VA Maryland Health Care System
Honoring Those Who Have Served
It's Veterans Day, a day we salute and honor those men and women who have served in the United States armed forces. It's a day we reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of our service members and their families. It's a day we demonstrate that our gratitude toward Veterans is more than mere words. On Veterans Day, countless ceremonies are held across the country as we pause to honor those patriots who have safeguarded our liberty. From Bunker Hill to Bagdad, we are the beneficiaries of their vigilance and determination to uphold the democratic beliefs on which our nation was founded. What better way to thank our Veterans than to make sure they receive the care and support they need when they need it?
Readjusting to civilian life is not always easy for some Veterans, but the VA Maryland Health Care System can help to make that transition seamless and smooth. We have a team ready to assist post-9/11 service members by coordinating their care and guiding them to the appropriate support programs. We also have specialized services and personnel ready to assist the unique needs of all Veterans, regardless of their era of military service.
Earlier this year, the VA Maryland Health Care System experienced an unprecedented loss of primary care providers that resulted in a temporary increase in our wait times for new patients to get a primary care appointment. We apologize if these delays created any hardships for our new Veteran patients, but we immediately implemented an aggressive action plan to resolve this issue. The action plan included reinstituting Saturday primary care clinic hours, hiring 13 new primary care providers, and increasing the capacity for primary care clinic appointments. The plan also included partnering with Evergreen Health Care to offer new Veteran patients a primary care appointment within a matter of a few days to a week.
While this has been a challenging time for us throughout the VA Maryland Health Care System, we have remained committed to our mission of providing safe, quality and compassionate care to Veterans. This commitment was recently recognized by The Joint Commission, which awarded full accreditation to the VA Maryland Health Care System following an unannounced, weeklong survey. During their exit briefing, The Joint Commission survey team recognized the VA Maryland Health Care System's culture of quality and safety, and congratulated the staff members for maintaining transparency throughout the organization. It is our duty and privilege to provide Maryland's Veterans with the care they have earned through their service and sacrifice. This is a duty we take very seriously.
To salute and honor the men and women who served in the armed forces this Veterans Day, please help to make sure that they are receiving the services they need and deserve. If you know a Veteran who needs assistance, please encourage them to enroll for VA health care by visiting any VA Maryland Health Care System facility throughout the state, by contacting our Enrollment Center at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324, or by visiting our website at www.maryland.va.gov and clicking on "Become a Patient." Our Veterans served, and it is now our turn to serve them.
Dennis H. Smith
Director, VA Maryland Health Care System