In a statement released today, Paralyzed
Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) National President Bill
Lawson expressed the following regarding the recent opening of the St.
Louis VA spinal cord injury unit:
"We are pleased that the six-bed spinal cord injury (SCI) unit at the
St. Louis VA Medical Center is now open, and we commend the local VA
leadership for their hard work to get the unit up and running. Paralyzed
Veterans has worked closely with the VA medical center to ensure the
highest quality of care for patients living with spinal
cord injury (SCI) and/or disease.
Having a specialty care unit now available for SCI patients will help
ensure these veterans are getting the best care possible."
The St. Louis VA system of care is distnguished by having two separate
facilities that offer different types and levels of care. The Jefferson
Barracks VA facility provides veterans with basic, non-acute SCI
services while those needing acute or emergency care are required to go
to the John Cochrane VA facility where SCI-specific services were
unavailable. This bifurcated system had historically created gaps in
health care for veterans with paralysis, necessitating the 6-bed
satellite unit. Four veterans who were admitted as soon as the unit
opened are already benefitting from the specialized services the SCI
Sherman Gillums, associate executive director of Veterans
Benefits at Paralyzed Veterans added the following:
"The long overdue opening of the SCI unit at the John Cochrane VA
Medical center in St. Louis answers a critical need for acute care
services like cancer treatment and surgical procedures for veterans who
also have special needs related to a spinal cord dysfunction. We have
worked closely with members of Congress and hospital leadership to
ensure that local veterans who need specialized care do not incur
pressure ulcers, genitourinary problems, and other costly, avoidable
afflictions while under the care of non-SCI providers, and we will
continue to monitor quality of care issues just as we do at all VA SCI
Centers across the country."
Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured
American heroes from the "Greatest Generation" of World War II. They
created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges that they faced
back in the 1940s-from a medical community not ready to treat them to an inaccessible world.
For more than 67 years, Paralyzed Veterans' national office and its 34 chapters across
the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and
people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)
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