VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

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About the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Among the most innovative and forward-looking in the nation, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) provides exceptional health care to our nation’s Veterans, trains America’s future health care providers, and conducts research that contributes to medical advancements.

Health care and services

Our seven sites of care include two medical centers (hospitals) and five community-based outpatient clinics. To learn more about the services each VAPHS location offers, visit the VA Pittsburgh healthcare page.

VAPHS is the largest and most complex VA health care system in Pennsylvania. We’re a highly specialized care referral center for the Veterans Integrated Service Network 4 (VISN 4), which includes medical centers in Altoona, Butler, Coatesville, Erie, Lebanon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania; Wilmington in Delaware; and 44 VA outpatient clinics in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio. Learn more about VISN 4.

Research and development

VAPHS is home to four VA Research Centers that fuel research and clinical collaboration across the VA ecosystem and beyond.

  • The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP)
  • The Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
  • The Human Engineering Research Laboratory (HERL)
  • The Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC)

We also partner with UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, and other educational organizations.

VAPHS-affiliated researchers pioneered organ transplant surgery, harnessed brain waves to move robotic arms, expedited the approval process of quick-cure hepatitis C drugs, and developed lightweight aluminum wheelchairs that are now the VA standard. Learn more about VA research initiatives.

Teaching and learning

We’re uniquely positioned in the health care delivery, academic, and research worlds, and we use our strengths and partnerships to improve medicine for all Americans.

Our primary academic affiliate is the University of Pittsburgh. The partnership began 40 years ago and has grown during the last 20. Each year, we welcome 550 interns, residents, and fellows from the university. We’re also affiliated with hundreds of associated health educational programs in fields such as nursing, clinical pastoral care, pharmacy, and more.

We maintain a respected presence in the continuing education of VA health care professionals nationwide. Ours is one of only a few VA facilities that holds advanced-level certification in the Simulation, Learning, Education, and Research Network (SimLEARN). Its state-of-the-art Simulation Center, which opened in 2018, has expanded learning opportunities for VA employees. Current simulation-based trainings focus on scenarios that health care professionals encounter; these include mental health emergencies, code response, and inpatient suicide attempts (with plans to expand suicide-prevention scenarios).

Fast facts

  • In 2020, we served 72,647 Veterans from within our 13-county service area.
  • We employed 3,893 people in clinical, administrative, and facilities roles (2020).
  • Our annual operating budget is approximately $732.5 million.
  • Our University Drive campus is an acute care facility and has 146 operating beds distributed among medicine, surgery, neurology, and critical care. Our University Drive campus also offers a range of outpatient services and 78 secure, private psychiatric beds.
  • Our H.J. Heinz campus (also known as Aspinwall)  is home to a 262-bed community living center and an ambulatory care center with outpatient services, including dental, primary care, pharmacy, and rehabilitation services. The campus also offers a 65-bed Veterans recovery center and 31 psychiatric residential rehabilitation treatment beds.
  • Between the University Drive and Heinz campuses, there are 549 operating beds, including 87 internal medicine; 78 psychiatry; 59 surgery; 38 ICU; 225 Community Living Center (nursing home); and 100 domiciliary (temporary shelter or residence).
  • In 2020, we had 675,675 outpatient visits and 11,830 hospital admissions; clinicians performed 5,543 surgical procedures, including 37 kidney and 39 liver transplants.
  • Our telehealth program is one of the most advanced and expansive in the nation. Virtual visits conducted remotely served Veterans at 104 individual sites in 22 states. In 2020, we conducted 49,904 telemedicine visits.
  • We’re among among the first VAs to create a regional mental health telemedicine hub, providing evidence-based mental health care to Veterans nationwide. In 2020, we completed 21,717 mental health telemedicine visits.
  • In 2020, 118 VAPHS-affiliated research investigators continued efforts on or completed 373 research projects with nearly $13 million in funding.
  • Each year, we contribute $4.5 million toward graduate medical education  — one of VA's three core missions.