The Fayetteville, North Carolina VA (FVA) Clinic was in need of new direction; the old way of doing things was way out of line. More than 100,000 veterans depend on the Fayetteville VA Medical Clinic so when the Interim Director (ID) took his office it was his top priority to bring the clinic up to standards. The ID made his plan to save the clinic very clear:
- Patients first;
- Identify problems;
- Set priorities; and
- Solve problems.
Before taking his position, the Fayetteville VA received complaints from veterans ranging from rude staffers to terrible patient response time to faulty phone systems to poor parking. Since the ID has taken the helm, only good things have happened to the VA medical center. Complaints have stopped rolling in about the staff and treatment satisfaction rose to 62% in November and December. This is up from a 45% satisfaction rating in the middle of 2008 to last winter.
Now that the staff is coming around, the outpatient check-in area and the emergency department will be renovated. The renovations will take approximately 18 months and while this is happening, the 2 primary care clinics the FVA houses will be moved into provisional housing.
The temporary location will, at the very least, provide ample parking for the veterans. To solve the parking problem at the main clinic, staffers have been parking away from the clinic. Like the parking issue, the phone system will not be fixed on the ID’s watch. Of the 150 new staffers being hired, approximately 100 will be responsible for answering phones and making appointments.
Miserable may have been the way the FVA used to be described by the veteran-patients. The Interim Director has made broad steps in correcting the errors he could while in office. Once a permanent director is hired, and the renovations are complete, the FVA will be back up to standards and hopefully the veterans will be satisfied with the result.