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About us

At the VA San Diego Healthcare System, we’re dedicated to improving the lives of Veterans and their families every day.

About the VA San Diego Healthcare System

The VA San Diego Healthcare System provides you with outstanding health care, trains America’s future health care providers, and conducts important medical research.  

Health care and services

We provide you with health care services at various locations in and around San Diego. Facilities include our Jennifer Moreno VA Medical Center and community-based outpatient clinics in Chula Vista, Escondido, El Centro, Kearny Mesa, Oceanside, and Sorrento Valley. We also operate a domiciliary facility that provides state-of-the-art residential care to Veterans who need extended care and rehabilitation for recovery, health maintenance, improved quality of life, and a smooth transition back into their communities. To learn more about the services each location offers, visit the VA San Diego health services page.

The VA San Diego Healthcare System is one of the leading health care systems serving Veterans in the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network. We’re an innovative care center within the Veterans Integrated Service Network 22 (VISN 22). VISN 22 includes medical centers and clinics in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico.  

Learn more about VISN 22 

Research and development

At the VA San Diego Healthcare System, we conduct research to discover knowledge, develop VA scientists and health care leaders, and create innovations that advance health care for Veterans and the nation. We offer Veterans the opportunity to participate in and benefit from our work. Our goal is to use research to promote better health and health care for all. 

Our research and development service is one of the largest research programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs. In FY2023, we received over $49.3 million in research funding, 162 principal investigators, 639 projects.  

Several of our investigators have received the William S. Middleton Award–the highest national VA research award–for their contributions to the study of kidney function, HIV/AIDS, alcohol/drug addiction, and memory. 

Teaching and learning

The Jennifer Moreno VA Medical Center is a teaching hospital that provides a full range of health services for Veterans, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research.  

Our medical center is primarily affiliated with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. We also have a partnership with San Diego University through the VA Nursing Academy, which provides funding to help VA health care facilities nationwide expand and strengthen their nursing programs.

Every year, we provide training for 1,341 medical interns, residents and fellows, as well as 514 other clinical trainees, in areas such as nursing, pharmacy, dental and dietetics.

We’re proud of our partnerships with top institutions and organizations that support the educational mission of the VA. 

Fast facts

  • The VA San Diego Healthcare System serves the health care needs of about 88,641 Veterans in San Diego County and Imperial Valley County in California. Our health services are available to more than 231,083 Veterans who live in the area.  
  • The VA San Diego Healthcare System opened in February 1972. When it first opened, the hospital provided emergency medical support after an earthquake caused extensive damage throughout the Los Angeles area.   
  • Our medical center is located on 26 acres of what was once Camp Calvin B. Matthews, a Marine Corps rifle range. 
  • VA San Diego Healthcare System has 296 authorized beds, including skilled nursing beds. We also operate several regional referral programs, including cardiovascular surgery and spinal cord injury.  
  • The facility also supports three Vet Centers at the following locations: Chula Vista, San Diego, and San Marcos.

Accreditations and achievements

Our facilities and programs have received accreditation from the: 

  • The Joint Commission
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF): Aspire Center, Spinal Cord Injury, Medical Rehabilitation, Wellness and Vocational Rehabilitation Enhancement, Homeless Veterans Programs, and Substance Abuse
  • Recovery and Rehabilitation Treatment Program
  • College of American Pathologists
  • American College of Radiology (ACR): Mammography, CT and MRI
  • American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)
  • American College of Emergency Physicians Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation 
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Registered Blood Bank and Mammography Program
  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA)
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 

The following are VA San Diego Healthcare System's achievements: 

  • VA San Diego Healthcare System became the first VA medical center in the nation to be named after a female Veteran. The main hospital in La Jolla became the Jennifer Moreno Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, named after U.S. Army Cpt. Jennifer Moreno, an Army nurse and San Diego native who gave her life in Afghanistan in 2013 while rendering medical aid to a fellow wounded soldier.
  • In March 2023, the VA San Diego Healthcare System renamed the 3rd floor, West wing, the Kathleen Bruyere Health Pavilion, and held an unveiling ceremony in honor of her legacy, with Bruyere’s family and friends gathered to celebrate her achievements.
  • VA San Diego Healthcare System received a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in July 2023. This was the first time CMS included VA facilities in their annual Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings. VA San Diego is one of only 47 hospitals across California that earned this top rating. Of the 45 medical facilities in San Diego County, VA San Diego is 1 of only 5 hospitals to receive a 5-star honor.
  • VA San Diego Healthcare System is ranked sixth in the nation in preventing deaths for heart failure patients, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. VA San Diego is the only Healthcare System in San Diego and Imperial counties to be ranked in the top 10 best hospitals for preventing heart failure deaths.
  • In 2023, VA San Diego rolled out a new Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) van that allows the healthcare system to continue bringing VA care to the community to serve Veterans, including homeless Veterans. This unit makes it easier for homeless Veterans to receive the care they need. 
  • The VA San Diego Healthcare System is the only Community Care Service in the nation that has developed software technology to deliver efficient, effective, and timely Veteran care. The Community Care Service has automated routine and repetitive tasking to allow Veterans to be seen as quickly as possible while also ensuring VA staff have medical records of care provided in the community.

Annual reports