Following several complaints about veteran healthcare throughout central and southern California, the Veteran Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) on January 4 hired a new director, projected to begin work on January 24.
Ann R. Brown, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, will be filling the position of VAGLAHS Director, which has been vacant since December 1. VAGLAHS serves Los Angeles, Ventura, Kern, Santa Barbara, and San Louis Obispo counties. Brown will oversee healthcare for more than 90,000 veterans in the VAGLAHS service area, operating with a budget of $916 million. Brown has been part of VA for more than 19 years, most recently serving as the Director of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
In mid-December, 24th District Representative Lois Capps sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs calling for timely and accessible veteran services, including the filling of several vacant positions in the Greater Los Angeles Health System. Capps, along with two other representatives for Ventura County, also voted for a year-end budget deal recently signed into law by President Barack Obama which includes funding increases for veterans. Capps’ office could not confirm the bill contributed to the new hiring.
Capps acted in response to several reports of understaffed and unreachable VA facilities in Santa Barbara County. Veterans in the Santa Barbara and Ventura areas report extremely long wait times and complicated bureaucratic processes, which impede proper therapy sessions and medical care. Santa Barbara’s VA clinics, on Calle Real and East Main Street, provide health care to 5,437 individual veterans. Capps’ office said she was pleased with the position being filled so shortly after she sent the letter to VA.
VAGLAHS is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network offering services to veterans residing in Southern California. There are approximately 1.4 million veterans in its service area.
“We are thrilled to bring Ms. Brown on board as the new Director of VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Her leadership and past experiences will be invaluable to the facility, the employees and volunteers and, most importantly, for the veterans we are honored to serve,” said VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network Director Marie Weldon in a press release.