VA to Provide Veterans with Vouchers for Health IT Competency Exams


In an effort to create jobs in rural America, the Federal Government is working to increase the number of trained health information technol-ogy (health IT) workers over the next two years.

The VA Office of Rural Health (ORH) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Co-ordinator for Health IT (ONC) to promote and distribute health IT training materials to Veterans living in rural areas.

In addition, ORH is providing free vouchers to Veterans living in rural areas to take the health IT compe-tency exams. These exams can help assess competency levels for those who have relevant work experience, training or education in health care or IT.

For more information please visit: Competency Exam Vouchers

VA to Increase Mental Health Staff by 1900


Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki has announced that the department would add approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians – to include nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, as well as nearly 300 support staff, to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff. VA has also enhanced services by integrating mental health care into the primary care setting, developed an extensive suicide prevention program, and increased the number of Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers (Vet Centers).

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Daily headaches common in soldiers after concussion

U.S Army soldiers from Charlie Company 2nd battalion 35th infantry regiment, Task Forces Bronco climb down from the top of the hill which overlooks the river Darya ye Kunar in eastern Afghanistan Chaw Kay district in Kunar province August 19, 2011. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - One in five soldiers who returns from Iraq or Afghanistan having suffered a concussion develops chronic headaches that occur at least half the days of each month, according to a new survey.

Army researchers examined nearly 1,000 soldiers with a history of deployment-related concussion and found 20 percent had suffered the frequent headaches diagnosed as "chronic daily headache" for three months or more. Of those, a quarter literally had the headaches every day.

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The VA Celebrates Women's History Month


The Department of Veterans Affairs joins the Nation in observing Women’s History Month in March by honoring women Veterans for their significant historical contributions and encouraging them to take advantage of the VA benefits they’ve earned.

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US Army Public Health Command Study finds that Suicides, Mental Health Woes Soar Since Start of Iraq War


Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, the rate of Suicide among U.S. Army soldiers has soared, according to a new study from the U.S. Army Public Health Command

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IVBHN Featured in Rural Assistance Center (RAC) News


Telepsychiatry fills gaps in PTSD care, reaching veterans unlikely to get help any place else.  For more on this story click here: RAC Article

Tele-behavioral health services improves patient no-show rates


No-show rates for behavioral health appointments are alarmingly and destructively high. HEDIS and other data indicate that in traditional systems of behavioral health service delivery only 20% of patients attend recommended numbers of follow-up appointments (1).

More specifically, in controlled studies the no-show rate for initial appointments averages 33% (2) and for follow up appointments is in the range of 20-50% (3). These very high no-show rates undermine treatment effectiveness and are also a serious fiscal concern for health care providers and agencies.

A number of interventions have been shown to improve patient attendance at behavioral health appointments including timely appointments (4), telephonic and written reminders (5) and scripted exit interviews (6).

The greatest attendance booster, though, appears to be this:  When the patient can't or won't go to the appointment, bring the appointment to the patient. For example, preliminary data from the Veterans Affairs Health System indicate that no-show rates for telepsychiatry services are about 29% lower than rates for "in person" psychiatry (7).

What Woody Allen said about life appears to be equally true for behavioral health treatment: "Eighty percent of success is showing up." When patients are able to receive timely services in their usual, familiar, convenient health care settings attendance increases, care coordination is enhanced and outcomes improve.

Source:  Access Psychiatry Solutions, LLC