The Interim Under Secretary for Health is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Veterans Health Administration Community Partnership Challenge. The Challenge highlighted successful community partnerships that are taking place across VHA in service to Veterans. This year’s contest focused on Veteran access and Veteran experience.
VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Kansas City VA Medical Center, and the San Francisco VA Health Care Medical Center took top honors. The annual contest recognizes responsible and productive partnerships between VA facilities and nongovernmental organizations.
The VA Connecticut Healthcare System highlighted its Community Partners for Justice Partnership that provides free legal assistance to Veterans facing a variety of legal barriers relative to homelessness. More than 1200 Veterans have benefited from this partnership during the last five years. In addition, the partnership helped 65% of participating Veterans facing eviction improve their housing stability and helped all of its clients collectively improve their financial status by over $700,000.
Kansas City VA Medical Center showcased its Veterans In Nursing Homes Evaluation Devices (V.I.N.E.D.) partnership with their local cardiac device vendors that increase access to care for Kansas City Veterans in non-VA nursing homes. The vendor representatives visit 100% of Kansas City VAMC Veterans in non-VA nursing homes, free of charge, to check the function of the cardiac devices to ensure they are working properly and the batteries are in good condition.
San Francisco VA Health Care Medical Center’s Healthy Teaching Kitchens Cooking Matters partnership focuses on the Veteran’s experience. It emphasizes the holistic approach to overall wellness. Facility nutrition staff observed that despite providing ongoing nutrition education, Veterans faced challenges with implementing dietary and nutrition changes due to a limited food exposure and a lack of cooking skills and confidence. Facility staff and their community partner work together to empower Veterans with healthy eating habits that have resulted in overall positive health outcomes.