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James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital - Tampa, Florida

 

Veteran and Family Advisory Council

Highly Respected Group of Veterans and Family Members Advise JAHVH Leadership

Veteran and Family Advisory Council

Highly Respected Group of Veterans and Family Members Advise  JAHVH Leadership

 

In 2012, the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics (JAHVH) established the Veteran and Family Advisory Council (VFAC), which includes Veterans, family members, caregivers, and employee Veterans who receive their care at the Hospital.

The council’s overall intent is to assist the facility in identifying opportunities to better meet the needs of Veterans. The VFAC functions in an advisory role working with a variety of health care staff and providers. TheVFAC meets monthly to gather unfiltered, direct feedback from Veterans and family members with JAHVH Executive Leadership and two staff Co-facilitators who assist with implementation of the suggestions for improvement. These meetings serve as a forum to systematically identify patient and family preferences and include them into clinical care delivery, policy creation and improved customer service.

 The VFAC looks at the “big picture” view of issues and provides a range of perspectives. Further, the council reviews implementation of recommended improvements and suggests any necessary corrections. Members of the VFAC have extensive experience in customer service, large-scale organizational change and advocacy for Veterans. 

 Over the last three years, the VFAC has made some astounding accomplishments, which include:

3-part Military Culture Awareness Series: o   Identified newly installed kiosks were not protecting Veterans’ information during usage.

o   An annual educational series was created for employees to help improve customer service

§ Educational Presentation

§ Veteran Discussion Panel

§ Military Culture Expo

·       Kiosks Improvements:

o   Identified newly installed kiosks were not protecting Veterans’ information during usage.

o   VFAC met with Kiosk coordinators to discuss alternative placement for enhanced screen protection

·       Professional Attire and Hygiene Policy:

o   Interdisciplinary hospital committee

o   Policy created and implemented

·       Customer Service/Smile Brigade:

o   VFAC members present at JAHVH staff meetings

o   HAS, Mental Health, Social Work, Geriatrics, Police, Vascular Lab, Specialty clinics, Path/Lab Staff, Spinal Cord Injury meetings attended

o   Candy bars wrapped identifying 5/10 rule

o   Customer service, courtesy, respect and empathy were the focus of presentations

·       Get-Well Network

o   VFAC members educated to assist as GetWell Newtwork Champions

·       My HealtheVet

o   VFAC members educated to assist as My HealtheVet Champions

·       Comp & Pen Signage

o   New signs installed

·       Hospital Maps

o   More detailed/updated maps created

o   Maps installed around key areas of the hospital

o   Enhanced way-finding

·       Pedestrian Cross-walks

o   Painted cross-walks to give right-away to pedestrians

o   No passing signage installed

·       Signature Pads for Travel

o   Ordered and installed to key-off site clinics to expedite travel processing

·       Outreach

o   Community events table exhibits

Strawberry Festival, Sun n Fun, MacDill Air Fest

·       Disabled Parking

o   Met with Police Service to talk about recurring improper use of disabled parking

o   Director’s Memo was addressed to employees

Biographies of Council Members are below:

Roger L. Turgeon, U.S. Army – Vietnam Veteran

Southern New England Telephone Company as a Telecommunications Engineer. He became a Telecom Manager for the northeast region of Allstate Insurance and once again a Telecommunications Engineer for DSL.net. He then opened a remodeling business coupled with a home inspection service. He moved to Florida to escape the cold and snow and is now volunteering at JAHVH assisting the Patient Advocates office, where he oversees the greeters’ stations and works as an Information Security Officer Associate. Mr. Turgeon is the Masonic Association of North America Service Representative at JAHVH and is part of the VAVS (do we need to spell out) council. He is the Team Leader for the Veteran & Family Advisory Council as well as a member on the VISN-8 Patient-Centered Care Council serving as the voice of the Veteran.

David E. Allen, U.S. Army – Desert Storm Veteran

Mr. Allen is a 10-year employee with the JAHVH and currently serves as a Senior Biomedical Engineering Technician specializing in networked medical device integration. His military experience includes eight years in various specialties, including Combat Medic, Biomedical Technician and Recruiter and Retention NCO. He is a combat Veteran who participated in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort. Mr. Allen came to VHA in 2004 from the Dept. of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) after spending five years activating a major FBOP hospital system. Mr. Allen was the VISN 8 nominee for the National Biomedical Equipment Support Specialist of 2014.

Jill Bourdeau, U.S. Army – Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veteran

Ms. Bourdeau is originally from southern Wisconsin. She joined the military at 18 and served for 8.5 years in the Army Reserve. She served as Unit Administrator for several Reserve Units in Milwaukee, Wisc. including a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. Upon fulfillment of her service obligation, she left the cold Midwest for sunny central Florida. There she began her new career at the Department of Veteran's Affairs.



Adam D. Ferguson, U.S. Army & Air Force – Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veteran

Mr. Ferguson served a combined 18 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. During his service, Mr. Ferguson worked in a wide range of fields worldwide. While obtaining his MBA, Mr. Ferguson served as intern to the Deputy Director of the JAHVH. He has a strong focus on organizational change and customer service.





Mary Ann Keckler, U.S. Navy Veteran

Ms. Keckler, a charter member of VFAC,  was born in Derby, CT and served in the U.S. Navy. Following her service, she worked in the transportation industry for 27 years and in 1989, relocated to Florida. She is a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), State VAVS Chair for the DAV, VISN 8 Mangement Advisory Council member and has been a VAVS Volunteer since 2001. Additionally, she serves as a member of the JAHVH Outreach Committee,  Management Advisory Council and the Women’s Veterans Advisory Committee. One of Ms. Keckler’s proudest achievements was organizing the first Veterans Day Parade at JAHVH and currently serves as a member of that Committee


Julia Lewis, U.S. Navy – Iraqi Freedom Veteran

Ms. Lewis has been a registered nurse for more than 20 years, primarily as an emergency department nurse, and is currently the Nurse Manager for Spinal Cord Injury Unit D at the JAHVH. Ms. Lewis retired from the Navy Nurse Corps in 2010 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Her service includes four years active duty and 17 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Her career at the VA began as a new RN at the Tucson VA Hospital and began at the JAHVA in 2009.




James E. Martin Jr, U.S. Army – Just Cause, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veteran

Mr. Martin is a retired 20 year Signal Corps Non-Commissioned Officer of the U.S. Army and a father of two adult children. He served in three combat tours during his tenure in the Army which included, Operation Just Cause, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently works as a Program Support Assistant at the JAHVH and has been at the facility since 2009. He also is a board member of several committees at the hospital including the VFAC, the Sunny Solutions Committee, the Employee Association and the All-Employees Survey Committee.


Scott Sweet, US Navy – Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veteran

Mr. Sweet medically retired from the U.S. Navy after 17 years as a Diving Medical Technician, Master Training Specialist and Diving Surface Warfare Specialist. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health holds the Certified in Public Health credential?? and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Mr. Sweet completed a one-year Pathways internship with the JAHVH and is presently a Graduate Health Administration Training Program Fellow for JAHVH. He has also been actively involved with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) racing program since 2011.



Greg Willard, United States Marine Corps – Vietnam Veteran

Mr. Willard, a chartered member of the VFAC, served with 3 of the 4 active Divisions in the Marine Corps.  He served with multiple infantry divisions and RECON units.  Mr. Willard is a Vietnam Veteran with two Purple Hearts and served in various other theaters.  His formal education includes a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in English.  He is also a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS-V) certified with the State of Florida.  He currently works with mental health and behavioral sciences at the JAHVH and at the Lakeland CBOC.  He is also active with the Community of Hope (COH) in the civilian community serving Veterans.


Staff Facilitator:


Allen U. Anders, U.S. Army – Enduring Freedom Veteran

Mr. Anders is the Co-Facilitator of the VFAC and has been with the council since November of 2014. Mr. Anders served in the U.S. Army and held numerous leadership positions in his10-year tenure. The most rewarding to him was as Platoon Leader of 4th Platoon, Delta Company 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. His Platoon participated in Operation Dragon Strike as well as other operations to include five major air assaults as part of the troop surge for Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11. After finishing his service obligation, he joined the JAHVH team in 2012 and currently holds the position of Supply Systems Analyst within the Logistics Service. He is currently attending the University of South Florida in pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an expected graduation date of December 2015.

Sebrina Posey, 24+ years of VA Leadership Experience

Ms. Posey currently serves as the Program Director for the Home Based Primary Care Program (HBPC). She received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of South Florida in 1988 and her Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University in 1991. Ms. Posey has been employed by the VA since 1991. She has served within multiple roles: Primary Care, Women’s Center Mental Health; Inpatient Psychiatry, Renal Dialysis Coordinator; Inpatient Surgery Team Leader, Polytrauma Case Manager, Suicide Prevention Coordinator; Training Specialist, Section Chief. Collateral duties have included: Co-staff Facilitator, Veteran Family Advisory Council, Chair, Family Care Consultation Team (FCCT), Certified Franklin Covey Leadership class Facilitator; Acting Outreach Coordinator; Acting Communications Officer; Chair, Media Kick-off National Veterans Wheelchair Games and Haley’s Guide Service Champion.