US Veterans

Veterans Helping Veterans, US Vets Infromation and Benefits,

Month: February 2018

Veteran Affairs Partners with Cohen US Veterans Network to Increase Access to Mental Health Resources


US Veterans Affairs Partners with Cohen Unites States Veterans Network to Increase Access to Mental Health Resources

February 27, 2018, 11:32:00 AM

Printable Version
[1]

USA — This day the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs (Veterans Affairs) and the Cohen US Vets Network, Inc., (CVN) announced a new partnership to increase Veterans’ access to mental health resources to reduce US Veterans suicides.

The partnership will allow VA and CVN to work together to advance and improve Veterans’ mental health and well-being and expand and promote community collaboration to increase Veterans’ access to mental health resources. 

“VA and CVN have a shared goal to improve Veterans’ health and access to mental health services to reduce Vet suicide,” said VA.Gov Secretary David J. Shulkin. “With 14 out of the 20 USA Veterans who take their own lives per day not engaging Veterans Affairs care, partnerships such as this help those Vet, as well as their families, receive care where they live.”

As part of the collaboration, VA and CVN will:

Work together on potential mental health education initiatives, consumer marketing and public health messaging

  • Discuss potential locations for Cohen Clinics in regions believed to have underserved Vets in need of mental health care services
  • Collaborate to share publicly eligible, VA-developed educational resources for health care providers, such as military culture training and suicide prevention training with CVN staff and clinic employees.

“This partnership will help us save lives by getting care to Vet faster and, therefore, preventing suicides,” said Dr. Anthony Hassan, president and CEO of CVN. “We are excited about partnering with Veterans Affairs and advancing the field through innovative clinician training initiatives and public messaging. This partnership adds another layer of depth and quality to our robust network of Cohen Military Family Clinics.”

For more information about Veterans Affairs mental health services, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov[3]. Information about the Cohen US Vets Network may be found at:  https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org[4].

Veteran in crisis or having thoughts of suicide — and those who know a US Veterans in crisis — should call the Veteran Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat[5], or text to 838255.

 

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Veterans: Here's how to Avoid Getting the Flu

Dr. giving patient an injection

Want to avoid the flu?

By Tom Cramer, VHA Digital Media

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Right now, the hospitalization rate for flu here in the United States is the highest on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A scary thought.

So what can you do to keep from getting sick? Dr. Jane Kim, VA’s Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine, has a few tips for Veterans who want to protect themselves from getting the flu.

Her first piece of advice?

“Get your flu shot!” she urged. “It is not too late.  Flu is still circulating around the country and will continue into spring.  The flu vaccine will protect you, especially from the strains that will be circulating later in the flu season

“Stay home when you’re sick, especially when you have a fever.”

“A flu shot will also help to ease your symptoms should you get the flu,” she added.

In addition to staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep, there’s another simple thing you can do to discourage a visit from the flu:

“Wash your hands!” Kim advised. “Touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a surefire way of introducing infectious organisms into your body.  So keeping your hands clean is your best defense.”

 

“Stay home when you’re sick, especially when you have a fever.”  

So what do you do if you’ve taken all these precautions but end up getting the flu anyway? 

Don’t Mess Around

“Cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home so you don’t spread the virus,” Kim said. “You also want to get to a doctor if you’re in a high-risk group.  You’re considered high risk if you’re over 65.  Women who are pregnant are at higher risk.  Also, people with an underlying health issue like HIV.”

      
Dr. Jane Kim

She continued: “If you’re in a high-risk group, seek medical care right away.  Your provider may prescribe an antiviral which will get you better faster and perhaps help you avoid serious complications.”

Kim said if you start feeling really, really bad, drop everything and seek medical care immediately.

“Don’t mess around,” she warned. “Sometime a secondary infection like pneumonia can jump on you while you have the flu, and that’s seriously bad news.  So get the medical attention you need.  Don’t procrastinate or try to tough it out.”

For more information about flu prevention, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/flu.

Vets Affairs Introduces New, Improved Modernized Leasing Program

US Vets Affairs Introduces New, Improved Modernized Leasing Program

February 26, 2018, 03:40:00 PM

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Government — Today the U.S. Dept. of US Vets Affairs (Washington VA.Gov) announced a  modernization of its leasing program[3] to better align the agency’s major lease procurements with other federal agencies and the private sector, with an emphasis on increased competition, cost savings and speed to market.

“VA is committed to identifying ways to streamline the leasing process, in order to deliver   medical facilities as expeditiously and cost effectively as possible,” said Vets Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. “The goal is for these changes to help ensure a quicker delivery of facilities for Veterans Affairs to provide health-care services to our nation’s Unites States Veterans.”

Vets Affairs will use a new set of bidding and contractual documents that simplifies and streamlines the lease-procurement process in order to encourage more competition and innovation from the market.

The bidding and contractual documents coincide with a move to the use of local codes and private sector healthcare facility best practices, in lieu of relying on standards unique to Veterans Affairs. Veterans Affairs will adopt the Interagency Security Committee[4] standards for physical security, which allow for a customized, risk-based security approach that is right for each facility, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. 

US Veterans Affairs anticipates that this new approach will allow for greater competition from existing buildings, and represent a process that affords private-sector developers the ability to innovate solutions at the most competitive pricing possible. 

VA.Gov remains committed to providing high-quality care and an improved patient experience to our nation’s Veteran. Vets Affairs invites offerors and interested parties to view its major lease procurements on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov[5].

 

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Source of information

  1. ^ Printable Version (www.va.gov)
  2. ^ link to viewer software Web site (www.va.gov)
  3. ^ leasing program (www.cfm.va.gov)
  4. ^ Interagency Security Committee (www.dhs.gov)
  5. ^ www.fbo.gov (vacofpcc.dva.va.gov)
  6. ^ Veterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs Distribution List (www.va.gov)
  7. ^ Return to VA News Releases Home Page (www.va.gov)

‘We want to connect with Veterans before they know they need us'

‘We want to connect with US Vets before they know they need us’

February 22, 2018, 03:40:00 PM

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   ‘We want to connect with Vets before they know they need us’: US Vets Affairs launches Concierge for Care program

Unites States — This day the U.S. Dept. of US Vets Affairs (Veteran Affairs) announced the launch of Concierge for Care, a health-care enrollment initiative that connects with former service members shortly after they separate from the service.

 “Our goal is to give transitioning service members one less thing to worry about,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin. “We know that more than a third[3] of US Vets who haven’t yet visited our facilities indicated they are not aware of Vets Affairs health care benefits, while a quarter reported they do not know how to apply.”

As part of Concierge for Care, Veterans Affairs staff members are personally contacting recently separated service members to answer questions, process their health-care enrollment applications over the wire and help schedule eligible Veterans’ first VA.Gov medical appointment, if needed.

Each week, Government VA receives a list of separating service members from the Dept. of Defense. The goal is to make contact with them within a month of discharge. 

Certain US Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations are eligible to enroll and receive cost-free health care for medical conditions related to their military service during the five-year period after discharge.

Information about Vets Affairs health care and the application process can be found at https://www.vets.gov/health-care/apply/[4].

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A Year in Review: Teamwork and Modernization at USA Veterans Affairs Office of Information and Technology

A Year in Review: Teamwork and Modernization at Vets Affairs Office of Information and Technology

February 21, 2018, 04:09:00 PM

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Unites States — This day the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Information and Technology (OIT) released its 2017 Year in Review[3] to celebrate the tremendous progress OIT has made in the past year toward creating a modern Vet Affairs and an enhanced Veteran experience. 

The Year in Review details OIT’s pivotal shift from its transformation efforts of 2016 into a new era of modernization aimed at streamlining Vet Affairs services and improving the Vets experience. 

“I know modernizing an agency of our size and geographic breadth is no easy task,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. “But it is not a task that is out of our reach. If we set bold goals and miss, we’ll make much more progress than we would by setting smaller goals and exceeding them.” 

The Year in Review includes information on IT initiatives, such as VA’s new White House hotline[4] and REACH Unites States Veterans[5] — initiatives designed to field requests for information and eliminate Vets suicide through early engagement of at-risk individuals; and Lighthouse, a new tool that will enable US Veterans to manage their own health experience holistically on a secure, streamlined and interoperable platform. 

Other modernization efforts detailed in the report, such as VA’s cybersecurity overhaul and improvement of the electronic health record offer a glimpse into the future of Washington Veterans health care and benefits delivery. 

The accomplishments detailed in OIT’s 2017 Year in Review represent a departure from methods used in the past and signal a bright, innovative future for the standard of care for the nation’s Vets. 

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VA.Gov Partners With DeepMind to Build Machine Learning Tools to Identify Health Risks for US Vets


Vets Affairs Partners With DeepMind to Build Machine Learning Tools to Identify Health Risks for USA Veterans

February 21, 2018, 04:01:00 PM

Printable Version
[1]

Washington — This day the Department of Vets Affairs (Veterans Affairs) announced that it has approved a medical research partnership with DeepMind to address the global issue of patient deterioration during hospital care, which accounts for 11 percent of in-hospital deaths around the world.

The partnership will focus on analyzing patterns from approximately 700,000 historical, de-personalized health records to develop machine learning algorithms that will accurately identify risk factors for patient deterioration and predict its onset. Initial work will be focused on identifying the most common signs of risk, like acute kidney injury, a problem that can lead to dialysis or death, but is preventable if detected early.

“Medicine is more than treating patients’ problems,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin. “Clinicians need to be able to identify risks to help prevent disease. This collaboration is an opportunity to advance the quality of care for our nation’s USA Veterans by predicting deterioration and applying interventions early.” 

Eventually, similar approaches will be applied to other signs of patient deterioration, leading to improved care for many more patients, with fewer people developing serious infections and conditions — ultimately saving lives.

“We are proud to partner with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs on this important challenge,” said Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind. “This project has great potential intelligently to detect and prevent deterioration before patients show serious signs of illness. Speed is vital when a patient is deteriorating: The sooner the right information reaches the right clinician, the sooner the patient can be given the right care.”

DeepMind is the globe leader in artificial intelligence research. It has already partnered with leading hospitals in the United Kingdom to apply its innovative machine-learning algorithms to research projects looking at eye disease, head and neck cancer, and mammography. 

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New Blood Culture ID System Improves Care for Veterans

Medical Technologist Dionne Hockett operates the new BioFire Blood Culture Identification system

Medical Technologist Dionne Hockett operates the new BioFire Blood Culture Identification system which allows doctors to detect harmful microorganisms in blood samples in just a few hours after blood cultures become positive.

By Chris Vadnais, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Public Affairs Officer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

US VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) doctors recently rolled out a new method to detect infectious agents in Veterans’ blood.

The newly-acquired BioFire Blood Culture Identification (BCID) system allows TVHS doctors to detect harmful microorganisms in blood samples in just a few hours after blood cultures become positive. The previous method could take three days.

“By detecting infectious agents more quickly and earlier in the course of infection, the patient can be given the correct antibiotics more quickly,” said Dr. Claudio Mosse, TVHS Chief of Pathology and Lab Service. “The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics should decrease also, as more targeted therapy is utilized once the target is identified,” he said.

Positive blood cultures are automatically sent to the new BioFire BCID system and tested for the 24 most common infectious agents found in the blood of septic patients. Because a positive blood culture could still contain a less-common microorganism — one the new system doesn’t detect — Dr. Mosse said all positive blood cultures are still processed through the older system as well.


Broad-spectrum antibiotics are associated with unintended side-effects. This new system will allow TVHS to reduce this risk through more targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is also likely to be more effective, meaning patients should be severely ill for less time.

“By getting on the correct antibiotics more quickly, patients should be able to get healthy more quickly and have less exposure to drugs that they don’t need,” said Dr. Mosse.

“Patients should be able to get healthy more quickly and have less exposure to drugs they don’t need.”

All this means TVHS can deliver a quicker, better response to a US Veterans suffering from a serious blood infection.

“The safety of our Vets is our primary goal,” said Erica Johnson-Lockett, TVHS Patient Safety Manager. “Targeting specific organisms and ensuring Vet receive the right antibiotics in a timely fashion is in line with the National Patient Safety Goal regarding medication safety.” She said. “The BioFire BCID system is a prime example of TVHS’s commitment to patient safety.”

The BioFire BCID system is in operation at TVHS’s Nashville facility.

TVHS is an integrated tertiary health care system comprised of two hospitals, the Alvin C. York Campus in Murfreesboro and the Nashville Campus, as well as more than a dozen community-based outpatient clinics located in Tennessee and Kentucky. TVHS provides ambulatory care, primary care, and secondary care in acute medicine and surgery, specialized tertiary care, transplant services, spinal cord injury outpatient care, and a full range of extended care and mental health services.

Unites States VA.Gov statement on new chief of staff

VA.Gov statement on new chief of staff

February 16, 2018, 06:27:00 PM

Printable Version
[1]

Statement by Vets Affairs Press Secretary Curt Cashour
New USA VA.Gov Chief of Staff

Effective immediately, VA.Gov Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Executive Director Peter O’Rourke will serve as VA’s permanent chief of staff, ensuring that the Dept. works closely with the White House going forward.

He will continue to serve as OAWP executive director until a successor is named.

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Unites States VA statement on departure of Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff

VA statement on departure of VA Chief of Staff

February 16, 2018, 03:53:00 PM

Printable Version
[1]

Statement by Vets Affairs Press Secretary Curt Cashour
Departure of VA Chief of Staff

Today Vets Affairs announced that the department’s Chief of Staff Vivieca Wright Simpson has elected to retire following the release of a VA Inspector General inquiry on Wednesday.

Vets Affairs also announced that it has opened a formal inquiry into her actions identified in the IG report.

President Trump has made clear that he expects Veteran Affairs leaders to hold themselves and other employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards taxpayers and Vet deserve.

Veterans Affairs will continue to review the IG report and its recommendations in more detail before determining possible additional personnel accountability actions.

Separately, Veterans Affairs announced that it has opened an inquiry into allegations of email hacking. To be clear, while VA.Gov is still currently investigating these hacking allegations, we have thus far found no credible or conclusive evidence of a compromise to our email system or a user’s account.

VA.Gov will announce a new chief of staff shortly.

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Statement on Veterans Affairs IG Report on Secretary Shulkin's Travel

Statement on Veterans Affairs IG Report on Secretary Shulkin’s Travel
February 14, 2018, 04:10:00 PM
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Statement by US VA Press Secretary Curt CashourVA Inspector General Report on SEC.GOV. Shulkin’s Travel
Accountability and transparency are important values at VA under President Trump, and we look forward to reviewing the report and its recommendations in more detail before determining an appropriate response. People wishing to receive e-mail from Washington VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to theVA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List[3].
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