National Hospice Foundation to Present Global Vision Award to the Veterans Health Administration

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2011

Award Recognizes Efforts to Improve Care for Dying Veterans

(Alexandria, VA) – In recognition of their groundbreaking efforts to ensure Veterans have access to high-quality hospice and palliative care, the Veterans Health Administration will receive the Global Vision Award from the National Hospice Foundation (NHF). The award will be presented on April 8, 2011 at the NHF gala.

Dr. Robert A. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will accept the award on behalf of the Veterans Health Administration.
“We are proud to honor the Veterans Health Administration for the powerful role it has played in working with the hospice community to ensure that Veterans and their families have the most appropriate care at the end of life,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHF president and CEO.

NHF’s affiliate, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, launched We Honor Veterans in September 2010. This pioneering campaign is aimed at improving the care Veterans receive from health care professionals by providing tools and resources to help providers understand the end-of-life needs of Veterans.

We Honor Veterans builds upon innovative program models developed by hospices across the U.S. that were recipients of Reaching Out Grants awarded by The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and funded by VA.

We Honor Veterans takes many important lessons learned and teaches care providers the importance of respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment,” said Schumacher.  “Having the skills necessary to comfort patients who have a history of military service -- and, in some cases, physical or psychological trauma -- is a passion shared by VA and NHF. This award recognizes some amazing accomplishments to serve our nation’s heroes at the end of life.”

Every day in the U.S., 1,800 Veterans will die. That’s more than 680,000 Veterans every year – or 25 percent of all the deaths in this country annually. More than 8 million Veterans are enrolled in VA's health care system. This year, VA expects to treat over 6 million patients during 78 million outpatient visits and 906,000 inpatient admissions.

The Veterans Health Administration, the 312,243-employee component of VA that Dr. Petzel heads, is comprised of 152 medical centers, more than 900 geographically separate outpatient clinics or mobile clinics, and 270 readjustment counseling Vet Centers.

The Global Vision Award recognizes the efforts of an individual or organization whose dedication and innovation to program development and delivery profoundly affects the care and well-being of people around the world. Awardees demonstrate an extraordinary vision for caring that has a far-reaching impact and creates a lasting change in communities. The Global Vision Award celebrates efforts to harness innovation, raise the potential of human endeavors, and leverage resources to improve caring.

The award will be presented on April 8, 2011, during the evening program of NHF’s seventh annual gala, From Sea to Shining Sea: An American Celebration of Hospice Care. For more information about the gala, visit donate.nationalhospicefoundation.org/Gala2011.

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