The Department of Veterans Affairs health care system continues to be a "high risk" threat to the federal budget and veterans' access to care remains a problem, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Demand for care will continue to rise while problems with unclear policies and insufficient oversight persist, the report says.
The US needs to do more to help veterans who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in response to the airport shooting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A former National Guard member who reportedly suffered mental health problems was arrested in the attack.
A report published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that rates of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus decreased 37% at Veterans Affairs hospital intensive care units from 2007 to 2015, while rates outside ICUs dropped by about 30%. Researchers also note an 80% decline in overall health care-acquired infections at VA hospitals and an almost 50% decline in rates at the VA's long-term care facilities from 2009 to 2015.
The Indian Health Service is looking for someone to run quality improvement programs at agency facilities in the wake of a Government Accountability Office investigation that found some IHS facilities submitted quality reports that were limited and inconsistent, did not report many adverse events and experienced significant leadership turnover. The IHS recently hired quality improvement organization HealthInsight to help improve leadership, staff development, data acquisition and analytics, clinical standards and quality of care.
Scientists in the Biological Technologies Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are developing living foundries -- programmable microbes that produce drugs and other compounds -- nucleic acid approaches to immunization and brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, among other projects, says director Justin Sanchez. "I think we are really hitting our stride now, and I think the kind of things and developments we will see in 2017 will really blow our minds," Sanchez said.
An efficient way to produce artificial spider silk that could be used to stitch wounds has been developed, according to findings published in Nature Chemical Biology. Researchers say the synthetic silk wouldn't be harmful for humans since it's produced without using harsh chemicals.
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