Innovation in Mental Healthcare at the VHA San Francisco

New Story in Beyond Chron

How VA Health Care Outdoes Private Sector

by Suzanne Gordon on January 28, 2016

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VA Hospital in San Francisco

Because the nation’s media has been focused almost exclusively on the problems of America’s largest, and only publicly funded, fully integrated healthcare system – the Veterans Health Administration — we barely hear anything about the successes of VHA healthcare. Pioneering treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (from which anywhere from 18-30% of veterans suffer) is one of the most significant of those successes. Recent studies have documented that the VHA’s mobile phone app PTSD coach is highly valued by veterans and that the VHA performs better on the delivery of medication treatment for mental health needs than the private sector.

Many innovations in health care are being pioneered right here at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) at Fort … Continue reading

VA Secretary Robert MacDonald Defends VA — Right On!

WireAP_b83afee9a1174383aff99e987a4dfc85_16x9_1600Please read this ABC report carefully.  Republicans in Congress are waging an unrelentless attack on the VA, arguing that more people should be fired.  The rights of VA employees are already being abrogated, which does not help recruitment of needed doctors, nurses and other personnel.  But Congress seems to have only one way of dealing with problems in the VHA — and that is punitive.  I have spent almost two years visiting and observing Veterans Health Administration facilities all over the country and the care they I see is almost always stellar.  For the past two days I have been attending a Human Centered Design Workshop at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.  The VA has recruited national experts on HCD from the LAB OPM (Office of Personnel Management) who are delivering workshops at VHA’s all over the country to facilitate change and innovation in the system.  Our group of about 15 people includes nationwide staff  working on exciting projects in their facilities– like one to enhance the role of the voices of patients and families in the VHA.   This is part of a larger program on Continue reading

The Doctor/Dr. Dilemma –New BMJ Post

My new blogpost was just posted on the BMJ (British Medical Journal).  Would love to know people’s response.


Suzanne Gordon: Does the use of medical titles have an impact on patient safety?

12 Jan, 16 | by BMJ

suzanne_gordonA couple of months ago, I was invited to speak at an East Coast medical school and hospital. The group of physicians who extended the invitation—a female surgeon, and female and male internist—took me out to dinner the night before my talk. During the dinner conversation, we were all on a first name basis when we addressed each other directly. When, however, one of the three physicians mentioned something one of his or her colleagues had been working on or accomplished, he or she spoke about that physician in the third person i.e. as “Dr Smith has spent a lot of time working on this issue,” or “Dr Jones just published a paper on such and such.” When they referred to my writing or work, I was … Continue reading

Wonderful Cross Post of MD Acknowledging RN Knowledge and Skill

I have recently had the pleasure of getting to know physician Anna Reisman, who is not only a deeply compassionate caregiver but a super writer.  She has just published this blog post for WBUR’s Cognoscenti.  In it, she, as a physician, acknowledges what physicians don’t know and do and what others who work in healthcare — like RNs — do know and do.  This is so refreshing because, in today’s deeply  hierarchical healthcare system,  too many physicians have been socialized to claim knowledge they don’t actually possess and to take credit for things they have not actually done — or have accomplished only thanks to the contributions of other healthcare team members.

Interprofessional education and teamwork is all the rage in healthcare today.  IPE is defined as people in different professions and occupations learning with, from, and about each other.  Most of the time, IPE is more aspirational than actual.   If more physicians were willing to acknowledge what Anna Reisman does here, interprofessionalism would quickly become a reality.


The Best Kept Secret In Health Care: Or, Doctor Doesn’t Always Know Best

Another Reason to Vote for Bernie


There are so many reasons to vote for Bernie Sanders.  Check out, for example, yesterday’s story in the New York Times about how billionaires routinely evade taxes.  Then there’s unscrupulous pharmaceutical industry folks who raise prices by thousands of dollars on generics.  Then there’s foreign policy.  And, of course, he’s the only one who will actually not only save the Veterans Administration Health Care system but strengthen it.  And then there’s this.  He is the only candidate who not only is for the rest of us but flies with the rest of us.  Check out this story.

He has my vote, hope he’ll get your’s.