VA Secretary lauds performance at Manchester VA

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On April 19, 2019 VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressed personal gratitude to staff at Manchester VA Medical Center during his visit.

MANCHESTER, NH — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie visited  Manchester VA Medical Center to recognize improvement work as part of the Department’s efforts to transform the nation’s largest integrated health care system into a high reliability organization (HRO).

“None of the improvements we’re making at the VA would be possible without the passion and commitment of our dedicated employees,” Wilkie said. “Our important mission can’t be accomplished by one person sending out orders from the top – it takes an engaged, bottom-up organization, which is exactly what we are.”

Manchester VA Medical Center was chosen based on high performance to be the first in the nation to kick off the VA’s HRO journey with 17 facilities being selected to follow.  HRO identifies leadership commitment, employee engagement, creating a culture of safety and continuous improvement as critical to performance.

Manchester VA Medical Center’s Best Place to Work survey participation for FY19 Q2 showed employee engagement with a 95 percent participation rate with 69 percent of those participants stating they felt Manchester VA Medical Center is the Best Place to Work.  Manchester VA Medical Center is among the top performers in VA’s 2018 Best Place to Work Survey, and the 6th most improved medical center nationally.

“Involving all staff in the leadership selection has allowed Manchester VA Medical Center to evolve as a team and best serve the Veterans who entrust us with their care,” said Alfred Montoya, Jr., Director Manchester VA Medical Center.

During VA Secretary Wilkie’s visit to the medical center he spent time with Veterans, staff and community partners.   The visit provided an opportunity for Secretary Wilkie to learn what is working well, and to garner feedback to further advance the Department’s efforts to modernize VHA for Veterans.

VHA’s journey to become an HRO is consistent with national safety goals set forth by The Joint Commission, an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies approximately 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.

VA’s HRO guiding principles include:  Focus on Front Line Staff and Care Processes, Anticipate Risk-Every Staff Member is a Problem Solver, Get to Root Causes, Bounce Back from Mistakes, and Empower and Value Expertise and Diversity.

“These principles align with our greater vision of transforming business operations and delivering exceptional customer service to Veterans,” Wilkie said. “Our culture is changing and pursuing HRO principles nationwide is our pledge to empower staff and keep Veterans the safest they can be on our watch.”

In addition to a safer environment focused on reducing errors and preventing patient harm, HRO principles and values call for deference to expertise; oftentimes, the patient’s family caregiver is that expert. HRO will empower Veterans and their family caregivers, along with employees who work hands-on with Veterans, to make decisions and impact improvements that aim for excellent care for every patient, every time.