Personalized Care for Veterans
How the Orlando VA Medical Center provides outstanding care to Central Florida’s veteran community
Whole-person health is a priority at the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona, where Veterans in Central Florida have access to everything from emergency to specialty care and integrative services designed with their individual needs in mind.
The 1.2 million-square-foot facility includes a large multi-specialty outpatient clinic, 134-inpatient beds, 120-community living center beds, a 60-bed domiciliary and administrative and support services.
The campus is also home to the Veterans Health Administration SimLEARN National Simulation Center where medical professionals from across the country and UCF College of Medicine students come to learn the best practices to improve health care for local Veterans.
With more than 118,000 Veterans in the Central Florida region, the state-of-the-art Orlando VA Medical Center provides valuable resources and personalized care for our local heroes.
“We feel like a very important part of this community,” said Timothy Cooke, Orlando VA Medical Center Director and CEO. “Here in Lake Nona, we have a unique opportunity to collaborate that’s unlike other VA locations. Here, there’s a targeted effort of excellence from all of the health and life sciences partners to provide the highest quality and most advanced care.”
In addition to clinical care and traditional treatment plans, the Orlando VA Medical Center takes a whole health approach to delivering patient-centered care.
“When you think about pain management, your first solution you might be medication. But at the Orlando VA Medical Center, the first solution could be Battle Field Acupuncture, mindfulness and meditation, or yoga,” Cooke explained.
Across the VA Healthcare System, integrative solutions are used for whole health that focuses on the individual and empowers them to take charge of their own health and wellbeing.
At the Orlando VA Medical Center, individual care is managed by five Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) made up of a doctor, nurses, a psychologist and support staff. Each PACT is responsible for a group of about 1,200 Veterans.
“Our team approach allows us to focus on groups of Veterans who share common health conditions like diabetes and chronic heart failure. This way, teams can bring in specialists to help care for multiple patients who are experiencing similar injuries and illnesses,” said Cooke.
The Orlando VA Medical Center is becoming a center of excellence in one specialty – women’s care and women’s surgical care.
“We have a high concentration of expertise, technologies, and resources available to not only deliver incredible women’s care, but also to teach the next generation of providers at the same time,” said Cooke.
The total number of female Veterans enrolled in the Orlando VA Medical Center reached 15,455 in 2020, up from 13,569 in 2019. An estimated 25% of those Veterans may need access to women’s health services during a visit.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the Orlando VA Medical Center embraced virtual to ensure Veterans could stay connected to their health care resources.
“95% of our work was done in-person prior to the pandemic and we were able to flip that entirely to our Veteran Video Connect (VVC) platform that allows patients to safely and securely talk to their care teams from home,” said Cooke.
He explained that the virtual appointment option has been particularly helpful in mental health resources for Veterans. In addition, Veterans are also seeing the benefits of not having to travel all the way to the hospital and back for shorter appointments.
“Even our oldest patient, a 108-year-old Army veteran, is using VVC to connect with his team of physicians. If he can do it, anybody can,” said Cooke.
For Veterans receiving special treatments on-site, the 16-suite Fisher House Orlando provides military families with an opportunity to stay close and free of charge.
On top of support from its health care partners, the Orlando VA Medical Center receives an outpouring of support from the broader Lake Nona community of generous donors and volunteers who help provide Veterans in need with clothing and transportation services to and from appointments. For more information on how you can help, visit www.orlando.va.gov/giving.
From the inside out, the Orlando VA goes the extra mile to ensure Veterans receive the quality care they need. To learn more about the specialty programs, services, and resources for Central Florida’s Veteran community, visit www.orlando.va.gov