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Mountain Home VA still providing service to veterans

Contributed • Mar 30, 2019 at 10:00 PM

The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center has seen significant changes in its history, but what continues to remain the same is the commitment to veteran health care.

“We will soon expand into 13 sites of care around the region, including the newest clinic in Mountain City, tentatively scheduled to open in 2020,” said Kristen Schabert, public information officer at Mountain Home VA. “We are always looking at all options when it comes to offering new services to better support our veterans.”

The current VA originated during the Civil War as the first federal hospitals and domiciliaries ever were established for the nation’s volunteer military forces. The site opened as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and was known by that name from 1865 to 1930.

During that time, the facility was one of just a few that offered a national soldiers’ and sailors’ asylum to provide medical and convalescent care for discharged members of the Union Army and Navy volunteer forces. The asylum was the first of its kind in the world to provide civilian medical care to veterans of temporary volunteer forces.

“We have increased and continue to add services specific to primary care, geriatric and mental health providers and have renewed our commitment to rural veterans by adding staff at our community-based outpatient clinics, while also enhancing our telemedicine capabilities,” Schabert said.

“We reopened our sleep lab using a VA best practice and have added acupuncture and chiropractic pain management for those who need it most. JHQVAMC added a physician assistant to improve access to care for orthopedics. We have also added two optometrists to improve access for our veterans, which directly impacts their overall health care experience and satisfaction.”

Shabert said that Mountain Home VA Medical Center’s commitment to the veteran’s experience also broadened by adding  another “neurologist to increase inpatient consultation, keeping more admissions in-house and have developed a plan forward to increase dermatology and gynecology access.

“Infrastructure modernization has been a commitment as well as leveraging technology. We have demonstrated this by reopening radiation oncology, renovated the mental health clinic, and opened our 13-bed ICU that includes tele-ICU capabilities linked with the Cincinnati VAMC.”

As technology has advanced, the VA  has kept up with the latest innovations by featuring Telehealth options for veterans, including telehealth video-to-home with some specialties in which the veteran can attend appointments over a smartphone or tablet.

Schabert said the facility has grown from an Old Soldiers Home to a state-of-the-art high-reliability organization.

“JHQVAMC was recently selected as one of 18 pilot sites across the VA to lead the journey to becoming a High Reliability Organization. HRO is also championed by the Joint Commission as a way of improving all medical care in this country.

“As an industry at large, health care has been behind the curve in adopting principles and practices that improve safety. JHQVAMC is proud to have been selected to help lead this journey,” she said.

The VA is fully committed to enhancing veterans’ experience each time they visit the Medical Center. With new programs such as Red Coat Ambassadors, who provide wayfinding assistance and answer questions, to the upcoming Farmers Market scheduled to debut later this spring, we are committed to finding innovative ways to provide positive interactions at the facility.

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