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News Release

SALUTE Program launched to address disparities in veteran healthcare

ECRI, one of the foremost independent healthcare and patient safety nonprofits, launched the SALUTE™ Program to improve healthcare for veterans and address disparities in care that veterans may experience from provider-to-provider.

Only about half of the approximately 19 million US veterans were enrolled in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare in 2021, according to a National Health Statistics report. Many veterans instead turn to civilian healthcare providers who are less reliably equipped to address military-related health concerns, according to ECRI’s patient safety experts. Veterans who receive healthcare outside the VA may be at higher risk of delayed diagnosis for a serious physical or mental illness. Veterans who served in the military after 9/11 use VA healthcare less than other veterans and are even more at risk.

SALUTE is designed to bridge that gap and help foster connections between veterans and their healthcare providers.

“As a veteran who spent decades as a registered nurse, I’ve seen how difficult it can be to navigate the healthcare system and receive consistent, quality care that addresses veterans’ unique health risks,” said Shannon Davila, MSN, RN, CPPS, CPHQ, CIC, FAPIC, Executive Director of ECRI’s Total Systems Safety. “Clinicians don’t always know which of their patients are veterans; and many veterans who seek care outside the VA don’t share their veteran status and deployment history with their healthcare provider. That’s a critical first step in ensuring our veterans get the care they need.”

One in five veterans have been seriously injured during their military service, according to a Pew research study. The PACT Act requires VA health providers to conduct regular toxic exposure screenings for every veteran enrolled in VA healthcare, but it does not apply to civilian healthcare providers.

“Without resources tailored to veterans’ experiences and health risks, even the best-intentioned clinician could miss a diagnosis or treatment that could be life-changing,” added Davila. “This disparity in the standard of veteran-competent care affects millions of veterans today.”

“Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices, and it is our duty to ensure they receive the best possible care,” said Marcus Schabacker, President and CEO of ECRI. “We were inspired to make the SALUTE Program free for any healthcare provider or company that serves veterans out of our passion to achieve health equity for vulnerable populations, and the efficacy of the Total Systems Safety (TSS) framework. SALUTE brings the holistic TSS approach to bear on the complexities of veteran care.”

ECRI's Total System Safety (TSS) framework aligns components of clinical and safety operations to improve patient care across the continuum. Through TSS, healthcare organizations advance four interdependent facets of care delivery: leadership, governance, and safety cultures; patient and family partnerships; workforce safety and resilience; and agile learning systems.

The SALUTE Program toolkit is available to download for free at The toolkit includes training for healthcare providers on communication that improves diagnostic safety and assessing current systems for veteran engagement; a checklist for veterans to engage with their provider; a white paper on equitable care for veterans; and webinar outlining SALUTE resources. Some toolkit material is adapted from the Toolkit for Engaging Patients To Improve Diagnostic Safety, created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

ECRI also established the SALUTE Honor Roll for healthcare providers and others in the healthcare ecosystem who plan to implement SALUTE to collaborate with one another. Honor Roll organizations receive additional resources including an Implementation Guide; a webinar series featuring leaders in veteran-competent care; and live virtual learning sessions facilitated by safety experts, bringing participants together to discuss best practices and lessons learned. Organizations can learn more about the Honor Roll at

About ECRI:

ECRI is an independent, nonprofit organization improving the safety, quality, and cost-effectiveness of care across all healthcare settings. With a focus on technology evaluation and safety, ECRI is respected and trusted by healthcare leaders and agencies worldwide. ECRI is the only organization worldwide to conduct independent medical device evaluations, with labs located in North America and Asia Pacific. ECRI is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices PSO is a federally certified Patient Safety Organization as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit

For more information:

Contact Yvonne Rhodes, Associate Director of Strategic Communications, at