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March 20, 2013
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News for Federal Health Professionals

  Top Story 
  • VA pilots clinical evidence program to reduce claims backlog
    The Department of Veterans Affairs hopes its new Acceptable Clinical Evidence program will help it reach the goal of eliminating the current disability claims backlog and decrease the amount of time for future processing. The ACE program allows for speedier processing by eliminating the need for some veterans to travel to VA facilities for assessments, relying instead on information already in the individual's medical records, supplemented by a telephone interview. A pilot run for the program found that 38% of the claims submitted could be processed using ACE. Stars and Stripes/The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) (3/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Military Health System 
  • Neurosurgeon team adapts procedure to treat combat head traumas
    Decompressive craniectomy has emerged as a common approach to treating serious head injuries, thanks to a military neurosurgeon team known as Team Skull Cracker. The doctors use the procedure to treat brain swelling that threatens to paralyze or kill an injured individual. Head trauma has emerged as one of the prominent combat injuries in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, forcing a battlefield adaptation of the procedure, traditionally used to treat stroke patients. Stars and Stripes (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study shows PTSD treatment for vets may not follow guidelines
    Veterans Health Administration clinicians treating veterans with PTSD often prescribed medications not included in evidence-based guidelines, a trend that was more pronounced among mental health versus primary care clinicians, according to a study in the journal Psychiatric Services. Dr. Jeffrey Sonis of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a family physician, said he was concerned about the methodology because the study looked at the proportion of prescriptions, not the prescribing frequency. AAFP News Now (3/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Veterans Health Administration 
  • VA defends disability claims system
    The Department of Veterans Affairs has embarked on a campaign to demonstrate progress in tackling its troubled disability claims system, noting the agency has processed more than 4 million claims in four years. The VA has increased the number of claims by changing rules on PTSD diagnoses, adding nine qualifying presumptive diseases for Gulf War veterans, expanding benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and launching an outreach program to help veterans apply for benefits. NextGov/What's Brewin' blog (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Health and Medical Research 
  • Many A-fib patients undertreated, study finds
    A study of 10,061 atrial fibrillation patients treated in 2010 and 2011 found that 68% received drugs to help regulate heart rates and 32% were given treatments designed to control heart rhythms. Data also showed that 1 in 4 patients were not given anticoagulants to reduce their long-term stroke risk. "Many patients out there that aren't treated probably should be treated," the study's lead researcher said. Reuters (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Analysis rejects link between hormone therapy and breast cancer
    The association between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer is not strong enough to confirm that HRT causes breast cancer, researchers in South Africa say. The research team re-examined data from three large studies that linked hormone therapy after menopause to higher risk of breast cancer and compared changes in breast cancer rates with changes in HRT use. The fluctuations in breast cancer rates did not correspond to changes in HRT use, the researchers report in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. HealthDay News (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  AMSUS News 
  • Submit your abstract for the AMSUS Continuing Education Meeting
    Reach an audience of over 2,500 federal and international health care professionals at the 118th AMSUS Annual Continuing Education Meeting, being held in Seattle Nov. 3-8.
    • Vision: To provide an educational venue bringing together professionals representing the full spectrum of military and federal health care professionals.
    • Focus: Sessions will focus on collaborations, partnerships and joint efforts where federal medicine is — or will be — the lead in providing the best health care outcomes.
    • Objectives: Enhance multi-specialty care across all federal health care settings; assess advances in the delivery of health care services; present innovative models of care management; improve practice skills of clinicians, surgeons, researchers and administrators; and present data on new developments in assessment and treatment.
    The deadline for abstract submissions is May 1. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Annual Continuing Education Meeting

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--Aristotle,
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