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VHA recognizes its 75th year of caring for our veterans

Old sign for VA
Old sign for VA(WZAW)
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:08 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Over the last 75 years, the health care arm of the Department of Veterans Affairs – the Veterans Health Administration – has evolved to meet the unique health care needs of Veterans from every era and contributed to various advancements in health care innovations.

With more than 1,000 facilities nationwide, VHA is the largest integrated health care system in the country. Almost 70% of the country’s health care providers receive medical training at a VHA facility. The skills and knowledge they learn from VHA are implemented in hospitals and clinics across the country.

Since its founding in 1946, VHA has been a key innovator in health care, performing the first successful liver transplant, developing the world’s first implantable pacemaker, the nicotine patch and Hepatitis C medication and paving the way in the field of pain management.

Additionally, research work by VHA resulted in three Nobel prizes, seven Lasker awards, and numerous other national and international honors. In 2016, VHA established the VA National Precision Oncology Program with the purpose of helping doctors provide precise cancer care for Veterans, based on their genetic profiles, and aid in their access to new therapies through clinical trials. To date, over 20,000 tumor samples from 126 VA facilities have been submitted for next generation sequencing to determine treatments. Over a third of Veterans impacted by these new treatment options live in rural areas, regions where these services are in greatest need.

As the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic, VHA continues to care for Veterans at VA medical centers around the country and deploy VA medical staff to hot spots when needed. Additionally, VHA plays a critical role in supporting VA’s Fourth Mission of serving as the nation’s health care backstop and caring for non-Veteran citizens when called upon.

In addition to VA’s Fourth Mission efforts, VHA continues to pave the way for virtual care across the health care system at an unprecedented rate. The expansion of telehealth has allowed Veterans to continue to receive much of the same care they would have gotten in person. VHA expanded its telehealth capabilities at VA medical centers by nearly 1,500% from 4,000 daily virtual visits in January to about 31,000 to date.

VHA Executive in Charge Dr. Richard Stone joined the Deep Bench on NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Wednesday to discuss the administration’s rich history, current state and future.

For more information about VA health care benefits, visit www.va.gov/health-care.

For more information about all VA benefits, including the GI Bill, the VA home loan guaranty, memorial services and more, visit www.va.gov.

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