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.
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.