Tuesday, May 24, 2016

McDonald Was Close Since Veteran Have Been On Ride For Decades

There is no excuse for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make such a reprehensible comparison between waiting in line for a ride at Disney to veterans waiting to be taken care of by the VA. Standing in line for a ride is a choice and hey, Disney even offers fast passes but veterans did not have a choice in what parts of their bodies or minds they would sacrifice serving this country.

The truth is, veterans have been on a ride for decades and it has not been fun~
VA Secretary Disneyland-wait time comparison draws ire
CNN
By Drew Griffin
CNN Investigations
May 23, 2016

(CNN)Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald downplayed Monday the time it takes for veterans to receive medical treatment by comparing the "experience" of waiting for health care to Disneyland guests waiting for a ride.

"When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important?" McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "What's important is what's your satisfaction with the experience?"

American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett excoriated McDonald: "The American Legion agrees that the VA secretary's analogy between Disneyland and VA wait times was an unfortunate comparison because people don't die while waiting to go on Space Mountain."

"We also disagree with the substance of his comment because wait times are very important to not just the satisfaction quotient, but in some cases the veterans health," he said in a statement.
read more here

Satisfied with the experience? Hardly!

I spent my entire life with the VA and what it does, as well as does not do, for veterans.  My Dad was 100% and so is my husband. None of this is new to veterans and families.  We've seen it all before as the VA, often rightly, blames Congress and Congress fails to do their own jobs of writing rules, bills and paying for services they have control over.

That said, there needs to be a line that is never crossed.  McDonald just crossed that one. He is the head of the VA.  Even if he passes it off as a poor choice of words, the thought must have been in his head or it would have never jumped out of his mind and out of his mouth. Maybe now folks will understand why the vast majority of veterans do not go to the VA.  Imagine if they did when there are about 22 million of them and the VA has trouble taking care of the ones who do turn to them.

This is just an example of that.
Updated Roster of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans through February 28, 2015 1,939,959 OEF/OIF/OND Veterans have become eligible for VA health care since FY 2002 1,185,160 (~61%)2 Former Active Duty 754,799 (~39%)2 Reserve and National Guard



Statement from VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald
05/24/2016 05:34 PM EDT
STATEMENT FROM VA SECRETARY ROBERT A. MCDONALD

On Monday, I made some remarks on how we’re working to improve Veterans' satisfaction with the care they receive from VA. It was never my intention to suggest that I don't take our mission of serving Veterans very seriously.

In fact, improving access to care is my number one priority and the priority I have set for the entire department. For the last two years, the huge majority of VA employees have worked tirelessly to improve the timeliness of the care and benefits we provides to Veterans.

As I've told Veterans Service Organizations, Members of Congress, and myriad other groups of Veterans stakeholders, our goal is to ensure VA becomes the Number 1 customer-service organization in government.

To do that, we are following many of the best practices of private sector health care providers and exceptional customer-service organizations.

At VA we take our mission of caring for those who "shall have borne the battle" very seriously; we have the best and most noble mission in government.

If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don't take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As we approach the Memorial Day holiday and pay tribute to the sacrifices of courageous men and women who placed the interests of others above their own, we at the VA remain focused on our mission to care for those who bravely served our Nation.