Better care, better communication – Norfolk Navy vet who needed emergency surgery elsewhere says Hampton VAMC is improving


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Vietnam Navy veteran James Moore had had trouble with a hernia before, and by late October — it became critical.

He wanted to have surgery at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) but ended up being rushed to Depaul Medical Center.

Under the Mission Act and the Community Care Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs will cover Moore’s bill from Depaul. That’s good news, but the even better news is the way the Hampton VAMC is now responding to his case.

Moore had not seen his primary care provider at Hampton in over a year. His daughter-in-law is convinced that was why he ended up needing emergency surgery.

After the initial November 9 story with 10 On Your Side, the Moore’s say Hampton has become much more responsive.

Meanwhile, Moore continues his recovery.

“Not too bad, I’m healing up. Still sore and everything but yeah, it’s improved,” Moore said of his condition Tuesday morning. Moore says the VA will cover his surgery bill at Depaul.

Following the story describing how he couldn’t get in to see his doctor at Hampton, the medical center contacted him.

“Just as soon as we spoke with you, someone from the patient’s advocate said she saw it on TV and reached out to us,” said Moore’s daughter-in-law, Brenda Moore.

Brenda says Hampton is communicating more.

“They’re getting a lot better. They’re really reaching out and making sure that they respond to the veterans, especially since you [10 On Your Side] made light of what’s going on.”

The interim director says Hampton VAMC has reviewed 28,000 appointments that were canceled because of COVID-19 and have re-connected with those veterans. Dr. Shawn Alexander says new providers have already arrived, and more are on the way.

“Currently we have 69 people awaiting to arrive here, and actually to date, we’ve brought on another 47,” Alexander said.

That has enabled the medical center to see more veterans — whether in-person, by video, or by phone.

“We are now functioning at 50% face-to-face appointments.”

Moore now has a new doctor.

“When she reached out, she was asking questions that none of his other providers ever asked,” Brenda said. “She’s going above and beyond which is phenomenal, because I haven’t seen that in a VA provider in like six years now.”

“Since we talked with you last time, everything’s gotten a lot better,” James said.

“Without you, we wouldn’t even be able to find out what’s going on still,” Brenda said.

The VA just opened its Portsmouth clinic this fall, adding capacity for 3,300 veterans for primary care, and 2,500 for mental health. In addition, two new outpatient centers are planned to open on the Southside in 2024 and 2027.

Brenda Moore said her father-in-law and other veterans who aren’t tech savvy are having trouble with the VA’s online patient portal, My E-Vet. Alexander said that issue has come up in other locations and is being addressed at the national level.

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