Puget Sound VA Health Care System

Quick Summary

The Veteran’s Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) serves one of the largest geographical areas in the United States. Over 105,000 U.S. military veterans live in the VAPSHCS 14-county catchment areas of Washington State. Veterans from Alaska, Idaho and Oregon states are also part of the VAPSHCS. The system has two main hospitals in Seattle and Tacoma along with seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). It serves as a referral center for all veterans and is a leader in oncology, radiation and clinical trials.

About VA Puget Sound Health Care System

The VA Puget Sound Health Care System incorporates two main facilities to serve all United States military veterans. It’s the Pacific Northwest’s largest tertiary referral center providing general medical and surgical services as well as being a leading teaching facility. Closely aligned with the University of Washington’s School of medicine and Department of Radiation Oncology, the VAPSHCS receives funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department. Additional financial support for this non-profit health care system also comes from private sources.

The first VAPSHCS facility opened after World War I at American Lake near Tacoma. Following World War II, a second VA hospital opened in central Seattle. Over time, seven outpatient clinics developed in North Seattle, Port Angeles, Bremerton, Bellevue, Mount Vernon and Federal Way.

Collectively, the VAPSHCS outpatient clinics serve 90,000 patient visits yearly for veterans in the greater Seattle area. Many of these visits are referrals from other VA Health Care Systems who recognize that the Puget Sound center offers exceptional care.

The VAPSHCS is a national leader in general cancer treatment due to its partnership with the University of Washington’s oncology department. Cancer patients receive personalized health care plans that include diagnostic, surgical, radiation and clinical study treatment. Lung cancer is a primary illness treated by world-leading oncologists at the U of W and within the VAPSHCS. That includes handling mesothelioma cases.

VA Puget Sound Health Care System Location & Overview

Puget Sound is the Pacific Ocean inlet connecting the cities of Seattle and Tacoma by water. The entire population of Greater Seattle exceeds 3,800,000 people. A good proportion is veterans who served at major naval bases like Bremerton, army bases like Fort Lewis and air force bases like Whidbey Island. The marines and coast guard also had prominence in the Pacific Northwest. As such, many veterans retired and remained in this temperate climate.

The Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System operates two main medical facilities in Seattle and Tacoma. The Seattle facility handles most of the surgical procedures while the American Lake division at Tacoma is a leading research and training facility.

Locations for these centers are:

VA Puget Sound – Seattle Division

1660 South Columbia Way

Seattle, WA 98108

206-762-1010 or 800-329-8387

VA Puget Sound – American Lake Division

9600 Veterans Way

Tacoma, WA 98493

206-762-1010 or 800-329-8387

Strategically spaced throughout western Washington are seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics. They provide service to day treatment patients and follow-up intervention to veterans, including a mobile unit making regular trips to remote areas. This allows veterans with mobility challenges to access the best VA medical attention possible.

VA Puget Sound Health Care System Patient Experience

The VA Puget Sound Health Care System has a solid reputation for providing extraordinary care to American military veterans. The VAPSHCS is an innovative leader in excellence, public service, and efficiency. As the primary referral site in the VA’s northwest area, the system strives to provide a first-class patient experience in its main facilities and outreach clinics.

The VAPSHCS states its mission is to honor American veterans with the best possible care for the health and overall well-being. Their excellence benchmark is measured in exemplary patient-centered and evidence-based results. That vision implements core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.

Whole Health is central to the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It’s a new practice method recognizing veterans as whole individuals. Whole Health exceeds treating illness, injury and disability. Instead, the Whole Health approach focuses on overall well-being. It includes complementary and integrative self-care where the patient is an equal partner in developing a personal intervention, treatment and monitoring program.

Whole Health patients are active in every step from diagnosis to after-intervention follow-up. Veterans in the Whole Health integrative process take charge of their health and wellness. The Whole Health system at Puget Sound VA considers all aspect of a veteran’s life. That includes mental, emotional, physical, environmental and spiritual needs.

Cancer Program at VA Puget Sound Health Care System

VA Puget Sound’s cancer program is one of the most advanced in the entire VA health care system. That’s due to the outstanding collaboration with the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and the advanced radiation oncology department. The VAPSHCS serves as both an operation and training facility. Physicians, residents, interns and other specialty medical staff rotate through the school and facilities.

Primarily, the VAPSHCS performs screenings for catchment area veterans, and advances cases referred in from other VA facilities. State-of-the-art solid tumor treatment intervention comes with a multidisciplinary team environment. Patients are directly treated with the best available medical techniques and technology.

Core services at VAPSHCS include:

  • Oncology
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Hematology
  • Tumor registry
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgical oncology
  • Prostate cancer treatment
  • Organ transplants
  • Marrow transplants

Research and development work plays a key part in the VAPSHCS service to veterans. Clinical trials are ongoing and can include up to sixty separate studies at one time. Critical to success is the system’s Cancer Care Navigation Team. This addresses disparity across the service region where veterans experience barriers with income, transportation, nutrition, education, stress and low health literacy.

Mesothelioma Doctors at VA Puget Sound Health Care System

The VA Puget Sound Health Care System is proud to have some of the finest cancer physicians, surgeons and research professionals anywhere in the world. The University of Washington’s School of Medicine is recognized for providing the best cancer care anywhere. That includes treatment for malignant mesothelioma cases.

Two outstanding doctors at VAPSHCS are:

  • Dr. Tony Quang: Dr. Quang is a board-certified radiation oncologist who also holds a law degree. He’s practiced cancer care medicine for 15 years and is one of the leading teachers and researchers at the University of Washington. Dr. Quang is a most-valued member of the VA system in Puget Sound and believes that medicinal advances must couple with a sense of compassion and justice.
  • Dr. Peter C. Wu: Dr. Wu is the associate professor in University of Washington’s Department of Oncology Surgery. He’s also integrated with the VAPSHCS and heads the oncology research department. Dr. Wu’s main role is providing leadership and promoting education to veterans who’ve been diagnosed with every cancer type.

Treatment Options at VA Puget Sound Health Care System

Cancer treatment options at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System range from standard radiation, chemotherapy, medication and surgery to advanced forms of limited-invasive robotic interventions. The VAPSHCS is a leader in oncology radiation techniques and pioneers remote-controlled surgery involving fiber optic imagery. Their main goal is to streamline treatment options to give the fastest intervention and returning the patient home as quickly as possible.

All forms of cancer treatment options at VAPSHCS utilize cutting-edge technology. Lung cancer is the largest caseload for the Puget Sound cancer program. The center diagnoses treats and follows up on an average of 50 to 60 lung-involved cancer cases each year. Mesothelioma patients receive the highest treatment priority.

For more information about receiving treatment at a VA hospital near you, please contact our Patient Advocates.

View Author and Sources

  1. Department of Veterans Affairs, “About VA Puget Sound”, Retrieved from https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/about/index.asp Accessed on February 19, 2018
  2. Department of Veterans Affairs, “VA Puget Sound Cancer Program”, Retrieved from https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/services/Cancerprogram.asp Accessed on February 19, 2018
  3. University of Washington, “Biography, Dr. Peter C. Wu”, Retrieved from http://www.uwmedicine.org/bios/peter-wu Accessed on February 19, 2018
  4. University of Washington, “Biography, Dr. Tony Quang”, Retrieved from https://radiationoncology.uw.edu/faculty/tony-quang/ Accessed on February 19, 2018
  5. VA Puget Sound, “Cancer Care Annual Report, 2014”, Retrieved from https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/docs/CancerCareAnnualReport2014.pdf Accessed on February 19, 2018
  6. VA Puget Sound, “Cancer Care Annual Report 2017”, Retrieved from https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/docs/CancerCareAnnualReport2017web.pdf Accessed on February 19, 2018
  7. VA Puget Sound, “Research”, Retrieved from https://www.pugetsound.va.gov/services/research.asp Accessed on February 19, 2018

Last modified: February 26, 2018