99% of suicide hotline calls are now answered by specialists, VA says | DOD found lagging on implementing administrative spending efficiencies | Bill introduced to offer female veterans more VA services
A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general's office earlier this week said nearly 30% of calls to the Veterans Crisis Hotline are being routed to backup call centers, but VA officials say the report tracked calls through December and does not take into account improvements in the past three months. Aided by substantial improvements, including the opening of a new call center in Atlanta, 99% of calls are now answered by specialists trained in veteran's issues, VA officials said.
During a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday, the Defense Department said it did not try to suppress findings from a 2015 administrative waste report, but also said it has taken steps to realize only a small amount of projected savings. The report found that $125 billion could be saved by increasing efficiencies in areas including health care management, human resources, finance and property management, but most of the $7.9 billion savings projected so far are in savings from IT purchases and service contracts.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation to expand Department of Veterans Affairs services for female veterans. The bill would require VA facilities to have at least one women's health-care specialist on staff and have facilities retrofitted to offer more privacy for women patients, among other provisions.
White Coat Waste Project, an animal rights group, says the Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting taxpayer-funded medical experiments on dogs, including induced heart attacks, stomach ailment simulations and surgeries that damage the brain, at McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va., as well as other VA medical centers. The VA says all animal research is closely monitored, meets high standards, and has led to advances including the development of the nicotine patch, implantable cardiac pacemakers and electronic health records.
Tribes have reported significant improvements in access to care and health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but state and tribal leaders fear that progress will be reversed under the proposed Republican health plan. "We would not be able to continue to build the capacity that the Affordable Care Act was allowing us to do, which essentially took care of the underfunding of the health care system for Indians in the first place," Northern Cheyenne President Jace Killsback said.
A study in Chronic Wound Care Management and Research found that ultrasonic-assisted wound debridement was effective in reducing bacteria and changing bacterial biofilm building capacity in chronic wounds before skin grafting. Researchers recommended two to three sessions of UAW before grafting.
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