Northern Arizona VA Health Care System
500 N. US Hwy 89
Prescott, AZ 86313
Barbara A. Oemcke Patricia Aljets
Medical Center Director oluntary Service Manager
Veteran Advocates Meeting
Monday, January 22, 2018
Convened: 1:00 p.m.
Adjourned: 2:00 p.m.
Patricia Aljets, Voluntary Service Manager, welcomed everyone and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jose Lujan, Patient Business Officer, discussed the reorganization of medical support assistants (MSA) and duties within our healthcare system. This reorganization is taking place behind the scenes and patients should not see any difference in how they access their appointments. Schedulers in the various clinics will now fall under the Patient Business Office. This unified structure will ensure that one set of standard operating procedures is followed. We’ve also moved the small call center off station. Currently staff at the call center is in the process of retraining with the purpose of streamlining the process for patients to fill their prescriptions. We are expanding our capabilities on the phone using the technologies that we currently have utilizing a virtual network of staff that we can plug into our system during our peak times. Another new program that we will be rolling out is a text messaging program that will provide patients with text message reminders for appointments.
Sherry LaMountain, Military Services Coordinator, provided an overview of some of the duties that her office performs. Some of the duties include.
Provide Veterans with assistance who are filing claims for benefits.
Assists those who are eligible apply for survivor benefits.
Check on the status of claims and appeals.
Prepare benefit letters.
Assists eligible Veterans with preregistration of vehicles.
One day a month provide VBA services at the Vet Center downtown.
Attends Stand Downs representing the VBA to assist homeless Veterans with claims.
The Veterans Benefit Administration Office is in Bldg. 13. Office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays 0800-1200. Services are provided on a first come first serve basis.
Construction & Projects
Terry Boyd, Chief of Facilities Management, provided the group with an overview of the different functions of Facilities Management here at NAVAHCS which include.
Maintenance and Repair
Transportation & Fleet Management
Housekeeping & Pest Control
Biomedical Equipment Repair & Maintenance
Currently Facilities Management is doing $30,000,000.00 worth of work. During the last couple of years Facilities has received an increase in their construction and maintenance budget. Currently under construction is a new Lab and Pharmacy building for both outpatients and inpatients which should be open Sept-Oct. Also under construction is our expanded Rehab Medicine, Central Supply and Sterile Processing Service building. Currently under design is a Radiology expansion. We’re going to be relocating our Radiology Department enabling us to meet current modern standards improving patient privacy. Currently we’re working on obtaining $5,000,000.00 worth of new Radiology equipment. This new equipment should be arriving in a year and a half. We’re also going to be upgrading the exterior lighting around campus adding three hundred new lights, upgrading the electrical system and upgrading the steam riser from the main boiler plant. We are also in the process of doing a physical security compliance assessment justifying additional parking in the form of a parking structure. Another project under design is to convert buildings 19, 20 and 42. Once these buildings have been upgraded they will be used as administrative support and training facilities. Construction for the Spinal Cord Injury Clinic has been completed; an open house will be scheduled.
Public Affairs Updates
Mary Dillinger, Public Affairs Officer – no report.
Mental Health Services
Jerry Easterday, MD BH & BS Service Line Manager, spoke about Mental Health Services and areas of improvement being worked on. Currently we are working on getting staff in certain areas especially in Psychotherapy. Post 911 Veterans are more interested in individual therapy versus group therapy. In terms of services we offer outpatient therapy in Bldg. 155 and Bldg. 161. We have Intensive Outpatient which is a substance abuse program. The Domiciliary offers an intensive substance abuse program. One of the things added to the Domiciliary is the Step Program which is managed through the Homeless Program. The Step Program is comprised of two goals that are housing and employment. The Domiciliary is looking at expanding the staff so we can bring the census up. The Homeless Program has HUD-VASH vouchers all over Northern Arizona and over 90% have been given to Veterans. We are currently working on adding telemedicine to Veterans’ homes. These are small devices that are issued to the Veteran enabling them to do their medical appointments from their own home. We are currently looking for the best qualified applicants for the therapist position in Lake Havasu. We are currently in the process of hiring a PTSD Psychologist and social workers for the PTSD program.
Patient Business Office
Jose Lujan, Patient Business Officer, provided an overview the Patient Business Office. The Patient Business Office is comprised of the following essential medical center services:
Manage patient administrative issues as well as support the organization’s staff.
Establishes the Veterans’ eligibility and enrolls Veterans for care
Maintains patient’s financial accounts and medical records
provides paralegal services regarding the dissemination of their medical records to outside parties
Bills their health insurance on their behalf
Arrange burials at end of life.
Geriatrics and Extended Care
Rita Jordan, RN, MSN, Associate Chief Nurse GEC, CLC, CSP, NIC, HBPC & Chaplain, provided the group an overview of the services provided. These services include.
The CLC aims to provides a homelike environment for our Veterans.
Support and participate in National Hospitalized Veterans program
Host and coordinate Resident council (chaired by a resident).
CLC hosts events for residents put on by other service lines.
Two rooms (one on CLC1 and one on CLC 2) dedicated for quiet and use of computer
Provides room and dishes for families to celebrate residents’ birthdays
Bell at nurse station to call attention to a deceased veteran’s exit so that residents are notified to pay respects and take a moment of silence.
Home Based Primary Care is proven to reduce admissions by providing regular visits in the home while in the program
Care Giver Support program provides support to those who provide care for Veteran’s.
Click on the attachment below in order to further view services provided.
Voluntary Service Report
Patricia Aljets, Voluntary Service Manager, gave an overview of services provided by Voluntary Service:
Voluntary Service works closely with the GEC to improve the quality of life for our Veterans living in our Community Living Center.
We are striving to improve the overall customer experience throughout the entire facility. Some of the ways we do this is by receiving and dispersing donations, information desk ambassador services and golf cart shuttle services helping patients get to their appointments.
Voluntary Services provides oversight of the Volunteer Transportation Network that’s coordinated by the Disabled American Veterans. The DAV has provided vehicles for facilities across the country since 1985. The DAV works closely with Voluntary Services to ensure we have qualified Volunteers to driver those vehicles. We have vehicles coming and going from Lake Havasu, Kingman, Flagstaff and Cottonwood.
National Salute to Veterans week will take place on February 11th to the 17th. We encourage schools to make Valentines cards so they can be distributed to our Veterans who reside with us along with our inpatients. National Salute has three focuses: To liaison with the community, encourage members of our community to volunteer, and to thank Veterans for their service.
During National Salute to Veterans week the Veterans Creative Arts competition will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE)
Lori Tolstonog, VHIE Coordinator, provided the group with an overview of the Veterans Health Information Exchange program (VHIE) also known as VLER Health. When a Veterans signs a VA Exchange Authorization form 10-0485 the Veteran gives the participating community care provider secure access to certain parts of their VA electronic health record. By sharing a Veteran’s health information electronically, VA and participating community care providers are better able to coordinate and improve the overall quality of care for our Veterans. This program reduces the need for patients and families to carry records between health care providers. VA health information shared with community health providers includes the following.
A list of health problems
Chemistry and hematology reports
Records of physicals
Currently we have close to 10,000 Veterans who are being seen by outside partner providers.
Question: Are mental health crisis services available during afterhours in a community Emergency Department?
Answer: If the patient is in crisis and the patient is agreeable to go to the hospital then that E.D. can negotiate with Phoenix and Tucson to get them placed.
Question: How long will it be until we have another PTSD Psychologist on station?
Answer: Approximately six weeks.
Question: Can a homeless voucher be transferred from Phoenix to Prescott?
Question: Is a system in place where a Veteran can plug a thumb drive in to a computer to extract medical files?
Answer: Currently we are working on a process where a Veteran can utilize a thumb drive.
Next Meeting: April 16, 2018 in Theater, Building 15, at 1:00 p.m.