Veterans Experience Office uses customer feedback to build trust in VA

VA Modernization and transformation efforts focus on customer needs


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Veterans rate their trust in VA by providing real-time feedback; VA uses that feedback to take immediate action and make improvements.

Since 2017, Veterans have sent in more than 4.5 million surveys.

“I have been completely satisfied with the VA clinic in Lafayette, La. I’ve had the best physicals at this clinic. The doctor and her nurse are professionals in every way. I could not ask for any better service than I’ve received from the VA. They should be complimented for their service. The Pharmacy likewise have given me top notch service, they should be complimented as well. 5 stars all around.” (Feedback from Veteran receiving VA Health Care.)

Feedback from Veteran receiving VA health care

Of all the feedback collected since 2017, 67.9% has been complimenting, 18.8% were concerns, and 13.3% recommendations. This feedback has been a catalyst for not only immediately resolving issues for VA’s customers but also learning what Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors want.

In an outpatient health care survey–as of February 2020–89% of Veterans nationwide said they trust VA for their health care needs.

“Listening to our Veteran patients plays an important role in providing world class customer service. VA is not only listening to our Veterans, but we are taking action on their concerns as well as their recommendations to improve VA health care.”

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie

The Veterans Signals (VSignals) program digitally collects customer feedback from Veterans, typically arriving in customer inboxes within hours to days after an appointment. It has received more than 4.5 million Veteran responses and has expanded to 35 surveys in real-time across the department.

With VSignals, Veterans can directly give their recommendations on how they’d like to see the VA change. A Veteran receiving VA Health Care encouraged the VA to share more information on how to nominate VA employees for awards to acknowledge the exceptional care they experienced.

“I have been at the VA an average of 4 days a week for the past 5 months and cannot express [enough] my gratitude for the treatment and respect I receive while in treatment. I know that employees are recognized for their performance, however I do not know how to submit a nomination for a VA employee to receive an award. I would recommend more information, for example a flyer posted in the VA main lobby, on how to do so.”

Veteran patient

Veterans are also able to express their concerns so VA is made aware of and can act upon their feedback.

“The VA has paid special attention to Veteran feedback and has endeavored to improve the overall experience of the agency’s regular customers,” said Surafeal Asgedom, chief of VA Modernization. “This has been reflected by a substantial rise in reported Veteran satisfaction from 2015 to 2019, which nearly doubled.”

At the heart of this Modernization journey are the Veterans. Together, VA employees and partners are enabling Veterans to more easily access the high-qualify care and benefits they have earned. In addition to measuring trust, the Veterans Experience Office also spearheads Patient Experience tools and national initiatives to build the trust of our nation’s Veterans, including:

Own the Moment (OTM)

OTM training empowers VA employees to deliver a positive customer service experience by connecting emotionally with Veterans, to deliver the best experience for Veterans and their families. More than 86,000 VA employees have completed the OTM customer experience workshop.

Red Coat Ambassador Program

The Red Coat Ambassador program outfits volunteers and employees with recognizable red coats or vests to greet and assist Veterans and caregivers when they enter a medical center. The Red Coat Ambassador program is in nearly all VA Medical Centers.

VA Welcome Kit (VAWK)

The VA Welcome Kit is a navigation aid to assist Veterans, family members, caregivers and survivors to access benefits and services they’ve earned. The welcome kit is a handy reference for Veterans to turn to throughout their life. It offers tips on how to use VA benefits and services, whether they want to go to school, get a job, buy a house, get health care, retire, or make plans for their care as they age.

Veteran Identification Card (VIC)

VA provides Veteran identification cards to individuals who served honorably to use as proof of service to obtain discounted goods and services offered to Veterans. Veterans can apply directly for the card at https://www.va.gov/records/get-veteran-id-cards/vic/

White House VA Hotline

The White House VA Hotline (1-855-948-2311) provides a direct, dedicated contact line that allows Veterans, their family members, caregivers and survivors to interact with highly trained, live customer service representatives to answer their needs and concerns 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The hotline is a non-clinical, non-emergency, around-the-clock hotline for complaints, compliments, and recommendations, and can also provide a warm hand-off to the Veterans Crisis Line for Veterans who may be in crisis.

VEO also supports Veterans through coordination and integration of local VA and non-VA services with programming such as Veteran Friendly Communities Initiative, Community Veterans Engagement Boards (CVEB), and Veteran Experience Action Centers.

VA Modernization is committed to keeping our promise to deliver a stronger future for Veterans. That means Veterans and their families have a seamless, satisfying experience. And VA employees are equipped with the best-of-breed tools that deliver best-in-class customer service.

Learn more by following VA Modernization and transformation efforts at https://www.va.gov/modernization/.


This story is part of the Secretary’s Priorities series, which was outlined to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Constructions, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies on Feb. 26, 2019, by VA Secretary Wilkie. The Secretary’s Priorities are Customer Service, MISSION Act, Electronic Health Record, Transforming Business Systems, and Suicide Prevention. These stories are designed to give a closer look at the improvements VA is making in how we relate to, interact with, and ultimately serve our Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.


Angela Abel is an ad hoc blogger with VA’s Office of Modernization. Since 2003, Abel has served as a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Counselor and a VetSuccess on Campus Counselor. She has a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from The Ohio State University. 

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VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Joseph A Wasinger    

    Make sure your bills are paid or they will sic the treasury dept on you and take your tax return I thought I was in a bind before I am in a bigger bind now I have not been offered any help from the VA in getting this bills current or any way of resolving the issue On top of that I have been trying to get service connected for at least 4 years now and still no resolution nor do I know when a resolution will happen they tell you not to stress when you see your psychiatrist but what they do to you puts you under a lot of stress and pressure

  2. Gustavo de la Fuente Jr    

    I can’t understand why the VA sends us to low income clinics for evaluations and not some doctor at the VA clinic. It seems that they pick all out of the way clinics. I seem to always have to settle for not having a doctor. I just got a doctor and saw him almost six months ago. Probably when I go back I’ll probably have a new doctor or none. I’ve been, let’s say fighting the VA since 1985, and always something else that I know nothing about. We have to look for all the paperwork we because they don’t have to.

  3. S W    

    The VA does NOT care about veterans, only how much money they can save. In VISN 1 veterans are just so much meat on a hook. Veterans are pretty much forced to check in at a kiosk for appointments. A machine can’t answer questions, and gives no interpersonal interactions. Veterans are EXPECTED to do their travel on a kiosk or else get screwed out of the travel allowance. The kiosks are blatant HIPAA violations too as our personally identifiable information is NOT protected. Another lie from every employee at VA. This is caring about veterans??? The patient advocate is USELESS!! Pretends to be a social worker but is UNTRAINED!! She upsets clients or just plain ignores their complaints, and if it’s over the phone, she threatens to hang up on the client (read VETERAN). Veterans who need durable medical equipment get denied and have to PAY OUT OF POCKET for what they need or else suffer along without. If they need a wheelchair to get around, some get told that there are no trailer hitches made for their model vehicle. This is because the lift company they use IS LYING and the VA employee is perpetuating the lie. The lift company wants and gets a monopoly on lift installations at VA. And, they do a crappy job of installing them. This VISN OWES ME MONEY for things I have paid for out of pocket and REFUSES TO REIMBURSE ME. This is NOT caring for veterans and providing quality care. The VA needs to be MORE OPEN and TRANSPARENT about ALL of their policies regarding veterans treatment and what veterans need to do to acquire the equipment they need. I have a wheelchair because there are NO trailer hitches for my vehicle. The chair I ended up with is a Jazzy Passport by Pride. It folds and, gee, only weighs 60 pounds. (I) can put it in my trunk. I CAN”T LIFT IT with my bad back that has four (4) bulging discs!!! I can’t use it in rain or snow and if I do, I need to dry it off as soon and as much as possible according to the instructions for it. Thanks a lot VA (facetiousness added). Another big problem is community care. This VISN had a good company, Tri-West who did not take four years to pay for services veterans received in the community. Tri-West was contracted in February 2019 and by October 2019 had been dumped in favor of Optum because Optum is more than willing to cheat community providers out of pay for their services. Consequently, a lot of veterans gave lost treatment that works for them, like acupuncture, because those providers won’t sign up again with the VA. Optum and VA have done a great job of ensuring veterans can’t get the treatments they need. The only way for a veteran to get continued acupuncture, at this point, is to PAY OUT OF POCKET and not be reimbursed by VA. THIS IS NOT QUALITY CARE. Every veteran needs to go to their legislators, congressmen and senators and complain.

  4. Lewis Miller    

    It is so sad that VISN 17 has NO treatment plans for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy like the other VA VISN’s do. Now you wonder why I call the Whitehouse complaint line If more Veterans would use this when they get NO results from the Patient Advocate things would change!

  5. Charles jines    

    How do I get the clergy program in my area. I would like to participate.

  6. Charles jines    

    How do I get the clergy program in my area. I would like to be a part of it. Thank you

    1. Tim Hudak    

      To find upcoming events, see the National VA Chaplain Center page at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/the-national-va-chaplain-center-16550545479.

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