2015 Issues

August 2015

Contracted Program for Timely VA Healthcare Also Plagued by Delays

A program designed to provide timely healthcare to veterans outside of VA is itself hampered by delays in care, according to a new report from the VA Office of Inspector General.

August 2015

Faced with Shortfall, VA Gets Flexibility to Pay for HCV, Outside Care

After VA officials warned that hospital shutdowns or staff furloughs might be necessary without more budgetary flexibility, lawmakers rushed through legislation to ensure that would not occur.

August 2015

VA/DoD Recommend More Moderate Approach to Treating High Cholesterol

New Guidelines Significantly Different from AHA/ACC Document

August 2015

Bills Propose More Leeway to Discipline VA Staff

Healthcare Employees Targeted in Some VersionsBy Sandra BasuWASHINGTON — A bill recently passed by the House of Representatives would make it easier for VA to demote or fire employees beyond the senior executive service (SES)... View Article

August 2015

Caution Urged in Prescribing Benzodiazepines to Veterans Using Opioids

Researchers are urging VA clinicians to be cautious about prescribing benzodiazepines to veterans already taking opioid painkillers. That’s in light of a new study, published online recently by the British Medical Journal, finding that nearly half of all veterans who died from drug overdoses while on opioids were also receiving higher doses of benzodiazepines, often used for anxiety, insomnia or alcohol withdrawal.

August 2015

Study: Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Test Would Be Feasible

LOS ANGELES — A new study provides the first evidence that a simple blood test could be developed to confirm the presence of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, which could help in early diagnosis... View Article

August 2015

Treatment Tested to Break TBI-Alzheimer’s Link

FRANKFORT, KY — The cascade of events following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) appears to increase the risk for developing a progressive degenerative brain disease, and researchers now are testing a treatment that might interrupt... View Article

August 2015

Prescribing of AEDs to New Veterans Deemed ‘Rational’

SAN ANTONIO — VA clinicians got a positive review for their prescribing of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in a cohort of Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans.“The patterns observed between AEDs and neurological/psychiatric comorbidities suggest that clinicians are practicing... View Article

August 2015

VA Expands Initiatives to Prevent Multi-Drug Resistant Organism Infection

The VA’s methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention initiative reduced healthcare-associated MRSA infections 69% in VA acute care facilities and 81% in spinal cord injury units in five years. The VA hopes to see similar success in preventing infections with Clostridium difficile (CDI) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) — and the MRSA bundle itself may help them do that.

August 2015

Air Force Recruits Show Reduced Levels of Immunity to Common Diseases

Lower immunization rates have increased the number of U.S. outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, even of those considered eradicated in this country, such as measles.

August 2015

Intestinal Bacterial Difference Could Affect Diabetes Risk

SAN DIEGO — Fewer beneficial and more harmful intestinal bacteria appear to exist in African-American men at elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to a veterans’ study.The research was presented at the ENDO... View Article

August 2015

Why TZDs Used to Treat Diabetes Also Increase Hunger

AUGUSTA, GA — Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) appear to activate sensors in brain cells diabetes patients, increasing hunger and causing users to gain more body fat, according to a new study.The animal study, published recently in the... View Article

August 2015

Statins Increase Diabetes Risk 87% in TRICARE Study

Statins Increase Diabetes Risk 87% in TRICARE StudyDALLAS — Even for generally healthy patients, statins substantially increase the risk of developing diabetes.That’s according to a new database study of nearly 26,000 beneficiaries of the Military... View Article

August 2015

New DHA Screening Process Brings Drug Compounding Costs to 2% of April Levels

DHA Pharmacy Chief Says “Nefarious Actors” Targeted BeneficiariesBy Annette M. BoyleWASHINGTON — In April, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) spent $18 million a day in compound drug claims. By July, the daily costs had dropped... View Article

August 2015

Focus on Protecting Troops Against IEDs Continues After Conflicts End

With blast-induced traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) the signature injury of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, research and intense military focus on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have continued even as the military engagements have wound down.

August 2015

Honored Navy Pharmacy Leader Seeks to Improve Patient Experiences

By Steve LewisBREMERTON, WA — From the time he was named to head the pharmacy at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) 18 months ago, Lt. Cmdr. Eric Parsons’ primary goal has been to enhance the patient... View Article

August 2015

Life’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid

A friend and colleague recently used John Wayne’s quote after bringing a recent malpractice suit to my attention. The case involved an anesthesiologist, gastroenterologist and a medical assistant in Vienna, VA, who were involved in the care of a patient presenting for a screening colonoscopy.

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