Wednesday, January 11, 2017

President Trump taps David Shulkin to Department of Veterans Affairs.

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his choice of David Shulkin to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shulkin is the current undersecretary for health at the VA and has been in that post since July 2015.
During his tenure, Shulkin told USA TODAY recently that he had cut the number of veterans waiting for urgent care from 57,000 to 600. At the same time, he spearheaded an effort to provide same-day care at all 167 VA medical centers across the country by the end of last year. It’s unclear whether he reached that goal.
Shulkin is a physician who previously ran hospitals in New Jersey and New York and was named among the 100 most influential people in American health care by Modem Healthcare.
Trump promised during the presidential campaign to overhaul the VA so that veterans wouldn’t have to wait for care and could choose to get care outside the VA if they wanted. Currently, they can do that if they can’t get a VA appointment within 30 days or within 40 miles of their homes.
Shulkin has said in interviews that he favors a hybrid model, where the VA provides care that it specializes in, such as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and loss of limbs, for example. And he said the VA should consider discontinuing other services that the private sector may better provide, such as obstetrics and gynecology.
Shulkin is blunt about the challenges facing the VA. He has said the agency has had trouble attracting talent from outside the agency, at one point, saying simply, "I need help."
Trump made the announcement about Shulkin during Wednesday's long-awaited news conference.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Fairness for Veterans Act Signed Into Law




WASHINGTON -- With President Barack Obama's signature of the annual defense policy Friday, the Fairness for Veterans provision becomes law.
The Fairness for Veterans Act was featured in the TEGNA investigative docu-series, Charlie Foxtrot. The bill requires military discharge review boards to consider post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
More than 12,000 people signed a petition calling for Congress to pass the provision after watching the series. The provision was included in the National Defense Authorization Act.
Earlier this month, Charlie Foxtrot was shown on Capitol Hill as part of a discussion with participants of the docu-series, as well as several bills aimed at safeguarding veterans' mental health.
As a result of the passage of this bill, the military will now be required to consider mental health conditions for troops who receive less than honorable discharges.  If a service member does something the military considers undesirable, their mental health will now factor in to any discharge review. Now, thousands of veterans will now be eligible for at status upgrade and VA medical care.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

VA Study Confirms High Cure Rates Of Hepatitis C


Image result for hep c drugs

VA Study Confirms High Cure Rates With New Hepatitis C Drugs

Virus undetectable in high percentage of patients after treatment.

WASHINGTON – A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database study shows that new drug regimens for hepatitis C have resulted in “remarkably high” cure rates among patients in VA's national health care system.
Of the more than 17,000 Veterans in the study, all chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus at baseline, 75 percent to 93 percent had no detectable levels of the disease in their blood for 12 or more weeks after the end of treatment. The therapy regimens lasted 8 to 24 weeks, depending on patient characteristics.
“This promising news comes as VA is dedicating significant funds to help greater numbers of patients with hepatitis C,” said David Shulkin VA Under Secretary for Health. “In March, we announced our ability to fund care for all Veterans with hepatitis C for fiscal year 2016 regardless of the stage of the patient’s liver disease. VA has long led the country in screening for and treating hepatitis C. As of mid-September 2016 alone, the Department treated more than 100,000 Veterans infected with the virus. More than 68,000 of these patients had been treated with these new highly effective antivirals.”
The VA researchers analyzed data from four subgroups of patients infected with hepatitis C—genotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4—and found that genotype 1 patients showed the highest cure rates and genotype 3 the lowest. Genotype 1 was by far the most common type of infection among the four subgroups.
The study group of more than 17,000 Veterans included more than 11,000 patients with confirmed or likely cirrhosis, a liver disease that can result from hepatitis C, among other causes. The study team found "surprisingly high" response rates of around 87 percent in this group.
The overall results were consistent with those from earlier clinical trials that led to FDA approval of the three new drug regimens in the study: sofosbuvir (SOF), ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF) and paritaprevir/ ritonavir/ ombitasvir and dasabuvir (PrOD).
The drugs, introduced in 2013 and 2014, have been credited with revolutionizing hepatitis C treatment, which means a cure is now in reach for the vast majority of patients infected with the virus. Previously, using earlier drug regimens, most patients could expect, at best, only a 50 percent chance of a cure.
"Our results demonstrate that LDV/SOF, PrOD and SOF regimens can achieve remarkably high SVR [sustained virologic response] rates in real-world clinical practice," VA researchers wrote.
The new drug regimens examined in the study do not contain interferon, which has troublesome side effects such as fever, fatigue, and low blood counts. The newer drugs are considered far more tolerable than the older interferon-based antiviral regimens, although they are far more expensive.
The researchers extracted anonymous data on all patients in VA care who received HCV antiviral treatments between January 2014 and June 2015 using the VA Corporate Data Warehouse, a national, continually updated repository of data from VA's computerized patient records.
The study's optimistic finding is a source of optimism for Veterans and others infected with the hepatitis C virus, according to coauthors Dr. Lauren Beste and Dr. George Ioannou, specialists in internal medicine and hepatology, respectively, with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle.
According to the researchers, modern, direct-acting antiviral drugs for hepatitis C far outperform our older options in terms of efficacy and tolerability. With older drugs, most patients could not undergo antiviral treatment because they had contraindications or medication side effects. With newer options, almost anyone can safely undergo treatment for hepatitis C.
VA research continues to expand knowledge of the disease through scientific studies focused on effective care, screening, and health care delivery. Some studies look at particular groups of hepatitis C patients—for example, female Veterans, or those with complicated medical conditions in addition to hepatitis C.
For more information on VA care for hepatitis C, visit www.hepatitis.va.gov and www.hepatitis.va.gov/patient/hcv/index.asp. Information about the database study may be found in the September 2016 issue of the journal Gastroenterology.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Veterans Voice Teams Up With Grants Pass, Eugene and Medford Or, Businesses To Launch "Project Hope"







Veterans Voice Of America, in association with Americare International, and The Hope Center of Eugene, Oregon, is announcing a job training and opportunity program that dovetails with the Hope Center's Veterans Homeless program that has been assisting veterans with emergency shelter, and weekly hot meals as Veteran's Administration Hud-Vash Voucher and benefit counselors meet weekly at the Hope center in Eugene to take care of our military heroes, both homeless and any in need of assistance.
For further info call Steven Masone (541)-287-1497 e-mail masones@oregonstate.edu 








. Hope Center provides a weekly site at which Veterans can connect with services, along with a hot meal. The V.A. BHRRS outreach workers attend this ev. Hope Center provides a weekly site at which Veterans can connect with services, along with a hot meal. The V.A. BHRRS outreach workers attend this event weekly. (1161 Grant. Eugene. 541- 344-4673)ent weekly. (1161 Grant. Eugene. 541- 344-4673)




The Westside Apostolic has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul and Food for Lane County to help local veterans.

For the last few years, the Hope Center has been targeting homeless servicemen and women and helping them get back on their feet.

Every Friday morning the facility opens its doors. On average, 50 to 80 guests take advantage of the free meal between 10 a.m. and noon.

Other offerings are also available. There is warm clothing that is donated, a nurse from the VA gives those needing immunizations medical attention, and a crises counselor is on site.

But the most popular service is housing assistance.

"We have the reintegration team that comes here so they actually hook them up and let them know what programs are available. Just to see one person get off the street and get housing makes it worth it," says Pastor James Rabe.

Once placed, the Hope Center helps furnish veterans' new homes.

Randy Merritt recently moved into a new place. He had previously been living on the street.

"It's hard to stay out of trouble being on the street. I've done a complete 180. I went from being homeless and now I'm in my own apartment," Merritt says.

Donations to the Hope Center can be made by calling the Westside Apostolic at (541) 334-HOPE or (541) 729-9167. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump Victory Gives Veterans Hope For 'Real Change'



by Steven Masone

The bureaucratic inept condition of the Veteran's Administration Department, that has become a national disgrace, will soon face scrutiny and a shake-up they have never seen before. President-Elect Donald Trump has promised to "Drain The Swamp" in this Department to the likes we have never seen. His proposal to let all veterans have their choice of using a new streamlined VA for health benefits, or opt out and have their healthcare paid for in the open marketplace, alone, will send the entitled minded bureaucrats into panic mode.  How that is going to change the landcape of this broken agency, is self -evident. Half of veterans who live too far away from clinics will immediately cut healthcare workers in the agency by 30-50%. ..SHIFTING THOSE JOBS TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.




Donald Trump outlined a 10- Image result for drain the swamp point plan to reform the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, which the President-Elect called a “very unfair system.”

He singled out mental health care for veterans as especially in need of attention, but also highlighted the multiple scandals and gaffes the department has struggled through in recent years. He called Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “the secretary of the status quo” and said he is the candidate Americans should trust to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs.
                                              
 


“We need to clean up the corruption in government and Hillary Clinton will never be able to do it. She’s incompetent and has proven time and time again that she doesn’t have what it takes. Doesn’t have it,” Trump said. “Crooked Hillary Clinton, sadly, is the secretary of the status quo, and wherever Hillary Clinton goes, corruption and scandal follow.”

Included in Trump’s 10-point

  
 plan for reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs is a proposal to establish a White House hotline, to be answered not by a computer but by a human being, to field complaints about the department. The hotline would ensure that every complaint is dealt with, Trump said, and any issue left unaddressed would be brought directly to the president himself, so that he could personally deal with it.

Recalling Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald’s comment comparing veterans waiting for medical care to Disney theme park visitors waiting in line for rides, Trump said he would appoint a new secretary who would make it their “personal mission to clean up the VA.”

“And this will be a person of great competence,” he said. “This will not be a political hack.”

Two other points of Trump’s plan concerned Department of Veterans Affairs personnel, specifically the ability to fire and discipline them. The candidate pledged do everything in his power to remove federal authorities or managers who “fail veterans or breach the public trust.” Similarly, Trump said he would ask Congress to pass legislation that would allow the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to fire or discipline any employee who puts at risk the “health, safety or well-being of any veteran.”

Trump balanced those points with one in which he pledged to protect the “honest and dedicated” people in the department and put them in line for promotions. In another point, the Manhattan billionaire said he would institute a system in which a percentage of any money saved as a result of an employee suggestion would be paid out as a one-time bonus to encourage streamlining of the department’s bureaucracy.







Trump Victory Gives Veterans Hope For 'Real Change'



by Steven Masone

The bureaucratic inept condition of the Veteran's Administration Department, that has become a national disgrace, will soon face scrutiny and a shake-up they have never seen before. President-Elect Donald Trump has promised to "Drain The Swamp" in this Department to the likes we have never seen. His proposal to let all veterans have their choice of using a new streamlined VA for health benefits, or opt out and have their healthcare paid for in the open marketplace, alone, will send the entitled minded bureaucrats into panic mode.    How that is going to change the landcape of this broken agency, is self -evident. Half of veterans who live too far away from clinics will immediately cut healthcare workers in the agency by 30-50%. ..SHIFTING THOSE JOBS TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.




Donald Trump outlined a 10- Image result for drain the swamp point plan to reform the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, which the President-Elect called a “very unfair system.”

He singled out mental health care for veterans as especially in need of attention, but also highlighted the multiple scandals and gaffes the department has struggled through in recent years. He called Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “the secretary of the status quo” and said he is the candidate Americans should trust to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs.
                                              
 


“We need to clean up the corruption in government and Hillary Clinton will never be able to do it. She’s incompetent and has proven time and time again that she doesn’t have what it takes. Doesn’t have it,” Trump said. “Crooked Hillary Clinton, sadly, is the secretary of the status quo, and wherever Hillary Clinton goes, corruption and scandal follow.”

Included in Trump’s 10-point

  
 plan for reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs is a proposal to establish a White House hotline, to be answered not by a computer but by a human being, to field complaints about the department. The hotline would ensure that every complaint is dealt with, Trump said, and any issue left unaddressed would be brought directly to the president himself, so that he could personally deal with it.

Recalling Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald’s comment comparing veterans waiting for medical care to Disney theme park visitors waiting in line for rides, Trump said he would appoint a new secretary who would make it their “personal mission to clean up the VA.”

“And this will be a person of great competence,” he said. “This will not be a political hack.”

Two other points of Trump’s plan concerned Department of Veterans Affairs personnel, specifically the ability to fire and discipline them. The candidate pledged do everything in his power to remove federal authorities or managers who “fail veterans or breach the public trust.” Similarly, Trump said he would ask Congress to pass legislation that would allow the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to fire or discipline any employee who puts at risk the “health, safety or well-being of any veteran.”

Trump balanced those points with one in which he pledged to protect the “honest and dedicated” people in the department and put them in line for promotions. In another point, the Manhattan billionaire said he would institute a system in which a percentage of any money saved as a result of an employee suggestion would be paid out as a one-time bonus to encourage streamlining of the department’s bureaucracy.