U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) requested a hearing this week before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and invited Scott Bryant, the Innovation Specialist and Chief of Quality, Safety, and Value at the Chillicothe VA Medical Center (VAMC), to join the panel in Washington D.C.
The panel discussed improvements to access and care for Ohio’s veterans, according to Sen. Brown.
“Our veterans deserve the highest quality of care,” said Brown. “I am heartened to see that Ohio VAMCs have proactively begun to implement the VA’s Diffusion of Excellence best practices and have made great strides in improving care for Ohio veterans.”
Brown said the VA’s Diffusion of Excellence will put veterans’ needs first, increase their quality of care, and empower the VA staff to come up with creative ways to improve veteran experience at different facilities.
Practices being implemented will help to improve public trust of the VA, according to Brown. This comes at a time when the VA has the lowest amount of trust by Americans—the Department of Veterans Affairs administered a report after it was alleged that 47,000 veterans died while their health care applications were in pending status.
In 2014, when it was reported that veterans were dying while waiting for care at VA facilities, VA secretary Eric Shinseki fired senior leaders of the VA and ultimately resigned, according to a statement by President Obama on whitehouse.gov.
Months later, President Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 into law, in an attempt to fix broken VA facilities with a $16 billion dollar budget.
Brown said the VAMC location in Chillicothe is now implementing the VA’s “eScreening” tools, which take medical information from the waiting room and electronically transfers it to their medical files. To save time, the “Direct Scheduling in Audiology and Optometry” practice will not require veterans to get pre-approval from their primary care physicians before being seen.
“Armed with successful innovation pilots, the Diffusion of Excellence Initiative identifies the best projects and prototypes that can be replicated. And, with the support of the Innovators Network, front-line employees are co-designing new practices with Veterans and other stakeholders, allowing VA to respond rapidly to Veterans’ needs in front-line settings and accelerating our service delivery,” said Carolyn Clancy, M.D. and deputy under secretary for organizational excellence for the Department of Veterans Affairs, during the hearing Wednesday.
According to hearing testimony, more than 260 ongoing innovations have been implemented in 70 VA facilities across the country.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton