Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center
VA Secretary Supports Mann-Grandstaff VAMC
Leadership of Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center welcomed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Chief of Staff Pam Powers, to Spokane October 17, 2018. The Secretary, a former Naval Reservist and current Air Force Reserve Officer, met with VA’s Northwest Network Director, VBA Regional Director, and Dr. Robert Fischer and Spokane’s “exceptional team and staff committed to advancing the future of VA health care - throughout the entire Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Secretary Wilkie and Chief of Staff Pam Powers, (Col. USAF Ret.) voiced their support for VA’s role in building coalitions and developing agreements with Spokane’s new WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and the University of Washington/Gonzaga Medical School consortium – expected to educate and produce 140 medical students each year in Spokane. VA’s Designated Education Officer in Spokane, Dr. Kimberly Morris, MD, CMD briefed Secretary Wilkie of Mann-Grandstaff’s ongoing efforts to advance VA and medical schools’ partnerships.
Graduate Medical Education (GME) has become a popular topic among the public-private health care industry in Spokane, Washington State’s second largest city. In addition to supporting on-site residency programs and clinical rotations for practitioners, GME will also provide teaching opportunities for MGVAMC physicians and Nurses who can further advance the new Spokane Teaching Health Center as well. Secretary Wilkie relayed his own experience with VA’s Fayetteville, NC campus and its many affiliations with nearby University Medical Schools and military installations like Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, Army’s Fort Bragg, and Seymour Johnson AFB within its catchment area.
Secretary Wilkie’s visit to Washington State included touring the VA campus in Walla Walla, attending the Military Family Summit at nearby Fairchild AFB, and Spokane’s VA medical center. He explained to reporters, “Washington State has the perfect mix of active duty, technical infrastructure, rural components, and a large number of Veterans.” The Secretary openly shared his support of VA and GME in Spokane, as much as he’s prioritizing development of VA’s new Electronic Health Record Modernization effort with the Department of Defense’s Fairchild AFB near Spokane and Joint-Base Lewis McCord near Tacoma, WA. Secretary Wilkie says GME and new Electronic Health Record Modernization for Mann-Grandstaff VAMC will benefit Veterans and the health care systems and providers throughout the region – and beyond.
Spokane’s and Puget Sound’s VA Health Care Systems are the first VA sites to begin development, integration, testing and deployment of the new electronic health record for VA’s entire network of more than 1200 medical centers, “which is the largest program VA has ever undertaken. We are going to test it here in Spokane. That will be the template for the entire country,” Wilkie said.
The Secretary’s visit also allowed him to personally recognize and honor outstanding employees at Mann-Grandstaff VAMC. Among them, Dr. Richard Parry, a Physiatrist creating success for Veterans through VA’s “whole health” model of care. Parry, a popular physician among Veterans, VA staff, and Spokane’s medical society, is also credited with helping a former Navy SEAL regain his strength and mobility, allowing the Veteran to walk again two years after a private-practice surgery went bad for the Veteran.
The visit to Spokane also afforded Secretary Wilkie to dedicate a new 4,700 sq. feet Sterile Processing Suite, double the size of the previous work area – because of demand for increased services from more than 35,000 “unique” Veterans relying on Spokane’s VA. A ribbon cutting was followed by an up-close look at the unit, meeting the SPS team and demonstrations of advanced technology and new instrumentation.
During the tour at VA, Secretary Wilkie also saw the limited amount of space inside the medical center’s Primary Care clinic. Mann-Grandstaff VAMC’s strategic plan includes increasing capacity for Veterans access to care and teaching space for MGVAMC staff once the GME partnership brings medical students to VA for their training.
Secretary Wilkie’s first-ever visit to Spokane was followed by stops in Seattle and a trip to VA’s Anchorage, AK health care system. “We are beyond the turmoil because of the approval of the new VA Mission Act, Electronic Health Record modernization, and the Accountability Act,” he said. “We’ve never had this much attention to covering the work you’re doing here [in Spokane] for Veterans. Secretary Wilkie praised Spokane’s VA leadership for its commitment to Veterans, the military, and health care community, emphasizing the importance of partnering with local institutions, “is the right course with VA’s mission and strategic goals.”