VHA facilities earn simulation certifications - VHA SimLEARN
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VHA facilities earn simulation certifications

By Gerald Sonnenberg
EES Marketing and Communication

ORLANDO, Fla. – SimLEARN staff awarded simulation certifications to 20 medical centers on July 1. These certifications are scheduled to be awarded to qualified facilities twice each year: in June and December.

Facility certifications last for two years; are renewable and a distinctive accomplishment. A certification serves to strengthen the VHA National Simulation Network in increasing clinical workforce skills, improve Veteran patient outcomes and support the ten essential strategies for the VHA Blueprint for Excellence. Facilities that participate in the simulation certification program are actively confirming their commitment to quality improvement, patient safety and accountability in improving Veteran patient outcomes.

There are three tiers of certification: basic, intermediate and advanced. There are also categories of criteria that must be met including, but not limited to funding/budget; simulation modalities/equipment; space; personnel assigned; faculty and instructors; simulation technology operations, maintenance and programing course attendance; accredited curricula/programs; center utilization; offered curricula; outcomes/evaluation of courses; needs assessment; collaborative efforts; and evidence of scholarship.

Each facility representative is interviewed, and the advanced centers receive a site visit from the simulation certification team members who review the applications and conduct the interviews. Meetings are held to review all applications with SimLEARN senior leaders. They then participate in the site visits for facilities seeking the advanced tier. Lastly, the final meetings are held to determine which facilities have met the criteria for certification.

The Minneapolis VA Health Care System’s simulation program received an advanced certification after seven years of expanding its simulation program as part of the VISN 23 simulation program.

"Becoming one of the first four Advanced Tier Simulation Programs within VHA really validated the years of work involved in our simulation program journey," said David Adriansen, Simulation Center Manager. "From the days of just learning how to operate a mannequin, to now understanding serious game creation and usage, Tele-ICU remote simulation and virtual surgical simulation, the technology and learning curve is immense. However, it offers both the simulationist and trainee gratification that lives are impacted via the many positive outcomes for our Veterans."

The certification is applicable to VHA facilities and VA partners. Having been designated a certified simulation program means there is recognized expertise and implemented strategies to improve health care simulation by providing standardization and knowledge of best practices.

A facility can request certification after one year of existence while meeting the basic level criteria. A non-binding email of intent and certification application is required. Please contact the team by sending an email to EESFacilitySimulationCertification@va.gov.

Facility Certification Levels and Locations
Advanced Certification
Durham VAMC - Durham, North Carolina
Minneapolis VA Health Care System (VAHCS), Minnesota
San Francisco VAHCS
Southern Arizona VAHCS, Tucson, Arizona

Intermediate Certification
Cincinnati VAMC, Cincinnati, Ohio
VA Eastern Kansas HCS, Topeka, Kansas
VA Nebraska-Western Iowa HCS, Omaha, Nebraska
Salem VAMC, Salem, Virginia

Basic Certification
Boise VAMC, Boise, Idaho
VA Central California HCS, Fresno, California
Chillicothe VAMC, Chillicothe, Ohio
VA Connecticut HCS, Newington, Connecticut
Memphis VAMC, Memphis, Tennessee
VA Northern Indiana HCS, Fort Wayne, Indiana
VA Puget Sound HCS, Tacoma, Washington
VA Roseburg HCS, Roseburg, Oregon
VA Caribbean HCS, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sheridan VAHCS, Sheridan, Wyoming
Sioux Falls VAHCS, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
St. Cloud VAHCS, St. Cloud, Minnesota