Bay Pines Recognized as a Top Hospital for Geriatric Care - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Bay Pines Recognized as a Top Hospital for Geriatric Care

December 30, 2016

BAY PINES, FL – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) recently achieved "Exemplar" status for the third straight year for its Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) program. NICHE is the premier designation indicating a hospital's commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65-years-and-older. Exemplar status recognizes the Bay Pines VAHCS’s ongoing dedication to geriatric care and system wide interventions and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults. 

Exemplar status — the highest of four possible program levels — was assigned following a rigorous program evaluation of the current state and future goals of the NICHE program at the healthcare system’s C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center and VA community clinics located across southwest Florida. The requirements include implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model and evidence-based protocols on all applicable units, including specialty units; implementation of systemic aging-sensitive policies; inclusion of the input of patient, families, and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives; and assuming regional and national leadership roles.

"The NICHE designation and the Exemplar status validates our commitment to provide the very best care to Veterans," said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS.

"Through participation in the NICHE program we are able to offer evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes, positive experiences, and improved care for our geriatric patients. This ultimately leads to greater satisfaction for our Veterans, their families and our staff," she said.

Currently, there are a total of 700 NICHE designated hospitals and health care facilities in 46 states, Canada, Bermuda, and Singapore.  Bay Pines is one of only four VA healthcare systems NICHE designated and the only one that has achieved Exemplar status. To view a list of Exemplar hospitals, visit  To learn more about NICHE, visit

About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,000 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is the fourth busiest VA health care system in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring. To learn more, please visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at