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Survey shows veterans highly satisfied with VA care

SUN Columnist

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an independent customer service survey, ranks the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) customer satisfaction among veteran patients among the best in the nation and equal to or better than ratings for private sector hospitals. The 2013 ACSI report assessed satisfaction among veterans who have recently been patients of VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) inpatient and outpatient services. ACSI is the nation’s only cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction, providing benchmarking between the public and private sectors.

In 2013, the overall ACSI satisfaction index for VA was 84 for inpatient care and 82 for outpatient care, which compares favorably with the U.S. hospital industry (scores of 80 and 83, respectively). Since 2004, the ACSI survey has consistently shown that veterans give VA hospitals and clinics a higher customer satisfaction score, on average, than patients give private sector hospitals. These overall scores are based on specific feedback on customer expectations, perceived value and quality, responsiveness to customer complaints and customer loyalty. One signature finding for 2013 is the continuing high degree of loyalty to VA among veterans, with a score of 93 percent favorable. This score has remained high (above 90 percent) for the past 10 years.

“Every day, our dedicated VA employees, many of whom are veterans themselves, strive to provide millions of veterans with the excellent care they have earned and deserve,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Our Nation’s veterans deserve the best care, and the ACSI survey results help us better understand how veterans feel about their overall health care experience at VA. There is always more work to do, and we are focused on continuous improvement to the care we provide.”

Additionally, veterans strongly endorsed VA health care, with 91 percent offering positive assessments of inpatient care and 92 percent for outpatient care. When asked if they would use a VA medical center the next time they need inpatient care or outpatient care, veterans overwhelmingly indicated they would (96 and 95 percent, respectively).

Veterans also responded positively to questions related to customer service for both VA inpatient care (92 percent favorable) and outpatient care (91 percent). Medical providers and appointment personnel were considered highly courteous with scores of 92 and 91, respectively. Additionally, VA medical providers ranked high in professionalism (90 percent positive).

“VA’s strategy of providing a personalized, proactive, patient-driven approach to health care is positively impacting veterans’ experiences at our 1700 sites of care nationwide,” said Dr. Robert A. Petzel, VA’s under secretary for health. “We are transitioning to a health service focused on veterans’ personal health care goals, and this is reflected in the ACSI score.”

With over 8 million veterans enrolled, VA operates the largest integrated health care delivery system in the United States. Our mission is to honor America’s veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being. VA provides a broad range of primary care, specialized care and related medical and social support services. VA provided 89.7 million outpatient visits last fiscal year. VA has 236,000 health care appointments per day.

Further information 

For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The best way to contact me is to set up an appointment at home or in the office so I can schedule a specific time in order to answer and assist each veteran in Archuleta County.

I will be out of the office on the following days for regularly scheduled meetings:

• Vets4Vets: Tuesday mornings, 9 a.m.-noon.

• Arboles Community Center, first and third Thursdays. Back around 2 p.m.

• Pagosa Outreach Connection, 8:30-10 a.m. every Thursday.

• Home visits/Pine Ridge outreach, second and fourth Thursdays, back at 2 p.m.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for completing applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to, and a copy for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office. If the office is closed, I am out assisting veterans; leave me a message and phone number to contact you.

Veterans’ groups

The following veterans’ groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Quality Resort.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday at 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte: 731-1025.

• Point Man Ministries’ Breakfast for Veterans at 8:30 a.m. each Tuesday at Buffalo Inn, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Vincent: 731-2769, vfortunato777@gmail.com.

Important numbers

• 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.

• The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on May 1, 2014.