VA Concept of Care Proves Beneficial for Patients - VA North Texas Health Care System
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VA Concept of Care Proves Beneficial for Patients

Harpist Noko Stromberg playing for patients at Dallas VA
Friday, January 27, 2012

When patients walk into a hospital, they may expect to see and hear certain things that remind them of a hospital environment. Narrow corridors, colorless walls and confusing signs and processes are all things VA North Texas Health Care System is actively changing for its veteran patients. Although some areas haven't been physically updated, changes are being made one by one. The complete transformation is imminent while some aspects are already in place.

Patient centered care and PACT (Patient Aligned Care Team) are both concepts designed to improve and enhance the delivery of health care services and the patient’s overall experience. VA North Texas is actively adopting both concepts at all of its locations. 

With two medical facilities in Dallas and Bonham, outpatient clinics in Fort Worth and Tyler, and six community-based outpatient clinics in surrounding cities, veterans are noticing the difference.

Some of the newer clinics, both Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic and Polk Street Annex, were opened with patient centered care and PACT concepts in place.

At the Polk Street Annex, patients are assigned to a team that includes a medical provider, registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse and a clerk. Patients are able to build relationships and identify with the same four team members at every visit. Other features the Polk Street Annex offers are: ample parking, faster check-ins and appointment reminders from their team, just to name a few.

Today the clinic represents a model for others to emulate. In fact, Polk Street was named as a Center of Innovation by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Patient Centered Care. What's more, eight clinical teams at Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic were recognized as top PACT performers among other national leaders in VA. 

Focusing on the softer side of medicine, new activities like yoga and tai chi are available as well. Activities such as music and pet therapy, which both serve to provide therapeutic healing to patients, are also changing the care veterans receive. In an ongoing effort to build provider-patient relationships, veterans are now able to enjoy the benefits of private rooms in some areas with more renovations to come.

Already established programs such as shared medical appointments have contributed to the overall improvement in coordination of care. In shared medical appointments, patients are able to visit with their health care team in a group setting. This has proven to be helpful for the management of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

"With the PACT model of care, we have seen an increase in veteran satisfaction when it comes to overall health," said Praveen Mehta, M.D., chief of Ambulatory Care. "Teams are able to focus on wellness of the mind and body and not just illness."

VA North Texas is a strong leader in the delivery of health care to veterans in its service area. With its major affiliations and partnerships, VA North Texas is able to maintain a reputation of being a trusted provider of health care for those who served.

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