts in towns, cities, counties and neighborhoods across the country into... View Article




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Manages Drug Costs Better than Medicare Part D

ST. LOUIS – Medicare Part D could save more than $14 billion annually if it paid the same prices for top medications as the VA, according to a new study. A research letter published earlier... View Article




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

House Passes Bill to Create Education/Employment Arm of VA

WASHINGTON,—Legislators have reintroduced plans to create a fourth administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs—one dedicated to overseeing veterans’ education, transition and employment benefits. Currently these operations fall under the Veterans Benefits Administration, with VBA... View Article





Clinical Topics

Respiratory

Trying to Determine What Leads to Tobacco Cessation in Vets

MINNEAPOLIS—Incidental pulmonary nodules are commonly found on routine chest imaging, but not enough is known about smoking behaviors among patients with IPNs or characteristics of patient-clinician communication that may contribute to these behaviors. A study... View Article

Respiratory

Benzodiazepines Prescribed Long-Term for COPD/PTSD

SEATTLE—Symptoms of insomnia and anxiety are common among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and that is especially the case among patients with comorbid mental health disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, according to a... View Article

Diabetes

Decompensated Diabetes More Common in Certain Racial, Age Groups

ATLANTA—Which diabetes patients are most likely to have decompensated diabetes, defined as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state? A study published in Cureus sought to determine that across age, gender and racial groups of hospitalized... View Article

Diabetes

Tight Glycemic Control Increases Fracture Risk in Veterans with Diabetes

DURHAM, NC — Diabetes mellitus among older men has been associated with increased bone mineral density but paradoxically increased fracture risk, according to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.1 The mechanisms... View Article

Diabetes

Metformin Reduces Dementia Risk in Black Veterans With T2D

ST. LOUIS—Use of metformin for Type 2 diabetes significantly reduces the risk of dementia among African American male veterans older than 50, according to a large observational cohort study. The study published in the Annals... View Article

Multiple Sclerosis

VA-led Study Finds U.S. MS Prevalence Is Double Previous Estimates

WASHINGTON—Researchers and policy makers estimated that 300,000 to 400,000 people in the U.S. had multiple sclerosis in 2010, but new data indicates that number grossly undercounted the number of people affected by the neurological disease.... View Article




Multiple Sclerosis

New Biomarker for MS Discovered; Could Replace MRI for Detection

BALTIMORE—A University of Maryland research team has discovered a biomarker that can determine whether a patients has multiple sclerosis or is relapsing, thanks to VA funding. Now two VA organizations focused on technology transfer are... View Article




Psoriatic Arthritis

New Guidelines Recommend TNFi Biologics as Initial Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

BIRMINGHAM, AL For the first time, new guidelines have recommended the use of tumor necrosis factor inhibitor biologics as initial therapy for psoriatic arthritis. While current Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic... View Article





Non-Clinical Topics

Personnel

Feds Investigate 11 Unexplained Deaths at West Virginia VAMC

CLARKSBURG, WV – Law enforcement officials announced recently that a criminal investigation has been launched to look into the unexplained deaths of as many as 11 patients at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center... View Article

Personnel

VA Pathologist Indicted In Connection Veteran Deaths in Arkansas

Investigators Say Impaired Clinician Recorded Wrong Diagnoses FAYETTEVILLE, AR – A physician employed by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks here was indicted by a federal grand jury on a range of charges,... View Article

Policy

GAO: VA Still Lags in Ability to Track Veteran Wait Times for Care

WASHINGTON—Five years after scandal rocked the VA, the agency still does not have a reliable way of tracking patient wait times according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. In 2014, whistleblowers at the Phoenix... View Article

Pharmacy

MHS Pharmacies Prescribed 6,200 Naloxone Kits Under New Directive

FALLS CHURCH, VA—In June 2018, Defense Health Agency Director Raquel Bono, MD, directed all MHS pharmacies to dispense the opioid reversal agent naloxone to eligible beneficiaries and those who request it without requiring a prescription.... View Article

Legislation

VA: Blue Water Veterans Must Wait Until 2020 for Claims to Be Processed

Vietnam Vets on Ships Won Fight for Presumptive Agent Orange Status WASHINGTON—Blue Water Navy veterans who want to file disability claims related to Agent Orange exposure will have to wait until next year to have... View Article

Whistleblowers Report Ongoing Harassment for Revealing VA Malfeasance

WASHINGTON—In 2014, Katherine Mitchell, MD, was one of a handful of employees at the Phoenix VAMC who blew the whistle on hospital leadership for keeping a separate, secret list of veterans seeking healthcare—a numerical sleight-of-hand... View Article




Pharmacy

Oral Cancer Therapies Create Critical Demand for Pharmacists

CHICAGO—The pace of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of oral anticancer medications has rapidly increased, from less than one a year at the turn of the century to 10 in 2018. While patients generally... View Article




Legislation

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




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