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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA's Mental Health Care Line Ranks High in Serving Veterans

February 5, 2004

Houston VA's Mental Health Care Line Ranks High in Serving Veterans

Released: 2004/02/05

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The MHCL, led by the Committee to Improve Patient and Employee Satisfaction, has actively attended to patient satisfaction by conducting focus groups with veterans and inpatient nursing staff, holding annual Jeopardy-like game shows highlighting patient and employee satisfaction, asking all patients being discharged to complete a patient satisfaction survey, posting written responses to each suggestion received from the patient suggestion boxes, and developing and hanging signs in prominent areas reminding staff that "Courtesy equals compassion plus respect." The Committee members include (first row from left) Robert Ong, R.N., Mamie Arbuckle, R.N., Mabelline George, R.N., Eva Allen R.N., and Vern DiPasca; (second row from left) Anthony Kerrigan, Ph.D., Jill McGavin, Ph.D. (Committee chairperson), Cheryl Yount, L.C.D.C., Delorex Hendrix-Giles, L.C.S.W., and John Moonnumakal, R.N.; and (not pictured) Andrea Cohen, Ph.D., Kay Edwards, M.A., and Karen Palmer.

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The slogan, "Courtesy equals compassion plus respect" was developed by Karen Waldman, Ph.D., a MEDVAMC staff psychologist who won a MHCL-wide contest.

HOUSTON, TX - In December 2003, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) received notice that its Mental Health Care Line (MHCL) placed in the top two percent in 2003 VA-wide inpatient satisfaction scores.

The recently released scores indicate the MEDVAMC MHCL is in the top two percent compared to all VA psychiatry programs in coordinating care, providing education and information, giving emotional support, and meeting needs for physical comfort and of families. These results come from confidential surveys conducted annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Quality and Performance since 1995. The latest scores represent a dramatic improvement from some of the early years when some MEDVAMC MHCL scores were average at best.

The turnaround reflects the efforts of a team of doctors, nurses, and other MHCL staff members who worked diligently to learn how to satisfy veterans more consistently. The MHCL, led by the Committee to Improve Patient and Employee Satisfaction, has actively attended to patient satisfaction by conducting focus groups with veterans and inpatient nursing staff, holding annual Jeopardy-like game shows highlighting patient and employee satisfaction, asking all patients being discharged to complete a patient satisfaction survey, posting written responses to each suggestion received from the patient suggestion boxes, and developing and hanging signs in prominent areas reminding staff that "Courtesy equals compassion plus respect." This slogan was developed by Karen Waldman, Ph.D., a MEDVAMC staff psychologist who won a MHCL-wide contest.

"These top scores show that the Mental Health Care Line is strongly invested in the first and most important part of our VAMC's mission statement - 'Patients are Number One!' Getting to this level has been a team effort and we plan to maintain the gain," said Joseph Hamilton, M.D., MEDVAMC Mental Health Care Line executive.

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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs

04/21/04 08:25