VA Further Improves Care Coordination for Veterans, Realigns Several Program Offices

November 26, 2018

In an effort to further modernize efforts to improve efficiency in care coordination for Veterans and meet a presidential executive order for reorganizing the executive branch, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has realigned several programs within its Veterans Health Administration (VHA) into four offices. 

“The realignment creates greater accountability and clearer governance for the program offices that perform these critical functions,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement.

The realignment, which is a requirement of Executive Order 13781, Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch, aims to enhance and improve care quality for Veterans. The realignment will improve coordination of services within the areas of population health; education and training of health care professionals; research, academic affiliations; engineering services; and human resources (HR).   

According to the VA, population health will consolidate six programs into one new office to reduce administrative burden on the Veterans Integrated Services Networks and hospitals.

“This consolidation will enable facilities to target issues common to their market area and, based on the populations’ health in the region, align with other federal agencies to promote best practices based on public and private institutional standards,” the VA explained.

The Office of Academic Affiliations and Office of Research and Development will realign under the new Discovery, Education, and Affiliates Networks office. This office will provide a collaborative environment that will address the most complex health concerns facing Veterans, while improve medical care for all Americans.

Further, the Engineering and Environment of Care functions will be integrated into a single office to improve coordination between related environmental and safety initiatives and provide a world-class health care environment. According to the agency, VA Medical Centers will now have a single point of contact for safety issues, and the consolidation of functions ensures high-quality safety standards.

Finally, HR will merge four headquarters-based HR groups with similar functions into one office. This will create a more efficient HR organization and provide more transparent and consistent service, according to the VA. Additionally, the VA explained that a more efficiently functioning HR Service in VHA will improve the quality and efficiency of central office functions, which are essential to VA providing high-quality health care to Veterans. 

“Integrating and consolidating offices will allow VA to reduce bureaucracy and focus on meeting Veterans’ needs,” Secretary Wilkie concluded.

The realignment began on November 25, 2018.

Julie Gould

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