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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Health Call Center at Houston VA Receives URAC Accreditation

January 4, 2010

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HOUSTON – The Health Call Center, known as the VA Network Telecare Center, at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) was awarded full accreditation on December 15, 2009 from URAC, a health care-accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry.

“The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is honored to receive full accreditation from URAC for our VA Network Telecare Center,” said Associate Director for Patient Care Services Thelma Gray-Becknell, R.N., M.S.N. “We are very pleased to be recognized in the industry for providing outstanding services. Such a distinction underscores the quality of our work for veterans by demonstrating compliance with national standards for call center services.”

Professionally trained registered nurses at the VA Network Telecare Center, (713) 794-8985 or toll-free 1 (800) 639-5137, are ready to help answer veteran health care questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The South Central VA Health Care Network created its Telecare Center as part of its on-going efforts to provide veterans with timely health care information. All telephone calls are answered by a staff of professionals who are experienced in telephone assessment of medical situations and crisis intervention.

To help veterans who call, nurses use their training and experience as well as other readily available resources. Telecare nurses provide both medical and emotional support. They are trained to provide symptom analysis, instruct on first aid procedures, help with stress and anxiety, answer medication questions, explain laboratory test results, educate patients about specific diseases, and check appointments.

URAC’s Health Call Center Accreditation standards address approaches to ensuring appropriate patient protections have been established, such as policies for confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, dispute resolution, and other issues. The standards cover staff structure and qualifications, quality improvement, information management, oversight of delegated functions, ethics, complaints, and the case management process.

“By applying for and receiving URAC Health Call Center Accreditation, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center has demonstrated a commitment to quality health care,” said Alan P. Spielman, URAC president and chief executive officer. “Quality health care is crucial to our nation’s welfare and it is important to have organizations that are willing to measure themselves against national standards.”

URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is a leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation and certification programs. URAC's standards keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system, and provide a mark of distinction for health care organizations to demonstrate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in setting meaningful standards for the health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org *.

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