IOM report could settle conflicting opinions about Agent Orange exposure on C-123s | Defense leader urges military hospitals to boost care quality, patient safety | Wide disparities exist in military health care system, report indicates
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October 8, 2014
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IOM report could settle conflicting opinions about Agent Orange exposure on C-123s
Some post-Vietnam War service members who worked on C-123 aircraft attribute their diabetes, cancer and other illnesses to Agent Orange exposure because those planes were used to spray the herbicide during the war, but they have struggled to get their disability claims paid. Department of Veterans Affairs officials say any exposure would have been to a solidified form of the herbicide and would have been too minimal to cause health problems, but an HHS agency said the veterans' exposure could cause illnesses. Last year, one C-123 veteran was able to get his prostate cancer officially linked to Agent Orange exposure, but claims are being considered individually. A forthcoming Institute of Medicine report on the matter could decide the issue. National Journal (10/7)
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Military Health System
Defense leader urges military hospitals to boost care quality, patient safety
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed military health facilities to boost treatment quality, patient safety and access to care. Hagel's orders follow a review of the military's health care system that found shortcomings at almost all military hospitals. American Nurses Association President Pamela Cipriano, one of the experts who contributed to the review, said hospital underperformance will continue "until rank and file internalize their roles in promoting safety and preventing harm." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (10/2)
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Wide disparities exist in military health care system, report indicates
The military's health care system is overall on par with that of the private sector, but it's also plagued by a number of underperforming facilities, according to a review ordered in May by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Military patients have limited means for identifying the facilities that deliver inadequate care, the report notes. Air Force Times (free registration) (10/1)
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Veterans Health Administration
VA working to remove chiefs of 3 VA health facilities for long wait times
The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to remove four top executives linked to allegations of misconduct, and three are linked to facilities involved in the wait-list scandal. The agency is working to remove the director of the Central Alabama VA health care system and the chiefs of the VA medical centers in Dublin, Ga., and Pittsburgh. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (10/6)
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National Health Care
CDC awards $11.3M for Native American, Alaska Native health initiatives
Twenty-two grants from the CDC totaling $11.3 million will go toward reducing the incidence of chronic disease and promoting health and wellness among Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Other CDC grants will indirectly support tribal health initiatives. Indian Country Today (10/5)
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Health and Medical Research
USPSTF recommends wider diabetes screening
Draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force call for diabetes and blood glucose screening for people 45 and older and younger adults with risk factors. The guidelines, updated from 2008, are similar to those made by other medical groups and include recommendations for diet and exercise interventions for at-risk patients. Medscape (free registration) (10/6)
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