VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS) provides inpatient and outpatient care to a large geographical area that includes 20 counties in northern Nevada and northeastern California. The Reno campus is the site of the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center, which operates 64 hospital beds and 60 Community Living Center (CLC) beds. VASNHCS also manages community based outpatient clinics in Auburn and Susanville, CA, and Carson Valley, Lahontan Valley, Fallon, and Winnemucca, NV.
VASNHCS provides a broad array of inpatient and outpatient services in specialty medicine, surgery, primary care, mental health, and geriatrics and extended care. The hospital offers a wide range of diagnostic services, to include MRI, CT, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, as well as interventional cardiac catheterization services.
An important aspect of our services includes Geriatrics and Extended Care. This program includes rehabilitation, skilled care (post-acute), palliative care, respite care, geriatrics evaluation, transitional care, and long-term care. Planning statistics demonstrate a significant growth in our Veteran population aged 65+ through the year 2023.
The Reno Veteran’s Readjustment and Counseling Center serves Veterans and their families by providing a continuum of quality care that adds value for Veterans, families, and communities. Care includes professional readjustment counseling, community education, outreach to special populations, and providing a key access link between the Veteran and other services in the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Reno Vet Center is located at 5580 Mill Street, Ste. 600 in Reno. The Reno Vet Center now has a Mobile Vet Center (MVC) to assist Veterans in the highly rural communities of Northern Nevada and California.
VASNHCS was surveyed by the Joint Commission (TJC) in March 2016 in an unannounced triennial visit and received full accreditation. Over a four-day period our medical center campuses, primary and extended care center and outpatient clinics were accredited for Hospital, Long Term Care, Home Care, and Behavioral Health program standards. The healthcare system has full accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. VASNHCS also has full accreditation from the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc.
VASNHCS Office of IT Operations and Maintenance underwent a complete review by VA’s Office of Inspector General in May of 2013. The IT General Support system has been reviewed and certified.
The VASNHCS most recently underwent the latest Comprehensive Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program in September 2015. The HCHV received full accreditation.
The Community Living Center of the VASNHCS recently underwent an unannounced survey by the Long Term Care Institute (LTCI) over a 3 day period in November 2016.
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System has almost 100 academic affiliations across a wide array of clinical disciplines. The major academic affiliations for the VASNHCS are the University of Nevada, Reno, to include the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Psychology, and the East Bay Surgical Program at the University of California, San Francisco. Each year numerous medical, surgical, optometry, and psychiatry residents rotate through VASNHCS, as well as nursing, social work, psychology, pharmacy, pharmacy technicians, dietetic, speech therapist, and physical therapy students.
The VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS) has an active research and development program, with specific areas of interest in endocrinology, cardiology, neurology, neuro- ophthalmology, pulmonology, oncology, and suicide prevention. The Associate Chief of Staff, Research is a site lead for the VA funded Women’s Health Practice Based Research Network which promotes site participation in VA funded women’s health research. Approximately 90% of research funding is managed by the Sierra Veterans Research and Education Foundation, largely through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with pharmaceutical industry. Other research includes several VA Cooperative Studies Program projects and unfunded projects conducted by Pharmacy, Doctor of Nursing Practice students, other graduate level students, and VA employees. VASNHCS research is approved through the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Institutional Review Board (IRB) or through the VA Central IRB. The VASNHCS research program is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) and holds a Federal Wide Assurance. Research Service also coordinates review and approval of quality improvement projects that do not require Institutional Review Board approval. Research Service Office personnel support patient centered care principles for veterans participating in research projects. Comfortable seating is provided for research participants and they have wireless access as well as access to television. Light refreshments are provided to subjects who have lengthy waiting periods or who have been fasting prior to research procedures. Research Service conducts an annual, well-attended Research Week with local and guest speakers, offering continuing education for physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers. This is open to other VAs and to health care providers in the community.
Awards and Recognition
VASNHCS was recently recognized by the Office of Health Equity (OHE) for achieving Leadership Status. Leadership status is granted to those facilities who have met performance standards on four criteria: Patient Non-Discrimination, Equal Visitation, Employment Non-Discrimination, and Training in LGBT Patient-Centered Care
The Joint Commission recently awarded the VASNHCS with Top Performer in Key Quality Measures Recognition for 2013. The award was presented in 2014. This is the second time that the VASNHCS has earned this designation.
The Cornerstone Recognition Program enhances the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) process and recognizes accomplishments for patient safety at the facility level. The program is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety (NCPS) and was established in 2008. VASNHCS has received the Gold Cornerstone Award for 2015.
Achieved Health & Human Service’s Gold Recognition – National Hospital Organ Donation Campaign
VASNHCS was one of only 2 VAMC’s to receive this designation in 2015. The Sierra Donor Network formally recognized the VASNHCS as a Partner in Life for its ongoing Donate Life Flag Raising program.
VASNHCS created a comprehensive Honors Escort program that provides a dignified transfer of deceased Veterans when the pass. The military inspired program provides for a ceremonious transfer of a recently deceased Veteran with an honor guard detail that includes the Veteran’s family. The program has become a best practice in the VA and is being replicated at VA Medical Centers around the country.