Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Monthly Report from the Director
Scott R. Isaacks, FACHE
Medical Center Director
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I am often asked, "How does your VA continue to maintain such a high level of quality for the Veteran and have so many satisfied patients?" While I could point to a number of process improvements, my answer is always the same … we have a great team and great partners that are "all in" on our mission. Our team, our volunteers and our community partners are fully focused on making our VA the very best medical center for our Veterans.
But there are also challenges to maintaining all we have achieved. Managing our growth, addressing space shortages and ensuring good stewardship of all of our resources, and improving the Veteran experience to build even greater customer loyalty are just a few areas we are working on as part of our VA’s strategic plan for the future.
I would also ask you, our stakeholders, to partner with us by providing feedback on your care and VA experience, or by volunteering to serve on one of our councils such as the Customer Service Council. If you are a designated Veteran Service Organization representative, we would also welcome you to serve on our VSO Advisory Boards that meet twice a year in all the communities we serve. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. And if you receive a survey following a care visit, please complete it. Your feedback matters because it helps us improve for all of our Veterans. Thanks for joining us as we work together to be the best VA anywhere!
New clinical services
Just a few weeks ago, we held our first Cardiology appointments at our Savannah VA Outpatient Clinic. This milestone brings full-time cardiology care, excluding surgery and procedures, to our patients in Savannah as part of our commitment to expanding specialty care in our outpatient clinics. In the past year, we have added Physical Therapy and Prosthetics at our Beaufort clinic, and we continue to work to expand services in Myrtle Beach and Hinesville. Our goal is to provide as much care as possible closer to home for our Veteran patients, and I’m very pleased to see our progress in doing so.
Earlier this month, we started offering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in clinic to treat Veterans struggling with depression. This non-invasive treatment, developed by our own Dr. Mark George, stimulates the prefrontal cortex of the brain and led to about 60 percent of the patients involved in the clinical trial reaching a state of remission with their depression. The treatment is so promising that VA is purchasing 40 TMS machines for use at VA medical centers across the country.
Our Mental Health service has also started an intensive Substance Treatment and Recovery (STAR) outpatient program at the Savannah clinic, and will soon have this program in place at our Myrtle Beach clinic to help Veterans recover from substance abuse.
These are exciting times at our VA, as we work to serve a rapidly growing patient population with innovative treatment options to meet their needs. I am especially thrilled to work alongside the many talented providers, researchers and administrative professionals whose work is consistently recognized across the healthcare continuum, and to partner with you to make our VA the best medical center for our Veterans. Thanks for your continued support and for your ongoing commitment to engage with us on the pathway to excellence.
With gratitude and respect,
Scott R. Isaacks