Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Monthly Report from the Director
Scott R. Isaacks, FACHE
Medical Center Director
You can also download a printable version of this message.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that outlined objectives intended to reform, modernize and streamline all federal agencies – including VA. At VA, our modernization efforts are centered on one fundamental question: What is the best thing for Veterans? VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin has tasked all VA entities, including our Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, with working toward the creation of a more transparent VA – a VA where Veterans get the top-notch care and services they need more quickly and easily. Building on the progress we have made in recent years, our agency’s modernization efforts are about improving VA’s performance to better serve Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors while being good stewards of tax payer dollars.
Nationally, VA is developing a modernization plan that: reduces bureaucracy; focuses resources on the core functions and services that VA is uniquely positioned to deliver and administer; increases accountability; encourages bold and decisive leadership; restructures the organization to streamline services and programs by eliminating redundancies; and empowers employees to do the right thing for Veterans.
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has long been considered a leader among VAs nationwide – and that is because we have already embraced many of these modernization initiatives and made them common practice. Our staff regularly evaluate internal processes in order to identify and proactively address potential problems before they become a cause for major concern. We have been – and will continue to be – laser focused on enhancing our VA to better manage the health care needs of our Veteran patients. We are committed to strengthening our partnerships with community care providers and support organizations to ensure the full gamut of care services are available for our Veterans.
Our VA sets clear expectations for staff and I expect employees to come to work each day fired up and prepared to provide the best possible experience for each Veteran who trusts us with their health care that day. Nothing less is acceptable. The overwhelming majority of our staff are highly motivated and committed to our mission, and those who aren’t have always been held accountable for their inability to perform at the expected level. We are working hard to foster an environment of personal accountability and growth among our employees. We recently rolled out a new mentoring program designed to guide and groom junior employees toward a successful career of dedicated service to Veterans.
At the facility level, it is imperative that we maintain the ability to make critical decisions on issues that will directly impact our local Veterans. We have been fortunate for several years to be recognized as a VA-DOD joint venture site. This enterprise with our local Department of Defense partners has allowed us to make many shared clinic decisions at the local level – enabling us to make the right choice at the right time to expand access to care for our patients. We are looking forward to the modernization of VA business practices, which will hopefully result in decisions being made at the lowest possible level. Having the power to decide how our local resources are most effectively utilized will help us to be more nimble in planning for and executing day-to-day operations.
I am excited for the changes we see on the horizon for VA and what they will ultimately mean for the Veterans in our community. Here at Charleston VAMC we are already working to realize big, bold and immediate improvement in many different areas across our health care system. We hope to remain your trusted advocate and earn your life-long trust and loyalty.
With greatest gratitude and respect,
Scott R. Isaacks