Focusing on patient satisfaction and overall quality of health care, The American Legion's System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force will evaluate 25 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities throughout the next three months.
Created in 2003, the Legion's SWS program conducts site visits to VA facilities every six months, getting feedback from patients and staff about the quality and timeliness of health care. For each round of visits, an area of special concern is highlighted; last fall, SWS focused on the quality of health care in rural areas. Reports from site visits are published biannually and distributed to the Legion's leadership, VA officials, all members of Congress and the president.
"Our task force wants to examine how quality of care and patient satisfaction is defined, measured and managed," said Jacob Gadd, deputy director of health care in the Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division. "We also want to know about the positive experiences veterans have with VA health care, as well as the challenges."
From April 16 to June 14, SWS Task Force members will evaluate VA medical facilities in the following cities: New York, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, Lyons, N.J.; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; Columbia and Charleston, S.C.; Durham and Salisbury, N.C.; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.; Biloxi, Miss.; Tacoma and Vancouver, Wash.; Sacramento and Long Beach, Calif.; and Columbus, Ohio.
A full schedule  for this spring's SWS site visits can be viewed at the Legion's website.
During site visits, SWS Task Force members will also hold veterans focus groups at American Legion posts and department headquarters. For example, the Department of Iowa is hosting a focus group April 16 at its facility in Des Moines. Two focus groups are planned for North Carolina: one in Durham on April 23 at American Legion Post 7 and another in Salisbury on April 25 at Post 342.
Gadd said the focus groups are an excellent opportunity to hear firsthand from local veterans about experiences and concerns over health care at their respective VA facilities. "If you're a veteran getting health care at one of the medical centers our task force is visiting, we encourage you to attend one of these focus groups," Gadd said,
Veterans are also encouraged to participate in the Legion's online survey , which asks questions about patient satisfaction and health-care quality at VA medical centers.
For more information on the SWS program, or to discuss successes or challenges encountered at VA facilities, send an email to email@example.com .