Carisa Cegavske

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November 8, 2013
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Patients rank Roseburg VA clean but hard to reach by phone

Most Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center patients are happy with the service, but the hospital still ranks near the bottom in patient satisfaction among all VA health centers, according to a national survey.

The VA-commissioned survey by Indiana-based Press Ganey Associates found the Roseburg VA’s overall patient satisfaction lower than at 96 percent of all VA medical centers.

VA patients were asked to rate hospitals on topics ranging from cleanliness to staff friendliness to how easy it was to schedule an appointment.

Among Roseburg VA patients, 84 percent of the 87 patients who responded to the survey between April 1 and June 30 ranked their overall experience as either “good” or “very good.”

Still, Roseburg VA ranked in the bottom 4 percent. Nationwide, VA hospitals averaged 91 percent in achieving “good” or “very good” marks from patients.

Nationwide, nearly 2.3 million VA patients took the survey.

The Roseburg VA earned its highest satisfaction scores for cleanliness (93 percent), friendly nurses (91 percent) and concern for patient safety (91 percent).

Its lowest scores were related to access to services. Just 74 percent thought wait times for primary care at the VA were reasonable and only 60 percent said they could easily reach the medical center by phone.

“The service is good if you can get it and when you can get it,” Douglas County Veterans Forum secretary Rick Sciapiti said.

VA spokeswoman Carrie Boothe said the survey will help VA administrators and an advisory panel, the Patient Centered Care Committee, make changes.

“We feel the results show an overall satisfaction with the services VA provides, while pointing out areas we can improve,” Boothe said.

The only member of the Patient Centered Care Committee who isn’t a VA employee, Fred Tempest, questioned the agency’s commitment to change.

“There is no watchdog. That’s part of the problem we have,” Tempest said.

The Roseburg VA’s low national ranking shows veterans are dissatisfied with their care and especially with their ability to access medical providers, he said.

“This report proves everything I’ve been telling them for the past 10 years, that this facility is in real trouble,” Tempest said.

The survey, which was recently obtained by The News-Review, has already motivated the VA to take action, Boothe said.

“We take these results seriously and use them to better serve our veteran population,” Boothe said. “Our philosophy is one of continuous improvement.”

More than 350 employees have received additional training in “patient-centered care principles” and staffing has been increased in the VA’s call center, she said.

“Answering the telephone is an area we have recently added resources to improve. We monitor phone answering data daily and our most recent statistics on speed of answer have shown significant improvement. We continue to improve processes so veterans can get in touch with us when they need to,” Boothe said.

She said the VA is also trying to reduce waiting times for primary care.

The Press Ganey report shows that even on its best scores the Roseburg VA ranked poorly compared with other VA hospitals. Its highest score, for cleanliness, ranked in the bottom 28 percent. Its lowest, for the “ease of getting clinic on the phone” ranked in the bottom 1 percent.

• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or

We take these results seriously and use them to better serve our veteran population.

Carrie Boothe
VA spokeswoman

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The News-Review Updated Nov 8, 2013 01:04PM Published Nov 10, 2013 11:43AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.