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Veterans Health Administration under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established on July 21, 1930 (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015).Veterans refer to individuals who, previously, have been involved in one of the seven uniformed services of the United States who meet the aspects of character of discharge and length of service as prescribed by law. The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to serving America’s veterans and acts as their principle advocate to ensure that all are entitled to effective medical care. To accomplish this, Veterans Health Administration is involved in providing the health care services.
Veterans Health Administration follows a business model for quality improvement. The focus to improve quality through the services that they provide have been based on various fundamental factors. One of the critical factors relates to decentralization. It acts through a set of regional networks rather than a centralized system [Percy, 2009]. This ensures that it improves the number and type of patients that each network reaches rather than concentrating on the number of medical procedures that the system performs. Effective data collection and feedback is another factor that contributes to the quality improvement business model. This factor ensures that the institution identifies the progress that it makes through quality improvement and rectify on the areas that hinder its service delivery.
The factor relating to performance contracts and incentives helps in focusing on both clinical and structural features. This factor helps the institution and its members to ensure that they meet the set specific goals of improving quality services (Percy, 2009). The other factor relating to the model of quality improvement is information systems. Information Technology (IT) has been crucial in improving a wide range of sectors based on how they deliver their services. Veterans Health Administration has invested in IT to improve the quality of the services to their customers. The launch of Vista, Computerized Patient Record Systems (CPRS) are some of the aspects related to Information Technology that the institution has utilized to improve its quality of service delivery.
Veterans Health Administration’s vision relates to provision of accessible, quality care for all veterans. The vision includes the fact that it will maintain its position of being the benchmark of value, excellence in healthcare through provision of exemplary services that are both evidence based and patient centered. The vision also highlights that services will be provided by collaborative and engaged teams in a setting that facilitates discovery, learning and supports continuous improvement. It also involves the fact that the institution will emphasize on the health of the population and contribute to the nation’s well-being (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 2018).The vision of this institution focuses only on serving eligible veterans. It guides the institution in ensuring that the veterans can access and receive quality health care services.
The mission of Veterans Health Administration’s is based on the promise of President Lincoln to those who were to be involved in any battle related to serving the United States. Its mission is to ensure it fulfills President Lincoln’s promise by caring for people who shall have borne the war, their children and widows. The mission observes that it can keep this promise by serving and honoring the people who are America’s Veterans. As explained earlier, America’s Veterans involve a specific group of people. It comprises of the army, air force, public health service, specific members of those who participated in Philippine armed forces, coast guard, navy, World War II merchants and marine corps (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015). The mission also encompasses those related to the veterans such as their parents, spouses, caregivers of those that are disabled, children and any eligible survivors.
In reference to its vision, mission and objectives, Veterans Health Administration has established a sustainable competitive edge in the healthcare sector. According to Oliver (2007), by the year 2006, evidence indicates that the institution had already gained a competitive advantage over the rest of the United States’ healthcare service providers. Through its vision of ensuring that its customers can access its services, the number of patients visiting the institution has been increasing each year. For instance, in 1995, it had 2.5 million patients and by an analysis that was carried out in 2005, the number had risen to 5.3 million patients (Oliver, 2007). This improvement recorded each year can also relate to the institution’s strategic objective of boosting its customers’ satisfaction through provision of better services. Over the period between 1995 and 2005, Veterans Health Administration established 1400 care sites. These care sites involved 207 counseling sites, 171 medical centers and 870 clinics.
According to the analysis of this improvement, the number of clinics associated with the institution over that period rose by 350 percent. By the year 2017, the institution had managed to cover for over 9 million veterans (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 2018).This evidence follows its vision, mission and objectives that have helped it to surpass the quality of services offered by other health care institutions in the country.
Objective evidence relates to the information based on facts and that can be proved and portrayed through analysis, measurements, objectives or any other means of research (Strevens, 2009). It, therefore, involves quantitative rather than qualitative aspects. In reference to the three tests of a winning strategy, the institution’s objectives, vision and mission support that it follows a winning strategy. For instance, the objective to provide better services has passed in all the three tests. The institution has a competitive advantage by improving its number of health facilities by 305% between 1995 and 2005. It also fits in the institution’s situation as it is reaching more people such as from 5.3 million in 1995 to 9 million patients in 2005. Despite providing cheap services to assist veterans, it has also qualified in performance test by producing better financial performance. Its annual budget of over $68 million in the past few years indicates some of its financial success (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 2018).
Department of Veterans Affairs. (2015). Department of Veterans Affairs FY 2014–2020 strategic plan. Accessed on January, 3.
Oliver, A. (2007). The veterans health administration: an American success story?. The Milbank Quarterly, 85(1), 5-35.
Percy, A. (2009). Quality initiatives undertaken by the Veterans Health Administration. DIANE Publishing.
Strevens, M. (2009). Objective evidence and absence: comment on Sober. Philosophical studies, 143(1), 91-100.
U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. (2018). Veterans Health Administration. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/health/aboutVHA.as.