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VA Honors Top Health Care Facilities

Washington – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Florida and the Louisville VA Medical Center in Kentucky were selected this year as the top healthcare facilities with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), culminating an intense, fact-based evaluation of VA operations.

Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould, who presided over the awards ceremony, said the 13 VA organizations cited in the awards are “at the forefront of organizational excellence – organizations that want to improve upon their accomplishments and build a legacy of excellence by delivering high quality care and benefits to America's men and women who have served in uniform.”

Bay Pines and Louisville will share this year's Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Trophy – VA's top honor for organizational performance.  

The Bay Pines Healthcare System in Florida consistently performs in the top 5 percent of all VA health care facilities.  Bay Pines demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation through its use of technology, “Go Green” chemicals, and adoption of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association's “Get with the Guidelines” program.  Bay Pines is also pursuing Magnet Recognition, an award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The Louisville VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Kentucky partners closely with the Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox to provide integrated care to service members as they transition to Veteran status.  Louisville VAMC has been recognized consistently for its effective operations that result in better outcomes for Veterans.  Recent recognitions for the Louisville facility include the 2009 Kentucky Award for Performance Excellence, Level 3 Achievement (the second-highest of four award levels); the 2008 VA Carey Excellence Award, and a three-year winning streak for its Systems Redesign Team in VA's Mid-South Healthcare Network.

“At VA, we have been blessed with a career force of men and women who come to work every day with one goal in mind – to care for Veterans,” Gould added. “Whether in operating rooms, rehabilitation clinics, benefits offices or cemeteries, the Department's mission resonates powerfully with the workforce.”

Selection criteria for the Carey award are based on the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria and scoring guidelines.  The Baldrige criteria assess leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, knowledge management, workforce focus, process management and results.  As part of the selection, a panel of external Baldrige criteria experts reviewed and objectively assessed the performance of VA organizations competing in this program. 

Other top-performing VA organizations recognized by the Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence program include:

  • The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, for its model practices in emergency medical response, transforming care at the bedside, and outreach to Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom;
  • The James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital and clinics in Tampa, Fla., whose Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center is recognized by VA as one of the finest and most comprehensive chronic pain rehabilitation programs in the nation.
  • South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio, with one of three National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical research centers in VA and several joint ventures with the Department of Defense. 

Other VA organizations receiving special recognition as achievement winners include:

  • Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Kentucky; 
  • The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System;
  • The VA Maryland Health Care System in Baltimore;
  • The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, in Fayetteville, Ark.; and
  • The Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center. 

Three previous Carey Award-winning facilities -- the Minneapolis VAMC, the Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research, Pharmacy Coordinating Center in Albuquerque, N.M., and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont -- will be honored during the ceremony with “Circle of Excellence” awards for sustained excellence.

The Robert W. Carey Quality Award, presented annually since 1992, is named for the former director of the VA Regional Office and Insurance Center in Philadelphia who died in 1990.  He was a champion for excellence in the federal government and led his office in initiating a total-quality management approach to serving Veterans and their families.