A Look At VA Health Care

GENERIC health doctors CBS/AP

The VA runs the largest integrated health-care system in the country, with more than 1,400 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes employing 14,800 doctors and 61,000 nurses. Find out more about their services below.


What is the VA's mission?
The mission of the Veterans Healthcare System is to serve the needs of America's veterans by providing primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services. To accomplish this mission, VHA needs to be a comprehensive, integrated healthcare system that provides excellence in health care value, excellence in service as defined by its customers, and excellence in education and research, and needs to be an organization characterized by exceptional accountability and by being an employer of choice.


What is the average age of veterans?
9.2 million veterans are age 65 or older, representing 38 percent of the total veteran population. By 2033, the proportion of older veterans will increase to 45 percent of the total. As in the general U.S. population, those age 85 or older are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population, representing 4 percent of current veterans. The number of veterans age 85 or older is expected to exceed 1 million by the end of 2006 and rise to a peak of 1.4 million in 2033.


Who heads the VA healthcare system?
Acting Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Michael J. Kussman, heads the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and is responsible for the operation of the nation's largest integrated health care system. The Office of the Under Secretary for Health provides oversight of VHA programs, initiatives, organizations, field facilities, and 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) that manage field facilities.


To learn more about the VA:
• Click here to locate veterans facilities near you.

• Click here to learn more about health care benefits through the Veteran's Administration.

• Click here for a booklet that lists the variety of federal benefits available to veterans and their dependents.

  • Melissa McNamara

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