Country Veteran Council Meeting
July 19, 2016
Kerrville Chamber of Commerce
HCVC Officers: President Vicki Marsh, SVP Dennis Birchall 2VP Byron
HCVC Members: Bill Cantrell, Emilio Rendon, Cord Switzer,
KVA: Kim Hoge,
Guests: Nick Oprea, Mike Cagle, Gary Powers
President Vicki Marsh opened the meeting complimenting South
Texas Veterans Health Care Services (STVHCS) on the information
session after the July 12, 2016 Quarterly Stakeholders Meeting at
the Kerrville Veterans Administration Medical Center (KVAMC). STVHCS
provided attendees with briefings on VA Heath Care Eligibility and
Enrollment, Co Pays, and Travel Pay. STVHCS also talked about the
new procedure for Veterans to apply for their travel pay at Kiosks
vice doing it at the billing office.
Processing Lab Samples
If a Veteran comes in for labs in advance of their appointment
their labs will be reviewed at their appointment. If labs are
completed the same day of appointment, a follow-up phone call and/or
letter will be mailed to the Veteran. Ms. Hoge stressed that
Veterans receive either a mailed or phone reminder of appointments.
It is important that Veterans come in for labs a week or so prior to
their appointment so the labs are ready for their appointment. Doing
the labs the same day of the appointment ensures the labs will NOT
be ready for the Veteran’s appointment. Ms, Hoge explained that Lab
equipment upgrades will continue after the scheduled survey in
August to check proficiency of lab personnel. In the interim, some
lab samples will continue to be sent to Audie twice a day. Note: Lab
orders are valid 30 days before and 30 days after a scheduled
STVHCS has started advertising vacancies at the KVAMC in the
Kerrville Daily Times. Ms. Hoge provided HCVC members with a list of
vacancies at the Kerrville Medical Center and where those vacancies
are in the hiring process at STVHCS. Prior to the
Information-Sharing Meeting, STVHCS stated that they have identified
a replacement for the Release of Information Clerk at KVAMC.
Ms Hoge renewed her offer to have us meet with the Director of Human
Resources to help us better understand how the VA process works. She
had suggested August, but more members may be traveling then. So, we
agreed upon Sept. and the HCVC owes her a proposed date e.g. Fri .
Urgent Care/Same-Day Service
Ms. Hoge clarified that when veterans call their teams to
receive urgent care e.g. at 10 a.m. The VA’s goal is to provide that
service within 24 hours, NOT close of business on the same day
Ultra-sound Services and Holter-monitor
Ultra-sound services have been reduced from 2 days a week to
just 1 until staffing improves at Audie. Ms. Hoge explained that the
CT technician will be attending training in San Antonio for one week
as there is a new CT unit being installed at Kerrville later this
summer. Additionally, the technician has limited access to more
complex CT exams at Kerrville, she needs experience with these exams
in volume at Audie. The replacement for Deanna, x-ray tech, who
retires in December will also be able to do CT’s. This will provide
better coverage overall.
KVAMC is not in danger of losing the Holter-monitor service. STVHCS
is moving toward a new contract for disposable Holter monitors. The
contract is pending an approval process/submission.
Vicki Marsh requested that simple signage for the Patient
Advocate be placed in prominent places throughout KVAMC e.g. the
lab, the elevators and waiting rooms, etc.,to ensure Veterans don’t
leave KVAMC without having their concerns addressed. While Ms. Hoge
had some reservations in part because the patient advocate function
has been consolidated at Audie but also most tissues that she and
Terry receive can be addressed via their teams e.g. renewal of
Ms. Marsh also requested the list of services available at KVAMC.
Services seem to come & go without notice. The most recent example
is the Vision Impairment Service Team which now come to KVAMC’s eye
clinic twice monthly. A recent alphabetized list is available on
KVAMC’s portion of www.southtexas.va.gov.
Patient Access Data
Vicki Marsh stated that at a stakeholders meeting last year,
HCVC was told that this data could NOT be broken down beyond the
STVHCS level. While that may have been true then, it isn’t now.
Thus we would like to know how KVAMC is doing. HCVC requested this
data be provided at the Stakeholder’s Meeting but at the July
meeting it was still shown at the STVHC level. HCVC wants the data
to evaluate the need for a recruiting drive to sign up patients for
Signage under TX Department of Transportation (DOT) on Highways
STVHCS still refers to Kerrville VA Hospital (not Medical
Center) on its website, www.southtexas.va.gov This has halted our
efforts to get TX DOT to change the signage to reflect KVA’s status
as Medical Center. Our concern is that Veterans traveling through
the area will see the signs and think that they can receive
emergency care at KVAMC. This will only delay emergency care as
KVAMC has no emergency room.
Inviting Local Media to Tour KVAMC
Previously, KVAMC and STVHCS Strategic
Communications personnel had planned to do this when the portico
(overhead structure at basement entrance) was completed. Due to
personnel moves this has not happened. HCVC feels this is important
because it would show that KVAMC is not only intact but also
growing—e.g. regional pharmacy. The fact that the renovations
mirror those @ Audie demonstrates that there is no plan to close or
decrease services @ KVAMC. As tax-payers, the public has a vested
interest in KVAMC and takes proprietary view of it which is a good
Next Meeting: Address status, staffing and funding of wound clinic.
Currently open 2 days per week—Wed. and Fri. Requires consult.
Comments to us or the V. A. would be greatly appreciated.