The new director at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital is calling for change after less than two months on the job.
Joe Battle says he is working on a new master plan for the medical center, which includes upgrading buildings.
“The facility has some infrastructure needs," said Battle. "There are beautiful parts of the facility, and some parts that are very old and need to be upgraded. They need to be upgraded to be brought up to the amenities our veterans need to have.”
That will mean a new bed tower, which will allow more veterans to have private rooms.
“My personal belief is every veteran deserves a private room to be in when they come to the hospital," Battle said. "Unfortunately, we don’t have that in all cases."
One of the simpler fixes though, Battle says, will be upgrading the hospital’s phone system.
“Sometimes getting through to us may be difficult," Battle said. "So trying to improve the phones and the telephone system and how we can be more responsive that way is something we’re looking to try and improve.”
Battle also says as it stands, 96 percent of the patients are seen within 30 days or less. It’s better than the national average, but Battle says new positions are on the way that he hopes will bring that number closer to 99 percent.
Battle did not give a time frame on when the improvements are set to begin. He did say it depends on how much money Congress budgets for the hospital.
Battle is a former engineer, and also held VA leadership roles in Orlando and Daytona, Ohio.