Over the course of James Cody’s 17 years in charge, the hospital continued to expand and offer more services. He focused his staff on making quality of Veteran’s medical care a positive experience. Cody recalls a veteran whom he met about 7 years ago who made a lasting impression on him. The veteran claimed he stayed away from the hospital since 1973.
“He said it got so bad, with the things that were going on with me, I had no other choice. I had to go back to the Syracuse VA. I want to tell you now is that I wish I had made that decision years ago because your people have taken care of me. My outlook on life has gotten so much better.”
Cody attributes one key reason to the success of the overall patient satisfaction at the medical center during his tenure.
“The biggest reason the patients are coming to us is because when they try us out, they feel that the employees here care about them. They’re appreciative of what they did for their country. They’re going to give their best efforts to provide them great healthcare.”
One of the biggest challenges Cody and his staff faced came after nine-eleven with a surge of injured veterans involved in US led conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Seven or eight thousand during the years following that. I would say that’s somewhat leveled off in terms of it’s not that increase each year.”
Cody says the VA system now meets or even exceeds some patient outcomes when compared to the private sector. When asked about funding uncertainties in Washington, he says that he likes to stay out of politics by focusing the care of Central New York veterans.
“What I’m going to miss the most is the people I’ve worked with here. I often say it any opportunity I get. We’ve got the best mission of any company in America and probably the world. We get to do something that nobody else does.”
Cody adds he always hired people who shared that same sense of mission. He thinks the Syracuse VA will continue to provide the best care to veterans, no matter what happens elsewhere in the US.