In her role as VA’s Interim Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Carolyn Clancy has been communicating her experiences and observations in weekly internal messages. Her memos underline one of the main goals we have at VA Careers, which is to focus on the important work VA does to advance health care in the U.S., and how vital our employees are to that mission. Read her latest message below:

National Public Radio’s All Things Considered recently concluded a four-part series on injuries to nurses that featured VA as a national leader in safe patient handling research and implementation. The last segment highlighted the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, stressed the importance of local “champions” to support safe patient handling, and included comments from former VA Occupational Health Chief Consultant Dr. Michael Hodgson. You can listen here.

VA has sponsored research and development around safe patient handling since the late 1990s. Our program experts are widely sought after to speak and consult on this topic at national and international meetings. For example, the VA national safe patient handling program manager recently led an effort by the American Nurses Association to develop and publish standards for all safe patient handling programs in the nation’s health care industry. Our safe patient handling program is credited with reducing the rate of employee injuries related to patient handling by 40 percent between 2006 and 2012, and increasing coordination between program offices to ensure effective design and operation of facilities with patient and staff safety in mind.

Since 2008, VA has dedicated significant resources to a national safe patient handling program. These resources have been used by medical centers to purchase patient handling equipment and fund salaries for safe patient handling facility coordinators. The national program has focused on providing ceiling lifts, floor-based or sit­-to-stand lifts, air-assisted lateral transfer devices, motorized stretchers, and many other assistive devices. Training materials, conferences, and a strong communications network have guided system-wide implementation and maintenance.

Our current focus is on refining the measures of program effectiveness, including injury rates and cost benefits. National data collected from both inside and outside our health care system show there is no question that safe patient handling reduces staff injuries and saves money. It’s good for Veterans because it helps ensure that healthy employees are on the job to deliver high-quality patient care, and it’s good for staff because it makes moving patients far safer. As the nation prepares for future nursing shortages, our emphasis on employee health and safety gives us a clear advantage in the competitive world of staff recruitment.



clancymdCarolyn Clancy, M.D., was named Interim Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, on July 2, 2014. As Interim Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Clancy oversees the health care needs of millions of Veterans enrolled in VHA, the United States’ largest integrated health care system, with more than 1700 sites, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and Readjustment Counseling Centers. Dr. Clancy, a general internist and health services researcher, is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Published on Mar. 18, 2015

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  1. Chris DiNapoli Realtor.CDPE.GRI March 19, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I’m very happy with the level of care I have received from the VA Hospital and clinics. It’s the best I’ve ever had. I recently had shoulder surgery. The care and treatment I have been receiving is the absolute best.

    • VA Careers March 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Chris. It’s great to hear that you had a positive experience at the VA hospitals you’ve visited. Thank you for your service.

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