West Texas VA Health Care System
Veteran Centered Care Committee
The Veteran Centered Care (VCC) Committee has led numerous efforts to inject Veteran Centeredness into daily operations of the West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS).
• One of the first major accomplishments of VCC was the implementation of CREW (Civility, Respect and Engagement in the Workplace). Currently there are eight trained facilitators within the WTVAHCS who have successfully facilitated five staff groups. Thanks to CREW training, the Nutrition and Food Service Department has implemented monthly staff lunches, identified training opportunities for cook supervisors to ensure consistency between shifts, offered cooking classes in the DOM, CLC and the main lobby, and they have implemented special holiday meals.
• After a somewhat rocky start with VCC, the program was reassessed the intent of the program. Subsequently, a call for volunteers was sent out to the facility soliciting applications to participate on the committee rather than the traditional appointing of service representative members. Subsequently, several staff members stepped up to the plate and a new, highly motivated, team was organized.
• A recruiting campaign asking “Are you the One?” was initiated through the efforts of the VCC Committee. Twelve strategically placed billboards elicited positive feedback from Veterans and prospective employees throughout the WTVAHCS service area.
• The VCC committee worked diligently to enhance the New Employee Orientation (NEO) program to include Veteran Centered Care as the core component for NEO. In the VCC NEO model, strong emphasis is placed on educating all new staff (particularly non-Veteran employees) regarding military traditions, hierarchy and lingo so they are better able to interact with our Veteran patients.
• The Twelve Principles of I CARE. To help introduce the 12 principles to new employees, the VCC committee designed and got approval for printing a high quality, glossy print folder that is handed out during the VCC portion of NEO. This folder contains images of all the WTVAHCS facilities, the mission, commitment, values, and the 12 principles of VCC. New employees are encouraged to keep this resource near at hand and to refer to the 12 principles on a regular basis.
• Quick Cards/Feel Good Grams where developed by the committee. This program has been a huge success and has been implemented in over 24 care lines at the main campus as well as all the CBOC’s. Feedback is provided to services in a “real-time” format so that high quality service and service recovery efforts are relevant and meaningful.
• The previously centralized patient advocate model, recently converted to a distributed model empowers employees with the authority to make decisions and provide instant resolution for patients at the service level. When employees are empowered to practice service recovery or advocacy on behalf of their Veterans, this leads to greater engagement and a heightened awareness of Veteran needs at the service level. Moreover, Veterans have their issues resolved more quickly and with the people directly responsible.
• The latest program fully implemented by VCC is an all new employee recognition award titled the “George H. O’Brien Jr. I CARE Award.” Known by VCC as the Georgey, this is a quarterly award with nominations based on merit to employees or departments who demonstrate one or more of the ICARE values by their actions. The first round of awards will be selected from nominations received by April 15th.
For more information on these programs or to nominate a staff member for the Georgey Award please contact Laura Carlsen at 1-800-472-1365, ext. 7448 or 4815.