To highlight our 25 years of service to Veterans, their families and survivors as the Department of Veterans Affairs, we’re sharing 25 facts you may not know about VA. You can find facts 1-5 here and facts 6-10 here.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Act of 1988 elevated the administration into the Cabinet-level department we know today. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Oct. 25, 1988, and came into effect under the term of President George H.W. Bush on March 15, 1989.
- VA’s Center for Women Veterans and the Center for Minority Veterans were established by law in 1994 to ensure that women and minority Veterans are aware of benefits, services and programs offered by VA.
- In 1991, VA researchers developed an electrical stimulation system that helps patients move paralyzed limbs and in 2007, a new, bionic ankle debuted at Providence VA Medical Center in July 2007. VA doctors and researchers developed this high-performance prosthetic device, which unlike any other prosthesis propels users forward using tendon-like springs and an electric motor.
- In 2003, VA conducted 50 million patient visits – an all-time high. My HealtheVet, an online health portal that helped Veterans take an active role in maintaining their health, was launched. Today, VA health care facilities average 236,000 outpatient appointments each day or nearly 90 million total outpatient visits in 2013.
- For more than 25 years the “Stand Down” program has provided vital care, benefits and services to homeless Veterans. Stand downs and local, state and federal partnerships with VA have led to a 24 percent reduction in the number of homeless Veterans since 2010.
- The National Cemetery Administration’s Gravesite Locator was made available online in 2004. More than three million records showing where Veterans and their family members have been buried in VA’s national cemeteries were made available online. Records for those buried in private cemeteries with VA grave markers after 1997 are also available in some cases.