The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for almost 130,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans from around the country are referred to the MEDVAMC for specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery, and medical treatment including cardiovascular surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, and treatment of spinal cord injury and diseases. The MEDVAMC is home to a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic; Network Polytrauma Center; an award-winning Cardiac and General Surgery Program; Liver Transplant Center; VA Epilepsy and Cancer Centers of Excellence; VA Substance Abuse Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative; Health Services Research & Development Center of Innovation; VA Rehabilitation Research of Excellence focusing on mild to moderate traumatic brain injury; Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; and one of the VA’s six Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. In late 2012, the MEDVAMC received official designation as a Kidney Transplant Center. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Katy, Lufkin, Richmond, Tomball and Texas City, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics log more than a million outpatient visits annually.
Almost 4,000 health care professionals provide high quality care to our Veterans. For more than 50 years, the MEDVAMC has provided clinical training for health care professionals through our major affiliate, Baylor College of Medicine* (BCM). MEDVAMC operates one of the largest VA residency programs with 269.7 slots in 40 sub-specialties. Each academic year, almost 2,000 students are trained through 144 affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning in 19 states. Health care students from fields such as nursing, dietetics, social work, physical therapy, and a wide variety of medical specialties receive training here each year. Affiliation agreements also include training opportunities for health care administration, health information technology, medical records billing and coding, and health education students. This responsibility serves to enhance the quality of care provided to our Veterans. As a member institution of the Texas Medical Center* (TMC) since 1985, the MEDVAMC staff serves on various TMC oversight committees that contribute to improved patient care and hospital operations. The vast majority of MEDVAMC physicians are also faculty members of Baylor College of Medicine.
Awards and Accreditation
The MEDVAMC has received national awards and honors including accreditation from Joint Commission* for hospital, long-term care, behavioral health care, home care, and substance abuse. In early 2014, the MEDVAMC was awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This recognizes the Medical Center for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. MEDVAMC is the first VA medical center in the nation to receive redesignation of Magnet status twice. The Medical Center is consistently recognized for demonstrating low observed-to-expected mortality rates in general surgery, all surgery, and all non-cardiac surgery. In 2011, the medical center’s Pathology and Laboratory Medicine was awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists and its Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center was awarded a 3-year accreditation by Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission (CARF). The MEDVAMC earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ in 2011 from the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. The MEDVAMC is the first VA medical center with this designation. In May 2012, MEDVAMC was awarded specialty accreditation by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation for its Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Program. The MEDVAMC Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowship is one of only 18 APA specialty, accredited Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowships. The MEDVAMC’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans, Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans, and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs; Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program; and Inpatient and Outpatient Amputee System of Care Program were all awarded 3-year accreditations by CARF.
Located on a 118-acre campus and built in 1991, MEDVAMC is a state-of-the-art facility with 357 acute care beds, a 40-bed Spinal Cord Injury Center, and a 141-bed Community Living Center. It also has a 40-bed domiciliary residence for homeless Veterans. An automated, computer-controlled transport system delivers food, laundry, and supplies throughout the building. The six-story granite building is designed with four exterior sections and four atriums that contain patio gardens, wheelchair basketball courts, and a rehabilitation pool.
Research & Development
Research conducted by MEDVAMC staff ensures Veterans access to cutting-edge medical and health care technology. With 615 active research projects, the MEDVAMC Research & Development (R&D) Program is an integral part of the medical center's mission and plays a very important role in the health care Veterans receive. The production of new knowledge, techniques, and products has led to improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of disease. The MEDVAMC R&D Program includes four components: Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development, Clinical Science Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development, and Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D). Collectively, these services support research covering biomedicine, clinical trials, rehabilitation, and health services. In 2012, the HSR&D was selected by the VA as one of six sites for a Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence initiative, which is a collaborative effort with a wide variety of VA system partners to address high-priority, VA system-wide issues (Houston will receive $4.3 million for this initiative).Today, VA is a leader in many areas of research. The MEDVAMC is a leader in recruitment efforts for The Million Veteran Program (MVP): A Partnership with Veterans. MVP is a national research program to study how genes affect health and illness, with the goal of improving health care for Veterans. The MEDVAMC Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites (NODES) is one of ten NODES Centers funded throughout the country. Established in October 2012, the NODES mission is to increase the efficiency of local coordination of the VA Cooperative Study Program (CSP) studies at MEDVAMC. Researchers at the MEDVAMC Neurorehabilitation: Neurons to Networks (N:N2N) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Center of Excellence are evaluating the Service Members and Veterans who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 to better understand how brain injury and other deployment-related conditions affect their lives. The researchers want to help to improve Veterans’ reintegration into civilian life, develop new tools and treatments for TBI-related symptoms and other deployment-related conditions, and improve diagnosis of TBI. The Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies is one of 14 VA Health Services Research and Development Centers of Excellence. Established in 1990, the Houston center systematically examines the impact of the organization, management and financing of health care services on the delivery, quality, cost, utilization, and outcomes of care.