Pictured above: Andrea Macomber, case manager, Charlene Eaton, deputy chief, Manchester Office of Community Care, Dr. Brian Phemester, director, Manchester VA Office of Community Care, Stella Lareau, Congressional liaison, Al Montoya, director, Manchester VA Medical Center and Kristina Huntoon, Tilton CBOC case manager at Manchester VA’s Community Provider Education Summit.
The Manchester VA in New Hampshire is among only a handful of VA medical centers in the nation without an adjacent or full-service VA hospital. To successfully serve Veterans, close relationships with community providers is needed. This is something the Manchester VA is prioritizing as a way of enhancing care and services to Veterans. At VA, being a leader in health care means we need to prioritize access to care, making sure Veterans get the right care, at the right place, at the time. This is also part of ensuring Veterans, community providers and our VA workforce have a great experience throughout the process, which is why Manchester VA is extending excellence in customer service to its community providers.
As part of this effort, community providers from across New Hampshire were invited to a Claim Reimbursement Education Summit to streamline payment processes when Veterans are referred to a community provider (doctor) outside of VA. The summit, designed to address challenges community providers experience in receiving payments from VA, was a close collaboration with the VA New England Healthcare System and the Office of Community Care Claims Adjudication and Reimbursement team.
The summit offered a total of six, one-hour long training sessions, presented by subject matter expert Barbara Becker, regional officer for the Office of Community Care. Overall more than 80 local provider offices benefited from the education summit.
The summit was conducted in one room, and the staff from Manchester VA Office of Community Care, CAR and VA New England Healthcare System supported from an education room that was adjacent to maximize the time of providers in attendance. The education room was open-door access, providing an overview of the claims process, and one-on-one question and answer sessions with subject matter experts. Many providers came from New Hampshire and Massachusetts; however, we had one provider come from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (who took a plane in that morning!).
Many community providers in attendance appreciated the offering and requested that it be an annual event. Compassion Massage Therapeutic Clinic was one community provider in attendance. When asked what they valued most of the summit, Cathrine Thibault, a board-certified massage therapist and owner said, “We loved just being able to connect directly with the VA, have our questions answered and just kind of make sure we are on track for submitting our claims properly. Just being able to provide the best care, knowing that we will be reimbursed.”
Other community providers in attendance remarked,
“I want to thank you for being so welcoming yesterday after the presentation ended. It was a great start and truly helped me feel comfortable.”
“The seminar was very informative and enabled me to walk away with a restored sense of confidence that I can provide care for Veterans without any doubts of reimbursement.”
New Hampshire is truly exceptional when it comes to partnering to ensure Veterans have the resources and health care they need. The New Hampshire Hospital Association has been instrumental in sharing information. Leading up to the summit, they facilitated a meeting where Manchester VA staff was able to meet with its members.
“It was a great opportunity for providers in the community to learn about everything the VA is doing to improve their processes, both locally and nationally, while keeping a focus on the issue of unprocessed claims within our state, said Nick Carano, director, Financial Policy & Reimbursement, New Hampshire Hospital Association. “Providers were able to have one-on-one sessions with subject matter experts to get resolutions and feedback on specific questions in-between the education sessions.”
“Community providers were quick to share their appreciation for the staff that had supported them since they had come on as providers with the VA. Those in attendance asked questions, provided thoughtful examples and follow up. Overall it was a very productive day, and I look forward to improving the summit to include provider feedback for next year,” said Alfred Montoya, director, Manchester VA Medical Center.
“It was a proud day for Manchester VA. Although the state has seen its fair share of challenges, our partnerships are strong and our commitment to providing high quality care to Veterans is second to none.”
For more information about community care, visit www.va.gov/communitycare.
Kristin Pressly is a public affairs officer with the Manchester VA Medical Center. She has been serving Veterans in varied roles with the VA for greater than 20 years.