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By having patients discharged early in the day, customer satisfaction will increase because the “wait time” for a hospital bed by patients in the ER/clinics/OR/scheduled admissions will be decreased and surgeries and procedures will not be delayed or cancelled.

Discharge appointments/slots will help VA staff plan and coordinate the veterans’ care with services such as social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and pharmacy. This will ensure the veterans’ needs will be met in a timely manner prior to discharge.

Planning for discharge to home using discharge appointments will help the veteran and his family anticipate when transportation will be needed, and prepare the home for his or her return from the hospital.

VA Improves Services for Blind and Low-Vision Veterans

Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, has announced that more than a million visually impaired veterans will receive enhanced health care services under a reorganization of VA's vision rehabilitation services. VA will make approximately $40 million available during the next three years to establish a comprehensive nationwide rehabilitation system for veterans and active duty personnel with visual impairments. The system will enhance inpatient services and expand outpatient services throughout the 1,400 locations where VA provides health care. Each of VA's 21 regional networks will implement a plan to provide eye care to veterans with visual impairments ranging from 20/70 to total blindness. Basic low vision services will be available at all VA eye clinics, and every network will offer intermediate and advanced low-vision services, including a full spectrum of optical devices and electronic visual aids.

Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

Snowmass Village, Colorado will be the site of the 21st National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, which is jointly sponsored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

The annual six-day clinic, set for April 1–6, is a rehabilitation program open to all U.S. military veterans with spinal cord injuries or disease, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions, orthopedic amputations or other disabilities, who receive care at any VA health care facility.

Veterans will learn adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing and be introduced to a variety of other adaptive activities and sports, such as rock climbing, scuba diving, snowmobiling and sled hockey. The U.S. Secret Service will also teach a course on self-defense for people with disabilities.

The clinic will again offer a training and development program designed for top-level skiers. The program has been made possible through an agreement with the United States Olympic Committee and is used to identify potential Paralympic athletes.

The clinic is hosted each year by the Grand Junction (Colo.) VA Medical Center and VA's Rocky Mountain Network.

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