Tag Archives: veterans

New core topic leader explores importance of mental and behavioral health coverage

About Katti Gray

Katti Gray (@kattigray) is AHCJ's core topic leader for behavioral and mental health. A former Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellow, Gray is providing resources to help AHCJ members expand their coverage of mental health amid ongoing efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness and to place mental health care on par with all health care.

depression-bench

Photo: Nils Werner via Flickr

Coming up in my particular neighborhood in Little Rock, Ark., one of my dearest childhood friends was a boy we nicknamed something unflattering but — except for the meanest among us kids — treated with great kindness.  He was “just slow,” we said, and left it at that.

The armchair analyst in me concluded, when we were teens, that my friend was mildly retarded (in the vernacular of that time). He also suffered sometimes-paralyzing bouts of depression. All these decades later, he remains a beloved treasure. I call him brother. He’s still a fixture in our hometown neighborhood, self-medicating with weed and, sometimes, crack. He’s snaggle-toothed, his skin an ashen gray. He looks way older than the rest of us. People with chronic, severe mental illness tend to die earlier than the rest of us. Continue reading

VA surgery database explanation available for medical research reporting

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

Surgery research can become complex very quickly: Not only are there the underlying conditions and demographics of each patient to consider, but also different characteristics particular to the procedure itself, the circumstances of the procedure, the institution and the providers doing the procedure.

If you frequently report on surgery studies, you may have covered a study that used data from the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP).

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Military retiree dental program changes name and administrator

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: George Lezenby via Flickr

Participants in a dental benefit plan for U.S. military retirees will need to take action soon to hold onto coverage.

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), which now covers 1.6 million military retirees and family members, is shutting down at the end of the year. Continue reading

Learn the latest on medical cannabis research at #AHCJ18

About Peter Hecht

Peter Hecht, former political writer and Los Angeles bureau chief for the Sacramento Bee, has been reporting on cannabis since 2009. Hecht is the author of the book “Weed Land: Inside America’s Marijuana Epicenter and How Pot Went Legit.” He is a contributing editor for Leafly.com.

Photo: danbruell via Flickr

Ever since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, federal policy has held that marijuana has no accepted medical use and is a dangerous drug in the category of heroin and LSD. Yet, as 29 states have approved marijuana for medical use and nine passed laws allowing for adult recreational use, modern medical marijuana clinical trials have unfolded in the United States, forging new frontiers in cannabis research.

Today’s research, as well as the thriving legal marijuana economy, is largely the result of a medical cannabis movement born in the AIDS epidemic and the suffering of young gay men, many of whom turned to cannabis to try to curb wrenching symptoms of wasting syndrome starving them to skeletal forms. Continue reading

Telehealth back in the spotlight

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

On Thursday, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, M.D., and President Trump announced three initiatives to expand telehealth and mobile health services for veterans.

The announcement is notable because the initiatives remove some longstanding roadblocks to wider adoption of telehealth services. The VA has the largest telehealth program in the country, with an estimated 700,000 veterans using telehealth last year. Continue reading