Most Clicked AMSUS SmartBrief Stories

1. Early brain aging seen in troops exposed to bomb blasts

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 03, 2015

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were near roadside bomb explosions have shown signs of early brain aging, according to a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many veterans in the study never felt concussion symptoms, but scans showed brain degeneration. USA Today (06/01)

2. Pentagon rejects commission recommendations for reforming military health system

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 17, 2015

The Defense Health Agency is reforming the military health system, and recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission would impede medical readiness and increase costs, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson said in a formal response to the commission's suggestions. The Defense Department is streamlining leadership, improving medical competence, increasing partnerships and overhauling Tricare, among other efforts, Woodson said. Military Times (06/11)

3. VA officials set to meet with legislators over $2.7 billion funding shortfall

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 24, 2015

Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will face lawmakers Thursday with the news that the department's health care funding has fallen $2.7 billion short. “We have been pushing to accelerate access to care for veterans, but where we now find ourselves is that if we don’t do something different we’re going to be $2.7 billion short," Gibson said in an interview last week. House Armed Services Committee Chair Jeff Miller, R-Fla., was surprised by the deficit, saying that VA Secretary Bob McDonald had not mentioned such a big budget gap in previous testimony. Stars and Stripes (tiered subscription model) (06/23)

4. Senate OKs amendment to push DOD, VA to integrate EHRs

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 10, 2015

An amendment proposed by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., that would push the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to integrate their EHR platforms was unanimously approved by the Senate. The measure, which was attached to the 2016 national defense authorization bill, gives the agencies a year to present a progress report to Congress. Las Vegas Review-Journal (06/09)

5. VA reports 738 health data breaches in April

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 10, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs reported 738 data breaches in April. A majority of them involved protected health information, and 987 veterans were affected, including 300 at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System in the month's single largest incident. The overall number of data breaches jumped 158% for the month. Health Data Management (06/04)

6. Tricare spending on compounded drugs drops 74% in one month

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 24, 2015

The Defense Health Agency spent $4 million in May on compounded drugs, down from nearly $1 billion spent in the first quarter of this year, driven by enforcement of a policy that requires all ingredients in compounded drugs to be FDA approved. Express Scripts, which handles prescription drug benefits for Tricare, has begun scrutinizing claims for compounded drugs. The Defense Department is investigating beneficiary complaints that they have been unable to obtain needed medicines since the added scrutiny began, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Benjamin Sakrisson said. Military Times (06/18)

7. VA's procurement process needs work, official says

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 03, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs has spent billions of dollars each year to provide care through civilian hospitals and clinics that are not under contract with the VA, officials told a House committee. United Press International (06/02)

8. Hospital in Beirut emerges as leader in conflict medicine

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jul 01, 2015

The staff at American University of Beirut Medical Center is using advanced technology, such as 3D printing and autologous stem-cell grafting, to treat victims of bomb blasts. Multidisciplinary teams recruited from some of the world's best medical facilities are treating the war-wounded and developing and testing remote collaboration tools. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (06/28)

9. VA suggests shifting funds to pay for Denver hospital

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 10, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs suggested that Congress either implement spending cuts of 0.89% or delay work on other construction and maintenance projects to come up with the $625 million needed to finish construction of a VA hospital in suburban Denver. Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (06/06)

10. VA investigates prostheses purchases

AMSUS SmartBrief | Jun 17, 2015

Department of Veterans Affairs acting Inspector General Richard Griffin is investigating purchases of prosthetic arms and legs in the VA system. The Bronx VA medical center purchased more than $54 million worth of prostheses, using government purchase cards at least 2,000 times and spending $24,999 each time. Purchases of $25,000 or more must be under properly awarded contracts. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (06/16)

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