Archives for October 2012

VA Women’s Health Assures Women Vets: VA is The Right Place

Women’s Health Assures Women Vets: VA is The Right Place



video preview image: VA logo, The Right Place and ballcap with 'Iraq Afghanistan Veteran' on it.

 

A new public service announcement lets women Veterans know they’ve come to “The Right Place” when seeking VA health care.

Many of the 1.8 million women Veterans in the United States are unaware that VA offers high quality women’s health care. VA’s Women’s Health Services office intends to change that and has developed a public service announcement (PSA) to let women Veterans know VA is the right place for them.

The 30-second PSA encourages viewers to rethink their assumption that returning Veterans are male and reminds them that women Veterans are coming home, separating from service, or returning to Guard or Reserve status. Most importantly, it sends a clear message to women Veterans that VA is ready to serve them. Click to watch the PSA.

“We’re here for them…They need to hear that.”

Sending that message is one of the most critical aspects of the initiative to improve VA access and services for women. Chief Consultant Patricia Hayes was reminded of that at the 15th anniversary celebration of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial on October 20th. Hayes had an opportunity to talk to some of the hundreds of proud women service members and Veterans who gathered at the foot of Arlington National Cemetery.

“They asked me whether VA is going to be there for them, and that just reinforces our need to get the word out about how to access their care,” Hayes said.

The multi-faceted Women’s Health initiative has made tremendous progress improving services for women by redesigning the delivery of comprehensive primary care for women, training and educating VA providers in women’s health, directing research on the effects of military service on women’s lives, and implementing a campaign to change the culture of VA to be more accepting of women Veterans — all things that make VA the right place for women Veterans.

“We’re here for them and we’re working hard to give them the highest quality care,” said Hayes. “They need to hear that.”

You can download the PSA by visiting www.womenshealth.va.gov. A customizable, broadcast-quality version is also available for media outlets. Contact Carolyn.Murphy3@va.gov with any questions.


DCSIMG



Reviewed/Updated Date: October 31, 2012

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20121031a.asp

VA Guarantees 20 Millionth Home Loan









VA Guarantees 20 Millionth Home Loan


October 26, 2012



 VA’s Home Loan Program Continues to Lead Mortgage Industry


WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has guaranteed 20 million home loans since its home loan program was established in 1944 as part of the original GI Bill of Rights for returning World War II Veterans. The 20 millionth loan was guaranteed for a home in Woodbridge, Va., purchased by the surviving spouse of an Iraq War Veteran who passed away in 2010.  


Given the current low interest rates, the program has grown significantly in the past five years, with 71 percent more purchases and 20 times as many refinances processed in fiscal year (FY) 2012 than in FY 2007.  Currently, there are 1.7 million VA guaranteed home loans in existence with a total value of $284 billion. VA has guaranteed 540,000 mortgages in 2012.


“The 20 millionth VA home loan is a major milestone and is a testament to VA’s commitment to support and enhance the lives of Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors,” said Allison A. Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits. “As a result of their service and sacrifice, as a group, they prove to be disciplined, reliable, and honorable—traits that are ideal for this kind of national investment.”


The program makes home ownership more affordable for eligible Veterans, Servicemembers, and surviving spouses by providing access to lower cost financing.  VA loans are also attractive within the mortgage industry because they protect lenders from loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan. Mortgages guaranteed by VA have had the lowest foreclosure rate for the last 17 quarters and the lowest delinquency rate for the last 14 quarters compared to all other types of home loans in the nation, including prime loans, according to a report by the Mortgage Bankers Association.


Much of the strength of VA’s home loan program stems from the efforts of VA employees and its industry partners nationwide to ensure Veterans receive every possible opportunity to remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure.  Since 2009, VA’s efforts have resulted in over $8 billion in savings to taxpayers in foreclosure avoidance.


Veterans may obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA-guaranteed home loan through the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov.  To obtain more information about the VA Home Loan Program, visit the program’s home page at www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2400

VA Study: Yoga Improves Balance Following Stroke

A VA study published recently in the journal Stroke reveals that starting yoga — even long after you’ve suffered a stroke — may noticeably improve your balance.

“It’s an exciting thing,” said Dr. Arlene Schmid, a rehabilitation research scientist with the Roudebush VA Medical Center and Indiana University in Indianapolis. “People — even older people — can improve their balance years after a stroke. They can change their brain and change their body. They’re not stuck with what they have.”

For the study, Schmid and her team recruited 47 stroke survivors who’d experienced a stroke more than half a year before. Seventy-five percent of these subjects were male Veterans — including some from World War II. Their average age was 63, and their average time since having a stroke was about four years.

Ten of the study subjects received no therapy, while the other 37 received a specialized, modified version of yoga developed by a yoga therapist and Schmid’s research team.

“People can improve their balance years after a stroke.”

“At first, many of the Veterans were skeptical about the therapy,” Schmid admitted. “‘They told me, ‘Yoga is for girls, yoga is for hippies.’ After a couple of yoga sessions, though, and with a little encouragement from their wives and our research team, these guys came to appreciate yoga and the impact it could have on their disabilities.

“It was initially a hard sell, but by the end they wanted more,” Schmid continued. “They practiced seated, standing, and floor-based exercises like the modified pigeon pose and the mountain pose, twice a week, over a period of eight weeks. We made sure the exercises gradually became more challenging as time went on. By the end, the yoga group was showing significant improvement in balance.

“The yoga practice also boosted their confidence, improved their sense of independence, and reduced their fear of falling,” she observed.

According to the VA study, nearly three-quarters of all stroke survivors suffer from falls. Some of these falls can break bones, and some can even be fatal.

“In addition to physical harm, strokes can also contribute to depression,” Schmid noted. “Our study sends a very positive message about the ability of stroke survivors — especially older stroke survivors — to improve long after their first post-stroke year.”

Schmid said additional studies are needed to confirm yoga’s effectiveness, and that yoga therapy is not readily available yet.

“I used to live in Hawaii, where yoga is everywhere,” she said. “Here in the Midwest, it’s harder to come by.”

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20121025a.asp

Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List




















Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List


October 11, 2012



WASHINGTON – Nineteen Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the Nation were recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health care quality measures for 2011/2012.  


“We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition. We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.”


While all 152 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. Three new accountability measure sets are included in the calculation for this year’s Top Performers program: stroke, venous thromboembolism, and inpatient psychiatric services.  This year’s program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability measure performance.  Eight VA facilities have received the Top Performer status for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.


“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff and I fully expect to see more VA medical facilities making this list next year.”


The Top Performers on The Joint Commission Quality Measures for 2012 announced its “Improving America’s Hospitals” annual report recognizing hospitals to national and trade media. Top Performers include the following 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities: 


 


 [An asterisk denotes a Top Performer rating for a second year.]


In addition to being named in this report, Top Performers are highlighted at www.jointcommission.org and The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website: www.qualitycheck.org. 


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Reviewed/Updated Date: October 11, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2398

STATEMENT: Veteran Unemployment Mentioned in Debate, but Not Enough

STATEMENT: Veteran Unemployment Mentioned in Debate, but Not Enough

CONTACT: Christina Kim (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

 

Earlier today, IAVA released the the following statement from IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff:

“In last night’s debate, veteran unemployment briefly became a subject of discussion–finally. This is a critical issue for the new veteran community and here are the facts:

The average unemployment rate for all generations of veterans was officially reported by the BLS at 6.7% in September, about one percentage point below the general population for the same month (7.8%). But that’s only one part of the full unemployment picture. For post-9/11 veterans, unemployment in September was reported at 9.7%. And for female veterans the story was even worse at 19.9%. 

IAVA is calling on all candidates to show real leadership for new veterans on employment and other critical issues – from mental health to education. “

IAVA’s 2012 Voter Guide outlines clear steps for all candidates to truly support veterans, and we hope to see all candidates address them with specificity them before November 6th. You can download it here.

Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List




















Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List


October 11, 2012



WASHINGTON – Nineteen Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the Nation were recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health care quality measures for 2011/2012.  


“We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition. We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.”


While all 152 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. Three new accountability measure sets are included in the calculation for this year’s Top Performers program: stroke, venous thromboembolism, and inpatient psychiatric services.  This year’s program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability measure performance.  Eight VA facilities have received the Top Performer status for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.


“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff and I fully expect to see more VA medical facilities making this list next year.”


The Top Performers on The Joint Commission Quality Measures for 2012 announced its “Improving America’s Hospitals” annual report recognizing hospitals to national and trade media. Top Performers include the following 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities: 


 


 [An asterisk denotes a Top Performer rating for a second year.]


In addition to being named in this report, Top Performers are highlighted at www.jointcommission.org and The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website: www.qualitycheck.org. 


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Reviewed/Updated Date: October 11, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2398

Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List




















Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List


October 11, 2012



WASHINGTON – Nineteen Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the Nation were recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health care quality measures for 2011/2012.  


“We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition. We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.”


While all 152 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. Three new accountability measure sets are included in the calculation for this year’s Top Performers program: stroke, venous thromboembolism, and inpatient psychiatric services.  This year’s program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability measure performance.  Eight VA facilities have received the Top Performer status for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.


“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff and I fully expect to see more VA medical facilities making this list next year.”


The Top Performers on The Joint Commission Quality Measures for 2012 announced its “Improving America’s Hospitals” annual report recognizing hospitals to national and trade media. Top Performers include the following 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities: 


 


 [An asterisk denotes a Top Performer rating for a second year.]


In addition to being named in this report, Top Performers are highlighted at www.jointcommission.org and The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website: www.qualitycheck.org. 


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People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to the VA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List.


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Reviewed/Updated Date: October 11, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2398

Lose Weight the VA Way

Veteran William Collins stands in an exam room, holding out the wasteline of his pants

MOVE! participant William Collins models his weight loss success

Out of the Rut and On to the Treadmill

Uh oh! Here come the Big Five again. Halloween (all your kids’ candy). Thanksgiving (THIRDS of the candied yams?!). Christmas (Hey, Gramma made it, you gotta eat it, eh?). New Year’s Day (Football and ALL those snacks!).

And, oh yeah, number five – January 2 – News Year’s Resolution – time to take off all those pounds. Again.

Vets! Want to get out of this annual rut? Take a serious look at MOVE!, VA’s national weight management program for Veterans.

“I was eating too much unhealthy food…and not exercising”

Veteran William A. Collins says that his eating was “off the charts” when he finally realized how negligent he had become with his health. “I was eating too much unhealthy food, drinking too much soda, going out for late night meals, and not exercising,” he explains. “I was abusing myself.”

Weighing 260 pounds in August 2010, the 62-year-old William focused first on relearning how to eat by making healthier choices and controlling his portions. Read his story (pdf).

His story is just one of hundreds. Read more great success stories here.

Inquire at Your VA Medical Center

MOVE! can help you lose weight, keep it off and improve your health.

Contact your nearest VA facility to inquire about their MOVE! program.

Portrait of a smiling woman in a red blouse

Patsy Cowan lost 140 pounds in VA’s MOVE! program

Two years ago Patsy Cowan weighed 325. Today she’s 185 pounds.

Patsy tried a number of methods to help her lose weight. Some things worked briefly and some didn’t work at all. Tired of the many different weight loss program and diets, she joined the MOVE! program available at the VA North Texas Health Care System. Her story is here.

According to Dr. Kenneth Jones, National Program Director for MOVE!, “If you are carrying extra weight, losing weight and keeping it off can be one of the best things you can do to protect your health. Excess weight puts you at risk for problems like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, sleep apnea and gallstones. The best way to manage your weight is to eat wisely and be as physically active as possible. MOVE! and your VA health care team can help you at every step along the way to healthy living and a healthy weight.”

Questionnaire Designed Just for You

The MOVE! Program has been designed for both men and women and for Veterans of all ability levels.

The MOVE!23 is a 23-item questionnaire that asks about your weight, health, prior attempts at weight loss, and your individual issues with losing weight and becoming more physically active.

The questionnaire results in a 4-6 page report that is individualized for you.

A list of recommended MOVE! handouts is provided with the report. The handouts contain information on:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Behavior Change

While only Veterans receiving care in the VA can enroll in the MOVE! program, the MOVE!23 questionnaire can be taken by anyone. You can take this report to your health care provider for further advice on weight management.

Questions? Answers are here.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20121022a.asp

Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List




















Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List


October 11, 2012



WASHINGTON – Nineteen Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the Nation were recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health care quality measures for 2011/2012.  


“We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition. We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.”


While all 152 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. Three new accountability measure sets are included in the calculation for this year’s Top Performers program: stroke, venous thromboembolism, and inpatient psychiatric services.  This year’s program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability measure performance.  Eight VA facilities have received the Top Performer status for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.


“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff and I fully expect to see more VA medical facilities making this list next year.”


The Top Performers on The Joint Commission Quality Measures for 2012 announced its “Improving America’s Hospitals” annual report recognizing hospitals to national and trade media. Top Performers include the following 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities: 


 


 [An asterisk denotes a Top Performer rating for a second year.]


In addition to being named in this report, Top Performers are highlighted at www.jointcommission.org and The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website: www.qualitycheck.org. 


###




People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to the VA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List.


Back to News Releases Index







Your browser doesn’t support JavaScript. You can enable JavaScript via IE browser tool menu.










Reviewed/Updated Date: October 11, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2398

Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List




















Nineteen VA Medical Facilities Named to Joint Commission’s Top Performers List


October 11, 2012



WASHINGTON – Nineteen Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the Nation were recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health care quality measures for 2011/2012.  


“We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition. We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.”


While all 152 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s review of evidence-based care processes that are closely linked to positive patient outcomes. Three new accountability measure sets are included in the calculation for this year’s Top Performers program: stroke, venous thromboembolism, and inpatient psychiatric services.  This year’s program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability measure performance.  Eight VA facilities have received the Top Performer status for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.


“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff and I fully expect to see more VA medical facilities making this list next year.”


The Top Performers on The Joint Commission Quality Measures for 2012 announced its “Improving America’s Hospitals” annual report recognizing hospitals to national and trade media. Top Performers include the following 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities: 


 


 [An asterisk denotes a Top Performer rating for a second year.]


In addition to being named in this report, Top Performers are highlighted at www.jointcommission.org and The Joint Commission’s Quality Check website: www.qualitycheck.org. 


###




People wishing to receive e-mail from VA with the latest news releases and updated fact sheets can subscribe to the VA Office of Public Affairs Distribution List.


Back to News Releases Index







Your browser doesn’t support JavaScript. You can enable JavaScript via IE browser tool menu.










Reviewed/Updated Date: October 11, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2398


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