Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Award: Healthcare Organization of Distinction
  • Awarded: June 2020

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) is an integrated healthcare system comprising two hospitals, the Alvin C. York campus in Murfreesboro and the Nashville campus, as well as more than a dozen community-based outpatient clinics located in Tennessee and Kentucky. TVHS provides ambulatory care, primary care, and secondary care in acute medicine and surgery, specialized tertiary care, transplant services, spinal cord injury outpatient care, and a full range of extended care and mental health services to 110,000 veterans through 4,300 staff members.

In 2018, TVHS began the Huron | Studer Group journey to become the organization we want to be. With consistent focus on engagement, TVHS picked up momentum in consistently improving care and services to veterans, realizing improved ratings throughout 2019 in the VA's Strategic Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL) program at both main campuses. SAIL assesses 25 quality measures in areas such as patient satisfaction as well as overall efficiency and physician capacity at VA medical centers. We started leadership rounding for outcomes, where supervisors committed to writing four thank-you notes per month to express gratitude for each other and educated our team on the AIDET® communication model. We’ve trained over 2,600 staff in AIDET in the last 10 months. We also held five 8-hour leadership development institute events with an average attendance of 175 people, resulting in 7,000 hours of training delivered.

Excellence followed. TVHS earned the LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader designation in the 2019 Healthcare Equality Index, making us one of only two in Tennessee. TVHS earned the Anticoagulation Forum's designation as an Anticoagulation Center of Excellence. Over the life of the program, approximately 140 practices have achieved this recognition. We know our efforts on increasing communication are paying off, too. In 2019, employees delivered a TVHS record all-employee survey response rate. A total of 3,157 TVHS employees — more than 75% — took the survey to offer their feedback. The survey results show improvement over 2018 scores in numerous areas, including the coveted “best places to work” rating. TVHS ranked 11th out of 141 VA facilities in the nation on improvement in our scores.

Moving forward, we'll keep our focus on how we communicate with each other and with veterans. Everyone on the TVHS team is expected to serve all patients, visitors and fellow employees cooperatively, courteously and efficiently using the highest standards of professionalism. We've codified this in our code of conduct, which outlines the basic expectations of every TVHS team member. We are confident the Huron | Studer Group journey is taking us in the direction we want to go — the direction of growth, development, and improving our care and services to better serve America's heroes.

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