The MyVA initiative was launched in September 2014 to reorient VA around the needs of the Veteran.

“We want every Veteran to have a seamless, integrated, and responsive VA customer service experience every time,” said Secretary Bob McDonald.

A Veterans experience that is predictable, consistent and easy to access starts with unleashing the power of employees to embrace a positive, revolving culture.

While most VA medical centers across the country already had measures in place to improve the Veteran experience, the MyVA realignment formally unified those efforts to create a consistent and measurable Veteran experience based on outcomes.

Demonstrating that for all to see, the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida just hosted their 7th annual Veterans’ Experience Fair to show Veterans they can make positive changes.

Heather Weckmen, a nurse manager for the VA Spinal Cord Injury Center, said one of the changes they are most proud of is the “5/10 rule,” a customer experience policy adopted from organizations like Walt Disney, Hilton and the Ritz Carlton to create zones of hospitality.

Zone of Hospitality

Tampa VAMC is implementing the “5/10 rule” to better serve Veterans.

“When you are within 10 feet of a patient or caregiver you make eye contact and give a warm smile. When you are five feet from a guest, give a friendly greeting,” she said.

The Veteran Experience Council also meets regularly to evaluate feedback from Veterans and determine courses of actions to continue improve their service.

“We want to be a five star organization, as we move towards that we want the voice of the Veteran to lead us,” Weckman said.

Marine Corps Veteran Robert Lynch is Tampa VA’s chief experience officer. Vantage Point previously reported how Lynch provided all of his volunteer greeters and staff with khaki pants and collared shirts that read “concierge.”

So how is it working out?

“We’ve gotten a lot of comments on how the uniform puts that extra touch of enhancing the experience for Veterans,” Robert said.

When Veterans have questions, they know who to talk to. Robert said his volunteers and staff are being trained and encouraged to not just tell the Veteran where their appointment is located, but also take them there.

“The Veterans are coming here to face their problems, and we want to set the tone for their day from the very beginning. Simple things mean so much,” Lynch said.

Veterans can expect to see more changes and smiles at the Tampa VA and VA facilities across the country as MyVA continues to improve the Veterans’ experience.

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Published on Oct. 16, 2015

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

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14 Comments

  1. Phillip Arriaga October 31, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I was diagnosed in April of 2014 with Degenerative Spinal Stenosis and told to slow down in the work I did. My VA Dr said that the main hosp. would get in touch with me to set up an appt. so the Dr. could help me decide on how to go on with case. Ha ha ha. 4 months later I was paralyzed on the floor. My wife and I made many calls to the VA to get answers before this happened to me but to no avail. How is this going to be fixed so no more veterans will have to go thru the pain I suffered!

  2. Michael F Dimartino October 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Pensacola VA was awesome in quick turnaround with my C and P appointments however who ever determined 0 rating on my hearing when I was told by the provider I pretty much failed the hearing test and even showed me the results boggles me on the rating system. 12 years working with on Jets and can’t hear what my wife says but 0 rating!!

  3. C Atchley October 24, 2015 at 9:44 am

    The choice program sometimes takes longer to see someone as it does to see someone at the V.A.

  4. William J Taylor October 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I read these feel good stories about how the VA is making improvements and bettering the service to those veterans in need. I applaud this to the fullest and have been in facilities such as Kansas City VA Center. It is an awesome facility with an air of enthusiasm and real interest in making it better for all. I just wish the same operating principles applied to the Bonham VA Center. They are as different as night and day. The Bonham facility is like walking into a morgue, very quiet no sign of inthusiasm, no sign of initiative displayed by the medical teams band a air of complacency runs rampid throughout. The physicians display no interest in the patients and makes one wonder if they really want to be there.

    I read of all these great changes taking place in the VA but I sure wish someone could point out these initiatives being addressed and demonstrated at Bonham. Hopefully one day something positive will be done there.

  5. Sharon Mullen. October 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I want to address the VA about helping veterans get needed equipment. I am in need of a power chair to get around I have a Jazzy xl powerchair. I have gotten that chair in 2005. But it died. You use to go into prostetics and the doctor has sent in what was needed. He would order it and wow they delivered. My doctor ordered the powerchair three times. Now it goes through Major Medical. She always denies things
    Major Medical takes you to PT and if you can walk then she tells you Sorry you dont qualify for a chair. I do walk not very good as both my knees are bad. I had surgery on my right knee he just went in and cleaned it up. I’d like to get my chair so I can go outside my house.I am a 100% veteran. I was in during Vietnam. VA needs changes bad. Thank you

  6. frederick d lopez October 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    the veterans facility in martinez is not a model facility like in albuquerque NM
    the urgent care is very disturbing to me
    i sit and listen to the staff treat the patients like they are a big bother they are rude very short and attitude tward veterans is appalling
    i just sit there and shake my head
    these women have been there for years and are no longer challenged it is just the same ol stuff day after day
    they are immune to vets needs many who are in pain and dont need poor attitudes from the staff
    they need compassion and to know that they are doing all they can but that is not the case
    VA needs to hire someone like me to travel and visit these facilities as a mystery shopper would and make reports

  7. Melody Harrison October 23, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I am trying to refinance and found a bill not paid from 2012 on my credit report, how do I get the bill paid now in 10/23/2015.
    The service provided filed to the VA but they were not paid. VA Great At everything.

  8. Jack A Barnett October 23, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I love the VA. I have been using it for a few years and have been satisfied with the treatment of my issues until recently. I was given a probable diagnosis of Myasthenia Graves. i have to wait for six week for an appointment. the issue is having to wait for six weeks when you are having problems with eating and swallowing for fear of choking…

  9. Donald Vangieson October 23, 2015 at 1:18 am

    I have made three attempt in the last month to make an appointment for a hearing test and trying to get an appointment at the sleep clinic, and I am getting no where…what more can I do

  10. Donald Bettner October 22, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    I have been experiencing some extra long waits for The FEE Basis office to approve dental referrals from my local CBOB. My first experience was for a very painful 2nd molar tooth that had to be extracted. The next problem is the approval to have a crown put in place so I may be able to chew. I have been waiting for ten days with no approval in sight. I understand from other vets that this is standard procedure for Fee Basis. Why is it that they cannot respond the same way the rest of VAMC Seattle does. It is frustrating to have to wait so long for approvals, if the system is broken then some one should step u and fix it.

  11. William J Taylor October 22, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I read these articles distributed by the VA and several sound very good. Then I go to the VA for medical issues and see nothing like I have read about.

    As a matter of fact I have seen few if any improvements at the Bonham, Texas facility. It is as if the medical staff is just going through the motions. It doesn’t compare to the Kansas City VA at all. Night and day differences; attitudes, professional leadership, caring physicians and treat the patients with dignity and respect all are non existent at Bonham. It feels like walking into a morgue no livelihood or life shown.

  12. Jay E Windon October 22, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    The Veterans Choice Program a Joke,Having to deal with the Regular VA is Much easier and that is a task in and of itself.

  13. Francis R. Lazeski October 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I have been going to the VA clinic in Conroe, Texas since 2010 and have always had the greatest serviice even better than most private practice doctors I have been to. They treat me with care and respect. A big thank you to all the doctors and nurses there.
    Frank Lazeski.

  14. DannyG October 16, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    NOW – This proves that the VETERANS Administration, Secretary McDonald, is listening to US, & that he does care about us! He is in charge, but there are MANY people at the VA that care. My mental health dept nurse, Susie, is one of the most veteran-centered people I have ever seen! I keep trying to be positive, support Sec’y McDonald, & stay true to my brothers & sisters, but it gets hard. Yesterday when my svc dog, Gypsy, & I, went to see my shrink, Susie took my vitals, & by the time we left her little office, my VA experience was off to an excellent start! I told her that I wish every VA Dr.’s office had a “Susie”. (She told me “Be quiet; you’re gonna make me cry.” If “you guys” want to pat someone on the back, you know where I live; NURSE SUSIE in mental health is truly one of the best assets MY VA has!
    Thanks to all of the Dept. of VETERANS Affairs employees love (?) going to work every day because they know – WE NEED YOU, but they never forget – YOU NEED US. What a team we could be if we could just get on the same page!

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