VA Sunshine Healthcare Network
Miguel H. LaPuz, MD, MBA
Network Director, VISN 8
Miguel H. LaPuz, M.D., MBA, was appointed as Director of the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, VISN 8, effective February 2016. Prior to his appointment, Dr. LaPuz served as the Medical Center Director of the Salem VA Medical Center (VAMC), Salem, Va., from 2011 to 2015. As Director of VISN 8, he oversees healthcare delivery through a system of eight hospitals (two of which are integrated) and nearly 60 primary care and specialty outpatient clinics; eight nursing homes; and five domiciliaries. VISN 8 serves a 1.5 million Veteran population and in 2019, the network provided healthcare to 630,000 patients—#1 in the nation. Dr. LaPuz’s previous VA experience includes serving as Chief of Staff at the Salisbury VAMC, in Salisbury, N.C from 2009 to 2011; in 2010, he also served there as the VAMC’s interim Director. From 2005 to 2009, he was the Chief of Staff at the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center, Columbus, Ohio, and from 2000 to 2005, he served as Chief of Medicine Service at the Dayton VAMC in Dayton, Ohio. A native of the Philippines, Dr. LaPuz received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (Pre-Med focus) in 1978 from the University of the Philippines, Quezon City, R.P., and his medical degree in 1982 from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in Manila. In 2000, he also earned a Masters of Business Administration from Wright State University in Dayton. A physician who specializes in Nephrology (conditions of the kidney), Dr. LaPuz did his residency in Internal Medicine at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., and completed a Fellowship in Nephrology at Long Island College Hospital, also in Brooklyn. He also completed a Fellowship in Molecular Biology Research at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky. Named Teacher of the Year at Wright State University’s School of Medicine in 1998, Dr. LaPuz holds professional certifications by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Verana E. Richardson, MBA
Deputy Network Director, Operations, VISN 8
Ms. Verana Richardson was appointed in May 2019 to serve as the Deputy Network Director for Operations for the VA VISN 8 Sunshine Healthcare Network. In this role, she is responsible for network operations and provides administrative oversight to eight VA hospitals; and approximately 60 community VA outpatient clinics. In 2019, VISN 8 employed approximately 31,000 staff and provided healthcare to about 630,000 Veterans. The VISN 8 Sunshine Healthcare Network includes most of Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Ms. Richardson previously served in an interim capacity as the VISN 8 Chief Operating Officer prior to this current assignment. Mrs. Richardson has been with VISN 8 since 2008. She has also worked at several other VA facilities during her VA career; which include the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa; and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland. She currently holds a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree from the Ohio University, and is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Edward P. Cutolo, MD
Chief Medical Officer, VISN 8
Edward P. Cutolo, Jr., M.D. was appointed Chief Medical Office of the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, VISN 8, effective Nov. 2017. Prior to his present appointment, Dr. Cutolo served as Chief of Staff of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital & Clinics (JAHVH), Tampa, Fla., from November 2006 to October 2017. As CMO of VISN 8, he oversees the medical operations of eight large hospitals and more than 60 primary care and specialty outpatient clinics, eight nursing homes, and five domiciliaries. Dr. Cutolo is certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He previously served as Associate Chairman and Associate Program Director for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine in Tampa. He currently holds the title of Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Cutolo received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1990. He attended Medical School at USF where he completed his internship and residency in 1998.
Suzanne M. Klinker
Deputy Director for Clinical Contact Center, VISN 8
Ms. Suzanne M. Klinker serves as Director (or you could put Deputy Network Director for the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center) of the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center. In this role, she provides executive leadership oversight for the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center – a 24/7 virtual urgent care service available to Veterans enrolled for VA care in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is an active member of the VHA Clinical Contact Center Governance Board where she advances VA’s modernization and transformation in virtual care. Prior to her appointment with the VISN 8 Network Office, she served as the Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System from May 2012 to September 2018. Previously, Ms. Klinker served as the director of the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, and prior to that, she served as the Associate Medical Center Director at VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo and Batavia, New York. Ms. Klinker started her VA service at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka, Kansas, and has also worked at VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Ms. Klinker began her VA career in 1995. She completed VHA's Health Care Leadership Institute and graduated from VHA's Executive Career Field Candidate Development Program. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She began her Federal service working for then U.S. Representative Jim Slattery from 1989 through 1994 in Washington, DC, and Topeka, Kansas. Ms. Klinker was born in Lafayette, Indiana, and received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Finance from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Master of Science in Management from Baker University in Topeka, Kansas.
Rebecca M. Tiffault, MSN, RN
Quality Management Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, VISN 8
Ms. Rebecca M. Tiffault, MSN, RN, currently serves as the Quality Management Officer and Chief Nursing Officer for the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8). In this role, she provides leadership oversight and program management of the network's accreditation, risk management, quality systems, patient safety, performance management, high reliability, systems redesign, as well as nursing care and programs. Prior to joining the VISN 8 team, Ms. Tiffault was the Chief of Quality at the Tomah VA Medical Center. She also completed details as the Acting VISN 12 Deputy Quality Management Officer and Acting Associate Director at Tomah. She has been with the VA for over 18 years, having served in a variety of progressively complex administrative and leadership roles, and is passionate about quality and safety in health care. Ms. Tiffault also has extensive experience in the private sector spending many years as a Certified Emergency Nurse working in ED/Trauma. Ms. Tiffault is a graduate of the Healthcare Leadership Development Program (HCLDP) and the VISN 12 Leadership Development Program. She is also a graduate of the Improvement Advisor Academy and has worked as a national coach for the Patient Flow Collaborative. She is a VHA mentor, actively engaged in several coaching/mentoring relationships and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, International. Ms. Tiffault has an ADN from Central Carolina Technical College, a BSN from the University of South Carolina, and an MSN from the University of Phoenix.