I CARE - Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island



I CARE logo

The Department of Veterans Affairs rolls out a new initiative called I CARE

By Story about Ms. Adele Geringer captured by volunteer/Veteran Carl Hytinen
Friday, September 2, 2011

We'd like to share a brief story that we think best exemplifies the VA Core Values of "commitment" and "advocacy."  On August 18, Adele Geringer, the Providence VA Medical Center's Vision-Impaired Support Team (VIST) Coordinator, received a call from one of her patients who was residing in Greece.  The patient had had two heart attacks and needed triple by-pass surgery but felt safer having it done by the VA healthcare system.  Ms. Geringer arranged to have the Veteran registered at the Boston Health Care System, alerted emergency staff, and made arrangements for the Veteran to travel from Logan Airport to the Boston Health Care System.  The Veteran checked in the evening of August 20.  All in a day's work?  Adele would say so...but we think Adele's efforts to assist this Veteran who was residing abroad is an example of "I CARE" in action.

Just what is I CARE, and what is all this talk about VA Core Values and Characteristics?

Over the past month or so, all VA employees received training on the VA Core Values (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence) and Characteristics (Trustworthy, Accessible, Quality, Innovative, Agile, and Integrated).  The ICARE values describe who we are as an organization—our culture and our character.  They serve as a foundation and common bond between each and every one of us.  The Characteristics are what we stand for, and they help guide our day-to-day decisions.  

We don’t have to dig too deeply to see how these values and characteristics align with who we are and what we do each and every day.  Our Integrated Ethics program, for example, is one way we ensure that we “walk the talk;” while our Magnet Journey demonstrates our commitment to creating a more patient-centered environment.  Our Medical Center also has an active Veterans and Family Advisory Board that’s building an alliance between Veterans and facility leadership and advocating for Veterans issues.  We have a robust Civility, Respect, and Engagement in the Workplace (CREW) program, and our Systems Redesign program helps us continually improve and create an environment of excellence for our Veterans and for our employees.

Recently, our Patient-Centered Care Committee modified its “Tell Someone Who Cares” cards to fit the I CARE criteria.  They are in the process of developing ways to recognize employees who have gone “above and beyond” in embodying these values and characteristics.  It's a great way for you--our customers--to recognize those employees and volunteers who you feel embody these Core Values.  You'll find these cards throughout the Medical Center.  We have already received several submissions, and we hope to share their stories in the near future. 

"The VA Core Values and Characteristics are more than just words," said Vincent Ng, Medical Center Director, in a recent article to all employees and volunteers.  "Technology, systems, and other resources all have a role to play, but it’s people—each and every one of you—who take care of our Veterans.  I know we are already demonstrating these values and characteristics each and every day, and for that I thank you.  That’s why I’m proud to be a part of this Medical Center."

For more information about I CARE, please click here.



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