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Boston VA’s Charles Franklin was working in South Shore, Massachusetts, in 2017 as a Community employment coordinator. He noticed the rising cost of living was forcing the Veterans he worked with to move to the outskirts of the city. Often, they moved to areas with a lack of public transportation options.

Franklin had an idea to address this problem. He worked with the VA Innovators Network and later the New England Center for Innovation Excellence. Together, they designed and implemented a rideshare program to meet Veteran housing and employment needs.

Franklin’s revolutionary journey went from the initial rideshare pilot to expansion of services to 18 VA networks. The rideshare program is in 133 VA medical centers, with over 15,000 rides thus far. Along the way, he’s learned a very important lesson about innovating in the largest health care system in the country.

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“If it isn’t easy for frontline staff to use, they won’t use it,” Franklin said. “Getting frontline staff invested and involved in the solution also helps when the project hits a wall. You are on the same team and incorporating feedback from front-line staff ultimately helps everyone.” (Continue reading here…)

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