15 Ways VA is improving the Veteran’s experience right now

VAntage Point, Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, post by Beth Lamb

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.

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. Vet360-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. Vet360 is transforming the process to provide a seamless experience by consolidating VA’s data silos. Over time, Vet360 will be the one source of all common Veteran data. Saving time and resources for both Veterans and the VA.

4. Vets.gov-Migrating from several VA websites that all required different user names and passwords to one umbrella is www.vets.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, www.vets.gov

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.

6. VA Online Scheduling-Veterans with a premium MyHealtheVet account or DS Logon can now schedule appointments online through www.myhealth.va.gov or using the VA Online Scheduling App for mobile phone. DS Logon Accounts are available for Servicemembers, Veterans and Caregivers. If you do not have a DS Logon, or you are not sure, you can register, verify or update your DS Logon Account at the DoD DS Logon Access Center. To find out more, watch the How to Get a DS Logon video to learn how to register for a Level 2 eBenefits/DS Logon account or access the DS Logon Education App.

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.

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.

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.

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.

12. Keeping a full Charge-Charging stations are becoming common in VA waiting areas so that Veterans and their families can stay connected.

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.

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.

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.


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