The VA is all ears

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games -

Be­tween the fall of 2017 and Septem­ber 2018, 1.6 mil­lion of us were sur­veyed about our trust in Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs health care af­ter we’d had an out­pa­tient ap­point­ment for any­thing from phys­i­cal ther­apy and pri­mary care to car­di­ol­ogy and men­tal health. A VA press re­lease says that our trust level in VA health care rose 2.4 per­cent dur­ing that pe­riod. The trust num­ber now is at 88 per­cent, with a VA tar­get goal of 90 per­cent by Septem­ber 2019.

There’s an­other num­ber, how­ever, buried in the ac­tual sur­vey re­sults, that might be even more im­por­tant. Re­spon­dents were asked to re­ply on a scale of 1-5 (Strongly Dis­agree to Strongly Agree) to the fol­low­ing state­ment: “I trust VA to ful­fill our coun­try’s com­mit­ment to Vet­er­ans.” The cur­rent tally for that is only 67 per­cent. Per the sur­vey’s goal state­ment, the VA is hop­ing to raise that num­ber to 90 per­cent in one year.

Your best bet: If you re­ceive a non-med­i­cal VA ben­e­fit or ser­vice and you get one of those sur­veys, re­spond. Fill it out. Be hon­est. A typ­i­cal VA sur­vey might get only a 20 per­cent re­sponse rate. If there’s space to leave com­ments, do that.

If you’re a vet­eran, care­giver, de­pen­dent or ser­vice provider (for ex­am­ple, a fu­neral home), and if you have an email ad­dress on record with the VA, you’ll likely get an email in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate within the quar­ter. If you’re a vet­eran and you re­ceive a health-care ser­vice, you’ll likely get your email in­vi­ta­tion to fill out the sur­vey within two weeks.

Right now, they’re lis­ten­ing. Don’t let them set pol­icy or rules (or bud­get) based on the opin­ion of only 20 per­cent of those sur­veyed. Make sure your voice is heard.

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