May 17 2016


Hill Country Veteran Council Meeting
May 17, 2016
Kerrville Chamber of Commerce

HCVC Officers: President Vicki Marsh, SVP Dennis Birchall 2VP Byron Warren
HCVC Members: Bill Cantrell, Emilio Rendon, Maggie Baker
KVA: Kim Hoge, KVA AO Dr. Cody Nichols CMO
Guests: Nick Oprea, Mike Cagle

General Topics
The KVA Freedoms Path cleaning fee for apartments was requested but not available. There are 2 hotel type apartments available for Veterans needing an overnight accommodation and the cleaning fee would be the cost to the Veteran. Freedom’s Path is not part of KVA and questions pertaining on Freedom’s path should be directed to Karen Weeks (941) 487-3749 or weeks@beneficialcom.com . Pres. Marsh asked Bill Cantrell to contact Karen about the fee.

Processing Lab Samples
Lab equipment at Kerrville continues to be updated. The contract for all implementation and training of the new equipment should be implemented by the end of June. Kerrville continues to send labs to Audie several times a day. 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.

Updating of the Kerrville VA Medical Facility Phone Tree
This is a very large undertaking. We are changing a few items every couple of weeks. If there is low-hanging fruit that can be addressed quickly, please let the Administrator’s Office know and we will try and address it. At this time, it appears there are many areas that need to be addressed.

VA payment for Non-VA emergency care of service-connected conditions and non-service-connected conditions. Search internet on “non-va emergency care” and the top results will provide answers including (pdf) Fact Sheet 20-02 on Non-VA emergency care.

Non-VA Emergency Care Phone Numbers including Audie & Tele-care
Veterans using Non-VA emergency care must phone VA within 72 hours of an emergency room visit or they may be liable for all costs associated with an ER visit. Phone numbers are located on the main page of www.southtexas.va.gov list under Patient Transfer Information:
Call Veteran’s Primary Care Team (PACT)
Call Telecare @ 210-949-3994 or 1-888-686-6350
Call the Transfer coordinator (business hours) @210-617-5184
Call the AOD (after hours) @ 210-617-5300 Ext 1594


Chief Medical Officer/Green Team Dr, Cody Nichols started on May 2, 2016
Psychiatrist: HR has been successful in recruiting fellows and residents to assist in Kerrville. Recruitment for full time psychiatrist is ongoing.
Housekeeping Aides: HR looking at Veterans being discharged from domicilaries.
Additional Dental Tech and two Hygienists: No input
Replacement for Secretary, Linda Watts on 4th Floor: Kerrville has three direct hires, one of which, will be the Secretary on 4th floor.
Patient Advocate: There are no plans to have a Patient Advocate full time in Kerrville. Terry and Kimberly Hoge have assumed those duties. The patient advocated in San Antonio can assist with some concerns, however most are addressed the same day through the Administrator’s Office. Requested signs for Patient Advocate be placed prominently, e.g. lab & elevators so that veterans address their concerns before leaving the building.
Arrhythmia Clinic: Current employee leaves in July. Audie actively training a replacement who will come to Kerrville upon completion of his/her training. No time frame for this as he/she will have to demonstrate accuracy of the procedure for several trials in order to become credentialed in the procedure.
Geriatric & Extended Care Clinic: GEC now has two part-time providers. The other time is spent with in-patient care and the wound clinic. Dr. Poovathoor is its new Chief Medical Officer.

New Business

Changing Highway Signs From Kerrville VA Hospital to Kerrville VA Medical Center
Highway signs refer to the Kerrville VA Medical Center as a hospital. This has led travelers in need of immediate medical attention to proceed to the Kerrville VA Medical Center only to find the Medical Center does not have an Emergency Room. They are then directed to a Non-VA Emergency Care Facility or if necessary, an ambulance is called to transport them. Highway signs are a Department of Transportation responsibility. One of the issues with getting the sign changed is STVHCS still refers to the Kerrville VA Medical Facility as a hospital on its webpage. HCVC will continue to work this issue.

Upgrade of the Kerrville Medical Center Parking Lot
The Kerrville Medical Center will be installing solar panels in the near future. Lights and parking lot will be redone when the solar panels are installed.

Decreasing Number of Veterans Using VA Health Care at Kerrville VA Medical Facility
Currently 6,600 Veterans are registered for Health Care at the Kerrville VA Medical Facility. This is down from 7,300 in 2013. A number of actions are being looked at to increase this number to include: (1) Ensuring all mental patients being treated at the facility are assigned to a PACT; (2) Possibly redirecting patients in Boerne and all points west to be seen at KVA; and, (3) Having Audie redirect patients that could be seen sooner at KVA As a reminder, for Veterans to be eligible for Non VA Emergency Care re-imbursement, they must have been treated at a VA facility in the last 24 months



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