VA and 13 community health systems pledge to share data to improve Veteran health care

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a pledge with 13 health care systems to share data to improve the Veteran experience regardless of where Veterans receive their health care — inside or outside of VA.

Through this pledge, VA and the 13 health care systems will work to improve Veteran health care by seamlessly exchanging information about care provided and requested; save money for Veterans by ensuring that they are taking advantage of VA and community resources; and connect Veterans with VA benefits, including new benefits for toxic exposure-related conditions under the PACT Act. As with all partnerships, VA will safeguard the privacy and security of Veteran information.

The health care systems partnering with VA in this effort are Emory Healthcare, Inova, Jefferson Health, Sanford Health, University of California Davis Health, Intermountain Health, Mass General Brigham, Rush Health, Tufts Medicine, Marshfield Clinic, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals, University of Pittsburg Medical Center, and Atrium Health.

“This pledge will improve Veteran health care by giving us seamless, immediate access to a patient’s medical history, which will help us make timely and accurate treatment decisions,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “It will also empower VA to send helpful information to our partner health systems that they can then offer to Veterans in their care — including information about new benefits we are offering under the PACT Act, no-cost emergency suicide care, and more.”

The data sharing goals outlined in this pledge could greatly benefit Veteran patients and the providers who care for them, while helping reduce financial burden for Veterans. For example, this type of information sharing could help inform a non-VA doctor that a Veteran experiencing an acute suicidal crisis should receive care at no cost, under VA’s new policy. Additionally, it could inform a non-VA doctor about how the PACT Act could help a Veteran patient – thus empowering the provider to encourage that Veteran to file for benefits.

As a part of the pledge, VA and the participating health systems will continuously develop and provide capabilities that support three objectives:

  • Accurately identify Veterans when they seek care from providers in the community.
  • Connect Veterans with VA and community resources that promote health and health care — especially VA services that lower Veterans’ out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Responsibly and reliably coordinate care for shared patients — whether or not they are enrolled in VA health benefits, including exchange of information about care requested and provided.

Any health system or provider that supports the pledge’s objectives is encouraged to participate. Those signing the pledge begin their work in October, striving to provide proof-of-concept in early 2024. Learn more about the pledge or contact [email protected].

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