May 20, 2014


A meeting of the Texas Hill Country Veterans Council was held on May 20, 2014 at the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce. Attending the meeting were:

Vicki Marsh, President
Members Bill Cantrell, Gary Noller, Emilio Rendon
Paul Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer Kerrville VA
Guest: Margaret Baker, Kerr County Veteran Services Officer

The meeting was called to order at 0900 by President Marsh.

Two emerging issues: (1) A reported problem with the complete blood count processing machine which had been down a couple of days during the past month. Mr. Gregory reported that this was a calibration problem and that he now has a procedure to alert providers whenever there is a problem. New equipment was not deemed necessary. (2) The doctor for the Green Patient Aligned Care Team PACT) was placed on unexpected annual leave on Wed., May 14th for 30 days. Due to the need to protect employee privacy, we could learn nothing more.

Update: At the Stakeholders Meeting with Ms. Weldon, the Director of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System on May 28th, she informed us that Kerrville VA Medical
Facility will still have a Green Team after the 30 days is up. This news allayed our fear of losing a PACT since KVAís six teams plus the Geriatric Medicine Clinic are at 86% capacity across the board. The patient load for each PACT is called a panel. The peak capacity for a panel is 1200 patients.

1. Construction at KVA. The 1st floor renovation is underway and completion is expected this summer. Then the PACTS and the Womenís Health Clinic will return to the 1st floor. The Womenís Clinic will be down the hall from the administrative offices. There will also be a lactation room for women vets and female employees.

-The audiology suite on the 2nd floor. All equipment has been received, but it must be calibrated.

-The Regional Pharmacy is at 60% completion of the design phase. In the fall, construction will begin. The VAís federal police will occupy the area at the front of the Training Center where Alan Hillís office was previously located.

2. Status of replacements: The psychiatrist for the Mental Health Clinic is still inbound in July.

-Neurologist. Dr. Ralph Greenleeís last day is June 24th. His clinic was two days per week. His replacement will have clinic two and one-half days per week. New patients may receive non-VA care.

-Eye techís start date is in June. This is a case whereby KVA does not have to establish the need for a full-time employee.

-Dental Hygienist. The selectee decided not to come. Mr. Gregory is exploring an alternative favorable option.

-Occupational Therapist. The Veterans Integrated Service Network-17ís lead recruiter is actively recruiting by buying ads on Monster.com and advertising on health career websites.

Status of equipment and procedures. A new-to-KVA ultra-sound machine will come from Audie after the regional contractor completes a nation-wide software update. Then, KVA must re-establish its need for a full time tech, by beginning with a tech coming out from Audie once or twice a week depending upon the demand.

-Cat Scans with contrast are now being conducted at KVA. The requirement for a doctor trained in treating reactions to the contrast to be in the hospital will be rotated among KVAís doctors. They do NOT have to be physically present, rather they must be on-call in the hospital. This process has been incorporated into the standard operating procedures at Audie Murphy VA Hospital to ensure its permanency so that KVAís patients do NOT have to go to Audie for this procedure as long as KVAís Dr.ís are willing to provide this service.

-Cystoscopies are not yet being conducted here, but the plan is for a Fredericksburg physician to perform them.

-Sleep clinic by telehealth. Col Marsh had recently spoken to Linda Watts @ KVA who informed her that a Dr. Avery is on board @ Audie who will be conducting sleep clinic after she finishes her in-house orientation. She will be holding clinic rather than Dr. Ingmundson. That is the 1st step towards conducting them telephonically.

4. In his closing comments, Mr. Gregory mentioned a Get-Well Network that will include calls with patients, TVís, in-patient TV sets and site visits. He also said that environment-of-care rounds will include tablets to document findings.

The meeting adjourned at 9:40 a.m.

Taken by Vicki Marsh


Comments to us or the V. A. would be greatly appreciated.