Monthly Report from the Director - Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center


Monthly Report from the Director

Direct Scott Isaacks speaking with a Veteran in the CLC

May 2015

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center we endeavor daily to improve the care and service that you receive here at your VA.

It is no secret, and I have shared with you before, that ours is one of the top-performing VA medical systems in the nation. We are proud to offer extremely high quality care in a timely manner to our Veterans – and stakeholders across the nation, to include top leadership at VA Central Office, are taking notice of our efforts and success. However, we cannot rest on what we've achieved so far.

We realize that providing excellent health care is more than just offering reliable access to quality care – it is about ensuring every Veteran is treated with respect and dignity. I want every Veteran to know that they are welcomed and valued at every interaction at our VA. We are working hard to provide exceptional service to our Veterans at every step throughout their healthcare experience. Your feedback, provided through our Veteran Forums, customer service surveys, VSO meetings and other engagements is critical because your collaboration helps us all make your VA even better. We are also currently working with the national Office of Patient Centered Care to develop a training strategy for those staff members who serve as the entry point to the system for our Veterans. We want our first impression to always be a positive one – an impression that reflects the outstanding health care offered at the Charleston VAMC and our community clinics. It is our constant hope that the service you receive here at your VA truly honors your service to our great country.

Memorial Day Remembrance

Every year at the end of May, we pause to remember those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. On Friday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m. we held a special ceremony in the front courtyard of our hospital to honor the lives of those who have died in uniform. Our namesake, Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson, a native of Charleston and member of the Marine Corps, selflessly gave his life on March 5, 1968, during a fierce battle in Vietnam. The young private shouted a warning and then hurled himself upon an explosive device to save the lives of two of his comrades. Ralph was posthumously awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor due to his courageous actions. We continue to honor his service and legacy, not only on Memorial Day, but every day, as we serve the men and women who returned from the war-front in need of care and assistance. It is our greatest pleasure to provide the best care anywhere to you – our Veterans – our heroes.

VA-DoD Physical Therapy Clinic

This month we were proud to officially open a Joint Incentive Fund initiative with our Lowcountry Federal Healthcare Alliance partners at Naval Health Clinic Charleston. On Wednesday, May 20, we celebrated the grand opening of our new VA-DOD Physical Therapy Clinic located at Joint Base Charleston – Weapons Station. This $807,000 project will be staffed by two VA physical therapists, two physical therapy assistants and a medical services assistant providing services in the existing NHCC Physical Therapy clinic area. The funds helped to purchase additional therapy equipment and the clinic will offer improved access to care for both VA and DOD beneficiaries. Partnerships, such as this one with the Navy, allow us to better serve our Veterans in the communities in which they live, while also saving both agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars through the utilization of collocated space and shared staff.

Community Resource and Referral Center

On Friday, June 5, we will open a facility that will be of huge benefit to one of our most critical patient populations – homeless Veterans. The brand new Community Resource and Referral Center promises to become a one-stop shop for Veterans in need of assistance from the VA, our partner, Palmetto Goodwill, and a host of other community agencies. We are pleased to welcome VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson at this event on what will be his third visit to the Charleston VAMC. He will give keynote remarks, tour the brand new leased facility and meet face-to-face with homeless Veterans who have turned their lives around through the help of the VA's homeless program. Some of our program's graduates have been so successful that they are now proud homeowners. I am in awe of the progress that they have made toward getting their lives back on track and I am grateful for the outstanding contributions that our staff makes in assisting them on their journey home.

Coming Soon

WEZL 103.5 FM's Party in the Park concert series, featuring top country music artists, will take place every Tuesday night in June starting at 6:00 p.m. at Mount Pleasant's Memorial Waterfront Park. The VA Outreach Team will be on site to answer questions about benefits and eligibility. Come visit us each Tuesday at the VA-sponsored Military Appreciation seating area!

Click here to download the printable version of this month's letter.