The Veterans healthcare system: Preparing for the twenty-first century

Kenneth W Kizer, M. L. Fonseca, L. M. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since its establishment in 1946, the veterans healthcare system has greatly expanded in both size and responsibility. It is now the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, the nation's largest provider of graduate medical and other health professional training, and one of the largest research enterprises in America. It is also the nation's largest provider of services to homeless persons, an essential provider in the public healthcare safety net, and an increasingly important element in the federal response to disasters and national emergencies. Patterned after what was considered the best in American healthcare, for most of the past 50 years the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare has focused primarily on acute inpatient care, high technology, and medical specialization. Now, in response to societal and undestroyed forces, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is reengineering the veterans healthcare system, changing the operational and management structure from individual hospitals to 22 integrated service networks and transitioning the system to one that is grounded in ambulatory and primary care. This article briefly describes the history and functions of the veterans healthcare system, its service population, and key aspects of its restructuring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-298
Number of pages16
JournalHospital and Health Services Administration
Volume42
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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