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A Veterans Day Message From VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake
Date:11/7/2008

paid off, reducing the number of homeless veterans by nearly 40 percent from 2001 to 2007.

The number of veterans enrolled in VA health care has increased from 4.8 million to 7.8 million in the past eight years. Their care is provided by the Veterans Health Administration, an organization that excels in the provision of high quality health care, that has set benchmarks in patient satisfaction in the American Customer Satisfaction Index for seven consecutive years; that has substantially cut waiting times and improved access to care throughout the nation; and that has set, and met, a standard of 24 hours for initial assessment and a 14-day standard for comprehensive assessment of new mental health patients, thanks to more than 4,100 mental health professionals hired in the last five years.

VA leads the nation in the development and use of electronic health records, receiving the coveted "Innovations Award" from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2006. We've laid the groundwork for sharing electronic records with the Department of Defense, launched a web-based application to allow patients and their families to interact with VA physicians over the Internet, and worked hard to set the "gold standard" for health information security to protect the vital personal information veterans entrust to us.

Addressing readjustment needs and rural access, we have announced plans to place at least one Vet Center in every county in which there are 50,000 or more veterans. We are also purchasing fifty "mobile Vet Centers" -- vans which will travel to rural areas throughout the nation to bring Vet Center services to veterans in rural and highly rural areas; we're also in the process of expanding our community-based outpatient clinics to a total of 782, an increase of 100 in five years.

Our National Shrine Program has uplifted the beauty of our cemeteries, and by the end of 2009 six new national cemeteries will have opened for buri
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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