KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

VA Addresses Health Concerns Including Possible HIV Exposure And Veterans’ Health Needs

The Hill: "The Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee lambasted the Obama administration over its handling of an incident at a St. Louis VA center in which more than 1,800 veterans were told they may have been exposed to HIV. ... The Department of Veterans Affairs last month sent a letter to 1,812 patients informing them that could have been exposed to HIV and other deadly viruses because of dental equipment that was insufficiently sterilized over a period of 13 months." Although the agency categorized the infection risk as "extremely low," it "urged patients to return for blood tests." The Veterans Affairs Committee plans to hold a hearing on the issue next week (Berman, 7/5).

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Over the last year, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center has taken most of the public heat for a prostate-cancer-treatment program that went astray for six years, giving incorrect radiation doses to 97 out of 114 veterans. Now, the University of Pennsylvania -- which designed, staffed, and supervised the radiation program -- is feeling the pressure. Five veterans who received substandard therapy have filed federal lawsuits against various university entities, including its hospital and health system. That number may well grow because veterans who have sought compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs can file a federal lawsuit six months afterward, or any time after a claim is denied. As of May, the VA has rejected 12 of 38 claims seeking $71 million in damages" (McCullough, 7/3).

The Salt Lake Tribune: "A new study by The Gallup Organization indicates that while military members are generally happier and healthier than other American workers, military veterans fare worse than the general work force when it comes to their emotional and physical health, work environment and access to basic necessities. … The Gallup results come as the man responsible for improving the conditions of veterans in America, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, is scheduled to visit Salt Lake City to hear the concerns of veterans and veterans officials" (LaPlante, 7/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.