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Two elderly Veterans saluting with their right hands on their forehead. Each man has a hat in their left hand. Trees and clear skies are in the background.

VA’s New Surgery Initiative Set to Reduce Post-Surgery Complications

The VA has introduced a new surgery initiative that has already decreased patient deaths. The initiative is called the Surgical Pause. It’s a risk analysis index to test patients for frailty. This initiative helps surgeons create treatment plans that don’t put Veterans in danger after surgery.

The Surgical Pause is known to target about a tenth of patients who are more likely to experience complications after surgery. If a patient is identified as a higher risk, their surgery can be paused and a new treatment plan is made to navigate known risks.

The initiative is in use at over 50 VA hospitals around the country. Since it was introduced, one-year VA mortality rates dropped by four percent in three years. The Surgical Pause won the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award in 2023. The award recognizes health practices that improve patient safety and quality of care.

The Surgical Pause is now a national initiative by the VHA’s National Surgery Office. The initiative is planned to be rolled out and available at VA hospitals across the country. Veterans interested in learning more about the Surgical Pause can click on the resources below:

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