Playing to the crowd of more than 300 healthcare administrators and executives from federally operated hospitals and other facilities, physician Robert Petzel, the under secretary for health for the Veterans Health Administration, said the VHA and U.S. Defense Department's Military Health System will continue to look for ways to coordinate their respective healthcare services for current and former members of the armed forces.
VHA, Defense continue seeking joint efforts
Petzel gave the keynote address at the Joint Federal Sector breakfast today at the American College of Healthcare Executives' annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago. The breakfast brought together administrators and executives from the VHA and three branches of the military: the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. Also in attendance at the head 15-person table were Thomas Dolan, ACHE's president and CEO, and Christopher Van Gorder, ACHE's chair and president and CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego.
Petzel described the current level of cooperation between the two government systems as “unprecedented” and offered up three examples of that cooperation at work.
First, Petzel cited the pilot project in San Diego through which the VHA and Kaiser Permanente and subsequently the DOD began sharing patient data electronically.
Second, Petzel cited the new hospital being built and to be run jointly by the VHA and the Navy in North Chicago, Ill. The Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center is scheduled to open Nov. 30. The new hospital will serve as the “launching pad” for the third example Petzel cited of cooperation between the two federal healthcare systems, and that's a jointly built and operated medical center planned for El Paso, Texas. That facility would be a partnership between the VHA and the Army.
Still, Petzel said much more can be done to coordinate the care of current and former military personnel.
“Your soldiers are our patients,” Petzel said. “We will work together and do whatever is necessary to make sure these vets get the best care anywhere.”
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