From The VA
“Where can you find the highest quality health care in the U.S. ? There isn’t one single answer, but believe it or not, many studies and independent experts point to the Veterans Health Administration as among the best.” So begins a June 2, 2010, article on MarketWatch, the Dow Jones online daily financial news report. The article quotes Elizabeth McGlynn, associate director of Rand Health, a division of the Rand Corp., in Santa Monica , Calif. , who co-authored a comparative study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2004 that found the VA outperformed its community health-care counterparts by 20 percentage points in preventive care. It also performed significantly better on chronic disease care and in overall quality. “You’re much better off in the VA than in a lot of the rest of the U.S. health-care system,” she said. “You’ve got a fighting chance there’s going to be some organized, thoughtful, evidence-based response to dealing effectively with the health problem that somebody brings to them.” The article cites similar reports from other health care experts who focus on VA’s team practice concept, electronic patient records systems, mail-out pharmacy program and quality-improvement initiatives. It also covers challenges VA faces in meeting the needs of a new generation of combat Veterans. Read the article here.
Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News
- Military Still Failing To Diagnose, Treat Brain Injuries The military medical system is failing to diagnose brain injuries in troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom receive little or no treatment for lingering health problems, an investigation by NPR and ProPublica has found. So-called mild traumatic brain injury has been called one of the wars’ signature wounds. Shock waves from roadside bombs can ripple through soldiers’ brains, causing damage that sometimes leaves no visible scars but may cause lasting mental and physical harm.
- VA Health Care System Rated Highly in Government Report A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the Veterans Administration (VA) does a much better job controlling health care costs than the private sector delivery system which is used by Medicare and all private sector insurance plans. The CBO estimates that the VA’s health care cost per enrollee grew by only 1.7 % from 1999 to 2005, which amounts to 0.3% annually. Medicare’s costs grew 29.4 % per capita over that same period, or 4.4 % per year. In the private sector insurance market (employer and individual plans) premiums increased by more than 70% during this period.
- VA Announces Industry Innovation Competition Washington – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced today the opening of the Industry Innovation Competition by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the most recent effort under the VA Innovation Initiative. With this competition, VA seeks the best ideas from the private sector to address the department’s most important challenges. “At VA, we are continually looking for new ways to improve the care and services we deliver,” said Secretary Shinseki. “Engaging the private sector to tap its expertise and find ways to leverage private-sector innovations, we can improve the quality, access and transparency in service to our Nation’s Veterans.”
- Post-Combat Stress Disrupting Daily Lives of Returning Vets Up to 14 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression that is severe enough to disrupt their daily lives, new research shows. Overall, between 8.5 percent and 14 percent of soldiers reported mental health issues that caused difficulties in work or private life, said Major Jeffrey L. Thomas, chief of the department of military psychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and lead author of a report in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder associated with dementia among older veterans Older veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appear more likely to develop dementia over a seven-year period than those without PTSD, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. PTSD is a common psychiatric symptom and often occurs in veterans returning from combat, according to background information in the article.
- St. Joe’s secures $200,000: Veterans applaud Lorain council as city approves loan Lorain, Ohio – The St. Joseph Community Center will stay open at least until July 31 as Lorain city officials assemble a deal to transfer the facility to a private owner. City Council last night voted 11-0 to lend $200,000 in city money that will keep the center open. The St. Joe’s center is home to Lorain County Community College and a Veterans Administration clinic.
- Heroes Without Homes SIioux Falls, South Dakota – They’ve worn the uniform and served their country, but now veterans are finding themselves fighting another battle: homelessness. The VA estimates there are tens of thousands of homeless veterans in this country, including in South Dakota. He served nine years in the United States Air Force and made his way up the ranks.
- Seven agencies to test expanded collective bargaining Seven agencies, including the Homeland Security, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, are expected to start testing collective bargaining over so-called permissive subjects by November. The 18-month pilot programs will also be held at the Labor and Treasury departments, the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration.
- New veterans clinic opens in Guntersville Grand opening was held Monday for the Guntersville Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic. U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, spoke at the opening ceremonies and cut the ribbon for the facility, which will serve Marshall and surrounding counties. “Marshall County and the surrounding counties have a large number of war veterans who, up until today, have had to travel to Huntsville, Gadsden or even Birmingham to receive care,” Aderholt said.
- ESN gets $11M to help VA keep records private Arlington-based Engineering Services Network Inc. has won a contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs worth as much as $10.9 million to help the VA move medical records from old systems to a new one. The contract includes $7.9 million for the first year, with options worth an additional $3 million.
Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter
Currently retired and a former member of Veterans Today staff as writer/editor, I've seen it all. I'm getting old. Somebody get me a glass of water.
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