United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network

Charles George Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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Charles George VA Medical Center

Facility Overview and Status | Facility Accomplishments | Ongoing Initiatives 

The Charles George Veterans Affairs Medical Center (CGVAMC) is a complexity level 1C facility serving Veterans in Western North Carolina.  The 119-bed acute care hospital facility, with its adjacent 120-bed Community Living Center (CLC), is located in Asheville, N.C.  The Medical Center also operates a Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARRTP), and Home Based Primary Care programs at the Asheville VAMC, two community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) and with the Cherokee Indian Health Authority.  The two CBOCs are located in the towns of Franklin and Rutherfordton.  The Joint Commission (TJC) accredited this facility in February 2011.

The Medical Center is a tertiary care facility providing services in all areas except hemodialysis, neurosurgery, and radiation therapy.  CGVAMC is a teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology and programs in education and research.  Comprehensive health care is provided through the spectrum of primary care, tertiary care, virtual health (telehealth) and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics and primary care.  CGVAMC is part of the VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network (Veterans Integrated Service Network - VISN 6), which includes facilities in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The CLC serves Western North Carolina as well as portions of South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.  The Center's services include extended care rehabilitation, short stay skilled and respite care.  The CLC also includes a 15-bed unit dedicated to hospice care.

Staff members participated for the first time in the National Indian Health Services Consumer Conference, September 24-27, 2012.  This marked trhe first time any VA members were invitted to the conference and Secretary Eric Shinselinwas the keynote speaker

Special Programs

  • Open Heart Surgery Services
  • Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) Program
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARTP)
  • Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM)
  • Medical Foster Care Program

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Facility Accomplishments (Oct 2010 – September 2011)

  • Satisfaction scores for the facility rated higher than the national and VISN average in 12 of 13 areas for inpatients and in 8 of 10 measures for outpatient ratings.
  • CGVAMC was the first in VA to implement Secure Messaging in all Primary and SPecialty clinics. Currently 33 percent, or more than 11,000 Veterans have opted into secure messaging through the MyHealtheVet program.  The new service has earned excellent early response from providers and Veterans.
  • The CGVAMC Compensation and Pension (C & P) exam staff continues to set a standard for excellence in the VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network.  Veterans who need a C & P exam have to wait less than 12 days to be seen.  The staff's performance has made it possible for them to travel to other Network VAMCs to help them reduce their backlog of C& P exams.  
  • The CGVAMC was recognized in early 2012 as a national leader in the implementation of the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) concept.  The measures used to rank the teams nationally include same day access, continuity of care, two day follow-up post discharge and the percent of telephone care offered.   Nine CGVAMC teams were awarded Veterans health Administration Certificates of Recognition for their work in February, 2012. 
  • A PACT consists of a provider, RN, LPN, and clerk who partner with a Veteran, to ensure their needs are met. PACTs develop a personalized health plan with each Veteran to help them get healthier.

The CGVAMC Spinal Cord Injury team developed an emergency and disaster plan for the local Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder (SCI/D) Program. The tool kit was provided to all SCI/D patients. Three other VAMC facilities have requested copies of the plan.

  • The CGVAMC staff has expanded Veteran services in these areas in the last 12 months:
    • Medical Foster Home Program
    • Compensation and Pension examinations
    • Pain management
    • Spinal surgery
    • Rural Health Initiative
    • Telehealth consultations
    • Sleep disorder consultations 
    • Home Based Primary Care offered through the Franklin Community Based Outpatient Clinic
  • Home Based Primary Care has been extended to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation in cooperation with the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority.
  • The Charles George Utilization Management System Redesign Team won first place in the VISN 6 2011-12 Utilization management Systems Redesign Initiative with an idea that reaped immediate savings, from improving the number of Veterans receiving the right level of care, to Hematology and Oncology clinics realizing savings of more than $900,000 and the Vascular Clinic seeing a reduction in bed days of 328, manifested in a cost reduction of $966,000.  The medical center also spent fewer hours sending patients to other available medical centers (diversion), reducing that number from 1,300 hours to 147 in 2012.
  • The CGVAMC was the host for an official roll out demonstration of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) system in September 2011, as the sixth VA site to join the VLER system.  Veterans who opt into the system have digital copies of their records available in participating Western North Carolina medical systems. VLER is a cooperative program with 16 other hospital systems in Western North.  The demonstration generated newspaper coverage in six regional print and internet outlets
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Ongoing Initiatives 


• As of March 31, 2012, we have more than 3,420 OEF/OIF Veterans enrolled at the CGVAMC

• Staff members are case managing 10 severely injured and 39 non-severely injured OEF/OIF Veterans.

Home-based Primary Care is expanding to the rutherford County Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

• Homeless Veterans Program

The Homeless Program was recognizeed as a medical center strength by the Office of Mental Health Operatins during an August, 2012 visit.

Active programs include:

• A Health Care for Homeless Veterans Outreach program conducts outreach in the rural counties surrounding the medical center. 


CGVAMC received 35 additional HUD-VASH vouchers for FY 2012, bringing the total number of vouchers allocated to 180.

Weekly “Vet Rec” groups are a partnership with the city of Asheville Parks and Recreation department. HUD-VASH Veterans take part in activities such as volunteering with Brother Wolf animal shelter, craft and recreational activities, and a monthly community breakfast.

• Substance Abuse:
- HCHV Substance Abuse Disorder, SUD, specialist started weekly groups for Veterans in the homeless program dealing with addiction issues (total of four groups)

• Homeless Call Center:
Social Work staff provides daily coverage of Call Center, responding to calls within 24 hours to our catchment area.

• Residential Treatment:
A total 188 transitional housing beds are available for use by eligible Veterans, with ten additional beds at Blue Ridge in Ridgecrest, N.C. for exclusive use of Women Veterans and Women Veterans with Children.

Suicide Prevention

• A minimum of five community outreach activities are conducted each month to promote suicide prevention and the Veterans Crisis Line.  There were 413 mailings of information during this time period also.

Rural Health Initiative

Rural Health Initiative (RHI) team members use three major program strategies to improve the health of Veterans living in Western North Carolina:  enrollment in VA, new patient exams and health education.  The RHI team also attends local events, festivals and military events to provide information and enrollment opportunities. Many of the events included vaccination clinics for influenza and pneumonia.

• Rural Health personnel encountered more than 3,900 contacts with Veterans since October, 2011, enrolling 447 Veterans.  The team also administered more than 2026 flu vaccines and 144 pneumovax vaccines

Veterans in this area. 

Compensation and Pension (C&P) Program

 C&P Program’s current staffing levels are: two physicians, four physician assistants, two psychologists, and four clerks.  The average wait time for a C & P exam was 13 days. The completion rate is 9.6 days.

Educational Affiliations

More than 400 fellows, residents, interns and students are trained at the CGVAMC each year.  CGVAMC has active affiliations with the following:

• Duke University School of Medicine for residency programs in surgery, physician assistants, anesthesia, and nurse anesthetists. 
• Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine – clinical training in general surgery, mental health, internal medicine, and geriatrics 
• Wake Forest University Medical School, South College, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Mayland and Haywood Community Colleges for the training of physician assistants. 
• Mountain Area Health Education Consortium family practice residents take part in elective rotations in Orthopedics, Urology and Dermatology.
• University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Campbell University, Wingate University and an American Society of Health System Pharmacist (ASHP) accredited Pharm. D. residency and Dental externship

Other associated programs include dental assistants, dental hygiene, healthcare administration residents, medical records, medical technology, occupational therapy, pastoral care, psychology, radiology, and social work.

The VAMC also has academic affiliations with these institutions:

• Caldwell Community College
• UNC Charlotte
• East Carolina University
• Eastern Tennessee State University
• Emory
• Frontier
• University of Indianapolis
• Kentucky University
• Mars Hill Community College
• Salus University
• NOVA Southeastern University
• Southwestern Community College
• Western Carolina University

Southwestern Community College 

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Complexity 1C
FY 12 Vet Pop (uniques) 36,721
Staffed Inpatient Beds Long term & CLC 190
Patients Treated (hospital) FY 12 5,615
Patients Treated FY 12 (nursing home / dom) 359/235
FY 12 Outpatient Visits 395,978
FY13 Total FT Employees (YTD) 1,539
FY 13 Budget $264 mil
Facility Improvement $6.5 mil 
FY 12 MCCF $ 26.5 mil
FY12 Research $ 100,000
Affiliate(s) 4
Medical Residents 9

Outpatient Clinic

Franklin, NC
Rutherford County, NC

Website www.asheville.va.gov


VA Medical Center
1100 Tunnel Road
Asheville, NC 28805

(828) 298-7911
(800) 932-6408