Advisory Council Provides Feedback to VA - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System

 

Advisory Council Provides Feedback to VA

people talk around a table

Members of the Veteran and Family Advisory Council.

By Nathan Schaeffer
Thursday, July 28, 2016

In June 2014, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) implemented the Veteran and Family Advisory Council to foster trust amongst VA and the patients we serve.

The Advisory Council, which consists of 13 Veterans and two family members, is a working taskforce that meets once a month and strives to improve the patient experience for all Veterans by providing feedback to VA leadership.

“The council identifies areas within the hospital that they would like to see improved and a member of the council volunteers to be a lead on that project,” said Shelly Ross, Patient Centered Care Coordinator, who facilities the council meetings and serves as a liaison between the council and VA leadership. “Then they work with those services to make improvements.”

Connie Stacy, one of two family members on the council, said coming up with solutions is a key aspect of the council’s mission.

“It’s easy to criticize people and then have them come up with the solution,” said Stacy. “The council works with VA staff to figure out approaches that they could try rather than just telling them what’s wrong. I think that’s working out pretty well.”

In the past two years, the council has given recommendations on numerous issues including hospital signage, “Honor Walks” for patients who pass away, New Patient Orientation Guide, parking, and hiring of the Medical Center Director.

When the hospital was designing a new wayfinding system, Leon Langguth, Chief of the Environmental Management Service, met with the council on multiple occasions to get feedback.

“It’s important to involve our Veterans and the community because they’re the ones that come here,” said Langguth. “They had some really good points that we tied into the design concept.”

Jim Wilson, who was elected to serve as the council chairperson, said the Veterans and family members can give VA a new and different perspective.

“The Veterans on the council are pretty satisfied with the services, so we’ve had no complaints about the actual care that we get and we don’t really have complaints,” said Wilson. “We just help in fine tuning some of the operational and logistical procedures. The staff is there every day and we’re not.”

How to Participate

A total of 20 Veterans and family members will be selected to serve on the Veteran and Family Advisory Council among applicants, and will serve from October 1 to September 30.

Membership Requirements:

•Not employed by VA
•You or family member receive cares through JCMVAMC
•Have time to attend monthly meetings and activities
•Have a desire to bring about meaningful change
•Ability to use own experience constructively

Deadline to apply is August 26. Download Application.

For more information, please contact Shelly Ross, Patient Centered Care Coordinator, at 918-577-3803 or Michelle.Ross2@va.gov.

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