Published On: July 11th, 2018|1175 words|4.6 min read|
The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing the best experiences in its delivery of care, benefits, and memorial services to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, caregivers, and survivors.
VA facilities across the country have been implementing new and innovative ways of providing the best possible experiences for our customers. These efforts often begin with suggestions from Veterans, Community Veterans Engagement Boards, VA employees, and Veteran Advisory Councils. See an idea you like? Tell your local facility about it!
1. Red Coats-The Red Coat Ambassador program trains VA volunteers and employees to greet and deliver excellent customer service while assisting Veterans as they visit VA sites.
Denisse Montoya, Voluntary Service Specialist at the Jesse Brown VA in Chicago explains some of the Red Coat Ambassador Program details to new Ambassadors Casey Hills, Cicero Moore and Arturo Garza-Acosta. (Photo by Lela Vance-Glover)
VEText is a secure messaging system designed to send cell text reminders to VA patients.
2. VEText– VA now reminds Veterans of their appointments by text. Veterans can reply and cancel or confirm appointments in the same message thread. As of May 2018, VEText has sent appointment reminders to more than five million unique Veterans with over 9 million messages exchanged. Also, the system has allowed 134,000 appointments to be cancelled via a simple response, creating an open slot for another Veteran and possibly preventing no-shows. VEText works for VA health care appointments only and the text messages do not currently replace the letters and automated phone calls Veterans already receive for appointment reminders.Veterans can update their personal information by going online to www.vets.gov, use VA facility kiosks or upon check-in to appointments.
3. VA Customer Profile-Veterans updating their personal information across several VA systems that were not initially built to “talk to each other” can easily be lost in a time-consuming maze. VA Customer Profile is transforming the process to provide a seamless experience by consolidating VA’s data silos. Over time, VA Customer Profile will be the one source of all common Veteran data. Saving time and resources for both Veterans and the VA.
4. VA.gov-Migrating from several VA websites that all required different user names and passwords to one umbrella is www.va.gov. Feedback from Veterans has driven the site design and new content and functionality are added week by week, a process of constant refinement and improvement. Vets.gov is easily accessible by mobile devices and simple to navigate and understand. Apply for health or education benefits, get career assistance or check your disability claim all in one place.
Centralizing VA sites under one umbrella, www.vets.gov offers the full range of VA benefits and services.
5. VA Welcome Kit-It can be overwhelming for a Veteran and their family to explore what VA can offer, the VA Welcome Kit can help guide Veterans to the benefits and services they’ve earned. Whether it’s time to go to school, get a job, buy a house, get health care, retire or make plans for care as they age, the VA Welcome Kit is a great summary of what VA can do for Veterans.
VA patients can use MyHealtheVet or the VA online scheduling app to make appointments online.
7. Comfort Care Carts-Meet the Comfort Cart Crew. They stop by clinics and provide water, snacks and answer questions or concerns, sometimes on the spot. The program was created by South Texas VA customer service manager David Caudill, who recruits volunteers from the 4100 employees working at the South Texas VA.
Air Force Veteran Art Foster, who is a California resident, comes to San Antonio every winter to stay with his daughter. He said he schedules most of his appointments for when he comes to Texas because he loves the care he receives at the Audie L. Murphy hospital. He took nurse Bonnie Haupt up on her offer of a healthy snack during rounds of the “Comfort Cart”. The cart is a new initiative started by South Texas VA Customer Service Manager David Caudill. (Photo: by Steve Goetsch)
8. Service Dogs-Not only is the VA working to be more service dog friendly, the VA is employing service dogs to comfort patients at sites of care. Hercules works at the James A. Haley VA in Tampa. Check out this video of Hercules in action with one of his favorite Veterans.
Hercules is a staff member at the Tampa VA in Florida.
Designated service dog areas give four-legged companions much needed space on VA campuses
10. Valet Parking-Several VA facilities offer valet to enhance the Veteran’s experience and save time for Veterans trying to park in congested areas.
Free valet parking started this year at the Fayetteville VA Health Care Center in North Carolina.
11. Walking the Post (WECARE Rounding)-Purposeful rounding for VA leadership allows patients and employees to build relationships, verify consistency of care, gather feedback and follow up on opportunities for improvement. The Veterans Experience Office created a toolkit to make it easy for VA facilities to implement the program.
VA staff meet to discuss patient information during rounding.
12. Keeping a full charge-Charging stations are becoming common in VA waiting areas so that Veterans and their families can stay connected.
Charging stations are placed in waiting areas at the Tampa VA.
13. Not Kidding Around-Child care services are not only convenient, but have the potential to open up clinic access for those who may turn down or not be able to attend a scheduled appointment because of family responsibilities.
Daycare services, like the one at Northport VA in New York, and kid-friendly waiting areas are being made available wherever possible at most VA locations.
14. Women Veterans-Women are the fastest growing Veteran population, yet females in VA sites of care are often mistaken as a Veteran’s spouse. VHA sites all now have dedicated space for women’s health care and have a campaign to raise awareness about women who have served.
The Veteran Women’s Health Center entrance located at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania VA.
15. Adaptive Sports-The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events (NVSP&SE) office provides
opportunities for health and healing through adaptive sports and therapeutic art programs. These specialized rehabilitation programs
aim to optimize Veterans independence, community engagement, well-being, and quality of life.
The VA hosts several adaptive sports events for Veterans nationwide.
Know of a new customer experience effort not listed? Tell us about it in the comments.