Every employee at VHA, especially your health care team, aims to provide the best care possible. However, if you have concerns about your care, VHA’s dedicated team of patient advocates can help.

At VA, we believe that patient advocacy is everyone’s responsibility, and we want your feedback, including compliments, concerns, complaints and customer service-related issues. Sharing your concerns not only improves your care but also the care for the next Veteran, too.

Our patient advocates act as guiding lights for patients through the complex health care system, mediating between patients and the health care team. Many are Veterans who understand, respect and lend impartial care.

Your local patient advocate office provides a wide range of customer service capabilities to improve Veteran health care delivery.

We encourage you to share feedback on your health care experience as we strive to make every patient encounter positive.

Identifying care issues

Patient advocates provide a compassionate listening ear to identify problems within your care. They interview patients, asking the right questions to determine where issues lie. Patient advocates listen to patient experiences and pinpoint unmet health care needs, then work with the patient’s health care team to make the necessary changes to address those needs.

Discussing treatment options

If you have an issue with your care, patient advocates can help you engage with your health care team to determine a possible treatment plan or walk you through the process to request a clinical appeal.

They make sure all forms of treatment and medical plans have been explored and coordinated with the patient and health care team to ensure the best care possible is being administered in a timely manner.

Directing patient concerns

Patient advocates act as mediators between patients and health care teams. They carefully listen to your concerns and work to facilitate resolutions, pointing you in the right direction and accompanying you every step of the way.

Making referrals

Patient advocates help you navigate the complicated health care system by directly connecting you to providers offering the best care. Patient advocates focus their efforts on the type of care being given to provide the correct referrals for the correct problems.

Assisting with billing issues

Patient advocates stay informed and updated on the latest protocols as this can be challenging for patients to navigate alone. Patient advocates facilitate billing resolutions. They also present your concerns to the appropriate personnel to address the issue.

Volunteering their time

Many patient advocates volunteer their time on weekends to continue helping their Veteran patients. They are fully dedicated to providing the best care to Veterans. They work out of office hours continuing to provide care, such as volunteering with COVID-19 clinics and for Veterans’ causes in the local community.

Conducting quality control

Patient advocates make their rounds throughout the medical facilities to ensure care extends beyond the examination room or bedside. They provide round-the-clock support, checking in with patients and health care professionals.

Providing the best care possible is the driving force behind VA Patient Advocacy. Patient advocates aspire to be helpful, compassionate and empathetic through your individual patient challenges.

Help VA continue providing excellent customer service by sharing your feedback and learning more about your rights: https://www.va.gov/health/patientadvocate/.

Ron Hamner is the national program manager for policy for the VHA Office of Patient Advocacy.

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Published on Jun. 24, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.8 min.

Views to date: 342


  1. Roger Mann July 6, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    The patient advocates in Michigan just refuse to accept any complaints and coverup malpractice. They actively harass and intimidate veterans with VA police and refusals of medical care.

  2. Donald Gray June 25, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Good Luck getting in touch with Patient Advocate at Cape Coral Fla. V.A Clinic.

  3. Harold Constantine June 25, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I can understand your problem and I’ll bet there are more of us in such a situation only mine is I have Galcoma and use several eye drops every time I reorder it takes at least 4 days to receive them and the VA Pharmacy is in Leavenworth Kansas 40 miles away. When I first started up I received three of them and two days later there were 5 more took me some time to get them to straighten the damn thing out. I could have started my own Pharmacy with all I was getting Ha! WW2 Vet.

  4. Michele Bretz June 24, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I am both a Veteran as well as married to another Veteran. This past week I have noticed several issues with on-line ordering of meds. I ordered my oral medications on 6/17 and kept track of them. They were not filled until 6/21 and I received one on 6/23 and the others on 6/24. I was told that the second order wouldn’t be here until 9 pm on 6/25. My issue was that I’m only 15 miles from the facility and one of my meds I had been out for almost one week! In the past, I have only had to wait 3-5 days. The second issue was with my husbands meds. He has insulin with a syringe and another with a pen/needle. Unless, he orders the medication with the correct appliance, he won’t have enough to last him. Why aren’t the correct appliances automatically ordered at the same time? Lately, he has been getting one box of syringes which doesn’t even cover the number of injections needed with the vials. As a retired nurse, this is unacceptable and leads to either non-compliance by patients or reusing needles since they run out of them before the replacements show up. I know I am not the only one that experiences these annoyances!

  5. Tanya Piker June 24, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    1. Patients that are critically ill wait months for referral to be approved , but too late for many, because they have died.
    2. In a small town on the Southeast Plains Colorado, the VA has not had a real in- house doctor in over seven years. We get Physician Assistants or nurses that do not have a clue about veteran healthcare. They lack empathy and treat their patients as though we mean nothing to them. Exams are done just enough for the paperwork.
    3. Recently the VA has approved funding of millions of dollars to treat transgender patients. It is fine to help them , but we cannot get in-house qualified doctors to take care of patients. Quality of care does not exist.
    4. Telemed appointments are a nightmare. I recently had my yearly VA appointment. I thought the doctor was a local doctor from Colorado. This was not the case. she was located in Florida. I have service related debilitating back pain and disease and had addressed the issue to her. Not one word of concern. She told me that my next exam will be in one year. That was it.
    5. The VA needs to be overhauled and veterans need positive support.

  6. thomas hayes June 24, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    It would be nice if they would give all Veterans Dental Care. I read where they are going to give any transgender complete medical care in transforming but it is a health crises, well so is dental. I know vets that have committed suicide because of no dental. Is that not a crises too.
    I could go on about this but you get the point. Oh if they do not have enough dentist then outsource it.

  7. Andre Douyon June 24, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    I have had a tremendously difficult time trying to get someone ….. anyone…. to hear/read my complaint/concern. Granted, it is relatively a small issue…. nonetheless it does affect ME and perhaps others ….. if caught early and dealt with. I received a phone call from the my local VA ( yuba City CA ) from the pharmacist having to make a change in my medication. When I inquired as to reasons for the change ….. she responded by telling me : If you d’ont like it….. then go in town and buy ! She ended the conversation by hanging up ! When I tried to bring this incident to the attention of the local managers…. it was received as an inconvenience. Can we do better ? I hope so. !

  8. Louis Simmons June 24, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    As a type 2 diabetic I wish the foundry would keep up with the latest and successful drugs to treat Diabetes. I am forced to have my civilian doctor prescribe the drugs that work for me and get them from Medicare. They are still very expensive especially when I get in the donut hole. If they didn’t work so well I would go back to the VA older drugs. Solving this issue would help a lot of veterans.

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