VA New Hampshire VISION 2025 Task Force - VA New England Healthcare System
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VA New England Healthcare System


VA New Hampshire VISION 2025 Task Force

VA Endorses Recommendations for Enhanced Veteran Care in New Hampshire

June 14, 2018

MANCHESTER, N.H. —  Reassuring Veterans that he would continue putting their needs first, today, Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke announced his concurrence with Manchester VA Medical Center's Response to the Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG) recommendations regarding future health-care delivery for Veterans in New Hampshire.

After criticisms about conditions at the Manchester VA Medical Center (VAMC), in August, VA announced it would develop a task force to address the future of Veteran health care in New Hampshire.

"Establishing the VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force [a subcommittee of SMAG] was part of VA creating the right environment for Veterans at the Manchester VAMC," Acting Secretary O’Rourke said. "VA is proud to concur with the thoughtful input we have received to enhance the Veteran experience in New Hampshire."

"Our Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is going to take the lessons learned and incorporate the best practices across our VA medical centers to ensure all are performing at the level we see here in New Hampshire," O’Rourke continued.

The SMAG recommendations describe full-service health care delivery for New Hampshire Veterans, advancing access to expertise and innovation across the region, and suggested that while this model was specially developed for New Hampshire, that best practices may be applicable to markets and regions across VHA.   VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force, which is made up of  multi-disciplinary subject matter experts from the local medical community, as well as Veterans and VA officials, analyzed data and solicited input  from Veterans and other key stakeholders to learn how to best address the needs of New Hampshire Veterans. 

"An incredible amount of work was invested by the members of the task force, and we are grateful,” said Alfred Montoya, director of the Manchester VA Medical Center. “Endorsement of the recommendations further empowers the Manchester VAMC to continue on the path of innovative firsts and to expand services to best meet the needs of New Hampshire’s Veterans." 

Introducing the new Task Force Co-Chair

On January 8, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration, announced a change to the VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force. Dr.  Jennifer MacDonald has been named task force co-chair, replacing Dr. Jennifer Lee, who announced her departure from the Department of Veterans Affairs to assume a top position with Virginia state government. Dr. MacDonald is currently the clinical lead for the VA Office of Connected Care, which oversees such initiatives as telehealth. She is a practicing family medicine physician and U.S. Army Veteran experienced >in leading complex system transformation and dedicated to patient, family, and provider empowerment through the strategic delivery of technology-enabled, high-quality, equitable care.

Prior to joining VA, she served as a White House Fellow and Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she led efforts to advance global health security, immigration detention health system enhancement, community resilience to counter violent extremism, and non-traditional aviation technology policy. She served 11 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning a Bronze Star for high-profile mission achievement and volunteer humanitarian medical work.

Dr. MacDonald completed her Family Medicine training at the University of California, Los Angeles and medical school at the University of Minnesota.

Amendment to the VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force

Amendments to the membership of the VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force (subcommittee to the Special Medical Advisory Group - SMAG) are as follows:
  • Jennifer Lee, MD, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs has been named a Co-Chair.
  • David Kenney, Chair, NH State Veterans Advisory Committee remains a Co-Chair.
  • Major General Gretchen S. Dunkelberger, US Air Force (Ret.), Former Air National Guard Assistant to the Surgeon General, United States Air Force, is a new member.

The original charge of the Task Force remains the same as stated in the Charter.

VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force Charter

VA Secretary Shulkin announced the task force during his visit to the Manchester VA on August 4, 2017. The task force will develop a future vision of what VA must do to best meet the needs of New Hampshire’s Veterans. This comprehensive review will include input from Veterans and other key stakeholders and will develop recommendations on how to best configure future VA services in the state.

The task force is made up of multi-disciplinary subject matter experts from the local medical community, Veterans and VA, including a staff member from Manchester VA Medical Center who brought forward concerns to New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation as well as the media.

 Task force members named

  • David Kenney, NH State Veterans Advisory Committee (Co-Chair)
  • Robert Guldner, NH Disabled American Veterans
  • Stephen Ahnen MBA, President, NH Hospital Association
  • Michael D. McCarten, DO, NH Medical Society
  • Eric Funk, MD, Staff Cardiologist, Manchester VAMC
  • Edward DeAngelo, MD, Chief of Radiology, Manchester VAMC
  • Wanda Hunt, PharmD, President, NAGE Local R1-235, Manchester VAMC
  • Susan Mackenzie PhD, Director, Providence RI VAMC
  • Craig Coldwell, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, VISN 1
  • Amy Gartley RN, Nurse Executive, VA Maine Healthcare System
  • Christine Stuppy, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Analysis, VHA

The options and recommendations will be reviewed by the Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG) with final recommendations being forwarded to Secretary Shulkin by January 2018 (now slated for March 2018 because of the volume of information to be considered.) The SMAG includes prominent leaders in U.S. health care and their oversight allows VA to include non-VA employees on the task force.


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