Oct 28, 2009 11:48 AM by sleonard
Streamlining Means Changes in Delivery of Services in Veterans' Homes, Quality Care Still #1 Priority
As part of its commitment to streamlining government, the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) has made changes in staffing and in delivery of services to veterans residing in the state run homes. The changes will not affect the care clients receive but will allow for significant savings.
Kevin Butler, LDVA deputy assistant secretary in charge of veterans' homes, said, "What we're talking about is a highly beneficial reorganization that will allow us to focus our resources on direct care for our veterans. Where keeping up the gold standard of care is concerned, we won't miss a beat."
The restructuring of physician and pharmacy services at all five veterans' homes will allow LDVA to enter into competitive contracts with qualified local professionals, as have the vast majority of nursing homes, independent living centers, and hospital based nursing homes in Louisiana. Many veterans' homes throughout the country have contracted out for medical and pharmacy services and have enjoyed tremendous success.
Five years ago, LDVA implemented a contracted medical director/pharmacy consultant arrangement at one of its veterans' homes. Following years of success, the model of medical and pharmacy services delivery is being expanded to all five homes. With two of the homes already receiving prescription medications directly from the federal VA through the mail and finding the process to run smoothly and efficiently, implementing the same delivery system in the three remaining homes is ideal.
LDVA currently employs seven unclassified physicians who will be replaced with contracted medical directors. The seven classified pharmacists will be replaced through the use of contracted pharmacy services. LDVA expects the changes to result in savings of over $1.5 million per year, which is good news for Louisiana. Contracting therapy services at favorable rates is expected to net an estimated savings in excess of $300,000 per year. The goal is uniformity of medical and pharmacy services system wide and superlative care for veterans. The result will be cost effectiveness and efficiency that will allow LDVA to continue to offer the very best to Louisiana's veterans.
LDVA Secretary Lane Carson said, "We're excited about the opportunity to save the taxpayers money without compromising our commitment to veterans. In modernizing our methods of delivery with regard to physician and pharmacy services in our homes, we're bringing La. online with veterans' homes across the nation and are taking advantage of quality contract services that have meant great things in private nursing homes for years. As always, LDVA's number one goal is first rate service for our veterans. Providing that service at a fraction of the cost to Louisianans just makes good sense."