This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs celebrates 75 years of the Veterans Health Administration.

VHA was originally established in 1946 as the Department of Medicine & Surgery to care for veterans returning from World War II. It has since evolved to meet the unique challenges and needs of veterans from every era with a long-standing commitment to putting them at the center of the health care experience.

At the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System, that commitment to veterans remains the daily mission.

“As we celebrate this historic milestone, we are presented with an opportunity to look back on our contributions to Veteran health care as part of VHA’s 75-year history,” said Mark Morgan, EOVAHCS director. “It is also a fitting occasion to recognize the extraordinary efforts of our staff and volunteers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, a testament to our providing Veterans with efficient, quality health care.”

EOVAHCS has made many contributions to improve the health of Veterans by providing services and technologies that have changed the way health care providers across the country practice medicine. Some of the contributions and accomplishments include:

• Surgery Service was the first in VA to perform a revolutionary vascular procedure.

• Added a state-of-the-art CT scanner in radiology in 2020 that is considered the most advanced CT unit in the state.

• Home-Based Primary Care team was first in the nation to implement whole health in their practice.

• Several of our nurses were selected in the top 100 nurses in Oklahoma.

• Expanded telehealth with over 16,413 veterans using these services. Telehealth increased 1,690 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, new developments are in progress to better serve veterans in Eastern Oklahoma such as:

• The new Ernest Childers VA Health Care Center will be completed this year with an expected grand opening in the fall of 2021. The two-story health care center is approximately 172,000-square-feet and spans over 22 acres with nearly 1,000 parking spaces.

• A new outpatient clinic for Bartlesville is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.

• The new veterans hospital will be in downtown Tulsa at 7th and Houston on the expanded OSU Medical Center Campus. The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.

For more information on EOVAHCS’s accomplishments and future projects, visit www.muskogee.va.gov.

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