The future of Patient Experience at VA

The way we treat Veterans today is the reason they will choose VA tomorrow


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Earlier this month, 15 VA leaders came together at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center to plan out the VA patient experience transformation. Their mission: to promote a culture where every Veteran receives an exceptional experience when they visit or interact with VA.

This builds on the May 2019 event where VA codified customer experience into its core values, adding customer service into VA’s Code of Federal Regulations.

“The VA is about serving Veterans,” said Secretary Wilkie at last year’s American Legion 100th National Convention. “Our responsibility is to serve you well and honorably. My prime directive is customer service.”

The VA patient experience plan

  1. Organizational alignment.
  2. Engaged culture where people are focused on leaders and employees.
  3. Expectations for employees and Veterans.
  4. Welcoming and belonging environment.
  5. Veteran engagement and collaboration: hearing their voice.
  6. Continuous learning: improving, measuring and designing.

“In order to realize our vision – VA has to have the best patient experience anywhere. We will align our culture to one of service to Veterans as they are first in everything we do, say or think,” said Jennifer Purdy, VA’s Veterans Experience Office Director for Patient Experience.

VA facilities across the country have already implemented several patient experience programs. These programs ensure every employee is trained and focused to provide care in a consistently exceptional manner. A few of the programs VA health care systems have implemented include:

                                                       
  • Red Coat Ambassadors: These ambassadors welcome Veterans and their families at medical center entrances, then direct them to their destination.
  • Own the Moment: This customer experience workshop encourages VA staff to guide Veterans through the moments that matter on their VA journey.
  • WE-CARE Rounding: Medical Center Leaders and Administrators make “rounds,” speaking directly with staff and visitors about the care and services they received.
  • Standard Phone Greeting: Creates a uniform way to greet callers, letting them know in a clear, friendly way who they have reached.

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Assessing our performance

Earlier this year, we created patient experience self-assessments for VA health care systems throughout the country. The assessments weigh the outcomes of the implemented patient experience programs and identify opportunities for improvement. Then, the VA patient experience team created a patient experience “road map to excellence” and a patient experience guidebook. These resources assist facilities as they build the foundation for an unrivaled patient experience program. This allows employees and volunteers to show how VA has put Veterans and their families at the center of every process.

For more on the event, check out Grand Junction’s KJCT News 8 coverage, here: https://www.kjct8.com/video?vid=557800572

Author

Brett Robbins

Brett Robbins is an Army Veteran serving as a communications specialist detailed to Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Experience Office.

Comments

  1. L.Smit    

    I have been receiving care at the VA Medical Center in Bay Pines, FL. I have had the best experience, they are kind and helpful, always try to accommodate me, and go out of their way to help me sometimes. I have seen staff often being very patient and kind to patients who weren’t happy campers. I can’t say enough good things about “my” hospital and clinics. Like the review above by Jay Cole, you could use VA Medical Center Bay Pines as a great example of how to treat patients.

  2. James Carrick    

    My lengthy comment suddenly disappeared!
    What a joke!

  3. James Carrick    

    The VA in Albuquerque, NM is a ‘Feel Good’ kind a place. The employees are concerned with informing Vets of what that want to hear. Then writing up meeting the way the VA wants it to read. I’m tired of attempting to correct the summaries from staff that or in my records!

  4. Walter Anczerewicz    

    I have received great care at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood, IL. Never had a problem with service and appointments.

  5. Richard Hawkins    

    I wish half of what I just read was true.

  6. Ben E Glover    

    I truly believe that in the current future to come the VA’s will become a major source of not only concern for patients but people seeking compassion and medical attention whether it be physical or mental and hopefully spiritually as well.

    After almost 20 yrs of trying to get in and serviced not, I see far more people at the doors helping folks get around and reaching out to them as well and not a standoffish attitude. If this drifts closer to each individual rooms of attention at the computer desk and counselors.

    I would love to be a part of welcoming people, but I would want to be able to pray with them as well. What better place to serve God to where a country of men where they live was founded upon Him from the beginning, without fear of reprisal of politics getting involved because I did. Why I do not know unless it is because of terrorism that other or anyone would have issues of someone praying with and for them at a hospital for the wounded and ailing. Is that not the VA at its core?

    God Bless all who serve Him First,
    Ben E Glover
    Columbia SC William Bryan Dorn VA

  7. Jennifer M    

    Really interested in working for VA in the patient /member experience? I am a caretaker for a KW Vet and am in this field and so to combine two passions would be an ideal career making a real difference. Is there someone I can talk to about current or future opportunities in PX/CX/DX with the VA?

  8. James L. Morkin (9348)    

    Some 12 years ago I was (more or less) written off by the Commercial Medical Industry … lost consciousness during a stress test… suggested I had about 2 years left … also suggested I go to the VA … I did that.

    Have never had better care in my life …still motating in the 90th year of my life…. still productive as a citizen … support my community and neighbors.

    Perhaps here in my area they are more reactive to VA patient needs … I have no way of knowing otherwise. I do know that I have been given a new lease on life … work weekly in support of my Community / State and Nation with great appreciation.

    God Bless all of you.

  9. James Wilson    

    A Vietnam Veteran with prostate cancer my request for disability was denied. The amount of paperwork from the VA was impossible for me to deal with so I gave up trying to apply. I am very disappointed with the way I have been treated.

  10. M.K. Aakre    

    Regarding the new urgent care program.
    The VA seems to be doing well at forming alliances with urgent care facilities in urban areas where VA facilities already exist., but is slow to accredit rural urgent care facilities where they are needed. In speaking with the head administrator of the local urgent care facility in zip code 97141 and a Triwest administrator involved with accrediting urgent care providers, it was clear they are not communicating. Each accused the other of not reaching out to the other. As a result, there are very few rural providers in Oregon.

    1. Daniel L Kibbee    

      MKA, please try to push forward for rural care. Our day will come when geriatric care will be needed, the VA in Or. is way out of touch in that area. I’m actually worried.

  11. Paul F. Fisher    

    This new Mission Act is a Total Joke. The specialist’s that I need for my Service Connected Injuries cannot be provided by the VA. I applied under the Mission Act and they put me under Triwest. None of my specialist s will accept Triwest as it doesn’t pay. With having had four Major Disc replacement’s in my neck, I cannot afford to lose my Neurosurgeon. My Medicare and Medicare supplement Insurance has paid out well over $500,000 for my Service Connected Injuries. That is four neck disc operations and seven Total Knee replacement’s.

  12. Ronald Tolls    

    You publish only laudatory comments! What a farce!

  13. Ronald Tolls    

    Dental care supposedly a benefit for veterans with disabilities totaling 100%. Translation: “We have scheduled you for an extraction of at least six teeth, removal of bridge work, and fitting with a denture!” although my dentist of 18 years and oral surgeon of three implants after a thorough evaluation wrote up a treatment plan including a crown that I have already paid for out of pocket and two implants all rejected by the Houston VA dental clinic. Worse yet they do not answer my phone calls or correspondence with any explanations and invariably if I call them “Please Hold!” Then a busy signal until my call stops rining. . “You have 25 calls ahead of you!” so I wait and ultimately again their phone stops ringing. I have written several times to the Patient Representative to no avail, have requested the help of Sen Cornyn, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, and have letters drafted for President Trump and VP Pence.What recourse but to pay out of pocket again?

  14. Robert McDowell    

    The VA in Lexington, Ky is one of the best in the nation.

  15. Jay L Cole    

    I receive excellent health care at the Roudebush VA Hospital in Indianapolis. The staff there are all very friendly & helpful & actually care about their patients. You should use this facility as an example of what you want all VA medical facilities to be like.

  16. Danny Wigington    

    Since I have began using the VA for all my medical requirements I have been treated well and have had all my medical needs taken care of professionally and with great courtesy and respect. Also I see other patients treated well and start to feel younger being around older veterans. I use the VA in San Francisco.

  17. Joe Smith    

    I is amazing to me that the VA thinks that they have improved there service to the Veterans when me a working veteran that has to travel for work and which by the way I’m a federal employee that is still serving the country. I can’t even get my prescriptions fill and sent to before I have to travel. I have been fighting this problem ever since the VA changed everything and did not provide any flexibility for the working vet’s like me that needs service when we need it and not at the convenience of the VA.
    The service has really sucked instead of being better, all they are doing is toting there own horn.

    I guess it’s time for me to start a campaign for the vet’s that feel the same way I do.

  18. Duane Johnson    

    Why does the VA always try to lower your disability claim? It is total bull that they want to help vets! Every combat vet should be 100%, especially Vietnam vets the way we were treated coming home. why do we continuously fight for our DISABILITY. This is shameful.

Comments are closed.