While we pride ourselves on the high quality of care that Veterans receive at VA, we are always striving for ways to improve on a national scale. Read on for the top things VA is doing now to improve access for Veterans everywhere.
1. Greeters Help Patients, Prevent Delays in Care
As a way of improving the patient experience and promoting a culture of service, an increasing number of VA facilities are using employees and volunteers to greet Veterans and actively watch for potential delays in a Veteran’s care.
Rick Williams, a Marine Corps and Army Veteran, greets and assists Veterans at the VA Butler Healthcare Center. Here, he shares how his role as an Information Specialist makes a difference:
“I feel my greatest contribution to VA Butler is giving respect, care, and a voice for our fellow Veterans. I ensure that they check in and are escorted to their appointments in a timely manner. Most of all, I ensure that they have a positive and fun experience while at VA Butler Healthcare Center.”
2. Put the Customer First, Always
During the AMVETS National Conference, VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald emphasized the role of VA as a customer-service organization. He said:
“At VA, we are going to judge the success of our individual and collective efforts against a single metric – customer outcomes, Veterans’ outcomes.”
Creating and sustaining a culture of service is a daunting task. It requires strong, clear leadership, specific and personalized plans, communication and measurement that makes sense, and a shared commitment throughout the organization.
3. Report Progress, Track Results
VA is posting wait-time data updates on a bi-monthly basis to show our progress on our efforts to accelerate access to quality health care for Veterans who have been waiting for appointments.
On August 14, 2014, VA posted the latest data update on the VA Access Audit page.
4. Review and Renew
In Phoenix, Secretary McDonald announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs has initiated an independent, nation-wide review of all scheduling practices at VA medical facilities. In his first trip as Secretary, McDonald also announced a series of additional actions to improve Veterans’ access to timely, quality health care following a series of meetings with Veterans and employees at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Read more.
(The above information was repurposed from The Access Advisor newsletter, produced for VHA employees by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management and VHA Office of Communications.)