Since 1930, the United States has provided medical services for war veterans at Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals. Veterans that served in active military, naval, or air service with an honorable discharge all qualify for VA services.
Veterans administration (VA) hospitals
With over 7 million veterans seeking care in 2019, VA hospitals prioritize patients that incurred a service-related permanent disability. Other patients seeking care at VA hospitals include:
- Former prisoners of war
- Purple heart recipients
- Housebound veterans
- Patients on VA pensions and Medicaid
Most VA hospitals are clustered in the Northeastern region of the United States. This likely correlates to higher population density in that area.
In June 2019, the Veterans Community Care Program MISSION ACT went into effect. This allows veterans to seek care at private hospitals if wait times are over 20 days for primary care or 28 days for specialty care.
Patients may also qualify if it takes them more than 30 minutes to travel to a VA facility or if a service is not provided by the VA. For the 4.7 million veterans living in rural areas across the U.S., reaching VA hospitals can be difficult. Patients may need to travel great distances between their homes and points of care.
Veterans in rural areas may also encounter limited provider choices and specialty services. Telehealth has become an increasingly popular solution to this challenge. Telehealth allows rural veterans to access their VA hospitals through 4G mobile connectivity. With telehealth providers developing 5G digital health tools, we will likely see telehealth reducing wait times and improving care access for veterans.
Map of U.S. veterans affairs hospitals
Fig 1. Interactive illustration of VA hospitals in the United States. Data is from Definitive Healthcare's Hospitals & IDNs database. Data is from CY 2019. Accessed September 2020.
Top 50 VA Hospitals by Number of Staffed Beds
||# of Staffed Beds
||Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
||VA Palo Alto Health Care System - Palo Alto Division
||VA Palo Alto Health Care System - Livermore Division
||VA Palo Alto Health Care System - Menlo Park Division
||Southern Oregon VA Rehabilitation Center
||VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System - Cleveland VA Medical Center
||VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System - West Los Angeles Medical Center
||Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital
||Atlanta VA Medical Center
||Cincinnati VA Medical Center
||VA Boston Healthcare System - West Roxbury Campus
||VA Boston Healthcare System - Brockton Campus
||Bath VA Medical Center
||James A Haley Veterans Hospital
||VA Illiana Health Care System
||VA NY Harbor Health Care System - St Albans Campus
||VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System - HJ Heinz Campus
||VA St Louis Health Care System - Jefferson Barracks Division
||VA St Louis Health Care System - John Cochran Division
||Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center
||Tennessee Valley Healthcare System - Alvin C York Campus
||Carl Vinson VA Medical Center
||James J Peters VA Medical Center
||Minneapolis VA Health Care System
||Coatesville VA Medical Center
||Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
||VA North Texas Health Care System - Dallas VA Medical Center
||VA North Texas Health Care System - Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center
||North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System - Lake City VA Medical Center
||North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System - Malcom Randall VA Medical Center
||Battle Creek VA Medical Center
||Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center
||VA Loma Linda Healthcare System
||South Texas Veterans Health Care System - Audie L Murphy VA Hospital
||VA San Diego Healthcare System
||Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System - John L McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital
||Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System - Eugene J Towbin Healthcare Center
||VA New Jersey Health Care System - Lyons Campus
||VA Hudson Valley Health Care System - Castle Point Campus
||Miami VA Healthcare System - Bruce W Carter VA Medical Center
||Tennessee Valley Healthcare System - Nashville Campus
||VA Long Beach Healthcare System
||Portland VA Medical Center - Main Campus
||South Texas Veterans Health Care System - Kerrville VA Hospital
||VA Northern Indiana Health Care System - Marion Campus
||Memphis VA Medical Center
||Columbia VA Health Care System
||VA Connecticut Healthcare System - West Haven Campus
||Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center - Augusta VA Medical Center Uptown
||GV Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center
Fig 2. Data from Definitive Healthcare’s Hospitals & IDNs database. VA hospitals do not report financial data to CMS or commercial entities. Data reflects CY 2019. Accessed September 2020.
Veterans integrated service networks (VISN)
Veterans integrated service networks (VISN) are responsible for day-to-day functions of VA hospitals. They also provide clinical and administrative support for these facilities. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) oversees VISNs and VA hospital performance.
There are 18 VISN in the United States, with only 2 representing a single state. Like an integrated delivery network (IDN), a VISN is a regional care system. The ultimate goal of a VISN is to meet local care needs and improve population health access.
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Originally published July 2, 2019