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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System


VAAAHS Receives Patient-Centered Care Award


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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Recognized by Planetree for Significant Advancement in Patient-Centered Care

One of the patient rooms in the newly built Inpatient Telemetry Unit, which was built with the Veteran in mind.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System has been awarded Planetree Silver Recognition for Significant Advancement in Patient-Centered Care. VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System is the first health care organization in the United States to be awarded Silver-level recognition since Planetree first introduced the recognition level in 2012.

What distinguishes Planetree Recognition among other health care quality awards is its distinctive focus on patient-centered care, defined as a model of care delivery in which health care professionals partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences.  The award is conferred based on a variety of factors, including performance on traditional quality indicators, review of policy documents and, most importantly, how patients and staff assess the organization’s patient-centered culture.  Silver Recognition was awarded to the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System following a series of focus groups with Veterans and their loved ones, as well as staff from a multitude of disciplines and divisions within the healthcare system.  Considered collectively, these discussions with Veterans and staff attested to a genuine culture of patient-centered care.

“The experience of VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System shows what can be accomplished when a team of deeply committed, supremely innovative and highly-driven caregivers take the courageous leap to re-define priorities and re-organize systems to put Veterans first,” shared Susan Frampton, Planetree’s President. 

A Planetree affiliate since 2010, the achievement of Silver Recognition by the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System is a significant milestone in the organization’s culture change journey, evidencing that effective policies, practices, tools, and systems are in place to meet a broad range of Veteran, family, and professional health caregiver needs and preferences. 

“We are honored to be the first Planetree Sliver Recognition recipient in the United States and it is a powerful testimony to our staff’s focus on providing personalized, proactive, patient-driven care,” said Robert P. McDivitt, Director of the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Recent Veteran Centered Care initiatives at the Ann Arbor VA include a state-of-the-art Emergency Department and Inpatient Telemetry Unit constructed using Planetree design principles creating a homelike, healthy, healing environment for Veterans. Complementary and Alternative Medicine offerings were expanded, including the development of a Tai Chi Mindfulness program, training in Healing Touch for nurses, Comfort Touch hand rubs offered to inpatients by trained volunteers, yoga classes piloted at the Flint Community Based Outpatient Clinic, and the implementation of a traveling Relaxation Cart that offers stress-relief and smoking cessation support to both inpatients and outpatients.  A Healthy Teaching Kitchen series offers hands-on cooking classes to Veterans with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and is even co-taught by a Veteran volunteer who is also a culinarian.  Finally, the healthcare system actively solicits the Voice of the Veteran by appointing Veteran representatives to various medical center committees and task forces.

“I appreciate that the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System values Veteran participation in its planning processes; the presence of the Veterans Council clearly indicates the willingness and desire of Veterans to contribute and have a voice in the care we receive,” said L. Lori Young, Army Veteran, Ann Arbor VA Veterans Council and Main Lobby Redesign Team Member.

The program is an extension of Planetree’s established Patient-Centered Hospital Designation Program®, the only program to recognize excellence in patient-centered care across the continuum of care and around the world.  Health care organizations awarded Patient-Centered Hospital Designation® undergo a rigorous process to demonstrate comprehensive implementation and maintenance of patient-centered care, as captured in more than 50 specific criteria.

In 2012, Planetree introduced two intermediate recognition tiers—Bronze Recognition for Meaningful Progress in Patient-Centered Care and Silver Recognition for Significant Advancement in Patient-Centered Care, each designed to celebrate organizations that have fulfilled a significant portion of the designation criteria.

“Planetree awards Silver Recognition for Significant Advancement in Patient-Centered Care to celebrate organizations’ progress along the culture change journey,” said Frampton.  “In this spirit, we look forward to witnessing how the team at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System builds on this achievement to take its commitment to delivering Veteran-centered care to even greater heights.”