New system looks at best practices for veteran care

New system looks at best practices for veteran care

MARQUETTE — A fledgling system created to help improve long–term healthcare for Michigan’s veterans is moving forward.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency recently organized the Michigan Veteran Health System. The integrated system is designed to provide quality residential, long–term health care through the state’s two veterans homes, including the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette.

“What we really wanted to do was shape our health system so that we can deliver the needs of our current members, but also start planning so that we’ll be able to meet those needs for future members,” said MVAA Director Jeff Barnes. “We looked at best practices across the country, and we thought that the health system seemed to have a lot of promise. It would coordinate the planning much better and would allow us to indoctrinate some of the best practices that we see in the private sector so that our veterans can take advantage of that.”

Many standardized practices for the system will be modeled after the Jacobetti Home’s methods.

“Jacobetti has been tremendous. They’ve had great leadership, great systems in place, and we need to mirror that for the entire health system,” said Leslie Shanlian, CEO for the Health System. “Most of the change will be felt in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, but there will be a little bit here.”

The Health System is also pursuing certification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — a goal that would be helped by an additional $8 million earmarked in Governor Snyder’s proposed 2017 budget to fund necessary staffing and infrastructure changes.

“Moving to this certification will allow us to turn on two new revenue streams from the federal government that will be matching — that will make our funding go further at the homes,” Barnes added. “It will also allow us to do more partnerships for services. So what I see is being able to offer more things like adult daycare, more physical, occupational, and speech therapies, hospice care, in a way that we haven’t been able to in the past.”

Those looking for more information about the veteran services available in Michigan can dial 1-800-MICH-VET or visit