Health Highlights: April 18, 2017

Veterans Will Get Care At CVS Clinics Under VA Pilot Program Las Vegas Could Be First U.S. City to Install Needle Vending Machines Having an Epiphany? It's in Your Eyes

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Veterans Will Get Care At CVS Clinics Under VA Pilot Program

A pilot program that enables U.S. veterans to be treated for minor injuries and illnesses at CVS "MinuteClinics" was announced Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The program, currently only in the Phoenix area, lifts restrictions under the VA's Choice program, which limits outside care to veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for an appointment or have to drive more than 40 miles to a facility, the Associated Press reported.

Under the program, veterans can be referred to MinuteClinics for government-paid care when "clinically appropriate."

"Our number one priority is getting veterans' access to care when and where they need it," said Baligh Yehia, VA deputy undersecretary for health for community care, the AP reported. "The launch of this partnership will enable VA to provide more care for veterans in their neighborhoods."

The pilot program is an "important step forward," according to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has long pushed for expanding veterans' access to private care.

"Veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care," McCain said, the AP reported.

The VA tested a similar program last year in the smaller market of Palo Alto, Calif., where veterans were referred for urgent care at 14 MinuteClinics.


Las Vegas Could Be First U.S. City to Install Needle Vending Machines

Vending machines that dispense clean needles will available in Las Vegas starting in May, making it the first city in the United States where this type of service is available.

The goal is to reduce needle sharing among drug users in order to combat the spread of hepatitis B and C and HIV, and also possibly direct some drug users into treatment, the Los Angeles Times reported.

There will be three machines available under the pilot program coordinated by Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society.

In order to access the vending machines, users will have to complete a form and obtain an eight-digit identification number, Trac-B Exchange program director Rick Reich said. Each kit will include sterile syringes and needles, as well as a compartment for used needles that can be disposed of safely at the machines, the Times reported.

The clean needle kits cost less than $10 each but will be free for users.


Having an Epiphany? It's in Your Eyes

Eye movement can reveal when a person is about to have a flash of insight, researchers say.

They monitored the eye movements of 59 students at Ohio State University while they played against opponents in a complex numbers game, NBC News reported.

The researchers detected a gradual increase in eye movement just as participants were about to reach a solution, according to the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We could see our study participants figuring out the solution through their eye movements as they considered their options," said study co-leader Ian Krajbich, an assistant professor of psychology and economics at the university, NBC News reported.

"We could predict they were about to have an epiphany before they even knew it was coming," he added.

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