VA Medical Center, Lexington, Ky., is part of the nationwide Veterans Administration healthcare system. The Veterans Administration traces its origins as far back as 1636, when the pilgrims of Plymouth Colony enacted a law stating that disabled soldiers were to be cared for by the colony. Throughout the next couple centuries, the administration was restructured several times. The current Veterans Administration system dates to 1930 when Congress authorized the President to 'consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans.' The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930, to include 171 medical centers, more than 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics, 126 nursing home care units and 35 domiciles and services more than seven million veterans. With more than 180,000 health care professionals, the VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. VA's health care system is recognized internationally as a leader in health care quality and patient safety.