Privileged to provide care

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 09:06 AM.

Dear Editor,

The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System (NF/SGVHS) is honored and privileged to provide care to those who have earned and deserve the best health care possible. As one of the busiest VA facilities in the country with two hospitals (Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Gainesville and Lake City Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center) and 11 outpatient clinics we provided health care to more than 125,000 Veterans last year, which translated into 1.4 million outpatient visits, 575,000 specialty consultations, 185,000 radiology studies, 10,000 GI procedures, 8,000 surgeries, and 2,000 cardiac catheterization laboratory procedures.  Our work is expected to increase even further this year: since October 1, 2013, NF/SGVHS has cared for 14,672 new Veteran patients. 

Our employees – over 5,300 strong – (33 percent of whom are veterans) come to work every single day to provide the very best care our Veterans deserve. As I walk the halls of our hospitals and clinics, I see firsthand the care, compassion and dedication our staff show to those we are entrusted to serve.  Building and maintaining the trust of our patients must be accomplished one Veteran at a time. 

As our Veteran population has grown, our organization has continually worked on making improvements to providing access to care within our healthcare system.  We have established new clinic locations, expanded diagnostic and treatment options, extended our hours of operation, reviewed those waiting for care, and examined alternatives to providing care both within and outside of the VA.  We have made improvements in our ability to make available additional access appointments for our Veterans. Our efforts are complicated by limited capacity in the community to provide additional care, continuity of care, no show rates for clinic appointments, our clinic cancellations, space constraints, and scarcity of critical specialty physicians and primary care physicians.  Even with these challenges, I want to assure you that we will continue to strive to meet the needs of each and every Veteran we serve.

Thomas Wisnieski, MPA, FACHE


North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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