Columbia VA Health Care System
November 11, 2017
Letter to the Editor: Serving those who served
For the more than 241 years of our independence, patriots have stood watch over our liberty. From Bunker Hill to Bagdad, we are the beneficiaries of their vigilance and determination to uphold the democratic beliefs which are the foundation of our nation.
America has been blessed as no other country in history. The sacrifices of our armed forces have given us the security and freedom in which to grow and flourish as a nation –– in law, human rights, economics, science and technology, business, and the arts.
Every day, we see headlines that inform us that America is a beacon of hope and freedom to others across the world. Our country has drawn millions to our shores and serves as a model of democracy for the world.
The brave men and women who have chosen to serve in the military deserve our praise and respect, not just on Veterans Day, but every day, for without their selfless choice to serve we would not have the quality of life we have today.
This month our president has declared November Veterans Month, not just Veterans Day or Week, so we will commemorate America’s heroes and remember the sacrifices that they and their families have made.
I am overwhelmed with respect and admiration when I interact with the more than 83,000 Veterans served at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center or one of our seven outpatient clinics throughout the state, many of whom are also my work colleagues, friends and neighbors. I am also proud that 1,029 (40 percent) of my staff have decided to continue to commit their lives serving our military, now as members of the healthcare team at the Dorn VA.
Here at the Dorn VA Medical Center, we currently render care, comfort, and compassion to Veterans of all eras, from World War II to the present. Our mission is to be focused on providing exceptional, high quality health care.
Our health care system continues to aggressively hire new staff, purchase new technology, and construct new buildings to meet the ever-changing needs of the Veterans we serve at our main facility in Columbia and our seven community-based outpatient clinics in Anderson, Florence, Greenville, Rock Hill, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, and Sumter. In fact, just this year we were approved for $80-million in new construction projects and began the planning phase for a new Fisher House to be built right here on Dorn’s campus to assist Veterans and their families with housing during long-term medical treatments.
Additionally, Dorn VA Medical Center has developed an innovative approach to provide personalized health care grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships between health care providers, patients, and families. Veteran- and Family-Centered Care consists of a collaborative and comprehensive approach to providing care and decision-making, including the Patient Aligned Care Team initiative. Long-term goals of PACT are: (1) to provide improved access including alternatives to face-to-face primary care to meet Veteran needs and expectations, (2) to provide seamless coordination of care within VA and with non-VA providers; and (3) to redesign primary care practices and team roles to facilitate a patient centered culture of care. The care team considers all aspects of the Veteran’s health, with an emphasis on prevention and health promotion and care coordination through the collaboration of providers, Veterans, and their families.
And we must not forget our ever-growing female Veteran population. Currently, Dorn VA Medical Center treats nearly 9,000 female Veterans. Our women’s health clinic provides female specific primary care services, such as cervical cancer screens (Pap smears), breast cancer screens (mammograms), birth control, preconception counseling, Human Papillomavirus vaccine and menopausal support (hormone replacement therapy).
Male or female; old or young; black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or other nationality – an American Veteran is an American Veteran, and they deserve the best treatment we can provide. Each and every Veteran deserves our respect for their honor, courage, and commitment toward our country and its people. Every month, not just during November, we continue to be dedicated to serving the needs of these dedicated men and women living today who have served in this nation's armed forces.
The VA Secretary David Shulkin is leading the largest VA transformation we’ve seen in a long time, modernizing VA for today’s challenges, and the challenges that lie ahead. We’re focused on the needs of Veterans, from every generation, through five priorities:
- Giving Veterans greater choice so they can decide what works best for them and their families.
- Modernizing our systems and technology.
- Focusing our VA resources.
- Improving our timeliness in delivering services and benefits.
- The prevention of Veteran suicide.
At the end of each day, our true measure of success will be the timeliness, the quality, and the consistency of the services and support we provide. We will be measured by our accomplishments, not our promises. Our Veterans deserve nothing less.
So, on this Veterans Day, and throughout the year, my staff and I want to express our respect and commitment to Veterans from all eras, and thank each and every one of them, along with their families, for their service to our country. VA cares – Dorn cares.
David L. Omura, DPT, MHA, MS
Medical Center Director
William Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC