HOUSTON - The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) recently completed a highly anticipated renovation of its nationally recognized Eye Clinic. Eight new examination rooms or eye lanes, four new procedure rooms, and more space to provide care to Veterans were added during this expansion project.
“More Veterans than ever are coming to the DeBakey VA Eye Clinic for care,” said Eye Care Line Executive Silvia Orengo-Nania, M.D., who is listed as one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of ophthalmology by the medical knowledge company, Best Doctors, Inc. “They would rather have their vision treated here, where our success rates are top among VA medical centers and the nation, than anywhere else.”
With more than 40,000 patient visits a year, congestion was beginning to negatively affect wait times, and Veteran and employee satisfaction.
“The expansion has given us more room to work, improved patient privacy, and reduced wait times,” said Jeanette Head, Eye Clinic administrative officer. “The more exam lanes we have, the better we can efficiently treat our patients.”
With the new updates to the Eye Clinic, patients have noticed the difference.
“I think the Eye Clinic expansion is great,” said Winson Ned, a 20-year, 1-month, and 3-day Veteran with the Air Force. “There is more room now and the atmosphere is better. Dr. Orengo-Nania has done a wonderful job pushing this expansion along. She really gets things done.”
Over her almost two-decade-long tenure at MEDVAMC, Orengo-Nania has constantly looked for ways to improve the Eye Clinic and provide a superior experience for all patients who come through the doors.
VA estimates there are more than one million visually impaired veterans over the age of 45 in the United States, with that number likely to grow as the age of the average veteran rises.
“I believe that sight is the most important sense,” said Orengo-Nania. “Here at DeBakey VA, we work to maximize the patient’s ability to see and continue to be a productive and happy member of society.”
The expansion project represents yet another innovative strategy of the MEDVAMC to improve the delivery of high quality eye care services to the ever-changing needs of Veterans. The Eye Clinic provides primary and tertiary eye care; full eye exams for diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts; prescriptions for glasses; and cataract, retinal, and oculoplastic surgery.
The MEVAMC Eye Clinic also provides teleretinal imaging screening to its outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Lufkin, Galveston, Texas City, and Richmond into order to reduce preventable blindness from diabetic retinopathy.
“A unique thing about our clinic is that it is the only stand alone Eye Clinic in the VA health care system,” said Orengo-Nania. “At any other VA hospital if a Veteran needed something like retinal eye care, he would be sent to either another part of the facility or a private clinic. Here at the DeBakey, we have all of those services and the experts conveniently located right here.”
An Open House of the Eye Clinic will be held on Friday, November 18, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All Veterans, volunteers, visitors, and employees are invited to tour the expanded clinic.
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Awarded re-designation for Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2008, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center serves as the primary health care provider for more than 120,000 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 Excellence; 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. Including the outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Houston, Lufkin, and Richmond, MEDVAMC outpatient clinics logged more than one million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2010. For the latest news releases and information about the MEDVAMC, visit www.houston.va.gov.