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Veterans Health Administration


SMAG Progress Report 2016

In May of 2015, a reconstituted Special Medical Advisory Committee (SMAG) held its first meeting. The SMAG, chartered by the Federal Advisory Committee Act since 1945, advises the Secretary and Under Secretary for Health on matters related to clinical care, research, training, and planning on shared issues facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).  The appointment of 14 new members, all of whom are health care leaders from private, public, and nonprofit sectors, came at a critical juncture for VA, as it was struggling to manage increased demand for health care services.

As the federal government transitions to a new administration, the members of the Special Medical Advisory Committee feel it is important provide a glimpse into the group’s work and findings thus far. Therefore, on January 13, 2017, the Special Medical Advisory Committee released a progress report highlighting the significant progress made over the past 18 months and acknowledging the significant work still ahead for VA as it sets the course for long-term excellence and reform

The members of SMAG feel that the VA is well on it’s way to creating a successful Veteran-centric organization that meets the needs of all Veterans, going far beyond providing health care.

Numerous outcome studies have shown VA performs as well as, if not better than, the private sector on many measures of health. VA is advancing health care not only for Veterans, but all Americans.

Results from internal surveys designed to measure Veteran satisfaction with their ability to access care and their trust in VA’s commitment to provide that care are informing efforts to improve the Veteran experience—trust in VA care has increased from 47 percent in 2015 to 60 percent in 2016.

For more about the Special Medical Advisory Group and their progress, the full report can be downloaded and read here.

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