VA Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson today announced additional actions to improve Veterans’ access to care at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (HCS).
“No Veteran should have to wait for the care and services that they have earned and deserve,” said VA Deputy Secretary Gibson. “The audit and the data we just released this week showed the extent of the problems we face here in Denver and across the country. We are fully committed to fixing these problems and must restore the public’s trust in VA. More importantly, we must restore the trust of our Veterans who depend on us for care.”
In addition to the system-wide actions taken in response to the audit findings, Gibson outlined actions taken to accelerate access to care for Veterans seeking care at the VA Eastern Colorado HCS:
· Reaching out to all Veterans waiting for care to get them off of wait lists and into clinics for medical appointments – as of July 23, VA Eastern Colorado HCS has reached 940 Veterans.
· The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is ensuring that $12.6 million from within VA’s budget specifically be made available to the VA Eastern Colorado HCS to accelerate access to care.
· VA Deputy Secretary Gibson directed that the VA Eastern Colorado HCS use temporary staffing measures, along with clinical and administrative support, to ensure these Veterans receive the care they have earned through their service.
· The VA Eastern Colorado HCS has maximized time providers are in direct patient care and has expanded primary care, mental health and other specialty care hours.
· At the direction of VA Deputy Secretary Gibson, VA Eastern Colorado HCS is increasing the use of established national contracts with community partners to schedule Veterans waiting to be seen by a provider.
On June 9, VA announced the following actions in response to the nationwide Access Audit findings and data:
· Establishing New Patient Satisfaction Measurement Program
Gibson has directed VHA to immediately begin developing a new patient satisfaction measurement program to provide real-time, robust, location-by-location information on patient satisfaction, to include satisfaction data of those Veterans attempting to access VA health care for the first time. This program will be developed with input from Veterans Service Organizations, outside health care organizations, and other entities. This will ensure VA collects an additional set of data – directly from the Veteran’s perspective – to understand how VA is doing throughout the system.
· Holding Senior Leaders Accountable
Where audited sites identify concerns within the parent facility or its affiliated clinics, VA will trigger administrative procedures to ascertain the appropriate follow-on personnel actions for specific individuals.