KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Skills Of VA Nurses Under Examination After Patient Deaths

The competency of nurses at VA facilities is drawing scrutiny.

ProPublica: VA Nurses Scrutinized After Patient Deaths In Two States
Earlier this month, a broader review by the VA inspector general of 29 VA facilities found only half had adequately documented that their nurses had the needed skills. ... The April 20 IG report also noted that previous inspections had found nurse competency issues in "dialysis, mental health, long-term care, spinal cord injury, endoscopy procedure areas, the operating room and the cardiac catheterization laboratory and with reusable medical equipment (Weber and Ornstein, 4/30). 

Also in the news, a program that seeks to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues -

PBS NewsHour: Combat Paper: Veterans Battle War's Demons With Paper-Making
The statistic is stark, heartbreaking and unacceptable. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 18 veterans commit suicide every day -- about one every 80 minutes. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which plagues their thoughts, invades every aspect of their lives and disables some to the point where death is preferable to living through the nightmare. ... During the past five years, Combat Paper has helped many veterans make sense of their experiences in a constructive, safe and artistic environment. Now, Combat Paper has its first permanent East Coast home at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, about 45 minutes west of New York City. Another project is underway on the West Coast (Till, 4/30).

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