The Veterans Health Administration has long been at the forefront of progress in reducing hospital-associated infections. Through adherence to best practices, investment in effective interventions, and thorough educational opportunities for staff, the VHA has been able to reduce the most common HAIs. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the VHA was able to protect residents of long-term care facilities at levels unmatched outside of the federal agency. A huge part of this success is due to the multi-faceted Environmental Programs Service, which ensures that every aspect of the patient's environment is safe. In today's post, we will look at these facets, and how they come together to protect our honored veterans.
Despite recent controversies about the quality of care in VA hospitals, the network of 163 acute care hospitals and over 1,000 outpatient clinics is actually a national leader when it comes to many treatments and outcomes. Due to incidents of patient harm stemming from, among other issues, prolonged wait times for procedures, the VA instituted a rigorous self-evaluation as well as evaluation from outside experts. The results pointed to changes needed for improvement, but also revealed successes and positive outcomes where the VA exceeds private sector health care. One of those areas is in infection control, and today's post will explore how the VA achieved a leadership role in this area.