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Patient Advocates

The patient advocates at VA New Mexico health care are specially trained to help you resolve issues with your care. If you've experienced any problems that you haven't been able to resolve by talking with your care team, please reach out to one of our patient advocates.

Care we provide at VA New Mexico health care

VA New Mexico supports and promotes the Joint Commission's Speak Up™ program urging patients to take an active role in preventing  health care errors by becoming an involved and informed participant on their health care team.

We ask that you: 

  • 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. 
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

Service Level Patient Advocate Program 

At a time when customer service counts more than ever, the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System has established a Service Level Patient Advocate Program to better meet the needs of for you and your family. The Patient Advocate Program was developed to provide patients and their families with assistance in an increasingly complex and technical health care system. The advocates serve as a liaison between the patient and the VA. The Patient Rights and the Patient Advocate Program are strongly supported at this Medical Center.

Service Level Patient Advocates are available to assist with resolving issues and concerns in their individual service or section and should be contacted prior to contacting a Facility Patient Advocate. Initiate contact when an issue/concern arises in your service area. If the issue/concern cannot be resolved at the service area, the Facility Patient Advocates are available to assist in addressing your complaints and family concerns. 

Connect with a patient advocate

To contact our Patient Advocates team, use Secure Messaging on My HealtheVet by sending a message to ABQ PATIENT ADVOCATES_ADMIN, call or visit our team at our Raymond G Murphy Medical Center campus, Building 41. Enter the main north entrance, walk through the lobby and take the main elevator to the fourth floor. Follow the rectangle signs with arrows to the 4B hallway to the right. Their in-person hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Jennifer Falkenthal Patient Advocate Lead smiling for camera with grey backdrop

Jennifer Falkenthal

Patient Advocate Lead

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Janis-Sauceda_PA

Janis Sauceda

Patient Advocate

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Leonard Cordova smiling with black backdrop

Leonard Cordova

Patient Advocate

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Lesley Worrell smiling with black backdrop

Lesley Worrell

Patient Advocate

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Mary Woods smiling with black backdrop

Mary Woods

Patient Advocate

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Oran Griego smiling with black backdrop

Oran Griego

Patient Advocate

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Patricia Montano

Patricia Montano

Patient Advocate Assistant

VA New Mexico health care

Phone: 505-265-1711, ext. 3240

Where are the patient advocate offices located?

At the NM VA Medical Center, the easiest way to find our offices is to come on campus to the Raymond G Murphy Medical Center, Building 41. Enter the main north entrance, walk through the lobby and take the main elevator to the fourth floor. Follow the rectangle signs with arrows to the 4B hallway to the right. Their in-person hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

If I have a complaint, should I talk to a 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 section chief. If the issue remains or you do not feel your complaint has been properly addressed, contact a patient advocate.

Are patient advocates employed by VA?

Yes. Patient advocates have the responsibility to act as a neutral party by serving as a link between you and the hospital. Patient advocates are not lawyers and/or clinicians and do not provide legal or medical advice.

What kind of issues do patient advocates handle?

Patient advocates 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, a patient advocate can help you.

Can I access a patient advocate online?

Yes, through My HealtheVet secure message. To start, navigate to Myhealth.va.gov. Login using the authenticator or create an account. Under the Messages tab, go to Compose Message using the dropdown menu label: ABQ PATIENT ADVOCATES_ADMIN and submit an online message privately.

Who can call a patient advocate?

Patients, families, visitors, and staff may all contact a patient advocate with an issue or concern.

Can I report a complaint without giving my name?

Yes, but the investigation and follow-up will be more difficult to accomplish because we will not be able to use specific information about your case.