South Florida Hospital News
Saturday November 17, 2018
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November 2018 - Volume 15 - Issue 5

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Honoring the Commitment to America's Veterans Everyday

Letter from   
Miguel H. LaPuz, M.D.
Network Director, VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8)
 
On Sunday, November 11 we will observe Veterans Day to honor Veterans for their service to our great nation.  Whether during time of war or peace, we can never fully repay the sacrifices of these men and women and their families.  For employees of VA, however, every day is Veterans Day.  
 
I am honored to serve as the Network Director of the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8), where nearly 30,000 dedicated employees, many who are Veterans themselves, work every day honoring VA’s mission and commitment to care for those “who shall have borne the battle.”  Every year, 600,000 Veterans choose VA when they walk through the doors of our health care facilities in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin islands to receive the health care benefits they earned through their service. They trust us to provide high-quality care where and when they need it.  This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.
 
In the last year alone, we have made great strides in improving access to care, modernizing and expanding facilities, and adding new programs. To name a few, we opened a newly renovated inpatient unit at Bay Pines that features private and semi-private rooms and state-of-the-art medical equipment.  In Gainesville, the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center was designated as a National Innovation Center of Excellence where employees are working on creative and innovative ideas that have positively impacted the lives of Veterans. In Miami, we were able to announce, along with our partners, we have effectively ended homelessness.  This summer the Orlando VA hosted more than 900 disabled Veterans for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  The VA Caribbean Healthcare System endured one of the most destructive hurricanes last year but they were able to reopen nearly all of their facilities within two weeks ensuring Veterans continued to receive care.  In Tampa, we are building a second Fisher House, opening a new outpatient clinic in south Hillsborough County, and broke ground on a new bed tower that will provide nearly 140 additional inpatient beds.   The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center developed a suicide prevention task force with local community partners to mitigate suicide among Veterans in the community.  Many of our hospitals have added robotic surgical equipment, new cancer treatments, and all have established Same Day Access for primary and mental health care.  We are also implementing a Whole Health model – a holistic system of care that focuses on addressing the mind, body, and spirit of the Veterans we serve – across our facilities.
 
VISN 8 strives to deliver state-of-the-art, accessible, effective health care services to the men and women we are privileged to serve – they deserve nothing less. However, we are not infallible. Hospitals are complex organizations with 24/7 operations and constantly moving parts. When we don’t meet our patient’s expectations, we want to know so we can work to improve their experiences.  
 
To close, I would like to personally thank all the Veterans who trust VISN 8 facilities for their care. We are indebted to them, and it is my goal to uphold our nation’s promise by delivering exceptional health care services they have earned through their service to our great nation. Happy Veterans Day from all of us at VISN 8!
 
Sincerely,
 
Miguel H. LaPuz, M.D.
Network Director, VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8)
 
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