Did you know that VA patient advocates have been serving Veterans for over 30 years? And that the VA Office of Patient Advocacy (OPA) has been working with patient advocates at the national level for almost four years to provide quality services and policies to ensure Veterans receive the care they need?

While the national office may be new, the work patient advocates in VA medical facilities across the country do to advocate on behalf of Veterans, their families and their caregivers is not.

Patient advocates are continually helping Veterans get answers to questions about all aspects of their health care experience and working with fellow staff members to resolve concerns raised by Veterans. The local Patient Advocacy program is a resource available to every Veteran who receives care at VA medical facilities.

Available at every VA medical facility

Patient advocates are professionals available at every VA medical facility. They listen, document, manage and track and trend the feedback received from Veterans, family members and caregivers.

Patient advocates are trusted advisors who bridge the gap between the health care system and Veterans. They work daily to provide comprehensive complaint resolution, offer service recovery, deliver excellent customer service and lend a compassionate ear to Veterans who need additional assistance. Your local patient advocates are available to address:

  • Compliments on VA services received or about specific staff members.
  • Concerns about your health care.
  • Complaints about your health care experience in our facilities.
  • Appeals to clinical decisions.
  • Other complex issues.

Many advocates are Veterans

Patient advocates have diverse backgrounds and experiences. They draw from that to work with providers and other VA medical facility staff to improve VA health care. Many patient advocates are Veterans.

With military backgrounds and shared experiences, they provide comforting and encouraging care to fellow Veterans. Advocates act as a guiding light, helping Veterans and their family members navigate a complex health system and find the answers they are looking for.

Patient advocates will work to understand your perspective and collaborate with you and VA medical facility staff on your desired resolution, ensuring that your voice is heard.

Patient advocacy is everyone’s responsibility

This includes not just complaints but also your feedback if you had a great experience so we can share it throughout the facility. We believe that patient advocacy is everyone’s responsibility.

Every employee at VA, especially your treatment team, wants to contribute to providing you with the best care possible.

Learn more about how we are working to make every experience Veterans have with VA health care a positive one. Know your rights: https://www.va.gov/health/patientadvocate/.

Ann E. Doran is the executive director of VHA’s Office of Patient Advocacy.

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Published on May. 5, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 439


  1. jack May 24, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    you Are REALLY helping Thank you

  2. SW May 6, 2021 at 11:58 am

    My experience with patient advocates at my va were not good. One was a social worker NOT a veteran and she did NOTHING to help. She like all of her ilk had a better than thou attitude. You can’t trust these people. I have yet to have any of my concerns resolved to my satisfaction.

  3. David Whidbee May 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Having moved to Durham VAMC and having called the PA office ( customer care) in the past 2 weeks numerous times. I still have not been contacted by the office. I wonder if the problems I am having are going to be heard or the compliments will ever be heard by anyone. I find this article helpful for Veterans who can reach the PA Office and for those who can’t?

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