A vital part of the MyVA transformation involves the adoption of best practices from not only the private and non-profit sectors, but also successful strategies already in practice within the VA.

“At the improvement forum, we bring together executive leadership and front line staff that are doing improvement work at facilities to showcase the work that has been done and to allow it to spread,” said Ashley Benedict, the VISN-8 systems redesign coordinator.

The Orlando VA Medical Center was chosen to host the fifth annual VA Sunshine Healthcare Network’s (VISN-8) improvement forum not only because it’s centrally located, but also to show off the newly opened 1.2 million square-foot facility.

VISN-8 is the nation’s largest system of hospitals and clinics serving a population of more than 1.6 million Veterans spread across Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Dr. Clancy, VA Chief Medical Officer encourages employees to share their lessons learned with the rest of VA

Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VA’s chief medical officer, encourages employees to share their lessons learned with the rest of VA.

Employee teams from across the network present their system redesign ideas using lean-six sigma methodology and the VISN collectively votes for the redesign deemed to have the most impact.

“This is one of the greatest avenues of engaging employees and giving them an outlet to implement system change,” said VISN-8 Acting Director Thomas Wisnieski. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share what we do, and shamelessly steal the best ideas to implement at our facilities.”

This year’s overall VISN-8 lean-six sigma project winner redesigned the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System to eliminate a 2,000-patient sleep study backlog in just over a year. Now, the overall cycle time from initial consult to treatment has been reduced from more than two years to 90 days.

Dr. Clancy, VA’s chief medical officer, emphasized to not only share best practices, but also lessons learned from  mistakes.

“Because we are an integrated system we have the ability to spread best practices, but also know when we drop the ball,” she said.

Many of the new and future system redesigns will begin in this way – from a VA employee who wants to improve the Veteran experience.

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18 Comments

  1. Charles Carl Smith RA 18-414-019 November 1, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    WW11,Korea and Desert Storm/ Desert Shield combat veteran. 88 years old. The biggest thing as a veteran advocate working with claims would for all M.D. to use the disability code in all cases of treatment. Can change , up or down in each new appointment. Just use code for medical use in diagnosing and giving prescriptions.

  2. George R. Rayford November 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Will this staff also redesign the healthcare for vets who live outside the US., Because, the FMP coverage is not known to the military care givers. Only tri-care…..My care provider at the military was terminated because there is no information on this DOD VA insurance provider. I emailed the webb site and was told that they do not send info to vets or AFN network on their coverage. Because it’s up to the to find a doctor in Germany to treat disabilities also. they must be DOD certified. How do I do this? Most vets here have never heard of this coverage and like me have gotten local health coverage to have their VA disabilities monitored and meds provided. Without some kind of installation ID you can’t access the post for healthcare even if it’s available. Also, there are know funds or grants available for home improvements for your disability. Because you live outside the US you are restricted..

  3. SANDRA L WEIDNER November 1, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I wonder WHY the choice program was developed. My eye surgeon getting ready to go on maternity leave could not get me in for my cataract surgery before Feb 2016. She referred me to choice. I saw her Sept 23rd. She told me to wait at least 3 days. I called Choice on Wed Oct 30th and made my request, even gave them a Dr name where I live, that she referred me to as she knew his work. I was told I would be called the next week with an appt. I have called a couple more times, in the next week. I have talked to approx 6 people at the 866 number, being told each time I would be contact shortly for an appt. Well it has been over 30 days since My request was put in. I have heard nothing. I have called and made an appt to be seen as I almost wrecked my car the night going to pick hubby at work because my cataract has progressed and it has almost blocked my peripheral vision at night. So now I can not drive until surgery is done. I do have Medicare and will get the other 20% somehow to pay for as I need to see! I understand that I am not the only Veteran at CW Young VA in Bay Pines have had the same trouble. So what good is the choice program doing for us Veterans???????????????

  4. William Terry Gardiner October 31, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Sure, another VA screw up. I type a rather long reply, make SURE that the CAPTCHA code is perfect and then hit the Post Comment button. I then get an error saying that the CAPTCHA code was incorrect. NO WAY. Probably didn’t like what I had to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. William Terry Gardiner October 31, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    How can this so called “new VA system” refuse to go out of their way (just a little) to ensure that a veteran who has ran out of his pain medications, not help him by “over night FEDEX or UPS? So now I am starting to go through WITHDRAWALS and not one damn single person at the White City VA Domicillary, White City, OR and the Klamath Falls, OR VA outpatient center would help me. I was told it was a mistake caused by using the automated re-fill 800 number. So is that my fault?? This is the second time this has happened and there is absolutely no excuse for this type of treatment. AND how can VA Nurses keep telling me if I do not keep an appointment for a Urine test or any appointment, they will stop giving me my pain medications. I have never had a dirty UA in my entire life. These “threats” have got to stop. IF I miss an appointment, I call and let them know I simply cannot make it due to extreme pain caused by multiple Service Connected Disabilities. I am rated 100% SMC. Additionally, when the VA hires a new Doctor, Nurse or pharmacist, do they go through any training in the VA’s Code Of Federal Regulations? I think not because they don’t know any of those regulations if their life depended on it and they just keep telling us veterans what THEY want to and still get away with it. HAVE THEM READ THE CFR’S ~ at least those applicable to the job they are performing. In particular, the one that states that no VA employee will become angry and yell at veterans, either in person or over the phone. They are really good at breaking that one.

  6. William Keen October 31, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Typically a government situation.

    While the VA is supposedly a NATIONWIDE system, the PTB are given autonomy to decide how things are going to work in THEIR playground.

    The VA Hospital in Houston is absolutely riddled with systems that do NOT work. The patient video/tv system looks good until you attempt to use any part of it. NOTHING past the front page is viable. The patient computers are outdated and missing pieces like POWER CORDS, mouse’s. Of the 3 at one ward’s common room, only one would turn on and it didn’t have a mouse. The grills were blocked with lint.

    The patient appointment system sends me notices of canceled appointments 3 weeks AFTER the appointment. There is NO WAY to determine WHERE your appointment is but they do waste a lot of time and energy telling you on the computer that you HAVE one.

    The Information Desk in the lobby can’t tell you where your appointment is, they can’t read the codes either. This Facility Director is so incompetent that NOTHING works like is SAYS it will.

    In the basement the signs read: “Do not store anything in this hallway” right beside a continuous line of items along the wall. You have a hard time passing someone in this hall.

    For the kitchen – while the food is really good, you can’t trust getting what you ordered on the menu IF you GET a menu. There is no one in charge and no one to complain to without going to the nurses and asking them to call. At least once each day my food was NOT as listed on the menu with my name on it. Probably pilferage from the handlers, or, just sloppy work with no way to get it corrected. They only care about delivering SOMETHING to you.

    Parking is for the employees and NOT for the patients who are the REASON for the WHOLE THING! This is absurd! After arriving 30 minutes early, I was late because of the traffic congestion due to lack of parking. After going to the “Assisted Mobility” parking ( the furtherest from ALL clinics) I still had to park and use a wheel chair to get back to the door, about a 200 yard uphill push.

    Another time, I said that I would be staying overnight and the valet said okay. The next morning after going the entire length of the hospital, the valet told me to go to the VA “Police” station as they had moved it. After going back nearly the whole length and taking over 15 minutes getting someone from the VA Police to respond, I was told that my car was with the front valet parking. This took another 150 yards and 30 minutes to find my car.

    The basic problem seems to be that the Administrator has NO LIABILITY for any discrepancies so they do NOTHING to make things work right.

    As a patient, you get no soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and only the linens for the bed along with pajamas that MAY fit and MAY have snaps that work on the crotch.

    This Administration rates a D on their job performance.

  7. ANDREW CHESLEY CULLINANE October 31, 2015 at 3:27 am

    You CPAC unit at Oceanside does an excellent job. They have improved the quality of my life, now that I get proper sleep. I would recomemed it to any one.

  8. Mike Hutchison October 31, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I’m clinical pharmacist with SFVA. Sign me up so I can help with your effort.
    Thanks
    Mike

  9. Andrew Daw October 30, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    While a patient at Carl Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix Arizona I couldn’t help noticing the filthy conditions of the inpatient areas of this facility. It appears that the floors had not been moped in over a year. In fact, while there for about a week, one young housekeeper showed up with what appeared to be a swifter type of device and wiped about 25 percent of the floor. Meanwhile, the other 75 percent was just as filthy as when I showed up. No one else ever cane in the room and it was not restricted.

    The excuse was manpower. The result is patient infection. Four days after discharge, I was re-admitted. Seems that I contracted a nasty lung disease while there.

  10. william quinion October 30, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    William Quinion · St. Lawrence University
    Corruption is rampant throughout our government, not only in our appointed representatives with foreign duties but also here at home. More Veterans are killed by the Corruption in our VA Administration and Social Security Administration than all of the wars we have been in ? Did you know that 22 veterans a day commit suicide because they can’t get the help they need from the VA Administration or the COURTS both Federal and Administrative run by the Social Security Commission??? I personally INFLUENCED the Senate and Congress to pass the new Veterans VA funding and benefits BILL. I pointed out a FLAW in the bill that would allow the VA to continue their bad conduct. The Senate passed a bill 3 weeks later to correct the flaw and the VA is IGNORING that BILL and DENYING PAYMENT for non-VA outside treatment that they can’t provide. I KNOW because I am one of those VETERANS that is being DENIED for a DISABILITY incurred in BOOT in 1956 and SUBSTANTIATED BY SOC.SEC.DOCTORS paid by SOC.SEC. and their record of opinion has been WITHHELD from me and DESTROYED to prevent receiving BENEFITS DUE. You can read all about it in a book Published by Xlibris,NON-FICTION,titled ( HOW GOD FOUND ME). I was saved by GOD 21 TIMES, 2 of which returned me from the dead, certificate is in my medical record. Every Vet,Vets’friend,family NEEDS to see this book as it also shows how the VA tried to KILL ME at least 10 times. Don’t miss it as those guys coming back from the WARS in the middle East will be treated the same. Money meant for their CARE is being SPENT on REDECORATING the BUILDING. The Administration is CORRUPT and needs to be REPLACED.

    • DannyG November 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Mr. Quinion, My Brother, you & I sound a lot alike, but I haven’t been thru anything like you describe. Most Americans are afraid to speak out, but it is becoming more & more common. Our elected “representatives” seem to be interested in everything BUT America or Americans, the gov’t that ordered many Americans off to foreign lands to fight & die, is trying to weasel out of its promises, needy volunteers are not treated as promised either, and those currently serving feel like the American Government doesn’t give a Rat’s Behind about them!
      THIS IS AMERICA !! As Veterans, we have to remember that WE are the blood that keeps America’s heart beating! We are “entitled” to one thing – the RIGHT to expect our government to keep IT’S WORD to us !!
      If things don’t change SOON, who is gonna protect the Washington fat cats when the terrorist, muslim extremist, jihadist, killers (not too politically correct) are kicking in their front doors? Nobody wants to enlist & we’re all getting old or dying off !!

  11. Gary E. Mossman October 30, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    The VA is so broken that I don’t believe that it can be fixed. Robert McDonald was the wrong choice to be name as the newest Secretary. If you allow the employees to continue to think that they are doing veterans a great service and treat us disrespectfully it won’t work.. They who have there job or career with the VA forget with out the Veterans there is NO Job or Career!
    I go to Cincinnati VA Hospital, and it stinks the way your treated there, I hate it……….

  12. Jason Cofer October 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    You really want to help. Cut the wait time for people that need help.

  13. John Doherty October 30, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Why is there no private doctor/patient communication system. You have “MyhealthVa”–Secure Messaging but their is nothing private about it because if you send a private “Secure” message to a named doctor, the first thing they do is publish it in my general medical record, then everyone with access to a computer can open it and read it. Where is the doctor /patient privacy? If I want to ask 1 Dr. something from another department that I think is wrong, everyone gets to read it so when I go back to that department you get the poison look, plus the Dr. that you ask his opinion is hesitant to give his true opinion knowing his answer is going to get published for everyone to read.

  14. Veronica Clifford October 30, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    My husband was in the army 1972 – 74. I’ve been with him for 20 years I’m his fourth wife. We were married for 15 years. I thought he only had an alcohol problem. He tried getting help in the seventies eighties nineties and 2000. It wasn’t until 2010 in 2011 the whistle blowers came out in Arizona and Texas and throughout the United States. Regarding the misconduct of the veterans. So in August 2013 I took my husband back to the VA and they finally sent him for an evaluation. Mind you this is representative in Santa Cruz California. In 2014 he was rated at 80% and at 90%. We went back to the representative in Santa Cruz California she said he will be rated for PTSD I told her there was nothing in the paperwork with PTSD and that was a major. So if we received another paper stating that he has to be rated for PTSD. He’s been having a hard time he’s been drinking more because he’s been going back to Fort Ord California whete he was drafted remembering morit was hard he was getting counseling there they change counselors constantly on him. In January 29th 2015 my husband tried to shoot himself in the head the gun misfired. He went in for help they only kept them for 3 days I begged the doctors to keep him longer they didn’t.First week of April 2015 he was rated 50% with chronic PTSD do the math way over the hundred percent. July 6th 2015 I came home and found my husband deceased. Alcohol prescription medication. If you could read my counseling and his counseling note as stated one of these days I’m going to find my husband dead from alcohol and prescription medication weeks later he was gone. We had two different counselors that didn’t concur with each other and we could not talk to each others counselor. That is a major gap you have to listen to both sides of the story how could you believe one and not the other. My husband’s death could have been prevented I love and miss him so much I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. I’m still grieving it’s been 4 months. I need help with our mortgage we believe our predatory laws have been broken on this mortgage. I was not on the loan. the loan officer took the loan from me put in different numbers dollars amount my husband was totally disabled she knew it. She also knew that Chase has taken over Washington Mutual way before the public did. She made a commission off it. Washington Mutual gave us a modification lasted for 3 months they said but it went on to 14 months by the time chase to get over they said chase it slipped through the cracks and they put it back on regular payments plus the charges with interest and the full dollar amount today I’m paying $3,600 and change and I only have an income from the VA of 1254 and change I’m waiting to see if I can get disability from my husband. That still won’t be enough. We tried finding attorneys but they wanted money which we didn’t have being that my husband was disabled cuz he fell off at three story rough in 2001. The mortgage the refinance was in 2006 which should not have happened because of his disabilities. Sincerely Veronica Clifford

    • Gary Hicks November 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Mrs. Clifford, I am sorry for your loss. I have edited your commit to remove protected health information as well as your husband’s name. Your comment, in its entirety, has been forwarded for further review within VA. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      For those who may find themselves faced with a similar situation or know a Veteran that needs help. The Veterans Crisis Line is there to help. If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a Veteran, stand by him or her and call 800-273-8255 and press 1. Or chat online at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net. Or you can send a text message to 838255. Any of these three methods will connect you to free support. You will be helped by an experienced, caring VA responder and the service is confidential.

  15. Robert MacQueen October 30, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I would ask them to not redesign the current processes (known as process improvement).

    But rather, determine customer needs and design new processes and procedures (products) to satisfy the needs.

  16. Curtis Harold Wadlington October 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Why are the travel and other pay compatible with The Direct Express Card? Seems all other federal moniesxcan go in.

Comments are closed.

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