On Thursday, January 16, 2014, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS) celebrated being the first healthcare organization to be awarded Planetree Silver Merit recognition for Significant Advancement in Patient-Centered Care with a special award ceremony featuring presentations by Veterans and their loved ones who have received health care at the Ann Arbor VA. The event also featured presentations from Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management, Janet P. Murphy, and Dr. Tracey Gaudet, Director of VHA’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.
“We are thrilled to be the first healthcare organization to achieve Planetree Silver recognition,” said Robert P. McDivitt, Army Veteran and Director of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. “Our staff are deliberate in making sure that Veterans’ desires are incorporated into their treatment plans. We are very proud of the fact that Veterans are involved in the decision making process at VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.”
Planetree Recognition is unique in regard to its focus on patient-centered care, defined as a model of healthcare where professionals work with patients and families to identify and satisfy needs and preferences. VAAAHS was awarded Silver Recognition following a series of focus groups with Veterans and their loved ones, as well as healthcare staff that determined the VA Ann Arbor demonstrated genuine patient-centered care.
A Planetree affiliate since 2010, VAAAHS’ recent Veteran Centered Care initiatives highlighted their dedication to creating a healthy, homelike, healing environment for Veterans. A state-of-the-art Emergency Department and Inpatient Telemetry Unit were developed to provide higher quality care while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere for Veterans. Alternative Medicine offerings were expanded, including the development of a Tai Chi Mindfulness program, training in Healing Touch for nurses and volunteers, and the implementation of a traveling Relaxation Cart that offers stress-relief and smoking cessation support to all patients.
“VAAAHS gives me top-quality care and Veteran-Centered care is an important part of the treatment I receive,” said Terry Keck, Army Veteran and Ann Arbor VA Veterans Council President. “Staff members respect me as an individual; they want my input before, during and after treatment procedures. They want to know what I think and feel. This makes me comfortable and confident that they are giving me the best professional care possible.”
With the implementation of new Patient-Centered programs, VAAAHS aims to provide nothing but the highest quality care for our Nation’s Veterans. By providing healthcare that listens to the voice of the Veteran, VAAAHS will build on its Silver Recognition for Patient-Centered care and take its commitment to Veterans to even greater heights.