New VA secretary touts fixes to veterans group

Topics: From the Wires, ,

New VA secretary touts fixes to veterans groupSecretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, right, meets with DAV national commander Joseph Johnston at the DAV 2014 National Convention on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. McDonald, a former Procter and Gamble CEO who took the top VA post July 30, spoke to veterans during his Las Vegas visit. (AP Photo/David Becker)(Credit: AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald addressed a veterans group for the first time since taking over the troubled agency last month, calling his plans to fix it “an opportunity we can’t miss nor underestimate.”

“This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of veterans I care so much about,” McDonald, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, told a National Disabled American Veterans convention in Las Vegas on Saturday.

He praised a $16.3 billion law signed by President Barack Obama on Thursday to overhaul the department. Among other provisions, it devotes $10 billion to pay private doctors to treat qualifying veterans who can’t get prompt appointments at the VA’s nearly 1,000 hospital and outpatient clinics, and $5 billion to hire more doctors and other medical and mental health professionals.

Reports that dozens of people died while waiting to see a doctor and that employees covered up long wait times at a Phoenix VA hospital helped touch off a national firestorm over veteran care and led the former VA secretary to resign.

“We didn’t hold managers accountable for retaliation against whistleblowers,” McDonald said.

McDonald also was scheduled to tour the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas, where long waits for veterans to receive care have been blamed on a shortage of doctors, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1ktqbfG ).

Joseph Johnston, national commander of the National Disabled American Veterans, said McDonald “painted a clear picture” of how the VA must proceed to improve its performance and outlined “a clear, thoughtful agenda” that the organization supports.

That includes realistic funding levels, greater commitment to transparency, focusing incentives on patient outcomes and satisfaction, improving technology and systems, and commissioning an independent audit of VA scheduling practices, he said.



“We look forward to working closely with Secretary McDonald to strengthen the VA,” Johnston said in a statement. “The secretary’s commitment to accurately assess the resources needed to expand VA clinics and hospitals, and hire more doctors and nurses is an important step toward making sure the VA provides America’s veterans timely, high-quality health care.”

Some 4,000 of the organization’s 1.2 million members attended the convention.

___

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...