briefs by wuxiangyu


                                         2010 Budget Includes Transformation Initiatives

                      March 2010
                                         T     he VA Heart of Texas Health Care
                                               Network has received the first two
                                         quarters of its 2010 budget, which to-
                                                                                    ward to innovative new programs
                                                                                    aimed at reducing complications associ-
                                                                                    ated with health care, improving access
                                         tals more than $2 billion for the entire
                                         fiscal year.
                                                                                    for Veterans in rural areas, increasing
                                                                                    investment in Mental Health services,
                                            The funds are allocated to the net-     and transforming VHA’s culture
Women’s History Month                    work according to a formula known as       through patient-centered care to im-
                                         the Veterans Equitable Resource Allo-      prove Veteran and family satisfaction,
Thank you Women Veterans!                cation (VERA) System.                      among other things.
                                            VERA allocates the Veterans Health         One such initiative, for which the
Of the 1.8 million U.S. women vet-       Administration’s budget ($44.2 billion     network has received $8 million this
erans, more than 450,000 have en-        for 2010) to the 21 integrated service     year, is the “Medical Home Model.”
rolled in the VA health care system.     networks based on complexity of care          The Medical Home Model replaces
That number is expected to grow by       and forecast workload for the coming       care that is driven by a patient’s ail-
30 percent in the next five years        year. The VA Heart of Texas Health         ments on a given visit (“episodic care”)
                                         Care Network then distributes the funds    with coordinated care and a long-term
More than 212,000 women service
                                         to its four health care systems (VA        healing relationship.
members have been deployed to
Iraq and Afghanistan; 11 percent of
                                         Texas Valley Coastal Bend HCS be-             When it is fully implemented, the
the deployed force -- 120 have been      comes fully independent from South         Medical Home Model will provide Vet-
killed in action and more than 600       Texas Veterans HCS in October 2010)        erans with ongoing relationships with
wounded.                                 based on workload and other factors.       their personal physicians, enhanced
                                            The network received about 4.56         access and a team of health care provid-
The average age of women veter-          percent of the VHA budget for 2010.        ers from clerks to pharmacists.
ans is 48 years old, compared to         New for 2010 are funds set aside for the      In this model, the team’s work liter-
an average age of 61 for male veter-     “Transformation into the 21st Century      ally revolves around the patient, rather
ans. Nearly all newly enrolled           Initiatives,” or “T-21” initiatives.       than requiring the patient to navigate a
women veterans using VA health
                                            T-21 reflects Veterans Affairs Secre-   system that sometimes seems to be set-
care are under 40 and of childbear-
ing age.
                                         tary Eric Shinseki’s guiding principles    up for providers’ convenience.
                                         for the VA: that it will be people-           Pilots of the model have shown im-
All VA Medical Centers have ap-          centric, results-driven and forward-       proved patient satisfaction, and, more
pointed a full-time Women Veter-         looking.                                   importantly, much better than normal
ans Program Manager. These                  As a result, Veterans can look for-     clinical outcomes.
managers support and coordinate
increased outreach to women veter-
ans, improve quality of care provi-
sions and develop best practices.

 Network News is a publication of
 VISN 17, the VA Heart of Texas
 Health Care Network. Contact:

      Aaron Reed, Electronic Media
      Coordinator, 817-385-3796,;
      Diana L. Struski, Public Affairs
      Officer, 817-385-3768,; or
      Bill McLemore, Congressional
      and Veterans Service Organiza-
      tions Liaison, 512-433-2019,
Stimulus Funds Go to Work for Texas Veterans
Nearly $8 million slated for patient care and infrastructure improvements

F   unds from the President’s Eco-
    nomic Stimulus Plan, officially
known as the American recovery and
                                             Upgrading the water system to re-
                                             place the water tower, main pump
                                             house and ground water storage tank
Reinvestment Act (ARRA), are being           for $745,081;
used in the VA Heart of Texas Health         Improving site drainage for
Care Network for construction and            $800,000;
maintenance projects.                        Improving roads, including parking
                                             lots, sidewalks and curbs, for
                                                                                                                   Artist Rendering
  The VA North Texas Health Care             $900,000;
System received $7.9 million to:             Upgrading windows for $747,000;         Polytrauma Center Funded
  Expand the primary care unit at the        Renovating the Recreation and Mu-          The VA announced in February the
  Sam Rayburn Memorial VAMC at               sic Building for $1 million.            award of two contracts totaling $41.5
  Bonham, for $2 million;                                                            million to fund the construction of the
  Renovate a medicine bed unit to en-        The South Texas Veterans Health         Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center and
  hance patient privacy at the Dallas      Care System received $7.96 million to:    to improve the existing wards at the
  VAMC for $2.2 million; and                                                         San Antonio VA Medical Center.
  Design and upgrade the fire alarm          Purchase and renovate 25,000 square        One contract announced by Secre-
  system at the Dallas VAMC for $3.7         feet of Department of Defense space     tary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki
  million.                                   for the South Bexar Outpatient          provides $37.2 million to Robins and
                                             Clinic for $3,525,000.                  Morton of Birmingham, Ala., to build
   The Central Texas Veterans                Refurbish the an operating room at      the three-story, 84,000 square foot
Health Care System received $7.9             the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Vet-       Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center on
million, which will be used for projects     erans Hospital (San Antonio VAMC)       the San Antonio VAMC campus.
at the Waco VAMC, including:                 for $600,000;                              The center will offer physical medi-
                                             Replace the air handler at the Kerr-    cine, rehabilitation services, prosthetics
  Modifying air conditioning and ex-         ville Division for $1.9 million;        services and research. It will be the fifth
  tending the chilled water loop for         Replace roofs on four buildings at      polytrauma center in the VA system.
  $2.5 million;                              the Kerrville Division for                 A $4.3 million contract, awarded to
  Relocating Canteen dining and retail       $1,184,000; and                         Strategic Perspectives Development of
  store for $500,000;                        Upgrade the boiler plant at the Kerr-   San Antonio, provides for upgrades and
  Upgrading electrical feeder for            ville Division for $756,173.            expansion to a surgical inpatient ward
  $760,000;                                                                          at the San Antonio VAMC.

                                                                                     New: Online Help for
   March 2010 Priority 8 Outreach Events                                             Wounded Warriors
   4: National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) Waco VA Art Show &
   Awards Program, 4800 Memorial Drive (Stracke Auditorium), Waco, TX –
                                                                                        The federal departments of Veterans
   Sharon White, 800-423-2111, ext. 42002.
                                                                                     Affairs, Labor and Defense recently
   6: Veterans Benefit and Health Care Seminar, First Baptist Church, 209 N.         unveiled an improved one-stop Web
   6th, Teague, TX – Sherley Mitchell, 800-423-2111, ext. 40681.
                                                                                     shop for wounded warriors.
   9: Hiring Heroes Workshop & Career Fair, Fort Sam Houston, TX – Gene-                The National Resource Directory is a
   vieve Joson, 210-617-5300, ext. 15735.
                                                                                     comprehensive, free, online tool for
   13: Texas Veterans Land Board, 1721 E. Central Expressway, Killeen, TX –          wounded, ill and injured service mem-
   Joshua Bailey, 800-423-2111, ext. 40683.                                          bers, Veterans and their families.
   19-21: Yellow Ribbon Event, DFW Metroplex (TBD) – Master Sgt. Harold                 Visitors to the site can find an exten-
   Starkey, 318-218-1099.                                                            sive range of information about Veter-
   20-21: Yellow Ribbon Event, San Antonio (TBD), TX – Ron Acon, 210—617-            ans’ benefits, including disability and
   5300, ext. 14298.                                                                 pension benefits, VA health care and
   25: NVCAF Music Video Taping, 4800 Memorial Drive (Medical Media Stu-             educational opportunities.
   dio), Waco, TX – Dianne Thompson, 800-423-2111, ext. 42225.                          The site also offers access to emo-
   27: Veterans Benefit Fair, 2120 West Irving Blvd., Irving, TX – Michelle          tional, financial and community assis-
   Davis, 214-498-8174.                                                              tance for Veterans’ caregivers.

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