VA’s goal is to ensure the Veterans Health Administration is the Nation’s most efficient and high-performing medical network for both its patients and its employees. Recently, Dr. David J. Shulkin, VHA Under Secretary for Health, discussed the steps VA is taking to achieve this goal. Primarily, the Veterans Health Administration must adapt to the evolving Veteran community and change to meet their needs.
“I believe that addressing Veterans’ needs requires a new model of care,” Dr. Shulkin said in his article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. His overall plan stems from the idea that VA should change from simply being a direct-care provider, to becoming an integrated provider and payer. To do this, VHA must work with the private sector to address current access issues. Dr. Shulkin’s plan is based on a three-network system:
- The core network would include all VA-run facilities, including hospitals, clinics and centers. These facilities are ideal for the Veterans who are in need of specialized care for any service-related conditions. By focusing on specific patients’ needs, these facilities could increase access to more remote areas.
- The second network would consist of private-sector delivery systems that meet specific performance criteria. Those criteria include clinical outcomes, appropriateness, access standards and service levels. Systems would have to go through a competitive acceptance process based on documented results.
- The third network will consist of private-sector providers, which are currently part of other networks. This will allow Veterans to visit one of their local clinics or hospitals, while still receiving the benefits they need. These providers would have to submit clinical data and documentation to VA health exchanges. This is where many of the issues VHA is facing will be resolved.
What Dr. Shulkin emphasizes throughout the article is how VA – despite its problems – still remains a top medical leader whose employees use best practices to improve the “quality, safety and consistency of Veterans’ experience regardless of the site of care.”
VA’s “whole health” model of care will also play an integral part of the plan. It involves multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals who focus on both physical and psychosocial care. Under the model, VA employees provide personalized and proactive care to Veterans and their families.
These are just some of the ways VHA is taking steps every day to improve the overall care of our Nation’s Veterans. If you want to help make a direct impact on the lives of Veterans and their families, Join us. Search for a career with VHA today.