Dec 21, 2009 5:27 PM by Greg Boyce

Government efficiency contest won by Coloradan

According to the Veteran's Affairs office of the federal government, President Barack Obama Monday presented the first-ever SAVE (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) Award to a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employee from Loma, Colorado. Nancy Fichtner's idea was voted the winner out of four finalists in a public online vote. More than 38,000 federal employees made SAVE Award submissions from across the country.

"We are incredibly proud of the creativity and the commitment to quality and cost savings shown by our VA staff," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Nancy's idea will not only help save tax dollars, but also help deliver better care for Veterans who have dedicated their lives to ensure our freedom and prosperity."

The President's SAVE Award invited federal employees to submit their ideas on how to make government more efficient and effective. Fichtner's winning idea is for Veterans leaving VA hospitals to be able to take the medication they have been using home with them instead of it being discarded when the patient is discharged. Most hospitals across the country do not allow patients to take home medicines they are using while in the hospital; instead, it is discarded.

The concept involves using new technology to put the same information on the medications used in the hospital as on the medications that go home with the patients, such as detailed dosage instructions. The current system uses two separate labeling systems for inpatient and outpatient prescription use.

Nancy Fichtner works in the Colorado Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction.





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