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VA Pittsburgh recognized for age-friendly emergency care for older veterans

PRESS RELEASE

May 11, 2022

Pittsburgh , PA — VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s Emergency Department (ED) received a Level 3 Geriatric ED (GED) accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The accreditation assures older veterans VAPHS has age-friendly policies, training and equipment in place to meet their specific needs and elevate the level of their care.

“Older patients have special needs not always met by standard emergency care,” said Dr. Adrian D’Amico, VAPHS chief of Emergency Medicine. “As an accredited geriatric ED, we follow a clearly defined set of measurable criteria, standardized to improve the quality of emergency care for older adults.”

ACEP-accredited GEDs follow evidence-based policies, protocols and procedures that improve health care delivery for older adults. As an ACEP Level 3 accredited GED, VAPHS has training and programs in place to treat older veterans with complex conditions; identify unmet needs; and better coordinate follow-up care. It also provides mobility devices such as canes and walkers, and easy access to food and drink.

D’Amico said focusing care on older veterans is important because they often present with numerous chronic conditions, take multiple medications and have complex social and physical challenges. Older veterans, he said, use health care services often, “perhaps none as frequently or as importantly as the emergency department.”

In fiscal year 2021, patients aged 65 and older accounted for 53% of VAPHS’s 20,129 ED encounters.* 

Donald Koenig, VAPHS director, said the accreditation demonstrates VAPHS’s commitment to caring for all veterans at all stages of life.

“We are proud to serve veterans of all eras and work diligently to provide them with the best available health care,” said Koenig. “With this accreditation, older veterans know we are prepared to address their needs appropriately.”

VA in 2021 launched a geriatric emergency department initiative that aims to establish 70 VA EDs as GEDs by December 2022.

*Data source: VHA Support Service Center.

 

ABOUT VA PITTSBURGH HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) is one of the largest and most progressive VA health care systems in the nation. More than 4,000 employees serve nearly 80,000 veterans every year, providing a range of services from complex transplant medicine to routine primary care. VAPHS is a leader in virtual care delivery through telehealth technology; a center of research and learning with 130 research investigators and $14.8 million in funding in fiscal year 2021; and a provider of state-of-the-art health care training to some 1,500 student trainees annually. VAPHS provides care at medical centers in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and nearby O’Hara Township, both in Pennsylvania, and five outpatient clinics in Belmont County, Ohio, and Beaver, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania. An additional site of care is expected to open in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, in 2023. Veterans can call 412-360-6162 to check eligibility or enrollment. Stay up to date at pittsburgh.va.govFacebook and Twitter.

Media contacts

Liz Zemba, Writer/Editor

412-822-3479

vaphsmediarelations@va.gov

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