VA reports drop in number of veterans affected by PHI data breaches | Analysis reveals hazardous substances in air, soil at Guantanamo compound | Wait times still long for those seeking VA care, GAO says
The number of veterans affected by potential protected health information data breaches dropped 41% and the number of veterans affected by all reported data security incidents dropped 36% in March, a Department of Veterans Affairs report states. However, total reported incidents rose from 434 in February to 462 in March. Incidents included lost personal identity verification cards and lost and stolen devices.
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Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker issued an order forbidding his staff to sleep at the Camp Justice compound at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, after air and soil samples showed the presence of hazardous substances, including mercury, formaldehyde, arsenic, bromodichloromethane and chloroform. Personnel are still allowed to work at the compound.
Population health starts outside of hospitals. Social, environmental, and behavioral factors determine about 60% of a person's health status. To address these social factors, healthcare programs must integrate a community's non-medical data with clinical insights to yield positive results.
New enrollees in the Veterans Affairs Department's health care program still wait a long time for appointments, and the VA understates that wait, says a report from the Government Accountability Office. The report says the VA starts the wait count from the time enrollees set specific appointments rather than from when the enrollees first ask the VA to contact them to set appointments.
Legislation by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would lift a long-standing Veterans Affairs Department ban on funding reproductive treatments for wounded veterans. The bill would give the VA $88 million to pay for such treatments. "The amendment I am offering today fulfills the promise to those military families we are asking to sacrifice and serve, and gives them real peace of mind by ensuring that we cover these services in the event of these tragic injuries," Murray said.
Members of the Public Health Service say they are entitled to the same rights as unionized civilian staffers at the federal Bureau of Prisons' medical facilities in a complaint before the Federal Labor Relations Authority. If the dispute is not resolved, PHS members are likely to seek positions outside prison medical facilities, exacerbating existing staffing problems, officials say.
A study of more than 4,000 Veterans Affairs patients who underwent carotid artery surgery found that about 5% of carotid screenings were clearly appropriate, while the reasons for scanning were uncertain in 83% of cases, and 11% of patients were screened for inappropriate reasons. US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations call for screening only adults who have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke, and some experts say medication is often more appropriate than surgery when scans do find a problem. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
With the end of this year's campaign on the horizon, we thought we'd "throw down a challenge!" The MGM program is a way for members to help promote the many benefits of AMSUS membership, such as inter-service networking opportunities, to prospective members. For the challenge, we are adding two bonus incentives: a limited-edition 125 Years commemorative coin after referring two new members, or a $150 gift card to those who refer five new members before May 31! Make sure your referral includes your name on the membership application. Also, don't forget to pre-order your 125 Years T-shirt by mid-May and purchase the limited-edition 125 Years coin and pin.
Online Reporting of Military Sexual Trauma and other journal articles are free to AMSUS members and subscribers who have registered and subscribed to access more than 100 issues of Military Medicine journals online. Read through AMSUS' monthly peer-reviewed journal, with articles including scientific papers, case reports and editorials, FREE for seven days. The journal promotes awareness of federal medicine by providing a forum for responsible discussion of common ideas and problems relevant to federal health care. Subscription rates and membership eligibility are available on the AMSUS website.