The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hosting more than 400 health care leaders at a landmark Veteran Patient Experience Symposium to improve customer service.

VA is shifting its culture to put Veterans and their families at the center of every process. VA’s Veteran Experience Office’s (VEO) Patient Experience team is supporting VA medical centers to deliver an excellent patient experience. Learning from best practices in both VA and private sector, VA has created and implemented several VA Patient Experience tools to ensure every employee is trained and focused on providing Veterans not only with the care they need, but also with care that is delivered in an exceptional and consistent manner. This first-of-its-kind gathering for VA will serve as a significant milestone in the future of VA Patient Experience.

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Streaming Schedule:
Tuesday February 5:  Thinking Differently  – Watch Replay of Day 1

11:25 a.m. – 11:55 a.m VA & Customer Experience: Presidential Management Agenda Cross-Agency Priority Goal of Improving Customer Experience and VA National Strategy to improve Customer Experience. Ms. Barbara Morton- Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer, Veterans Experience Office

12:55 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. VHA & Patient Experience: Overview of the VHA Patient Experience Journey and Introduction of the VA Patient Experience Road Map to Excellence Ms. Jennifer Purdy– Acting Executive Director, VA Patient Experience, Veterans Experience Office  Ms. Renee Oshinski– Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Operations, VHA

1:25 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Whole Health & Patient Experience: How Setting the Foundation of Excellent Patient Experience allows for the Delivery of Whole Health Care and How they connect. Dr. Tracy Gaudet- Executive Director, National Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, VHA

1:50 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Employee Experience & Patient Experience: How the Engaged Employee Improves Patient Experience    Dr. Dee Ramsel- Executive Director, National Center for Organizational Development, VHA

2:15 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. Introducing the Story of Patient Experience and the First Stops on the Patient Experience Road Map to Excellence – Mr. Michael Renfrow- Chief, Implementation and Consultation, VA Patient Experience

Wednesday February 6: Understanding Patient Experience    

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Patient Experience Talks

  • Red Coat Ambassadors  Mr. Tim Liezert- Orlando VA Medical Center Director
  • On Stage Coaching – Dr. Steve Holt- Dallas VA Medical Center Director
  • Servant Leadership Mr. Paul Crews- Durham VA Medical Center Director

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Patient Experience Talks

  • Own the Moment (Leader) Mr. Michael Kiefer- Amarillo VA Medical Center Director
  • Own the Moment (Caregiver) Dr. Lynda Davis- Chief Veteran Experience Officer, Veterans Experience Office
  • Patient Experience: Strategic View from VISN Dr. Sharon Bostic- Patient Experience Officer, VISN 6 & Ms. Brianna Camera- Patient Experience Officer, VISN 1
  • Patient Experience: Strategic View from VAMC Ms. Martina Malek- Associate Director -Chief Experience Officer, Minneapolis VAMC

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Service Recovery: What is service recovery, what is the role of the Patient Advocate, and how they connect with Patient Experience Ms. Ann E. Doran- Executive Director, VHA Office of Patient Advocacy

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Multi-Channel Technology & Patient Experience: Technological Innovations to improve Patient Experience and to assist Patient Advocates: PATS Replacement and Digital Comment Card Ms. Denise Kitts- Executive Director, Multi-Channel Technology, Veterans Experience Office

2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m. Patient Experience: Impact and Outcomes: Where are you today? Mr. Michael Renfrow- Chief, Implementation and Consultation, VA Patient Experience

Thursday February 7: Development and Sustaining   

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. Welcoming Remarks and Introduction of Deputy Secretary Dr. Lynda Davis- Chief Veteran Experience Officer, Veterans Experience Office

9:10 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs The Honorable Mr. James Byrne- Acting Deputy Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. VHA NLC Employee Engagement Strategy Ms. DeAnne Seekins– VISN 6 Network Director, VHA

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Patient Experience – Improving Patient Experience Mr. Michael Renfrow- Chief, Implementation and Consultation, VA Patient Experience

2:25 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Own the Moment (OTM): Veterans Customer Experience workshop reinforces the idea that employees should “own the moment” when faced with decisions that affect Veterans. OTM builds on the delivery of providing positive customer service (utilizing ease and effectiveness) by encouraging the creation of positive customer experiences (through the addition of emotion). Ms. Toni Hightower– Patient Experience Coach, VA Patient Experience

3:25 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Patient Experience Award Ceremony Secretary Robert Wilkie; Dr. Richard Stone; Dr. Lynda Davis; Ms. Renee Oshinski; Ms. Jennifer Purdy 7 Patient Experience Awards and DC VA Volunteer Recognition

3:55 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Introduction of Secretary of the VA Mr. Hershel Woody Williams, USMC (Ret)  Introduced by Mr. J. Brian Nimmo, Hershel Woody Williams Huntington VA Medical Center Director

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Secretary Remarks and Discussion The Honorable Mr. Robert Wilkie- Secretary of Department of Veterans Affairs

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Closing Song – Have You Thanked A Veteran? Mr. Stephen Berry– Author and Performer, and VA Employee: Medical Technician, Dallas VAMC  Ms. Jennifer Purdy– Acting Executive Director, VA Patient Experience, Veterans Experience Office

Conclusion and Send off Dr. Ryan Vega- VA Diffusion of Excellence Lead, VA Center for Innovation, Office of Discovery and Advancement

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Published on Feb. 5, 2019

Estimated reading time is 4.2 min.

Views to date: 296


  1. Daren Dale Heatherly February 8, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    How do you or the patient experience speciialists put into practice ANY of the concepts you introduced/presented that MIGHT IMPROVE QOC in our local VISNs rather than cow towing & tippy-toeing around ineffective senior management. Our local VA HBPC clinic has been sorely short staffed, has lacked on site leadership since I’ve been in the program, is not ADA compliant preventing me from dental care for nearly OR OVER a year and NOBODY has been capable of resolving ANY of these issues. We’ve been complaining to everyone up & down the chain of command for the past 7-10 years and all we hear is “there is no funding to fix the problems or hire competent nurses; take it to your congressional rep.”.

  2. Penny Carr February 7, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    My biggest complaint is there is absolutely no accountability for the abuse towards the veteran. My personal experience- my primary orders an ortho consult, orthopedics cancels it. This has happened 6 times and I haven’t seen an ortho in 6 years (even after 3 severe falls – I had previous injuries) On of the consults was cancelled 8 minutes after it was placed. Patient advocate tried and tried to no avail. My own primary doctor was fed up. To date, I still haven’t seen an Ortho…….

    Another serious issue. Doctors, caretakers, providers, nurses, all workers that are required to document their interaction with the veteran do not have to write the actual experience they have with the veteran and there is zero policy or program in place to make sure they are writing the truth. Ex: I go to the doctor, we sit and chat, then I order the documents through release of information, only to discover that the doctor has written a report detailing an exam with orthopedic tests performed that NEVER HAPPENED! The patient has absolutely no recourse and this is pure malpractice in the civilian world. Further, the patient can’t prove it. And worse, if the results of these type of orthopedic tests are needed for another doctor, that doctor is operating on FALSE information because the exam NEVER REALLY HAPPENED. What does the patient do? The patients could be hurt by this behavior. Not only is there no accountability, no one is reporting it, how would we, to whom do we report it? Things are this bad here in Orlando. I was told by va workers that if I wanted better care, move to another city.

  3. Taylor John K February 7, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Get some smart people on providing access to the slides ASAP. It’s OUR conference too

  4. Robert L Turner February 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I want to know what “Choice” is. I have no idea, but seems that people want it, whatever it is.

  5. Richard Gallegos February 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I have an appeal pending going on two years. I send all my records to Janesville, WI using certified mail. I track to make sure it was received but still the paperwork was lost at the input location. I had to call the 800 number for assistance and was told I had to resubmit all my paperwork again from scratch. Why? There is no excuse for losing my initial paperwork by the input center. I feel VA has me running in circles on this appeal since 2017.

  6. Theodore Okon February 6, 2019 at 10:09 am


  7. Thomas Manthe February 6, 2019 at 6:26 am

    Personally, Over last year VA health care has taken a nose dive, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse. I just read a report published by Brown University stating VA has NOT replaced 60,000 -100,00 vacancies Nation-wide. Just another way to squeeze VA into privatizing the system I think. Capitalists have been salivating over the possibility of tapping into VA $ for years. They may get their way under current Administration and a VA headed by greedy KNOW-Nothings

  8. JOHN STAPLER February 5, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    It’s good to try to improve, but this system is so broken that it may be necessary to tear it down in order to rebuild it. The incompetence and insensitivity are endemic. How do you repair that with the same people managing the system?

  9. Pete Perez February 5, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I would like to speak with V.A.Secretary Wilkie,about “The Michael E. DeBakey, V.A. Medical Center.”
    *Pete Perez, age 73*Houston,Texas

  10. Jodi Harbroe February 5, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I’m having ‘eternal’ problems with Choice First. Everybody who works for the VA knows it is a disaster and yet, NO one can be bothered to fix it. The Denver VA just moved from downtown Denver to Aurora which is an additional 14 mile drive (each way) for me and of course travel pay (the worst run department in the VA) does not pay me for the extra 28 miles I am now driving which is why I want to stay on Choice First but as you well know the VA made the poor choice to hitch itself to those people who pay Medicaid back in 2015 and of course they refused to pay all of the veteran’s bills for the past 3.8 years and now none of the private doctors north of the city of Denver are willing to treat us vets and once again vets get to suffer the consequences. I am suffering severe kidney problems and really need to be seen by a urologist but no urologists north of Denver are willing to see me and of course the VA simply does not care.

    In addition I need to find my way to the Defence Finance and Accounting website about another matter but whenever I type it into the internet I get no response. How do I find my way to the DFAS website? Thank you.

  11. John R Brown February 5, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Any chance of replays like the private industry does? Also, how about some transcripts to download as pdfs?

  12. John R Brown February 5, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    When are you ever going to hold some of these reviews in Houston, Texas, one of the largest serving VHA facilities; it seems not much ever gets past the Mason-Dixon line!

  13. Peter Collins February 5, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Instead of all this fluff maybe they should hire someone to answer the phones to make health care appointments. Tried to call yesterday and today. No luck.

  14. emmett smith February 5, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I have been using he VA since 1972. My medical needs have increased of course as I got older. The doctors at the VA are often good but also often incompetent and the facilities are abusive. Regulations often overrule doctors’ orders and obstruct healthcare. They almost killed me 3 times last year and I would be dead if I was unable to escape them as a result of the Choice program. Around Christmas, the VA pharmacy refused to fill a $25 prescription from a licensed doctor because of some obscure approval process regulation resulting a trip to the hospital and a 3 day stay to get my blood pressure under control.. The VA/taxpayer will pay thousands for this. Lab orders from a Choice doctor must be processed outside of the VA even though taxpayer pay for VA labs and the have time to do them. The taxpayer pays twice for this. The VA thinks its job is to regulate instead of just providing healthcare for vets. Instead of receiving healthcare like I have a contract for, I have to fight the VA to survive. The VA is an illustration of why government healthcare is unconstitutional not being listed in Article I, Section 8 as a government duty.

  15. James Tobleck February 5, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I just filled out this question with many of my own but like usuall you the VA refused the captcha twice even though it was correct then erased all . I take alot of thought to explain what’s happening to me repeatedly in west Michigan. Obviously you simply dont give a damn. 42 years of rejection of doctors request, appeals to fix a botched knee , or the simple requirement of not skipping a week or more of meds due to asinine shipping of meds . 22 vets die every day in part I believe due to NOT recieving their depression meds. Do I have to show up at one of your meetings and GET you asses to listen? The IG never responds, nothing changes for me . Malfeasance reins in Battle Creek Directors office. No one gives a damn.

  16. steven kimbrough February 5, 2019 at 11:44 am

    will the videos and presentations be available after the symposium?

Comments are closed.

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