Federal workers union opposes VA's Vets CARE proposal | Obesity affects military recruitment, readiness | Shortage of anesthesiologists delays surgeries at Denver VA hospital
October 18, 2017
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Federal workers union opposes VA's Vets CARE proposal
The VA's proposed Vets CARE program would hurt services for veterans, say officials with the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation's largest union of federal workers. Vets CARE would replace the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans waiting a long time for appointments at VA facilities to seek treatment with private physicians.
Federal Times (10/17) 
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Military Health System
Obesity affects military recruitment, readiness
Obesity among youths across the US is hurting military recruitment, a study finds. Recruiters are having trouble finding potential enlistees who meet weight requirements, so they're relying on enlistment bonuses to attract candidates who are more fit.
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (10/16) 
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Veterans Health Administration
Shortage of anesthesiologists delays surgeries at Denver VA hospital
The eight anesthesiologists and eight nurse anesthetists at the Denver VA Medical Center cannot meet the demand for surgery, forcing hospital administrators to delay some nonemergent procedures, says spokeswoman Kristen Schabert. The average waiting time at the Denver VA hospital was 18.6 days for new-patient surgeries and 8.3 days for established-patient surgeries in the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, compared with a national average of 22.7 days and 5.8 days, respectively, according to the VA.
The Denver Post (10/13),  KDVR-TV (Denver) (10/11) 
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National Health Care
Aftermath of Hurricane Maria puts health at risk in Puerto Rico
The population's health is at risk in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria due in part to the island's severely damaged public health system, with hospitals running on generators, staff unable to get to workplaces, and a lack of treatment for patients with diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis and other illnesses. Meanwhile, the USS Comfort sits just offshore, largely empty due to a lack of understanding among local health care providers about how to get patients transferred to the ship for care.
MD Magazine online (10/15),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (10/13),  CNN (10/17) 
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Health and Medical Research
Education program cut inappropriate catheterization referrals
Primary care physicians at a rural tertiary medical center stopped making inappropriate referrals for cardiac catheterization after a training and screening program was implemented. Appropriate use guidelines were disseminated to physicians and specialists and posted in catheterization labs, advanced practitioners reviewed scheduled cases for appropriateness, and appropriateness was reconfirmed on the day of the procedure.
MedPage Today (free registration) (10/17) 
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Study: Troops with PTSD more likely to open up to virtual interviewers
Computer-generated interviewers may be more successful at getting service members and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to open up about their struggles, researchers reported in Frontiers in Robotics and AI. Researchers who tested the technology said the anonymity provided by a virtual interviewer helped participants feel safer about divulging their mental health symptoms.
Reuters (10/12),  MobiHealthNews (10/12) 
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New editor-in-chief of Military Medicine
AMSUS is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Rothwell, Ph.D., as editor-in-chief of Military Medicine. Dr. Rothwell has served the Journal admirably as an associate editor and more recently as an editor and is well-qualified to assume his new leadership role on Jan. 1. Read more on the journal website.
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AMSUS Annual Meeting -- something for everyone
Don't miss the upcoming AMSUS Annual Meeting with plenaries, pre-conference, breakout and poster sessions, networking, exhibits, an awards dinner and more. There is something for everyone. The event runs Nov. 28-Dec. 1, with pre-con on Nov. 27 at National Harbor, Md. Visit the website to register, book housing and learn more about attendee and exhibitor opportunities.
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