Veteran Affairs Attempts to Move Ahead
As the country greets Veterans Day, the federal agency announced its intended reorganization that well improve its customer service to hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans who are dependent upon VA hospitals and their accompanying clinics for their healthcare.
The reorganization comes after reports done internally showed that U.S. veterans had to wait months to see a doctor at the VA and employees at the VA covered the long waits up.
Those reports triggered a scandal that raised many questions about the White House’s competency that led to Eric Shinseki the VA Secretary resigning this past May.
Months have passed and the scandal faded. Robert McDonald the former executive at Proctor & Gamble is the new official in charge of turning the agency around.
McDonald announced his plans for the reorganization, which will focus on quicker responses to patients at the VA.
Last week, McDonald told news reporters that the current average time to wait for new patients for primary care had fallen from 51 days this past May to just 42 days as of October 1.
That is still shy of the goal of 30-days the VA set, but the reduction marks substantial progress, said McDonald.
To the critics of the VA, this restructuring and the shorter wait times represent good progress, but they still are not satisfied.
Republicans in Congress and some organizations that represent veterans continue to be critical of McDonald.
They claim the VA leader has not done enough to fire employees at the VA who critics said had been instrumental in the agencies culture of corruption that had underserved the veterans.
The groups and Republicans said that the VA reorganizing is good, but the agency needs to rid itself of the employees that were involved with covering up to truly improve its services and provide accountability.
McDonald argues that he cannot move any quicker on firing employees given the laws that protect civil servants even with a law that was recently approved this past summer to allow him more leeway to fire manager and executives, pending a process of appeals.