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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Hope at the VA

Over the years, the VA has been a bipartisan mess. Bush 43 and Obama tried everything in appoint VA secretaries. Generals. Politicians. Even the CEO of Procter and Gamble. Nothing worked.

This is not a political issue. Everyone agrees we want it to work. That's not a Republican thing, or a Democratic thing. Nobody wants veterans to die waiting for help.

Maybe President Trump has it right this time.



President Obama appointed Dr. David Shulkin as a VA undersecretary in 2015 to work on reducing suicides by veterans. Don't let the medical degree fool you. Shulkin was President and Chief Executive Officer of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, so he knew medical management.

Trump promoted him to VA secretary.

From the Washington Examiner:
Department of Veterans Affairs officials have fired more than 500 misbehaving employees since January, according to data posted online Friday.
VA Secretary David Shulkin touted his agency's decision to publish its efforts to hold VA employees accountable, unveiling new requirements for updating the public on personnel actions.
"Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we're doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent," Shulkin said in a statement. "Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that."
The VA has removed 526 employees since Jan. 20, according to the accountability report released on Friday. Agency officials have demoted another 27 employees and temporarily suspended an additional 194 employees for longer than two weeks. The list does not include the employees' names but shows their positions.
"In addition to posting the adverse action information, Secretary Shulkin announced that he is requiring approval by a senior official of any monetary settlement with an employee over the amount of $5,000," the VA noted Friday. "Any settlement above this amount will require the personal approval of the undersecretary, assistant secretary or equivalent senior-level official within the organization in which the dispute occurs."
Now that is less than 1,000 people out of 377,800 VA employees.

But it is a start, and it should send a message that service at the VA had better improve.

While I am a veteran, I plan to never use the VA. But our brothers and sisters deserve the best treatment. They earned it.



Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.



Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's nomination.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com

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6 comments:

  1. When I was a med student we did a few rotations at the VA. Writing orders for tests was like writing to Santa. You had to wait months and then nothing usually happened. We got in the habit of doing all of our own blood draws, doing the EKG's ourselves, plus any microscopy that was needed urinalysis plus micro, Gram stains of sputum, and then taking the patient on a wheelchair or cart to radiology for the chest xray. VA employees are probably just as lazy now as they were back then.

    ReplyDelete
  2. T saya:

    Even when I was in my teens, literally half a century ago, adults made disparaging comments about the VA and VA care. That this has been ongoing for so long is truly a national disgrace and, to this non-veteran's mind, a blemish on each and every presidency, Republican or Democrat, since JFK.

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    Replies
    1. Spot on. My dad refused to go near a VA facility until one medicine was so expensive, the VA was the only option.

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  3. I'm glad to say that not all VA facilities are created equal; fortunately for me, the VA at La Jolla (San Diego) is excellent, and I can highly recommend that facility.

    I've had cataract surgery, a gall bladder removal, and a prostate operation; all went without a hitch, and the combined result has left me feeling like a much younger man than I actually am!

    The cataract surgery was the most impressive to me- I just passed my driver's license eye exam without glasses, and I now see better than I did 10 years ago.

    The problem as I see it, is how to extend these wonderful results to other VA facilities. Looks to me like the new Secretary is going about it the right way!

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  4. I applied to the VA as a backup healthcare option and to get a VA card to use for store and restaurant discounts, but I was rejected because I saved too much money during my working years. After they destroyed my father's colon with misplaced radioactive pins to fight his cancer, their service was excellent for some reason; to prevent a suit?
    Finally this year an ID card for vets who are not retired or in the VA system like me, so we don't have to carry around a DD-214 to to demonstrate proof of service for discounts at private restaurants and businesses. Something I have written to congresscritters about and Obama signed a bill to authorize it. Pass it on.

    http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26568/veteran-id-cards-options/

    ReplyDelete
  5. I applied to the VA as a backup healthcare option and to get a VA card to use for store and restaurant discounts, but I was rejected because I saved too much money during my working years. After they destroyed my father's colon with misplaced radioactive pins to fight his cancer, their service was excellent for some reason; to prevent a suit?
    Finally this year an ID card for vets who are not retired or in the VA system like me, so we don't have to carry around a DD-214 to to demonstrate proof of service for discounts at private restaurants and businesses. Something I have written to congresscritters about and Obama signed a bill to authorize it. Pass it on.

    http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/26568/veteran-id-cards-options/

    ReplyDelete