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VA "aggressive new approach" targets Texas clinics

The Veteran's Administration (VA) has announced a new effort for improving healthcare at their facilities. This will include improved strategy, support, and leadership at both the national and local level.

Fifteen low-performing clinics are being especially targeted, including three here in Texas. The facilities in Harlingen, Big Spring and El Paso are slated for major overhauls now that they have been identified as among the lowest-performing in the nation.

A four-point plan

The new approach by the VA includes a four-point plan for turning around the underperforming facilities, which includes these measures:

  • Implementing centralized and accountably leadership at the national level with direct oversight by the VA Office of Reporting, Analytics, Performance, Improvement, and Deployment (RAPID)
  • Setting specific targets for improvement in key areas through an initiative called Strategic Action Transformation (STAT)
  • Deployment of teams of quality improvement coaches to the facilities that have been identified as underperforming
  • Requiring quarterly reviews of the facilities in question

The leadership at the facilities being targeted is under the gun. The VA promises that they will be replaced if improvement is not realized at these locations.

Texas facilities already responding

The Director of the Big Spring hospital, Kalautie JangDhari, welcomes the changes. She notes that they have been making improvements for the last several months. "I think this is only going to fast-track us a little bit more on our trajectory that we were already on," she told the Abilene Reporter-News.

In Harlingen, the response is similar. This facility has been particularly conscious of streamlining the relationship with other hospitals and clinics in the area which partner with the VA. Their plan includes making use of local resources to provide options for veterans without excessive red-tape.

Continuous improvement

There are no direct deadlines for meeting the goals to turn these facilities around. The VA is expecting advancement in each quarterly report to show that they are developing a culture of continuous improvement as they work towards their goals.

This represents a significant change at VA clinics, especially here in Texas. The local leadership is going to be held accountable and given new resources to turn their clinics and hospitals around. Veterans and the VA will be watching to see how effective the new program turns out to be.

Our veterans deserve the best care, and three facilities here in Texas were found to be below the standards which meet that. We all hope for a quick turnaround.

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