The 2018 Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES) results lauded several staff members at Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) as the best of the best for 2018.

JOES is a standardized survey program formally established in response to a National Defense Authorization Act Public Law. It states there will be annual surveys of patients providing feedback on availability of services, type of services and facilities, familiarity with available facilities, health status, satisfaction with system and quality provided.

The survey captures the entire medical treatment facility experience from the doctor visit, contact with the WAMC medical team and the cleanliness of the facility, said Loretta Newkirt, WAMC program analyst.

“This allows the facility to see their strengths and areas that need improvement,” Newkirt said. “There’s also an incentive to be the best; to earn funds for your medical facility.”

In the land of the airborne where there’s always some healthy competition, several providers were recognized for exceeding the standards in the overall patient experience.

Steven Gay, a physician assistant for WAMC’s Byars Medical Clinic and Joint Support Operations Command, was recently recognized as one of the top medical performers in the DOD with more than 50 Families raving over their great experiences with him.

“Someone that comes to me could be having a good day or a bad day,” Gay said. “If they’re having a bad day, I’m going to give them extra love to show them that I’m not here to judge them ... Let you know that I believe in you.”

Gay has the unique opportunity to care for active-duty Soldiers and their Families. He boasts about the relationships he has developed with his staff and patients.

He has been with his staff for more than 10 years and explains how his prior military experience and his new spiritual walk gives him a sense of fulfillment with work and life.

“When I was in the military, on paper I always looked successful,” Gay said. “I was a honor graduate in Special Forces training, I was a distinguished honor graduate in Ranger school and graduated physician assistant school summa cum laude. I tended to judge people by the excellence demanded by Special Forces and Rangers and that’s not very fair because not very many people can meet those standards.”

Gay said there’s some things special operations guys do that is very complex, so they try to make it simple, so that in the heat of the moment they do what they’re supposed to do.

“Life is the same, very complex but if you just love everyone and don’t judge it’s easier to find solutions,” he said.

Barbara Phillips, another physician assistant that was recognized as a top performer has been with WAMC for 17 years.

Phillips works in the gastroenterology clinic and admires the compassion her and her staff leads with while interacting with patients.

“We try to accommodate patients wherever and whenever we can,” Phillips said. “Everyone has their own personal hurdles when getting their health care ... They are going through enough already without us putting a barrier in their way.”

According to the website, JOES will continue to focus on the beneficiary experience with care received in the military treatment facilities.

“We want our patients to know and feel that they have a team behind them that cares,” Phillips said.

Every patient who has an outpatient visit in a military treatment facility receives a survey in the mail 72 hours after the appointment.

If patients would like to document their experience and haven’t received a survey, contact