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Pain as the fifth vital sign: VA initiative reshaped treatment approaches

In the practice of medicine, four measurements have long served as indicators of the body’s basic functions: pulse, breathing, temperature, and blood pressure. In 1999, the Veterans Health Administration — the country’s largest government-run health care system — proposed a fifth vital sign: pain. The concept was initially promoted by the American Pain Society. The VA […]

Obamacare and drug abuse

With all the chatter about Obamacare, you may not have heard about health reform’s major implications for those struggling with drug abuse. (Check out our ongoing Affordable Care Act series with the Sun Journal for a primer on the law.) Today, our health system largely segregates treatment of our physical health from care for our mental […]

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