Local VA medical center improves care for veterans

KREM 2's Alexa Block reports on the changes the local VA has made to shorten wait times and improve care. (6-7-17)

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center showcased recent improvements in their access to care for Veterans Wednesday.

VA leaders in Spokane said over the past year, they have focused on improving wait times and overall veteran health.

These changes come after the May 31 briefing at The White House by Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, on the status and priorities of the VA during his first 100 days in office.

In his address, Secretary Shulkin outlined his Modernization plan which will focus on five priorities for improved VA health services over the next 18 months. 

The five priorities include: greater choice for Veterans, modernizing the system, focusing on resources more efficiently, improving timeliness of services and suicide prevention.

Medical Center Director J. Ronald Johnson responded to the Secretary saying, “He has called on all of us at VA to become ‘customer obsessed.’ That means constantly evaluating what it is Veterans want and need most and deliver those things to them.”

Vietnam veteran Harold Smith said he does not like to miss a checkup.

“I called Monday for an appointment and I got it Wednesday. You can’t even get that on the outside,” said Smith. 

Staff members at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center said that is the kind of feedback they love to hear.

“We’re looking at alternative ways of addressing veteran needs, to get that wait time down, and so far we got the wait time down pretty darn good,” said Chief of Primary Car Dr. Rebecca Meiers.

Meiers said the medical center currently has 16 patient aligned care teams made up of doctors and nurses who are able to see a patient the same day depending on their need. Otherwise, they said the wait time has been cut down to a week or less. Meiers hopes all the teams will be doing this by the end of the year. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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