VA patients have the right to make their own decisions about their health care, but those decisions aren’t always easy. The right choice for one patient or family may be the wrong choice for another – especially when planning for future health care.
To help Veterans and their loved ones deal with these tough situations, the VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care (NCEHC) offers Dialed In: Helping Veterans Take Control of Their Health Care, a podcast series featuring the voices of Veterans and VA health care providers. Each podcast looks at a different health care planning challenge and suggests practical ways to deal with it. Veterans and their families can learn why it’s a good idea to fill out an advance directive and where to go to find one; what a health care agent is, and how to decide who should be your health care agent; what a health care agent can do for you; and what we mean in VA when we talk about informed consent for Veterans.
Serving Veterans with integrity is critical to the work we do at VA. In fact, integrity is one of VA’s core values. In support of this essential work, NCEHC co-sponsors National Compliance and Ethics Week in VA, along with the VA Office of Compliance and Business Integrity. The theme of this year’s event is “Service. Integrity. Trust.” The celebration takes place this week – May 2 through 6 – at VA facilities across the country. Together, we work to build and support a culture of integrity in VA.
You can hear directly from VA employees about what integrity means to them as they work to serve Veterans by listening to another VA podcast series, Voices of Integrity. VA physician Dr. Apar Ganti tells how he and his colleagues “bend backwards” to serve Veterans in rural Nebraska. Benefits specialist and Veteran Scott Jenkins says, “I treat every claim as if it were my own.” Pharmacist Judith Nwachukwu notes that “Veterans entrust me with their lives to make sure their medications are appropriate.”
These are the values we celebrate during National Compliance and Ethics Week. In the words of Dr. David Shulkin, VA Under Secretary for Health, “When we serve Veterans with integrity, we are not only doing the right thing; we also stand a greater chance of earning the trust of those we serve.”
About the Author: Dr. Lisa Lehmann is the Executive Director, National Center for Ethics in Health Care at the Veterans Health Administration.