Secretary Wilkie announces groundbreaking partnership between VA and Sanford Health


The VA PHarmacogenomics Action for cancer SuRvivorship (PHASeR) testing program will soon provide free genetic testing to some Veterans cared for by VA. The innovative partnership between VA and Sanford Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems, was unveiled today by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The program will begin as a pilot this year at the Durham VA Health Care System where all cancer survivors who receive treatment at the facility will be enrolled. The program eventually will expand to enrolling some 250,000 Veterans at 125 sites.


PHASeR is funded by a $25 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford, for whom the health system is named, and an effort by Sanford Health to raise matching funds. The test can help providers determine which medications will be most effective for patients, improving access to appropriate treatments and reducing adverse drug reactions, which research shows costs up to $30 billion per year.

The test results will help with clinical decision making for all types of prescribed medications, including cardiovascular and mental health diseases and pain management. Veterans will be able to access the test at their local VA facilities, and Sanford Health will process the tests at its South Dakota-based Imagenetics facility.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie lauded the partnership, and said relationships like this will continue to expand the department’s delivery of world class health care.

“This screening test will help providers at the VA prescribe the most appropriate medications at the right dose for cancer survivors,” Wilkie said. “Our goal is to continue delivering the best care possible for our nation’s heroes, and this partnership helps us do just that.”


VAntage Point


  1. Patricia Kelly-Banks    

    Insurance providers are claiming to be making deals with TRICARE as they expand genetic cancer screening DNA testing in several states. One is based in San Antonio and already has several partnerships with major providers starting with Medicare.

  2. Jeannette Gale    

    I had disability when I was two years old in the Pentagon, my father was General George Gale. I can not seem to connect myself from their to now due to someone trying to say I am dead. Which I know I am not I need help. Dragonfly.

  3. tyrone sheppard    

    I am a desert storm vet and I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and hepatitis b and glaucoma.
    And the va.gave me a cap system and I was not my disability was not increased. And my case is still on going.

    1. Charles K Matthews    

      If you haven’t already, add Hep B, Sleep Apnea and whatever else to your claim with evidence it is Service connected. Best bet is talk to a Veteran Service Irganization for help. DAV, VFW, American Legion have Veteran service counselors to help.

  4. Russell T Brashars    

    Genetic testing for cancer can also show that you have a higher chance of developing cancer.

    So the V.A. Can say you didn’t get cancer from us it’s in your family genes or this was a Pre existing condition.

    So now it will go down to what type of cancer.

  5. Glynis J Fenn    

    This is wonderful, remarkable news. However – is there going to be genetic testing for those who may develop Parkinson’s? Dementia? Alzheimers? Those with traumatic brain injuries have a greater chance of developing these diseases, and there are so many out there. They could benefit from this testing to determine possible treatments that would delay the development of these conditions.

    Please – consider broadening the scope of this pilot program!

  6. Robert M. Philbrook    

    I worked 34 years for Uncle in the DC area and during that time it was common knowledge that the VA employed individuals who were not the smartest or the brightest. The VA at that time was a less than dynamic organization providing for a declining number of vets. Over the years these less than high achievers advanced to management positions in the VA and bought with them their less than competent skills. So what you see now in the VA whether it be facilities being late in completion and over budget or issues with delays or competence in the claims process I believe can be traced to VA staff being unable or unwilling to perform their job because they are not the best or brightest.

  7. Gregory Triplin    

    It’s a shame to see advertising for this innovative (redacted), but it still takes 2-3 to verify travel vouchers in NC. Two chiropractors in the state of NC, but you have to make several requests for outside referrals. A serious lack of direct oversight, as the hospital is supposed to be proactive as well as reactive. Looks like NC is HALF way there, AND that’s if you’re lucky! Hope I don’t die waiting for these (redacted) to get something right! #NCVASUCKS(redacted)

  8. Robert Reynolds Baker    

    Thanks for this updated info. Is any of this proposal available to retired Army Reserve or Arm National Guard Veterans?
    Please advise.
    Robert R. Baker USA Retired
    (PII redacted)

  9. Mackie J Humphries    

    I had the live virus shingles shot—it gave me the shingles and slowed my heart rate—had to be rescued by Nashville Fire Dept as I was unconscious—A year later VA still had not acted on my disibility claim—I have a pacemaker and have incurred considerable expense and owe my CU over $7000.Morgan and Morgan has accepted my case as part of a class action suit! VA had sent me a letter that my case would be completed by lastSept or Oct.However I’m still waiting.

  10. Luis Diaz Jr    

    I want to know wats is being done for the thousands of claims sitting at somebody desk and were waiting for a desicion on them for years? What is going on with these new doctors doing the C & P exams? They dont check your record!!!! I take 3 blood pressure medication for years thru VA for years and she determine that i do not have hypertension. That is only one example !!!

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