201901-05-32 - Columbia VA Health Care System
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Columbia VA Health Care System



January 29, 2019

Open house gives insight, explanations to Veterans of Columbia VAHCS


Story and Photos by Jennifer Scales
Columbia VA Health Care System Public Affairs

“Can my new employer call and get information from my medical records? How can I get my prescription updated without an appointment? My spouse passed away and I am having trouble coping with the loss…can you help me?”

These and hundreds of other questions were answered during the Open House held by the Columbia VA Health Care System at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, Jan. 25.

Veterans, caregivers and the public were treated to information from stations manned by the subject matter experts of the medical center on topics ranging from mental health, volunteering, privacy and more during the two-hour event held in the standing room only, capacity packed lobby.

Employees were enthusiastic and knowledgeable in providing those present with answers to questions.

Army Veteran Larry Campbell was updated in the My HealtheVet program with the assistance from Kendia Owens, program support assistant. “Our goal today is to ensure that all who stop here today are registered and know what benefits are offered through the My HealtheVet program,” Owens said. “Using the program, Veterans are able to communicate directly with their assigned doctors and nurses, make appointments, get lab results and check on their benefits. We also have the capability to monitor those messages and ensure that even those queries that may not have anything to do with the program get handed off in the right direction for responses.”

Privacy Office program support assistant, Jacinta Hall, shared with Veterans how information regarding their health or any personal information associated with it is protected. “Unless written authorization is given by the Veteran, they can be assured no amount of their information is shared, no matter who may ask for it,” Hall said. This includes their phone numbers and addresses also.

The Columbia VAHCS Chaplain service was offering wisdom and advice during the open house. “Most of our information to the public has been on how to reach us, how we can help during the grief process, and our day to day inspirational visits to the inpatients,” said Janice Wright, program support assistant for the Chaplain service.

The Volunteer Service table brought a different perspective to the session. “We are actively seeking volunteers as we have lots of openings,” said Robert Koppel, voluntary service specialist from the Greenville Community-Based Outpatient Clinic. “Our intent is to match Veterans to one of the many openings which might peak their interest to an assignment in the Columbia VA Health Care System. Plus we just want to thank them again for their service to this nation.”

Rounding out with one of the newest service line team members was Air Force Veteran Ricky Anderson, a Red Coat Ambassador. “On a daily basis, my job is to greet Veterans, provide them information, get them to appointments, and be a part of their first conversation when they come to us,” Anderson said. “That’s my top priority.”

When asked what he liked about being a new Red Coat, Anderson said, “I enjoy the face time that I get with the Veterans coming to the facility…it’s just knowing that I can help in this manner to help them navigate the systems around the center and alleviate some of their concerns as they head for their appointments.”

Open House 1  Voluntary Service Specialist Robert Koppel and Red Coat Ambassador Supervisor Denise Smith prepare for the hundreds who came seeking information at the Open House, Jan. 25. 
 Open House 2 Chaplain Effson Bryant and program support assistant Janice Wright prepare to share with Veterans the services offered through their line.
 Open House 3 Members of the newest service line, Michael Ball (left) and Ricky Anderson (right), are ready to provide support as Red Coat Ambassadors at the Open House, Jan. 25.
 Open House 4 Jacinta Hill stands in support of privacy for all Veterans at the Open House, Jan. 25 at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center.
 Open House 5  

Representing a component of Stakeholder Relations are (left to right) Nate Gantt, Lisa Strong and Sam Myers, ready to share information at the Open House, Jan. 25.