2008 Annual Report
VA Medical Center
50 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20422
Medical Center Director’s Message
“I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know:
the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” - Albert Schweitzer
Of the many meanings of service, undoubtedly the one that stands-out is military service in defense of our nation's democracy and its citizenry. That's why it's such a privilege to work each day in service to those who served –
In 2008, the ―Flagship of VA Health Care‖ served in a
manner that brought pride to our staff and volunteers - and to VA. This annual report reflects that pride by presenting the milestones of this year's operations; enhancements in the use of electronic technology to improve patient care, management policies that ensure timely access to care, patient safety and satisfaction, and business practices that reflect quality care delivered efficiently, making the most effective use of resources and funds.
We have accomplished this in a year when we expanded services for OEF/OIF veterans, blinded veterans, homeless veterans and female veterans, initiated long-awaited and necessary construction improvements and strengthen our workforce to better serve all our patients.
This year, the staff and volunteers of the Washington DC VA Medical Center sought and found a new way of service … a new way of defining our service to veterans and to our Department. We've joined together all our many jobs into just one. By unifying our service, we've strengthened it. And, we intend to carry this strength of purpose into 2009. We have a challenging and complex task, but a simple mission, “We take care of veterans!”
New Executive Leaders
As the new Chief, Facilities Management
and Engineering Service, Ms. Scott-Bedford is
responsible for construction, equipment repair and
upgrades to the facility. Ms. Scott-Bedford holds a B. A. in Biomedical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University.Tech University.
Thomas E. Ross Sr.
Mr. Ross is responsible for planning and directing
sanitation services, interior design, hazardous waste management and linen management
operations. He received his B.S. in Health Care Services from Southern Illinois
University and a M.A. in Management and Supervision and Health Care Administration
from Central Michigan University.
Ms. Lansing is responsible for oversight
of all safety programs including industrial
hygiene, emergency management and Green
Environmental Management Services (GEMS). She
previously served as a Navy Nurse Corps Officer. She received her B.S. in Nursing from Russell Sage College and her M.S. in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Employee of the year
Housekeeping Aide, Car los Moore, was
named the Washington DC VA Medical Center
Employee-of-the-Year at a ceremony on April 25. Mr. Moore was selected due to his ―relentless efforts to achieve high standards and his
extraordinary positive attitude,‖ according to Medical Center Director Fernando O.
Employee Appreciation Day
DCVAMC employees are appreciated and rewarded for their dedication to service. Significant reductions in staff turnover confirm their commitment to the mission of serving our nation’s veterans. Each and every employee and volunteer was recognized for
our year of achievement at a series of Employee Appreciation Holiday Celebrations on held on
Executive Leadership Training
In 2008, the DCVAMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion, formerly The Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO),
developed the Executive Leadership Training Series, which offers four training sessions for supervisors and managers. The first session focused on the Federal-sector EEO process and included topics on EEO counseling, investigations, Alternative Dispute Resolution. Session Two dealt with Human Relations. The third session on Crisis Communications included an expert panel discussion featuring WUSA9 TV co-anchor Derek McGinty, Matt Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, VACO; and Daniel C. Devine, Director, Office of the Deputy Secretary and Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional & Legislative Affairs. The fourth session highlighted Cultural Diversity
and was videotaped and shown as a best practice to a national audience. Each session was
well-received and attended by more than 100 managers and supervisors.
Employee Turnover Rate
Chart shows a 30% decrease in employee turnover in 2008. An additional 172.8 Full-time
employees hired since October 2007!
50 Years of Service
Dr. George White, Chief of General Surgery, has more than 50 years of government service. White, a veteran himself, has achieved many milestones during his tenure at the Medical Center, including starting one of the first VA Breast Clinics in 1986, and performing the first laparoscopic surgery at the Medical Center in 1992. White says, ―I
love my work too much to stop‖.
Community of Caring
(administers donations and manages volunteer staff)
Cash donations: $ 169,982
Activity donations: $ 37,146
Regular volunteers: 875
Volunteer man- hours: 77,676
Participating VSOs: 33
DCVAMC volunteers and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) complement the care provided at DCVAMC by giving their time, talent and donations to support veterans receiving treatment. Additionally, VSOs provide vehicles and volunteer drivers and support special events and projects of the Medical Center.
Medical Program Highlights
A Medical Technology Leader
DCVAMC clinicians take great pride in creating innovative and enhanced uses for technology that advance patient care. Once such innovation, a first for VA and the nation, is the use of technology to send EKGs from the emergency department directly to physicians' Blackberry devices. EKGs help cardiologists determine if a patient is having a heart attack. When minutes count, having the ability to email EKGs to an on-call cardiologist can be the difference between life and death. The American Heart Association recognized this DCVAMC initiative as a first at a scientific conference held in November in New Orleans.
Hand with the Department of Defense
DCVAMC is the pilot site for the joint
Evaluation System ( D E S ) a l l - i n - o n e examination for active duty personnel on referral from their military disability board. This exam determines both fitness to return to duty and provides the soldier a rating for his/her VA benefits. Over 800 service members participated in the DES pilot at the Medical Center. It was so successful that the program will now roll-out to 20 other military bases and VHA facilities. Additionally, DCVAMC and Walter Reed Army Medical Center are working together under a two-year grand to provide renal transplants to veterans. Renal transplant offers the best survival rate and quality of life to patients with end-stage kidney disease. This cooperative agreement helps veterans expedite transplant services.
DCVAMC’s new Polytrauma Rehabilitation unit with expanded space
and equipment will be a center of state-of-the-art treatment and rehabilitation for returning combat veterans. The facility provides occupational and physical therapy, aquatic therapy, acupuncture, yoga and massage, Wii Therapy and has a driver simulation unit.
In September an in-house training program for legally blind veterans was established. It starts with comprehensive vision exams to determine the level of impairment and life-skills training needed. To date 55 visually impaired veterans have received the exams, 13 have completed the training program. Program staff has been expanded to include three Low-Vision Therapists, a Low-Vision Optometrist and administrative personnel.
01/12/08 Winterhaven Homeless Veterans Stand Down
The Medical Center brought health care, employment services, and housing support to nearly 300 homeless veterans in the Washington, DC metropolitan area on January 12. The day-long program was successful in reaching veterans who had not used VA, in screening veterans for HIV/AIDS, and in matching veterans with services to help them lead independent lives. Over 150 veterans took advantage of the services of IRS consultants. Forty veterans were surprised to find out they were due an income tax refund checks.
02/2008 Black History Month
In February, DCVAMC hosted special presentations celebrating Black History Month with music, movies, poetry and guest speakers. Washington, DC city Councilman-At-Large, Mr. Kwame R. Brown and World War II Tuskegee Airman, Curtis Robinson, author of A Pilot's Journey, were special guests.
02/10/08 Spinal Chord Injury Symposium
DCVAMC partnered with the Christopher Reeve Foundation in February to host a Spinal
Cord Injury Symposium. The day-long event featured a panel of experts from the
Christopher Reeve Foundation, Department of Defense and DCVAMC as well as guest
speaker, actor Daryl ―Chill‖ Mitchell.
02/21/08 Salute To Hospitalized Veterans
The USO and DCVAMC partnered to pay tribute to hospitalized veterans in February. The 21st annual week-long Salute to Hospitalized Veterans included a musical salute by young recording artist Ryan Holland and a performance by the Washington Wizards Dance Team. The salute also included special appearances by Ms. Amanda Lewis, Miss Washington D.C., Wilbert Forbes, Maryland's Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Cheryl Lasker-Hall, USO Chief Executive Officer, as well as a host of visitors from local military bases, civic organizations, and businesses. The event concluded with the USO's Miles of Smiles - the World's Longest Valentine.
05/21/08 Fisher House Ground Breaking
On May 21, Medical Center and Fisher House Foundation officials broke ground for the new 20-suite Fisher House adjacent to the Medical Center. Once completed, the Fisher House will provide free lodging for families of hospitalized veterans who are undergoing treatment at the Medical Center. The involvement of family and friends is an important part of recovery and rehabilitation for many veterans with war-related injuries and illnesses.
06/14/08 Welcome Home
On June 14, theMedical Center sponsored a day-long outreachevent to formally
welcome home and honorreturning combat veterans who recently servedin Operation
Iraqi Freedom, OperationEnduring Freedom (OEF/OIF), and the Global War on Terror.
Family members werewelcomed too. A wide variety of services wereoffered from
health screenings, to job, education and housing support. Entertainment and a barbecue was enjoyed by the more than 500 active duty military personnel who participated.
09/10/08 Suicide Prevention Awareness Rally
The Office of Veterans Health Communications sponsored a Suicide Prevention
Awareness Rally on September 10 hosted by DCVAMC. The standing-room only crowd
learned about VA initiatives to support veterans in need, like VA's toll-free
Suicide Prevention Hotline. Featured guests included Mss America 2000, Heather French Henry, Former Redskin Defensive End Charles Mann and the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders.
09/17/08 Rock the Vote
Crew members from Rock the Vote assist veterans and employees at the DCVAMC Medical Center with voter registration Sept. 17. Rock the Vote is a non-partisan program which uses music, popular culture and new technologies to engage and entice young people to register and vote in every election. In one hour, the crew registered 59 new voters—14 patients and 45 employees.
10/10/08 Chapel Renovations
DCVAMC celebrated its newly renovated All Faiths Chapel in October. Renovations include a new sound system, ceiling, lighting, altar, pulpit, carpet and seating. Commemorative plaques on the new cherry wood pews honor those who contributed to the renovations.
DCVAMC sponsored a one-hour news talk program on WUSA 9, the CBS affiliate, on Veterans Day, November 11. The show included on air interviews with representatives from the Medical Center, the Veterans Benefits Administration and local veterans' organizations. A manned phone bank took calls from veterans during the program. Nearly 90 calls from the public were received on subjects relating to general veterans' benefits, claims, clinical appointments, employment and interest in Medical Center Programs. WUSA9 partnered with DCVAMC, providing televised advertisements for the 2008 Welcome Home event.
DISEASE MANAGEMENT FY08
Hypertension Well Controlled
Veterans Health Administration = 75.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 78.70%
Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension Well Controlled
Veterans Health Administration = 78.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 84.60%
Cholesterol, After Heart Attack Well Controlled
Veterans Health Administration = 66.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 70.80%
Community Acquired Pneumonia, Timely Treated with Antibiotics Veterans Health Administration= 93.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 93.20%
RECOGNIZED IMPROVEMENTS FY08
Offered Medication to Assist with smoking cessation Veterans Health Administration = 92.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 93.20%
Pneumococcal Vacination -Outpatient
Veterans Health Administration = 94.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 95.00%
Screened for at risk alcohol usage
Veterans Health Administration = 91.00%
Washington DC VA Medical Center = 96.00%
ACCESS TO CARE
Patients (New) Seen Within 30 Days of Request
Audiology -Veterans Health Administration = 90.00% Audiology - Washington DC VAMC = 99.80%
Cardiology - Veterans Health Administration = 91.00% Cardiology - Washington DC VAMC = 97.50%
GI -Veterans Health Administration = 87.00% GI - Washington DC VAMC = 97.60%
Primary Care -Veterans Health Administration = 94.00% Primary Care -Washington DC VAMC = 98.30%
Urology -Veterans Health Administration = 89.00%
Capital Asset Expenditures in 2008
NRM Construction $13,274,033.63
Minor Construction $8,790,090
Our Driver Rehabilitation Simulation System is an example of DCVAMC’s investment
in emerging technology to better care for our veterans. Driver Rehabilitation helps
veterans who have suffered strokes or have other medical conditions. The therapy also
helps newly returned combat veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury regain their
Medical Center Workload
MEDICAL CENTER WORKLOAD FY2008
Outpatient Visits - 600,658 569,235
Inpatient Visits - 6,772 6,557
Unique Patients - 55,426 54,704
MEDICAL CENTER WORKLOAD FY2007
Outpatient Visits - 569,235
Inpatient Visits - 6,557
Unique Patients - 54,704
DCVAMC 2008 Achievements
Research Service, led by highly-regarded endocrinologist and gerontologist Dr. Marc R. Blackman, conducts a variety studies including; HIV/AIDS, vascular disease, mental health, Traumatic Brain Injury, substance abuse, endocrinology, and rehabilitative medicine. DCVAMC is developing numerous new, interdisciplinary research programs with local, regional, national and international partners in academic hospitals, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and industry. Research grant income in FY08 was approximately $14.6 million.
The Medical Center had a very successful year in accreditation surveys by the Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the College of American Pathologists, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the American Association of Blood Banks, the Accreditation of Human Research Protection and the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.
In July, DCVAMC was recognized as a ―100 Most Wired‖ hospital by the American
Health Association’s (AHA) Hospitals and Health Networks magazine, the only Washington, DC hospital included on the list, in addition we earned a finalist award in the AHA ―Innovators‖ Award category.
In August, our hospital's Public Affairs program won VHA's premiere communications award, ―Visionary for Communications‖ and two honorable mention awards – for the
2007 Annual Report, and for the Welcome Home Celebration.
September saw our Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom task force on the podium to receive the VA's Olin E. Teague Award for excellence in rehabilitative care.
In October, the Medical Center was named a 2008 winner of the Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Award for management and business processes that ensure consistent service and quality care for veterans.
We ended the year with a wonderful local honor from the National Capital Area Health Care Council. The Matthew F. McNulty, Jr. Award was given to Medical Center Director Fernando O. Rivera and the Medical Center for leadership in quality care. This award marked the first time a federal facility was recognized.
At DCVAMC, we think our medical staff is among the best in the nation. It's wonderful when the broader health care community.
Dr. Anton Sidawy, Chief of Surgical Service , appreciated youthful dream fulfilled when he was named Editor in C h i e f o f t h e prestigious Journal of Vascular Surgery.
The Medical Center successfully recruited more than 128 nursing staff in 2008. DCVAMC attracts some of the best and brightest nurses in the nation's capital and twenty-two of them made the ―Top 100 Extraordinary Nurses‖ of the Washington DC Metro area.
Dr. Ross D. Fletcher, Chief of Staff, received wide acclaim for his study of seasonal variation in blood pressure (BP) Using a database of over 500,000 veterans. Fletcher showed BP goes down in the summer and up in the winter, despite geographic area. VA leads the nation in controlling BP. Nearly 80 % of DCVAMC’s patients have BP’s in the
Dr. Richard Rosse, Chief, Psychiatry Service, was selected as one of America's
Top Doctors for 2008 by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publishers of the Guide to America's Top Doctors and Northern Virginia Magazine. Additionally, Dr. Rosse is the recipient of Georgetown University's 2008 Thayer Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Dr. Gregory Trachiotis was named a ―Top Thoracic Surgeon of 2008‖ by Washingtonian
magazine. Dr. Mitchell Wallin was included in the best neurologists and Dr. Elizabeth Cobbs was selected in the geriatric medicine category. The publication polls over 6500 r a n d oml y - s e l e c t e d a r e a physicians to make selections. Dr. Wallin was also chosen for membership in the highly selective American Neurological Association. Only 1,000 neurologists out of 30,000 in the U.S. are members.
A study by Peter Kokkinos, Ph.D., Director of the DCVAMC Exercise Testing and Research Lab, made headlines when the results were published in the January issue of Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association. The study found that even modest exercise improves health and extends life. Over 15,000 patients participated in the seven-year study.
Now and Thens (photos and write ups correspond with cover photos)
1. Alyce Dixon
Ms. Alyce Dixon, 101 years young, is a World War II veteran, currently
residing at the Capitol View Living Center in the Medical Center. She was among the first in the Women's Army Corps, entering the service in April 1943. Ms. Dixon's intelligence, humor and spirit are an inspiration to her co-residents and DCVAMC staff.
2. Frank Stultz
Frank Stultz served on the U.S.S Biloxi near Hiroshima during WWII.
Now, he volunteers at DCVAMC putting together and delivering ―comfort packages‖ for
new patients admitted to the hospital. He says he enjoys his work because it gives him a chance to talk with other veterans and it keeps him active and involved
3. Johnnie Collins
Johnnie Collins served 21 years in the U.S. Army,
two tours in Vietnam and three tours in Korea. In 1998, he became the stNational 1 Vice Commander of AMVETS and continues to serve our
America's veterans as the AMVETS' State Executive Director for the Washington, DC area.
4. Chuck Gallina
Colonel Charles ―Chuck‖ Gallina (USMRet.)
spent 30 years in the U.S. Marines during Vietnam and the Gulf War. Col. Gallina now serves his nation as the National VAVS Representative for the Knights of Columbus. Through his efforts and the support of the Knights, veterans enjoy a new coffee bar located in the Pharmacy waiting area.
5. Susan Kohut
Susan Kohut volunteers in the DCVAMC's Business
Office. Her work keeps her connected to veterans and
she enjoys the friendly environment. She praises
VA health care, calling it convenient and
6. Craig Carpenter
Craig Carpenter served approximately ten years as
a U.S. Army Combat Medic. His military career took him to Panama,
Somalia, Haiti and the Persian Gulf. Now he serves his fellow veterans by volunteering at the Medical Center’s Outpatient Laboratory, Neurology Clinic, Capitol
View Living Center and Public Affairs Office.
7. Marcus Adolphus
Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran M a r c u s Adolphus, is a former
Transitional Patient Advocate with extensive experience working with returning combat veterans and their families. As a veteran and a social worker, he brings compassion, experience, and dedication to his new
position as case manager.
8. Jacab Gadd
Volunteering gives Jacob Gadd ―a chance to give back‖. After serving five
years as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Gadd volunteers at the DCVAMC as a service representative for the American Legion. ―It's given me a chance to meet some outstanding heroes
and gain experience in a specialized field‖.