Secretary Wilkie delivers State of VA to House Committee on Appropriations

Discusses customer service, benefits, MISSION Act, suicide prevention


Secretary Wilkie’s written testimony excerpts are italicized below.

Customer Experience Tools

The VA Patient Experience (PX) framework is rooted in research from leading private sector healthcare organizations, high-performing VA healthcare systems, and industry publications, as well as continuing Veteran research using Human Centered Design that outlines Veterans healthcare journeys and identifies the moments that matter most to Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

A group of volunteers stands together in red vests.

VA Maine HCS Red Coat Ambassadors

In 2018, VA PX conducted on-site implementation at VA facilities nationwide, including our Own The Moment train-the-trainer sessions and other initiatives to build the enterprise-wide foundation for mature PX programs and strategies at individual facilities. So far, more than 60,000 VA employees have been trained in Own The Moment. As more VA leaders adopt this non-mandatory training, it will become the definitive customer service workshop at VA, helping provide a consistent Veteran experience across the enterprise.

In 2019, the VA PX program will continue helping VA facilities in their journeys to strategically align towards continuous PX improvement. Through communities of practice, facility-based consultations, and the roll-out of new tools, the VA PX team remains engaged and connected to VHA’s mission to provide the best care and the best experiences for our Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivors.

A significant aligning event for consistent, exceptional customer experiences at VA Medical centers was the first annual PX Symposium, hosted by the VEO and the VHA Diffusion of Excellence Initiative in early February. The PX Symposium brought together over 400 leaders in person—more than 5,000 watching online—from every VAMC and Network Office and across VHA to build VA’s capacity to establish a uniform, foundational patient experience across the department.

VA Patient Experience Symposium

VA held the first annual PX Symposium in February, 2019

The Symposium examined the principles of customer experience and provided practical guidance for understanding experience data and leveraging the Voice of the Veteran through existing surveys and tools, understanding the connection between employee experience and customer experience, developing localized patient improvement plans and prioritizing improvement efforts, and designing practical strategies for successful change management and implementation. We emphasized standardization of certain PX tools across VA that can ensure a consistent, positive experience in the nation’s largest healthcare system. Additionally, the Symposium detailed certain planned technology enhancements that will further empower employees in every facility to provide exceptional experiences.

Watch: Medal of Honor recipient and former VA employee speaks to VA leaders

PX Symposium participants returned to their facilities with a concrete understanding of improvement planning. Our leaders are expected to develop fully actionable plans for their Medical Centers, analyze their facility’s data and Veteran feedback, and implement best practices from around VA and healthcare industry leaders in the private sector. Action plans will address sustainment and continuous improvement. Medical centers are being challenged to improve internal communications to engage and empower employees and enhance change management efforts. We owe Veterans every reason to choose VA. The VA PX program will help us get there.

Tools also include navigational and access assistance products such as the VA Welcome Kit. Watch: Secretary Wilkie talks Veterans experience, Welcome Kit.

Learn more on the NEXT page.


Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.


  1. Michael Buchanan    

    I wrecked/Rollover a Fire Truck, 7 weeks in a Coma may2012 still trying to get my drivers license back it was suspended 4 yrs. after wreck,by McGuire polytrauma center four yrs , after wreck i had driven big trucks for 37 yrs, i just want a regular local license

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