Customer Service - Oklahoma City VA Health Care System
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Oklahoma City VA Health Care System

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Customer Service

Patient Advocates

The Patient Advocate can provide information about hospital policies and procedures, information concerning the patient's rights and responsibilities, a forum for you to voice concerns, and an explanation as to how we will respond to your concerns. We function as a liaison between patients, their families and/or representative and all hospital staff. Act on your behalf to review complaints, concerns, inquiries, needs. Advocate for patient rights, promote great customer service and help facilitate quality patient care.

Audrey Umhoefer, Chief, Office of Veterans Experience & Patient Advocacy

Audrey Umhoefer

Chief, Office of Veterans Experience & Patient Advocacy

Cliff Tracy, Lead Patient Advocate / Congressional Liaison

Cliff Tracy

Lead Patient Advocate / Congressional Liaison

Matt Haddon, Patient Advocate

Matt Haddon

Patient Advocate

Bernard Griffin, Patient Advocate

Bernard Griffin

Patient Advocate

Tiffany Lambert, Patient Advocate

Tiffany Lambert

Patient Advocate

Darice Shelton, Patient Relations Assistant

Darice Shelton

Patient Relations Assistant

Alternatively, you may contact us through e-mail using the VA National Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS).

Additional Contacts

Our Patient Advocates can be reached at 405-456-1788 or 1-866-519-2004, please choose option 4 to leave a callback number and someone will be contacting you from our office within 72 hours. You can also send a secure message to the Patient Advocate Triage Group via My HealtheVet. The Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy is located in the main facility on the ground floor in suite GB-120. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-4:00pm. If you are in need of assistance on the weekend, please contact the Medical Administrative Officer located in the ER (basement).

For a listing of additional contacts, please visit our phone directory.

Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy

The Oklahoma City VA Health Care System has transitioned the customer service department into the Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy to create a more Veteran-centric environment. The Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy is made up of a team of Veterans Experience Specialists and a Veterans Experience Assistant managed by the Veterans Experience Officer. We bring together customer perspective, insights, and design tools to better prepare, support, and empower VA employees in serving America’s Veterans. We partner with services to develop insights, remove obstacles, and find solutions to create excellent care and benefit experiences that prioritize the needs of Veterans, their families, supporters, and communities. Part of this transition includes documenting Veterans’ experiences, both positive and negative. It’s no longer about granting a compliment or filing a complaint; it is about the Veterans being able to tell their personal experience and allowing us to share their story. Veterans might recognize the new Veteran Experience Specialists as Patient Advocates. The Veteran Experience Specialists are here to help facilitate communication between Veterans and their health care team when expectations fall short. They are also here to communicate to senior leadership and staff when the medical center has exceeded a Veteran’s expectations.

What is the Veterans Experience team trying to do? Create a seamless, end-to-end journey for our Veterans across lines of business, administrations, facilities and offices.

How will the Veterans Experience team build trusted, lifelong relationships with our Veterans and their families? They will collaborate, collect, connect, communicate, and cultivate locally.


  • Relationships with VA leaders & employees
  • Relationships with Veteran advocates and community supporters

Collect and analyze:

  • Customer service feedback to identify trends & gaps
  • Best practices from VA, industry and community


  • Resources locally to bridge gaps in services
  • National Veterans Experience Team efforts and initiatives with local VA


  • With communities and support community driven Veteran Engagement Boards
  • With local VA teams on community outreach
  • With VA teams on local pilot programs and initiatives


  • Best practices and spread excellence
  • Local trends, gaps and examples of excellence nationally

Frequently Asked Questions

If I have  a complaint, should I talk to a Veterans Experience Specialist / Patient Advocate first? The best and fastest way to resolve a complaint, concern, or issue is directly with the person involved. If that does not work, talk with that person's supervisor or service chief. Each service has designated a Service Champion to assist you with any questions or concerns. If the issue remains or you do not feel your complaint has been properly addressed, contact a Veterans Experience Specialist / Patient Advocate.

What kind of issues do Veterans Experience Specialists / Patient Advocates handle? They gather the facts, speak to everyone involved, and help resolve patient and family complaints. If you are not satisfied with your care or if there are communication issues, they can help you.

Who can call a Veterans Experience Specialist / Patient Advocate? Patients, families, visitors, and staff may all contact a Veterans Experience Specialist / Patient Advocate with an issue or concern.

How can I access a Veterans Experience Specialist / Patient Advocate? The Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays, located on the ground floor in Suite GB-120, and can be reached at 405-456-1788. You can also send a secure message to the Patient Advocate Triage Group via My HealtheVet.

Service Champions

As part of the Office of Veterans Experience and Patient Advocacy transition, Oklahoma City VA Health Care System initiated a customer service program to add “service level champions” to certain high-volume service lines. Champions fill the gap between the patient and customer service. Now, when a patient in a department lodges a complaint, the champion steps in to address it locally. Service Champions can help improve patients’ clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction by improving the quality of the service-patient relationship. Please ask to speak with your local service champion for assistance.


Red Coat Ambassador Program

The Oklahoma City VA Health Care System strives to provide the best possible service.  In early 2018, we launched the Red Coat Ambassador program as a customer service initiative.  The Red Coat Ambassador Program responds to the Voice of the Veteran by providing a personal positive first impression and standardized VA experience of assistance with navigation, information, and a general culture of care while  enabling  service recovery prior to departure.

Red Coat Ambassadors:

  • Provide a personal and positive first impression.
  • Standardize the experience of assistance with navigation and information for Veterans and their family.
  • Foster a general culture of care, giving volunteers and employees an avenue to personally assist customers at the OKC VA Health Care System.


Speak Up

Oklahoma City VA Health Care System supports and promotes the Joint Commission Speak Up program urging patients to take active roles in preventing health care errors by becoming involved and informed participants on their health care team. We want you to: 

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
  • Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.
  • Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
  • Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.
  • Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

Survey of Healthcare Experience of Patients (SHEP)

Patient satisfaction surveying is designed to promote health care quality assessment.  It also helps medical centers develop strategies that address needs and concerns of patients. One tool that patients can use to provide feedback is the Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients (SHEP).  VA’s Office of Quality and Performance administers SHEP and provides results to VA Medical Centers and Community Based Outpatient Clinics.  The Oklahoma City VA Health Care System uses this information to identify strong practices and opportunities for improvement. 

SHEP measures patient satisfaction on many topics within the inpatient and outpatient settings including:

  • Cleanliness of the hospital/clinic environment
  • How well doctors & nurses communicate
  • Communication about medication
  • Sufficiency of discharge information
  • Noise level in and around inpatient rooms
  • Our ability to effectively manage pain
  • How well we involve patients and others in making health care decisions
  • Willingness to recommend the hospital
  • Overall rating of quality in the inpatient and outpatient settings
After your visit or inpatient stay, you may receive a confidential questionnaire in the mail asking you about your most recent outpatient or inpatient treatment at one of our medical facilities. Your feedback and comments help us to affirm our staff when they provide very good or excellent care and service and also help us identify the need for improvement.