Texas VA hosts health care vendor fairs to help community care providers


shadow

HARLINGEN, Texas — VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) hosted two health care fairs during the month of August.

“Although the events were officially called VA Home Health and Dental Vendor Fairs, we wanted to emphasize that any vendor within the health care sector was welcomed to attend and be part of these two events,” said Timothy Rivera the administrative officer for the VA Community Care Program at VCB.

“The purpose of these events was to address specific issues related to home health and dental especially where the billing process is concerned,” added Rebecca Buhidar the nurse manager for the Home Based Primary Care Program at VCB, who along with Timothy Rivera helped coordinate the vendor fairs.

The first fair took place on August 8, 2018, at the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority Auditorium.

The second fair took place the following day at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Academic and Clinical Research Building located.

A grand total of approximately 90 vendors, presenters and medical professionals attended the seven-and-a-half hour-long fairs. About 30 attended the fair in Corpus Christi and 55 people attended the event at Harlingen.

In addition to receiving a 15-page-long VA Community Provider Toolkit and other educational materials, vendors at both fairs were provided information via a series of presentations by different staff members of the Community Care Program at VCB and the VA Office of Community Care in Bonham, Texas.

VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System employees Timothy Rivera and Efren Cerda-Cantu talk Cynthia Carmona a dental office manager from Brownsville, Texas, who along with other dental health professionals attended the VA vendor fair held at the UTRGV Academic and Clinical Research Building in Harlingen, Texas, on August 9, 2018. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System employees Timothy Rivera and Efren Cerda-Cantu talk with Cynthia Carmona a dental office manager from Brownsville, Texas, who along with other dental health professionals from the community care sector attended the VA vendor fair held at the University of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley [UTRGV] Academic and Clinical Research Building in Harlingen, Texas, on August 9, 2018. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

The presentations covered a range of various topics such as the importance of a properly completed authorizations using VA Outpatient Form 10-7079, and a brief overview of the claims process used by the Veterans Health Administration’s Chief Business Office.

The presentations included other topics such the VA Vendor Inquiry System (VIS), which is an external web application that allows registered vendors and community providers to research the status of claims received by VA. The system provides information on previous, current, and future payments including check numbers, payment amounts, and invoice numbers. It also gives providers the option to use a Tax ID or Vendor Code to run inquiries and reports.

Dr. Milton J. Grisham Jr., the dental service chief for VCB attended both events, which several vendors from the dental sector appreciated.

“I think some of the information that’s been presented will help me better explain the billing process within the VA, which is important because many Veterans just simply don’t know what to do with a voucher once they get it, said Cynthia Carmona a dental office manager from Brownsville, Texas, who along with other dental health professionals spoke directly with Dr. Grisham.

Carmona said she thought having Dr. Grisham take the time to speak with her and other dental vendors was great.

“He gave me and other vendors his business card and encouraged us to call if we had any issues or concerns about the dental services, process and claims,” said Carmona. “I feel that having him as a point of contact I can reach out to for help is a great advantage because he is the top person in charge of the dental program for the VA here.”

shadow

The fairs concluded with a Q & A session followed by a few hours set aside for VA staff members individually to address specific cases or concerns the vendors may have had such a delay in payment to their provider.

In addition to thanking the vendors in attendance for their unwavering commitment to delivering world-class health care and exceptional customer service to Veterans and their families, Rivera stated the following, “One of the biggest concerns for Veterans is the fear of seeking care from a community provider and getting an invoice for a bill they cannot afford, but more often we come to find out this happens due to human error or lack of education regarding the billing process.’

‘Our goal with these vendor fairs is to reduce the number of such cases so that our Veterans experiences remain ones and they walk away from their appointments with the peace of mind they will not be charged for services and care they’ve earned by their sacrifices and honorable service. Together, the VA and community care providers can continue to make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of the men and women who have served our nation.”

Author

Luis Loza Gutierrez

Luis H. Loza Gutierrez joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in October of 2017 and serves as a public affairs specialist for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System more commonly referred to as VCB.

In addition to winning multiple awards as a writer, editor, photographer, illustrator and graphic artist during his more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist and photojournalist, L.G. (as he was called by his fellow Airmen) also served as a member for the Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard in North Dakota.

He volunteered to deploy out of cycle twice in a period of less 18 months, the second of which included a six-month tour as a member of the public affairs team at United States Force-Iraq headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The now retired non-commissioned officer returned home to the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas in November of 2015, and feels enthusiastic and honored to continue to serve his fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms as a member of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.