Advocates Square Off Against VA on Women’s Veterans Task Force’s Role

WASHINGTON—It’s been nearly six months since the House VA Committee launched its bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force, and the result is a legislative docket filled with bills geared toward ensuring VA has the resources it... View Article


From the Editor in Chief


Chester Buckenmaier III, MD COL (ret), MC, USA

VBA Improves Oversight of Outside Contractors But Some Gaps Remain

WASHINGTON—Nearly a year after a Government Accountability Office report revealed that the Veterans’ Benefit Administration had been unable to track the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of the outside contractors hired to conduct compensation and pension... View Article


Pharmacist Medication Management Helps Diabetic Veterans, Physicians

HINES, IL—Older age, obesity and Agent Orange exposure create a trifecta of diabetes risk for the VA. Nearly 25% of veterans have diabetes, making efficient and effective management of their care a top concern for... View Article


Service Factors Affecting Pain Reports in Gulf War Veterans

SAN DIEGO—Headaches and other type of pain are frequent complaints among veterans of Gulf War I (1990-91) and Post-Gulf War I (1992-2015), according to a new study. An article in SAGE Open Med sought to... View Article

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Departments

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Seeing Combat Can Make Aging More Difficult for Veterans

PORTLAND, OR—Being exposed to combat makes a significant difference in how military veterans fare during aging, according to a new study, which also found that the experience increases the risk for depression and anxiety later... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Top VISN 7 Officials Removed After Cancer Patient Attacked by Insects

Elderly AF Veteran Had More Than 100 Ant Bites Before Death ATLANTA—Nine VA employees, including the VISN 7 director and chief medical officer, have been reassigned following reports that an elderly patient at the Atlanta... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Women, Chronically Ill Veterans Value Veterans Choice Access Most

HINES, IL—Women and veterans with multiple comorbidities used and valued the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) more than other veterans, according to recent research by the VA.1 To help these veterans and others, the VA has... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

New Comprehensive VA/DoD Guideline Seeks to Stem Tide of Suicides

Servicemembers, Veterans Take Their Own Lives at Higher Rates WASHINGTON—In recent decades, suicide rates have soared in the United States, increasing 25% from 1999 to 2016. The issue has been especially acute among military servicemembers... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Facing Critical Healthcare Staffing Shortages in Near Future

Replacing Retirees Hampered by Lower Salaries WASHINGTON—Oversight agencies are sounding the alarm that VA is plagued with large staffing shortages in critical areas, including physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and physical therapists, as well... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Processes Similar in Schizophrenia, Psychotic Biopolar Disorder

NASHVILLE, TN—Processes leading to impairment in schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder might be more similar than previously assumed, according to a new study. The report in Schizophrenia Research pointed out that neuropsychological impairment is common... View Article




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Some Veterans Want Family Involved With Mental Health Treatment

LOS ANGELES—One of the most difficult issues in caring for adults with severe mental illness, including at the VA, is balancing privacy regulations with family members’ desire to be in the know. A study published... View Article




Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Military Risks for Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia

MIAMI—While a variety of risk factors have been evaluated in ocular surface squamous neoplasia, few studies have assessed risk factors specific to the armed forces veteran population. A report in the journal Eye and Vision... View Article





Clinical Topics

Diabetes

Pharmacist Medication Management Helps Diabetic Veterans, Physicians

HINES, IL—Older age, obesity and Agent Orange exposure create a trifecta of diabetes risk for the VA. Nearly 25% of veterans have diabetes, making efficient and effective management of their care a top concern for... View Article

Addiction

Menopausal Symptoms Increase Long-Term Opioid Use Risk

SAN FRANCISCO—Unrecognized by many in healthcare is that the greatest increases in long-term opioid use and opioid-related overdose mortality in recent years have been among women in midlife, according to a new study. The article... View Article

Oncology

Effective Metrics Help VA Exceed National Goal for Colorectal Cancer Screening

More Than 80% of Patients Meet Recommendations LOS ANGELES—More than four out of five veterans eligible for colorectal cancer screening have been screened, putting the largest healthcare system in the United States among the top... View Article

Oncology

More Options, Better Survival for Veterans With Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

ALBANY, NY—Pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest malignancies in the United States, but new therapies can extend life and improve quality of life for many patients. That is especially the case at the VA,... View Article

Cardiology

Cardiologist Visits Increase Statin Use at VA

HOUSTON—Statin use remains suboptimal in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to a VA study trying to find out why. Michael E. DeBakey VAMC researchers and colleagues assessed whether outpatient care with a cardiology provider... View Article

Cardiology

VA TAVR Results Comparable to Outside Care

RALEIGH, NC—How do veterans fare when they undergo transcatheter aortic valve replacement with the VA? That was the question asked by a study which sought to examine their association with short- and long-term mortality, length... View Article




Cardiology

Sacubitril/Valsartan Underused in VA Heart Failure Patients

LOS ANGELES—A preponderance of evidence supports the use of sacubitril/valsartan, the first angiotensin II receptor blocker-neprilysin inhibitor-for mortality reduction in patients with heart failure, but the medication remains underprescribed, according to new research.. The objective... View Article




Battlefield Medicine

Surgeon Recognized Need for Better Battlefield Care of Orthopedic Injuries

SAN DIEGO—During his first deployment as part of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Dana Covey, MD, noticed a gap between the injuries that were occurring on the battlefield and the ones that forward surgical teams... View Article





Non-Clinical Topics

Personnel

Advocates Square Off Against VA on Women’s Veterans Task Force’s Role

WASHINGTON—It’s been nearly six months since the House VA Committee launched its bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force, and the result is a legislative docket filled with bills geared toward ensuring VA has the resources it... View Article

Personnel

VBA Improves Oversight of Outside Contractors But Some Gaps Remain

WASHINGTON—Nearly a year after a Government Accountability Office report revealed that the Veterans’ Benefit Administration had been unable to track the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of the outside contractors hired to conduct compensation and pension... View Article

Personnel

Top VISN 7 Officials Removed After Cancer Patient Attacked by Insects

Elderly AF Veteran Had More Than 100 Ant Bites Before Death ATLANTA—Nine VA employees, including the VISN 7 director and chief medical officer, have been reassigned following reports that an elderly patient at the Atlanta... View Article

Personnel

VA Facing Critical Healthcare Staffing Shortages in Near Future

Replacing Retirees Hampered by Lower Salaries WASHINGTON—Oversight agencies are sounding the alarm that VA is plagued with large staffing shortages in critical areas, including physicians, registered nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and physical therapists, as well... View Article

Policy

VA Research: High-Dose Flu Vaccine Reduces Hospitalizations, Saves Money

But It’s Not Offered by the VA This Year WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, VT—The high-dose influenza vaccine is more effective and less expensive for the VA than the standard dose vaccine for veterans over age 65,... View Article

Policy

What Will Be Cost of VA’s Legacy EHR System During Changeover?

GAO Suggests VistA Will Be Around for Next Decade WASHINGTON—As VA moves forward with the comprehensive overhaul of its electronic health records system, the department will still need to keep its legacy EHR system functioning... View Article




Policy

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




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




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