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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

 

Outreach events help connect Veterans with VA

Transition Care Management Patient Representative Pat Elkins provides a Veteran with information about VA benefits at the 2016 Stand Down Against Homelessness event at the Community Resource and Referral Center in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by James Arrowood.)

Transition Care Management Patient Representative Pat Elkins provides a Veteran with information about VA benefits at the 2016 Stand Down Against Homelessness event at the Community Resource and Referral Center in North Charleston, South Carolina. Photo by James Arrowood.

By JW Huckfeldt, Public Affairs Specialist Trainee
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Reaching out to Veterans in the community is a significant step toward increasing growth at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Charleston VA Outreach committee members, volunteers and employees devote time outside of their daily grind to participate in local events that introduce local Veterans who do not receive VA health care to Charleston VAMC.

Community outreach accomplishes a number of goals. Typically, Veterans are more likely to approach a booth at an event they’re attending to get basic information about possible benefits they could qualify for and learn why VA health care is different from that offered at other facilities. Veterans are also greeted with a smile by a VA staff member who wants to answer their questions and help them navigate the health care system. As the Head & Shoulders famous tagline says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Charleston VAMC deploys outreach teams to various events throughout the year. Stand Down Against Homelessness event at the Community Resource and Referral Center in North Charleston in the fall received a healthy turnout of Veterans looking for assistance. Charleston VAMC also participates in Stand Down events are held in Savannah, Georgia, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Other events Charleston VAMC outreach teams attend include Party in the Park, a weekly country music concert festival held every Tuesday in June, Welcome Home events hosted at multiple locations, and Strike Out Stroke held at the home of the Charleston Riverdogs, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The next Welcome Home event is planned for June 14 at “The Joe” from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Welcome Home events are conducted to provide important information and guidance on accessing health care and other benefits through the VA.)

Outreach events make a significant difference. In FY 2016, Charleston VAMC was the fifth fastest growing VA medical in the United States with an 11.4 percent increase in patient growth in two years. Those results do not happen by accident. They are a testament to those dedicated to being the face of Charleston VAMC and reflect the hard work and dedication of the medical center employees whose mission it is to serve our nation’s heroes.

Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center employees at all locations renewed their commitment to Engage in Excellence during a VAMC-wide celebration on June 2. Employees were introduced to the VAMC’s new strategic plan based on five pillars that support the facility’s mission to achieve excellence. Participating in outreach events will increase Employee Engagement, help Manage Growth, and most importantly, provide interested Veterans with a great Veteran Experience.

For more information about upcoming outreach events, check the Charleston VA calendar on the website, or follow the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center on Facebook and Twitter.  

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