Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Improving access…why I choose VA
My name is Ben Thayer and I have served as the Group Practice Manager for the Charleston VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics since October 2016. My VA career began in December 2005 after a brief stint with the United States Navy. Upon discharge, I knew that continuing to be engaged with military personnel and more specifically Veterans was my calling.
My first role within the VA was with radiation oncology service. Over the course of seven years I had the distinct honor of working with Veteran cancer patients. I cannot put into words exactly how gratifying this was, but to try to sum it up succinctly—having the privilege to spend time with Veterans, at the end stages of their life in many cases, was truly life changing. Many of these patients had little or no family support and in many cases, our oncology staff was the last meaningful relationship that Veteran would ever establish. We made it our goal to not only give the Veteran the best care, but also to honor them in every way we could.
After several years working with cancer patients, I wanted to increase my ability to positively impact as many Veterans as I could. I worked as an administrative officer covering the emergency department, dental, and audiology/speech pathology. Later, I had the opportunity to be the chief administrative officer for primary care and community medicine (PCCM). Additionally, I served in interim roles as the administrative officer for medicine and chief of staff along with my PCCM duties. These roles were held at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home, Tennessee.
While enjoying my time and experiences immensely at Mountain Home’s VA, I had been interested in the Charleston VA Medical Center for years. As one of the fastest growing and most highly regarded facilities in the country, it was truly an honor to be selected as the group practice manager at Charleston VAMC. My short tenure at this facility has been amazing to say the least. The team I work with here consists of some of the most dedicated staff I have ever worked with.
Over the course of the last year, we have had many notable accomplishments to include: improving access to care for our Veterans, improve consult management, improve scheduling compliance, and identifying areas of improvement in productivity, efficiency and staffing. None of this would be possible without the amazing staff we have at Charleston VA. I look forward to many more years of working in this facility and I cannot stress enough how proud and fulfilling it is to work with such a great team.