VA: 16 patients of problem clinics infected

"CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Viral infections, including hepatitis, have been found in 16 patients exposed to contaminated equipment at Veterans Affairs medical facilities, a department spokeswoman said Friday. So far, 10 colonoscopy patients from the VA medical center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., have tested positive for hepatitis, VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts told The Associated Press.

In a later e-mail, she reported six patients at the VA's ear, nose and throat clinic in Augusta, Ga, tested positive for unspecified viral infections.

The number of reported infections could rise."



450 veterans registered at Miami VA for blood tests

Posted on Thursday, 03.26.09

"The Miami VA medical center on Wednesday registered 450 veterans for blood tests because of concerns that routine medical procedures at the hospital might have led to HIV or hepatitis infections, said Susan Ward, the hospital's spokeswoman."

This is just the latest in a line of reports coming from Veterans hospitals all over the country about improper sterilization procedures.

From USA Todayonline:

"The Associated Press reports that last month, more than 6,000 patients at a clinic in Tennessee were told they may have been exposed to infectious body fluids during colonoscopies.

The VA also says 1,800 veterans treated at a clinic in Augusta, Ga., were alerted they could have been exposed to an infection due to improper disinfection of an instrument."



Vets Often Forgo Medication When Co-Pays Rise

 Budget-cutters urged to look elsewhere for cost savings

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- When the co-payment amount for prescription drugs goes up, veterans tend to stop taking needed medications, a new study has found.

Reporting in the Jan 27. issue of the journal Circulation, University of Pennsylvania researchers found that adherence to medication dropped more than 19 percent among veterans who had to make co-payments when that amount was increased in 2002. By comparison, medication adherence dropped by only 12 percent among veterans who were exempt from co-pays.

In addition, the odds of being without medication for more than three months was three times higher during this time among veterans who had to make co-pays than among those exempt from the payments, the study found.

"This decline in adherence was not just a result of short gaps in use interspersed between prescription refills," said Jalpa A. Doshi, a research assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study. "In fact, the co-payment increase was accompanied by a significant increase in the likelihood of having continuous gaps of 90 days or more in lipid-lowering medication use."

The finding is of particular importance today, Doshi indicated, because of efforts being made to save federal dollars.

"In this era of large federal budget deficits, it is clear that there will be ongoing pressure to reduce or at least constrain growth of the VA budget, and one of the approaches that the Congress may take to cut costs is through increases in VA prescription co-payments," Doshi said. The study looked at what happened when co-pay amounts were increased earlier this decade.



Former Clinical Director for the Veterans Administration in Tucson Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Theft



Audit: More Bad Accounting In Veterans Health Care



An excellent observation written by Larry Scott at vawatchdog.org:

"I've written a couple of times now about this idea of giving stimulus package money to the VA.  Previous story (with backlinks) is here...

It's a bad idea.  Not because the VA doesn't need the money, but because it's a political trick.  The same politicians who refuse to properly fund the VA are now trying to be the "veterans' friend" by pushing for stimulus money for the VA.

And, the leader of the pack is Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), Ranking Member on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.  Buyer has never supported full funding for the VA.  More on Buyer here...

But, now, Buyer and friends want to give the VA big bucks instead of doing their job by passing a proper VA budget.

And, the veterans' service organizations have bought into this without even one word of protest (see Buyer press release below).  Just like a drunk GI on leave, the service orgs run off with the first whore who promises them a good time.

The service orgs should be banging heads on Capitol Hill to make sure the VA is properly funded... not being puppets, idiotically nodding their head "yes" when offered stimulus money.

The long term consequences:

1.  The VA gets more money... that's good because we all know the agency sure does need it.

2.  Politicians like Steve Buyer will be able to continue to manipulate the service orgs.

3.  The service orgs will continue to accept the crumbs that the politicians brush off the table and veterans lose.

The next time you mail in your dues to your service org, send them this note and see if you get a response:  What have you done for me lately?"

-- Most of the Veterans Service Organizations have transmogrified into nothing more than a Good Old Boys network that rewards the politically connected with obscene salaries and benefits, while providing no meaningful help to the Veterans they purportedly serve.  Just like the VA, there are individuals within these groups that are motivated by a desire to be Of Service to Veterans, but more often than not they are motivated to be of self-service.  The most heinous thing about that is that most of these people are veterans.  They are not, however, Veterans.  And we draw a definite distinction.  If the well-intentioned people who donate money, time, and services to many of these groups knew the details of some of the most egregious chicanery that goes on they would ask for their money back.-- TRLDF