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10-24-03, 01:04 AM
VA's Patient Safety Director Honored for Service

WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2003) -- Dr. James Bagian, director of the National
Center for Patient Safety of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is one
of nine winners of the 2003 "Service to America" medals. Bagian received
the award for 24 years of public service.

"The quality of health care for veterans is better than ever, thanks to the
dedication of public servants like Jim Bagian," said Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "Now the private sector is following VA's lead
in safeguarding patients."

Established by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, the medals are
presented annually to recognize the finest achievements by public servants
across the nation.

In a recent Washington, D.C., ceremony, Bagian was recognized for developing
an innovative patient safety program that is now in place in all 162 VA
hospitals. He has led the patient safety center since it began in 1999.

Bagian has served as a NASA physician and astronaut, an Air Force flight
surgeon, an investigator for both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle
accidents, and an engineer with the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, the Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

VA operates the largest health care system in the United States, providing
care to more than 4.5 million veterans at 1,300 sites, including 162
hospitals, 800 ambulatory care and community-based outpatient clinics, 206
counseling centers, 135 nursing homes and 43 domiciliary facilities.