April 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

New Day at the VA

When one thinks about the 388-acre West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus where Wilshire meets the 405, it’s natural to think about all the land use issues that have dominated the conversation in recent years: Is the property being leased out for non-veteran purposes? Might some big development go in? Will there ever be a master plan?

Those days now seem to be fading into the rear-view mirror as Donna M. Beiter takes over as new director of the West Los Angeles VA. Beiter, who worked her way up the ranks as a nurse, said it’s now all about providing the best medical care possible.

“People don’t realize how cutting edge we are,†said Beiter. “As the country debates national healthcare issues, the VA can help lead the way.â€

The VA has been in the lead for many years when it comes to digitized record-keeping, telemedicine (monitoring patients via online video) and patient satisfaction, according to Beiter. “In a manner of speaking, we already have national healthcare.â€

Healthcare in the future will be more reliant on technology and the country simply must come to grips with the health insurance mess, said Beiter. Many of the advances being deployed throughout the VA system are finding their way into mainstream medicine, she added.  

“Healthcare in 10 years will look very different than it does today,†Beiter observed. “It has to in order to survive.â€

One technological advance promoted by the VA is the “Electronic Health Buddy.†Using the Internet and a modem-like monitoring device placed within a patient’s home, one nurse can track the progress of 50 patients at a time. This is especially efficient when patients live far away from the closest VA facility.  

As a result of the Electronic Health Buddy, hospital visits have been cut 50% and patient satisfaction has jumped 200%, according to Beiter.
The military culture often pushes young soldiers to “man up†and not complain about depression or anxiety; suicide rates of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are viewed as higher than normal.  

Two-way video technology now enables mental health counselors to conduct “live†therapy sessions with returning soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological issues. By promoting more outreach and increased dialogue – often from afar – the VA’s professional counselors are attempting to stay ahead of the curve. “You can’t have experts everywhere,†stated Beiter.

Some decidedly low-tech approaches are being employed as well. Tai chi classes help mental health patients relax; the ready availability of chocolate chip cookies boosts morale; better lighting and artwork make a hospital room feel more home-like; and letting visitors come at practically any time of day or night makes the hospital much less institutional, noted Beiter, who said she calls the new approach “patient-centered care.â€

The recently opened Fisher House is another big boost for the campus, observed Beiter. Families visiting patients often had no affordable place to stay in the area, now they do. The idea behind a Fisher house is to make it easy for families of wounded veterans to stay nearby, improving recovery times for patients.  The Fisher House has been running at 100% occupancy since it opened.

Beiter, who has been at the West LA campus for 14 years, says she thinks her promotion last October to head up the local VA has enabled her to get up to speed quickly – and with the genuine support of the staff.

As a result of an earmark submitted by Senator Dianne Feinstein to a 2008 appropriations act, the VA property is no longer a potential site for commercial development. For several years, VA directors were shifted in and out with some regularity, which didn’t allow for continuity. And previous administrations got caught up in battles with community activists over land-use issues.

The VA is currently working on an updated master plan, according to Ralph Tillman, who has been in charge of facilities (and now communications) for many years. More dialogue on this subject will be conducted in public settings later in the year, he said.

Because development is no longer on the table, Beiter is free to focus on quality healthcare – and this is exactly how she wants it.

in News
Related Posts

(Video) Ariana Madix Confirms Something About Her Will Open Soon at LA Times Festival of Books

April 22, 2024

April 22, 2024

Ariana Madix answers the questions that fans want to ask at the Festival of Books as she appears to support...

Comedian Michelle Collins Brings her Big Natural Tour to LA

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

She’s funny, tall, glam and finally long-legging her way across these United States… it’s the Michelle Collins stand-up comedy tour...

Former CBS CEO Admits Role in Disclosure of Confidential Police Information

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Leslie Moonves Fined for Aiding Misuse of Confidential Data in LAPD Complaint Former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has acknowledged his...

Los Angeles Police Department Reveals Identity of Victim Found in Stolen U-Haul Truck in West Adams

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Body Found in Rental Vehicle Was Shot in the Head, LAPD Seeks Information Detectives from the West Bureau Homicide Division...

Outrage Erupts Over Demolition of Iconic Midcentury Craig Ellwood Home in Brentwood

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Destruction of Zimmerman House Creates Internet Backlash Preservationists lamented last year when another treasure of L.A.’s midcentury modern architecture vanished,...

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings.  Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

Westside Woman Pleads Guilty to $2M COVID-19 Loan Fraud, IRS Scam

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Suspect Admits to Wire Fraud, False Claims in Elaborate Scheme Casie Hynes, a resident of the Mid-City area, entered a...

Body Found Abandoned in Stolen U-Haul Truck in Los Angeles Mid-City

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

LAPD Investigates Disturbing Discovery After Worker Reports Foul Odor Authorities are probing a disturbing incident after a body was discovered...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @centurycitywestwoodnews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...