JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – When VA patients walk out the door, they should feel fully cared for and confident about that care, according to new Mountain Home VA Medical Center Director Dean Borsos.
Borsos, who is finishing up his first week on the job, is Mountain Home’s 15th director in its more than 115-year history. The Air Force veteran says it’s a role he takes to heart.
“Many of the people we’re caring for are probably people I served with,” he said. “They’re men and women I served with and if not, they may be the mothers and fathers of men and women I served with, so I take this charge very seriously and I will do my best to look out for America’s heroes.”
If you visit Mountain Home, there a good chance you’ll find the new director walking the halls, talking to veterans and employees and asking them where there’s room for improvement.
“I’m one of those people who like to be out and about,” he said. “Mountain Home is doing great things already. They’re really providing quality care. They’ve got the four-star rating that you’ve read about and things are working really well and what I plan on bringing into practice is a continuous process of improvement and innovation. What are we doing and how can we do it better? I’ll always strive to make things better.”
Borsos is a former Air Force colonel who’s spent most of his life working to help fellow veterans. For him, it’s personal. He’s reminded of one man he served alongside who suffered significant injuries.
“I was told I was going to be deployed to Desert Storm and this guy could barely walk to work. He shows up in my office and he says, ‘When are we leaving? I know you need a good NCO to have your back.’ That’s our veterans. That’s why I’m here,” an emotional Borsos said. “Sorry if I get a little caught up in that stuff, but it resonates and it means something.”
Army veteran Gary Cooper met the new director today. He says he doesn’t have any complaints, but he knows there are others who do.
“I’ve had excellent treatment. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Cooper said. “The national VA association kind of acts like they don’t want us.”
Cooper says he feels good knowing there’s now a fellow veteran running the VA.
“I think that will help,” he said. “It’s got to help.”
Borsos, who recently served as commander of the Air Force Medical Support Agency, says he is confident in the care Mountain Home provides. He says his vision is to enhance Mountain Home’s patient-centered medical care environment, improve operations, increase cost-effectiveness and enhance quality of care, patient safety, access to care and customer satisfaction.
“I would ask people to trust us in the short-run and we will earn your trust and respect in the long-run,” he said. “We are trying to do the right thing. We are trying to improve people’s quality of life. That is my aim. It’s something I’ve spent the majority of my adult life doing.”
Borsos says he’s already met 800 of the 2,600 employees who work for the VA. He says he’s eager to meet the rest and all of the facility’s patients.
“I want to talk to the staff personally and see what the staff think and I want to talk to the patients personally and make sure that I understand that they’re being taken care of and if they don’t feel like they’ve been taken care of, before they leave, I’ll encourage them to turn right around,” he said.
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