VA » Health Care » James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida » Wheelchair Clinic Direct Scheduling
James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida
Wheelchair Clinic Direct Scheduling
By Ed Drohan
Tuesday, January 2, 2018Veterans who need adjustments for their VA-issued wheelchair or those who want to be evaluated for VA-issued wheelchairs or scooters no longer need a referral from their provider to get an appointment at the Wheelchair Clinic.
Beginning Dec. 29, patients can call the clinic and directly schedule their own appointments. In the past, Veterans who needed to see one of the VA’s wheeled mobility experts needed a referral from their primary care provider before the clinic would schedule an appointment.
Direct scheduling for the wheelchair clinic is part of a nationwide VA initiative to expand the scope of the clinic and improve options for Veterans, said Dr. Racheal Samec, a JAHVH physical therapist who was part of a Systems Redesign Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) that developed the new operating procedures for the clinic.
“Before this, the Veteran had to contact their [primary care provider] and they had to put in a consult for the patient. Once the consult was placed, it was placed into our outpatient physical therapy clinic which wasn’t a specialized clinic just for mobility,” Samec explained. “The appointments for that clinic are scheduled out nine to 10 weeks because there are so many physical therapy consults. There are probably about 1,000 a month and only 45 of them are mobility consults.”
The clinic’s new procedures should drop the wait for a wheelchair clinic appointment to two weeks at most, said Frederica O’Donnell, an occupational therapist and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt who helped lead the RIE.
Veterans who already have a VA-issued mobility device – manual wheelchair, power wheelchair or scooter – and who need adjustments to their device can call the clinic’s direct scheduling line at 813-972-2000, extension 1025 to make an appointment. Veterans who want to be evaluated to see if they need a mobility device should also call for an appointment.
Veterans need to understand that not everyone who requests a mobility device actually needs one, Samec said. Experts will evaluate Veterans’ requests on an individual basis since, in some cases, using a device like a wheelchair or scooter can actually make the medical issue worse.
In the event a Veteran’s medical condition doesn’t warrant a mobility device, they can still be referred to some of the other services offered at JAHVH to help strengthen and improve their condition. That could include other assistive devices like walkers or canes, or possibly a referral to other clinics or other forms of therapy.
Veterans with questions about the clinic can contact O’Donnell at 813-972-200, ext. 4215, or Samec at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The clinic will be located off campus at the hospital’s 42nd Street location with the outpatient physical therapy and prosthetics clinics. The address is 14530 N. 42nd Street, Tampa, FL, 33612.