Columbia VA Wins 3 VA Awards - Columbia VA Health Care System
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Columbia VA Health Care System


Columbia VA Wins 3 VA Awards

July 28, 2020

Columbia (SC) VA Recognized for Three National Awards

COLUMBIA, SC — The Department of Veterans Affairs recently recognized the Columbia VA Health Care System (HCS) for three national VA awards – the VA Patient Experience Award for Cultural Innovation; the Excellence Award in Social Work Leadership; and the 2020 Excellence Award for Voluntary Services.

Patient Experience

In a national, virtual VA Patient Experience Awards event last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that Columbia VA won first place in the Cultural Innovation Category of the VA Patient Experience Awards for its Living Every Moment Optimistically Nonstop and Defying Expectations (LEMONADE) Pledge Program. The program is dedicated to improving the patient experience for veterans. The winner of this category demonstrates positive values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that allow a facility to effectively deliver quality health care in a safe and reliable environment.

Watch the full VA Patient Experience Awards event.

“I could not be prouder of the Columbia VA family for their continued hard work and dedication to their LEMONADE Pledges,” said David Omura, director and chief executive officer for the Columbia VA HCS. “Through this program, our staff has created a shared culture of commitment that drives consistent behaviors to improve the overall patient experience and deliver the best health care possible for our veterans.”

The Columbia VA was among eight finalists out of 170 VA Medical Centers. The LEMONADE program was designed for employees to hardwire trust and commitment to South Carolina veterans in everything that they do. By making a pledge, employees are tasked with bringing about a more positive patient experience, delivering excellent customer service, and increasing veterans’ trust in the care the Columbia VA provides.

Trust at an all-time high

And the hard work of the Columbia VA staff has paid off as veterans continue to vote with their feet by choosing the Columbia VA as their hospital of choice.

Since July 2019, the Columbia VA HCS’ trust score has increased from 84 percent to a current score of 90 percent. Such a significant increase in a short period of time is a major accomplishment and a testament to the Columbia VA’s focus and dedication to improve the patient experience that veterans receive. Veteran feedback continues to drive improvements in the way the Columbia VA provides care and services; and it can be seen from the veterans’ trust in the care that they receive.

Recognizing employees

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Veterans Health Administration Executive-in-Charge  Dr. Richard Stone both addressed VA health care employees during the virtual presentation of the awards.

“I also want to congratulate all Veterans Health Administration staff who dedicate your lives to providing the best, most compassionate care to Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “You’re building stronger and stronger bonds of trust between our veterans and VA.”

In addition to winning one of VA’s Patient Experience Awards, the Columbia VA has received two other national awards for excellence in social work, and excellence in voluntary service.

Second Award: Excellence in Social Work

This month, Sherree Colvin, chief of social work at the Columbia VA, received the Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Excellence in Social Work Leadership. What this means is that out of thousands of VA Social Workers that provide exceptional service across our great nation, Columbia VA has the best one right here in Columbia, S.C. Colvin’s co-workers agree that, “Not only is Sherree a leader, but a ‘rock star’ to the Social Work Service as well as the Veterans that we serve.”

Third Award: Excellence for Voluntary Services

In May, Tammy Finney, chief of community relations and engagement service at the Columbia VA, was selected as the 2020 Excellence Award winner for the VA Voluntary Service (VAVS). Finney was selected from more than 450 VAVS national employees. She has been recognized by top VA officials as a leader who continues to raise the bar and encourages staff to reach their highest potential in serving veterans. 

The Columbia VA is a leader in delivering quality health care services because its leadership cultivates an environment of trust and confidence, which increases morale and in turn, greatly improves care for veterans.

“I am so grateful for the passionate and talented employees at the Columbia VA,” said Omura. “Receiving three national awards at one outstanding VA is not an easy feat, especially during these challenging times. I encourage veterans to come to us and experience an award-winning patient experience.”


About the Columbia VA:

The Columbia VA Health Care System comprises the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center and seven community-based outpatient clinics located throughout South Carolina in in Anderson, Florence, Greenville, Orangeburg, Rock Hill, Spartanburg and Sumter; serving more than 85,000 veterans in 36 of 46 counties in South Carolina. The Columbia VA is a level 1C teaching hospital, providing a full range of patient care services, with state-of-the-art technology, education, and research. Comprehensive health care is provided through primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Media: For queries or more information, please email or call Columbia VA Public Affairs at (803) 776-4000 extension: 1-6519.