UofL cares for those who answer the call
Throughout this week in honor of Veterans Day and those men and women who have served or are serving our country, UofL Today has focused on student and employee veterans and ways in which the university assists them.
But UofL's service to veterans extends beyond the university community into the region, too.
One of the best examples of this is the partnership between UofL and the Robely Rex VA Medical Center (VAMC), located three miles east of the Health Sciences Campus in Louisville. For more than 50 years, UofL has partnered with VAMC to provide health care to veterans in Kentucky and Indiana. VAMC serves more than 166,000 veterans living in a 35-county area of Kentuckiana, offering 400,000 outpatient treatments and admitting 5,000 patients each year. Besides the main facility, VAMC also offers services in eight regional health care centers.
UofL's School of Medicine is the center's primary affiliate, with about 50 faculty physicians and 100 resident physicians based at the VAMC. At any given moment, about 25 UofL faculty physicians are on site providing medical care for veterans. These physicians include some of the country's brightest minds in anesthesiology, general medicine, radiology, cardiology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, general abdominal surgery, urological surgery, ENT surgery, plastic surgery, vascular surgery and colorectal surgery.
Residents in many medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties in addition to residents in internal medicine, general surgery and psychiatry get valuable experience at VAMC. This symbiotic relationship between UofL and VAMC allows veterans to receive treatment from highly skilled faculty as UofL carries out its missions of education, research and clinical care.
"UofL is demonstrating every day our commitment to ensuring veterans across the region receive the highest quality health care," UofL President James Ramsey said of the partnership.
In 2009, UofL physicians at the VAMC provided inpatient care for:
- 100 percent of all veterans in need of medical therapies
- 85 percent of all veterans admitted for surgical procedures
- 100 percent of all veterans in need of treatment for mental health issues
- 95 percent of all veterans admitted for intensive care
Larry Cook, UofL's executive vice president for health affairs, noted that the medical needs of younger veterans are much different than those of veterans of past conflicts.
"We see a growing need for women's services as more women join the armed services. Our veterans are faced with new health care challenges as warfare changes, as well," he explained. "We already are seeing a growing need for psychiatric services to help veterans with post-traumatic stress and other conditions."
Today's medical teams, he said, must be able to offer comprehensive treatments for brain and nerve injuries and illnesses.
"This care includes the highest quality medical, surgical, and rehabilitation treatments for stroke, limb transplantation and spinal injuries," Cook noted, adding, "As part of our ongoing commitment to give veterans the quality care they deserve, UofL continues to grow and adjust to meet these needs."