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Veterans Health Administration

 

VHA Health Care Priorities

In September 2022, the Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, announced VHA’s priorities, identifying key areas to focus our resources, time and attention going forward for the next couple years.

These six VHA priorities are the top–level strategic and operational advancements of the greatest importance that must be achieved by VHA. They are intended to be clear and actionable achievements that deserve our top performance, our focused commitment, and the best use of our available resources.

“These are big challenges—each of them a high mountain peak to climb—yet our mission will call out the best in us. The American people count on us to climb these mountains successfully…and we are ready. There may be hurdles in our climb, but I believe there are no barriers. And—remember—we are not climbing these mountains alone. I can’t think of a better equipped, seasoned, passionate, able, and committed group of professionals to accomplish our challenging mission than you—my teammates of the Veterans Health Administration.”

– Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Under Secretary for Health

Two doctors talking to patient in hospital room.
Dr. Shereef Elnahal, USH, visiting the Orlando VAMC.

VHA Priorities

One of our top priorities is to improve the VA hiring process. Fulfilling VA’s mission to provide the top-notch care our Veterans deserve is only possible with an enterprise-wide team of the best and brightest in their respective fields.

To hire the best, we must speed up the hiring process. We cannot lose quality candidates to competitors because it took us too long to make an offer. And to retain the best, we must take care of our employees with competitive wages and benefits so they can focus on taking care of our Veterans.

To fulfill this priority, we will build upon:

  • Onboarding employees faster
  • Accelerating HR Specialist training and readiness (HR STAR)
  • Investing in VA employees

To deliver the soonest and best care possible for Veterans, VHA is incorporating technology into all aspects of the health care experience from setting appointments to meeting with a provider. Technology allows Veterans to benefit from more convenient, patient-centered care. This includes access to electronic health records from home or through a mobile device via MyHealtheVet, as well as telehealth solutions that ensure Veterans get the right care in the right place at the right time, from a location of their choice.

To fulfill this priority, we will build upon:

  • Access initiatives
  • Care coordination
  • Referral Coordination Initiative (RCI)

On August 2, 2022, Congress passed The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This once-in-a-generation policy ensures Veterans qualify for benefits to treat illnesses resulting from exposure to toxins during deployment.

It is now our responsibility to implement the PACT Act and deliver its promises to Veterans. We must swiftly and effectively prepare our delivery system to treat Veterans affected by military environmental exposure, conduct research on military environmental exposure and implement the authorities included in the Act to ensure we hire and retain the best staff possible to treat affected Veterans.

To fulfill this priority, we will build upon:

  • Veterans exposure resources
  • Treating Veterans’ whole health
  • PACT Act

Every day across VHA, dedicated employees work to deliver safe, high-quality care to Veterans. Our staff continuously weaves HRO principles and values into the fabric of our culture by continually asking, “What does this have to do with helping a Veteran?” HROs experience fewer accidents, despite operating in complex, high-risk environments. As of October 2022, more than 93% of staff have completed HRO Baseline training. HRO is a part of our everyday work in VHA; now it’s time to turbocharge it.

To fulfill this priority, we will build upon:

  • Ensuring Veteran access
  • Enhancing Veteran care
  • Recognizing employee commitment to HRO

VHA empowers and equips Veterans to take charge of their health and well-being and live life to the fullest. When we treat the entire person, and not just a particular symptom or disease, we not only care for a Veteran’s most immediate health concerns, but also consider what the Veteran needs and wants.

Our Whole Health System of Care is already profoundly impacting Veterans’ health and well-being. Still, it’s time we did more by pushing the boundaries of how we expand Whole Health even further. Our Veterans deserve more because their sacrifice and our mission demand it of us.

To fulfill this priority, we will build upon:

  • The Homeless Programs Office (HPO)
  • Veterans Canteen Service (VCS)
  • The Whole Health approach to Long COVID

Every Veteran suicide is a tragedy. Many have experienced first-hand the immeasurable pain it causes. Our top clinical priority is preventing Veteran suicide and will require a full public health approach, combining community and clinical-based interventions.

The National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, clinical practice guidelines for VA and Department of Defense (DoD) and the White House Strategy on Reducing Military and Veteran Suicide provide the foundation for VA’s suicide prevention initiatives including Suicide Prevention (SP) 2.0 and SP Now. We are calling on all partners, stakeholders and communities to help us reach Veterans and reduce Veteran suicide. We will never give up the fight to combat Veteran suicide, but we cannot do it alone.

We will fulfill this priority by building upon:

  • Enhancing Veteran access
  • Enhancing Veteran care
  • Making progress

Strategic Enablers

Strategic Enablers are foundational to every decision we make in supporting VHA’s long–range goals. They are informed by comprehensive public and private reports, as well as Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), Congress, unions and other partners.

  • Retain, invest in, and support our people.
  • Scale best practices and drive innovation.
  • Improve our technology systems and workflows.
  • Drive equity for women, minority and LGBTQ+ Veterans.
  • Modernize our facilities into the future.
  • Collaborate with VSOs, tribes, states, advocates and agencies.

VHA Long-Range Plan Framework

VA provides more care, benefits and services to more Veterans than ever before. To fulfill our most sacred obligation, our work must be aligned, integrated and synchronized across the country. VA works tirelessly to ensure we do what is right and best for Veterans.

The VA Strategic Plan principles, the VHA Long–Range Plan Framework goals and the VHA Priorities and Strategic Enablers shape our decision-making and form the basis for how we deliver timely, world–class health care and provide Veterans and their families the benefits they have earned.

VA’s Fiscal Year 2022–2028 Strategic Plan outlines four fundamental principles — access, advocacy, outcomes and excellence. To reinforce these principles,  VHA created the 2022–2025 VHA Long–Range Plan Framework.

The Framework designates four goals:

  • Goal 1: Veterans choose VHA as their health care provider and coordinator, built on trusted, long–term relationships
  • Goal 2: VHA delivers high–quality, accessible and integrated health care
  • Goal 3: VHA maximizes performance through shared ownership and is on the forefront of innovation
  • Goal 4: VHA optimizes assets across the enterprise

Connecting the Pieces

The 6 VHA Priorities and Strategic Enablers are foundational to every decision we make in implementing VHA’s long–range goals. Both are strategic — the 6 VHA Priorities are the focus for the upcoming one to two years, while the Long–Range Plan Framework spans the next three to four years. These share the same goal — to marshal our resources and strengthen our systems so that VA performs at its best for Veterans.

Together, the VHA Priorities, Strategic Enablers and Long–Range Plan Framework will help us perform more efficiently and effectively. These complement one another and support the work already being done to meet VHA’s mission — honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well–being.

View the VHA Priorities Brochure.