MyVA: A message from Sec. Bob McDonald


VA is undergoing a radical transformation to improve our relationship with our Veterans. This relationship is the cornerstone for all that VA does. This connection begins the moment a person joins the military and lasts through final honors. VA is the bridge that helps Veterans transition to civilian life, and we continue to support them through other key life events, such as learning a trade or getting a degree. The foundation of that relationship is built on trust and respect. It must be built to last a lifetime.

Veteran and employee relationships are inextricably linked. We cannot improve service to Veterans without improving how VA develops, supports and empowers employees to provide the world-class service we intend to deliver. We’re developing training and tools that will help employees at every level to become exceptionally effective, efficient and successful. This is an essential piece of VA’s transformation and drive to improve performance.

MyVA - Building Trusted Relationships

Click on the image to see how MyVA is building trusted relationships.

The bottom line is that we all want Veterans to be proud of VA and feel it is an ally actively working in their best interests. We hope their experience will be so excellent that they will recommend VA to their closest friends and family. We want employees to find even more pride and meaning in their service at VA. In short, we want both Veterans and employees to be so proud of their association with VA that they refer to it as “MyVA.”

Today, we’re sharing the latest integrated view of how we are going to work together to achieve the MyVA vision. The MyVA Implementation Plan is not intended to be a detailed step-by-step operational plan or program plan, but rather a framework for how we will mobilize our resources to implement this transformation in a synchronized, efficient and effective manner.  Execution will be the real key to success, to include relentless follow through and the agility required to quickly and iteratively adjust course as we learn.

The implementation plan was recently briefed to the MyVA Advisory Committee, a group of experts from the private, non-profit and government sectors to assist in reorienting the department to better meet the needs of Veterans. The advisory committee meets multiple times per year and conducts periodic reviews to ensure the department achieves the goals of MyVA. Here’s what they had to say.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress made by VA in the last year and I believe this plan will deliver real change for our nation’s Veterans.” – Joe Robles, Former president and chief executive officer of USAA

“I am pleased to see that the MyVA vision lays out a plan for VA to improve its internal operations and interactions with key stakeholders … most importantly, our Veterans.  If successful, it will greatly benefit Veterans and their families, employees and our nation.” – Herman Bulls, president and chief executive officer of Bulls Advisory Group

“The MyVA plan is a great step for VA and I am glad to see employees are at the center of the transformation.” – Chris Howard, PhD, president of Hampden-Sydney College

If you are unable to read the plan in its entirety please take a moment to read this overview. We hope you find this document helpful in understanding the spirit of MyVA.


Bob McDonald


  1. Robert Terrell McElhanon Sr    

    It always have to be more than a job.

  2. Kevin Fritz    

    The is a great and detailed explanation of MyVA and efforts underway!
    The next step is to explain to staff in the field how they “fit” into the transformation process. For example: how can a staff nurse, landscaper, claims rep, and a VA researcher, assist in the transformation process? A common denominator might be taking the new Customer Service training, becoming an initiative champion, assist with a local outreach, or just starting conversations with colleagues!
    This is a rare opportunity for positive change!

  3. Manya Walters    

    Detroit VA personnel never discpline for mistakes made when reported they correct channels. IIm always told they are good workers. Last incident, my appt was cancelled. My provider sent message to clerk same day I made appt. I didn’t find out until a week before that it was cancelled due to clerk no allotying enough time. She never called me, but in her own she decided to schedule me on another day according to patient advocate. After complaining that this was the second time she messed the appt up and it’s been 60 days they remitted the old date an over booked. Her supervisor called me and stated she’s a exactly employee. I stated all above to him and he stuck to his guns. This has happen so much I do not want to get any service from VA.

  4. DannyG    

    Communication is key when dealing with people’s health. Respect is also a key factor. Both of these should be mutually recriprocated. In order to FIX the problems in the VETERANS Health Administration, the Veterans, & the VA employees are going to have to work together. WE need them to take care of us, & they need us, in order to keep their jobs. The gov-t doesn’t want to shut down facilities, & raise unemployment numbers!
    I have tried to get the vets to stop crying & stand up for themselves; not much success, so how about we try to get the two main parties affected to work together. Treat other with respect, & if there is a problem, ASK if WE can “respectfully reslve the problem locally, without going up the chain of command”. We are “entitled” to one thing – to have the fedderal government keep their word to us!

  5. Scott Davis    

    Secretary McDonald,

    Major changes usually entail reduction in force, significant change of function and major disruptions in the workforce.

    My question to you is will you be seeking permission from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for Early Retirement Authority, VA wide, when these major changes kick in? The VA did this in the 1990’s and were able to eliminate over 10,000 jobs without laying off permanent full time workers by allowing those with enough service time to qualify for early retirement to leave. They also accomplished the mission with these fewer employees and seeing the number of Veterans being served more than double during this time.

    Thank You.


    Same old thing. Every new Secretary has a big program that is put out and the entrenched bureaucrats just keeps on doing the same old thing. I have watched this same thing happen time after time for 20 years. The last time I asked someone at a VA Medical Facility why new procedures were not being followed I was told we don’t do it that way. This was several years ago and now I don’t even bother to ask or question because it just makes me angry. 21 year active duty vet, 10 years civil service Navy employee, and over 12 years as a VSO. Quit wasting paper. Get passed about 6 layers of supervision and administrators where the work is being done and maybe you’ll see some results.

  7. Mickey Michelle Bruce    

    Deae Bob

    Please get the backlog of claims done that’s at least 1 year old or close to one year. I believe an hope you could give the Atlanta Ga Regional VA Office a little push in this reguard as they are so behind the curve as it appears to most Veterans.

    Thank You.

  8. Willie Lee King    

    Secretary McDonald, was at Ft. Benning Ga last month doing a town hall meeting with congressman Bishop, a dog and pony show. Nothing positive came out of this, same old talk, no action and lasted 75 minutes. It a shame that veterans has to fight for their benefits like we are in combat against the enemy. What needs to happen is; clean up all R O’s in every state and hire people the would do a better job. Also, stop letting unprofessional medical experts decide claims and appeals and turn this over to doctors and medical experts. If you really want to help veterans; get back to Honesty, Integrity, and Accountability.

  9. Steve Futch    

    I really appreciate that there is always a program being implemented but it seems the results are always the same. Top of the VA keep getting paid and produce nothing, some doctors don’t provide treatment for the problems and a Vet dies and he gets paid it seems for terminating ones life. The ones that check you in at the CBOC make you feel like you are an inconvenience to them. I see very little firing of the ones that make mistakes or I am not looking in the right place. Sad thing is that some of these people are Veterans as well. There are too many ways to keep from paying a Vet his compensation and giving the help needed and they wonder why the suicide rate is high!! Open your eyes Mr Secretary, if this is MyVA then use what we say to make it so or at least consider it. Times are outrageous for compensation, those that approve it act like its their money and we have these Vets that signed the blank check doing without the proper care needed. Help us to help you make it!!!

  10. Darla Bethea    

    Please, I just would like an e-mail address to Mr. McDonald, or someone on his staff that will actually read my information. Tired of wasting my time with no response.

    Thank you,

    Darla Bethea

  11. Terry Gene Marsden    

    I, too, am hoping this makes it to Mr. McDonald. I have heard that if you were “boots on the ground” in Viet Nam you were automatically eligible for Agent Orange compensation/disability. Yet, I had to supply all types of paperwork from various doctors to the VA advocate here in San Angelo, TX. There is no way to prove that the medical issues I now have are not related to the year I spent in the Navy serving with Light Helicopter Squadron THREE (Seawolves) in Viet Nam. I have had to travel to Big Spring, TX (I presently live in San Angelo, TX) to have tests done. Now, I am being told travel reimbursement is denied. There are numerous doctors in San Angelo that will accept VA payment. I am aware the VA clinic in San Angelo is small and in desperate need of a larger facility, more doctors and nurses in order to properly care for the many Vets. I see no reason that it should take a week to get results of a CT or foot x-ray. Any help anyone has in getting quicker service, local service would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Marcia Creer    

    My name is Marcia and I am homeless. I am at risk of losing my job because I have no place to live. I have to pay for storage units and that totals about almost half of check. There is a fraudulent eviction, false eviction filed against me, my credit score dropped almost 100 points, can’t go to school and my job requires an address for you ad an employee.. I am so depressed, so stressed and at times, I feel like giving up. I make myself eat just I don’t get sick but that too is stressful. No one has room for me stay with them and where ever I have been, I have had to sleep on the couch. The one person, I thought was a friend no longer wanted me in her home since I was telling her that her boyfriend was going through my belongings and eavesdropping on my phone conversations so such. She thinks I was just making accusations.
    Now with this eviction filed on me, I have no one willing to work with me and when the story is told to them, they don’t believe me. The lawyer I used is no longer responding to me. I need the eviction vacated and have no legal representation.
    I have had to walk the streets during the day at times and I am just so tired of this. Supervisors and Management know my situation. I have been like this since April 2015

    1. Megan Moloney    


      We asked VHA’s client relations team to reach out to you. If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

      VAntage Point is monitored Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Any Veteran in crisis should contact the Veterans Crisis Line:1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  13. bryan hurst    

    these are sounding good , but what the compensation of veterans who are caught up in this transformation. I have been waiting for 10 yrs.’ to be awarded service connection, only to end up the board of appeal and now waiting for over a year because of the remand back to regional office CLEVELAND, which is always crying Backlog of claims, when is this going to be addressed and corrected?

  14. Stephen D. Hargrove    

    All of this sounds good. If this is MyVA then please listen to the following. Three things would improve care at the VA, 1.) contract with a “Kaiser like Company” to handle any localized Up to Urgent Care issues. This would reduce wait times immediately and relieve Full VA Facilities to more Critical Care issues Improving Vet Care. 2.) On the issue of Compensation claims, If a claim is submitted and it cannot be approved on a direct basis evaluate it as a secondary basis for any existing service connected issues without an additional Medical Nexus Statement required. If this could be done and not have an additional claim generated it would further relieve some of the backlog. 3.) If there is a “known” nexus to an existing injury or illness, accept this as being so without requiring the Vet to redevelop an individualized Nexus. Again relieving additional backlogs. There are too many Vets dying waiting for these issues to be developed and then evaluated. Trust but verify, you thought enough of these Veterans to entrust them while serving, trust them when seeking Compensation for these injuries and illnesses.

  15. Joseph L Lucas    

    As I wait for a answer to my claim for 21/2 years I am not in much hope of any change. When I check into a appointment with a machine I wonder why the employees hide behind doors. When I haven’t seen a doctor and I mean a for real doctor in years I wonder why the VA things PA’s and Nurse Practitioner is a doctor is a question other health care facilities don’t claim. So where are these changes?

  16. James D Hawkins    

    Typical VA phone clerk at the Local Hospital: Late today I called to ask what time the Lab closed as it was about 4:40 then and I did not want to drive 10 minutes over there to find out the closed at 4 or 4:30. VA Clerk responds smugly by asking me “did you not call the lab this morning?” I asked him “what difference does it make; what time do they close today?” His last reply to me: “Well you should has asked them then.” my last response “Click”. Incompetent and a bad attitude…. him…not me…LOL…and this is your idea of Progress, seems more like event even the clerks are about to revolt against those who deserve the best healthcare available. These days like all the ones that came before this one. I am embarrassed for the few good VA employees left and I and embarrassed that I have to tell people that the VA is all the healthcare I have…

  17. Mickey Nivens    

    This is a nice piece of fiction. My fiancé has been battling the VA for a while now about a back injury she received while enlisted into the military. This is a very well documented injury and she has every piece of paper from every single time she saw a military doctor while she was still in. She has been trying to get the VA to help her get her back fixed. After months of leaving messages with no return phone calls and machines calling her back and leaving recordings, she was finally able to get an appointment scheduled with a doctor that the VA chose for her. Her appointment was for Thursday, August 13th. On Wednesday, August 12th the VA calls and tells her that the doctor they chose for her to see, doesn’t deal with back injuries and that they will have to get back her in another 3-5 business days. They do not have another doctor lined up for her and they are not sure how long it will take. My fiancé can’t walk across our living room without bring in agonizing pain. She can’t work in her flower beds, play with her nephews, play with our dogs, she can’t even sit through a movie in a theater without stabbing pain shooting from her back into her feet. But yet the VA says they are changing for the better and are working hard to get our veterans the help they deserve. Well Mr. McDonald, she does not deserve this. If this were your wife or your sister or your daughter, this would be absolutely unacceptable to you. The only difference is, you have the ability to get these things changed, I do not. Please, someone in the VA, have a heart for these men and women that gave some, most, or even all of their lives to this country. These men and women deserve our respect and our support. All I’m asking for is someone please help us out here. Her pain is, at times, so excruciating that she can’t even get up off the couch without crying out in pain. Someone please get her to the right doctor and get this process on track.

  18. bryon deaven    

    Where are my hip boots? I can tell there is another load of crap coming my way and it’s name is VA MEDICAL CARE. Instead of implementing a program that doesn’t work (choice) why don’t you close all va hospitals, after all we are only pieces of meat for the residents to practice medicine on, and let us go out and find our own insurance which would be 100% covered with 0 deductible. I could care less about the jobs or training the va does for future doctors. What I care about is quality medical care that we veterans are not getting. I am sick and tired of residents using my body to practice on. Your “patient service representatives” aren’t our advocates, they are employed by the same machine that treats us veterans like crap. The press does more for us than anyone else does. Why don’t you go undercover and see what it’s like to have to sit for hours after arriving on time only to be told that the clinic is running 2+ hours behind. Or request to have services done on the outside only to be told you cant because the va wants to let it’s residents practice 9 you again. Even though you don’t trust the hospital or doctors because of medical screwups. We should have the choice to see someone close to our homes if we choose, not have to spend hours in traffic going to and from the major va medical centers when there are 3+ hospitals within a 15 minute drive. Makes no sense. Even active duty members get tricare.

  19. Terrance Peterson    

    The facts also should be explained that you have forever lost the trust of this veteran and your words should include most veterans. So telling the public that all veterans is a mistatement. I earned a honorable discharge as a US NAVY CORPSMAN and THE VA will not disrespect me! So tell the truth and stop advertising the WestPoint name as a pass. because our measure of honor has no affiliation with a corrupt government agency that is a threat to national security by harming veterans.


    Served two full tours in Viet Nam and was denied an extension for a third tour because according to my admin officer I was “battle fatigued” and needed to go home. He was correct because upon arrival home in January, 1968 I started to exhibit symptoms of what we now call PTSD. Those symptoms never improved and in the mid 90s were joined by a metabolic disorder attributed to agent orange. President Clinton issued an executive order for presumptive service connection for my agent orange problems and I joined the VA medical patients in January 2001 just as George Bush was inaugurated, I immediately applied for PTSD evaluation and was told by my primary care provider that I was being referred for PTSD treatment. After an unreasonable delay with no action, I inquired about my treatment and was told that I couldn’t be treated without referral from a psychiatrist. You would think that a reasonable primary care practitioner would have gotten me a referral, but that didn’t happen, even after I got a little insistent. To make a long story a little shorter I bitched and moaned until we elected a democratic president and he appointed Eric Shinseki to head the VA. Within three weeks I had my appointment and thirty minutes into that appointment I had a diagnosis and referral. So essentially I spent eight years being stonewalled by republicans. They seem to be pretty good at making disabled veterans, but not so good at caring for them.

    1. Lawrence Palmer Goodwin    

      You said it !: “Get passed about 6 layers of supervision and administrators where the work is being done and maybe you’ll see some results.” VA is top-heavy.
      What I see is more a desire to fit in with the people who represent those layers of Administration, than to get things done for Veterans. The bureau serves the bureau & it’s bureaucrats first, so quit playing THEIR game.
      The function at VA that must first be fixed is communication between Veterans & the personnel who connect them with their care. Clinic clerks need to answer their telephones & minimize dependence on voice-mail. Much of the time, A Veteran receives NO call back, & an important piece of healthcare business goes undone or long delayed. Veterans are called “no-shows” & seem to be placed on the back burner at that point. If phones were answered, the number of voice-mails would be far more manageable & personnel would be dealing with Veterans face to face. That’s what gets things done. Calling a hot-line to cancel an appointment does not establish a new appointment.
      Make the Veteran’s next appointment (as requested by their MD) when they check out of their current appointment. If we didn’t have to call back for an appointment, voice-mail & telephone traffic would be further reduced. VA would also then better accomodate those unfortunate Veterans who live 150/200 miles from the larger facilities that provide a wider range of medical services.
      Eliminate hiring freezes, & administrative salary incentives for implementing them. VA needs it’s positions filled, from Doctors & Surgeons, to clerks, cleanup, & engineering departments.
      Get some forensic accountants more deeply involved in construction bidding & funding. Bonus them on the basis of how much fraud they discover.
      What continues to happen at VA is the devising of ways to administratively slow things down, which serves to limit demand for care. I recognize that may seem an attractive goal, but it is not what VA is supposed to be doing.
      When a Veteran anywhere throws up his/her hands & simply gives up, we are ALL diminished, & VA’s reputation suffers once again.

    2. Lawrence Palmer Goodwin    

      You are making the same mistake skyray that many Veterans make when they castigate a single VA employee for ALL of VA’s deficiencies.
      Eric Shinseki didn’t have a thing to do with your finally getting an appointment, & those Republicans had nothing to do with VA’s stonewalling.
      VA is just one of the many federal agencies that serve the bureau first, & the bureau mission somewhere down the line. That has been true thru administrations Democrat & Republican.
      It’s also one that needs no current additional funding. Only a more efficient & less corrupt way of spending what it’s allocated.

  21. Rev. Claude J Hilliard    

    Good morning Mr. Director, I agree with a lot of issue on this WEB page. Sir you need to go under cover to some of these places and see for your self. It has changed a lot since I came from Vietnam, but it could be better. The APPEALS and VBA is a joke, I’m also a CHAPLAIN at service organization and from WW2 to WAR ON TERROR Veterans have almost the same problems. Sir I employ you to help us here.

  22. John P. Maher, MD    

    I would hope that all these comments from unhappy/underserved/hurting veterans would be mandatory reading for all the members of your new advisory committee.

  23. koza king cole    

    it is taken the doctor nurse to long to get back with you when you call to find out about your x ray they say they will call you with in 24hr and it in up three week later or you keep call and they say she will call and it doesn’t happing the doctor isn’t listen to what you are saying what is going in with your body they say let try this and it doesn’t work what can I do about my promble

  24. Curtis Adams    

    I’m am newly enrolled in the VA medical program here in Georgia. I have taken my father to the Pensacola VA several times and the one here in Atlanta is horrible. I saw the 60 minutes show with Bob McDonald and where he interviewed the employees at the VA for their input. Dear Bob if you want to see what is wrong with the VA just pick up the phone and try to call the VA with any questions !! You will be transferred and transferred and on hold and on hold and transferred until you have to give !! That is how the Atlanta VA handles their Veteran’s. It is not a problem they care about, they will get a paycheck weather they work or not !! My background is working in hospitals for years and this VA medical center here is a lot worse than your “ground zero in Phoenix Az.” But you know I don’t think you or anyone else cares at VA you will get your paycheck for doing nothing !! You show is all smoke and mirrors. This is a waste of time even writing this but we can’t do anything about the horrible service we get, I guess your better of dead !! At least you won’t be on hold or just transferred…..what ashame you all get paid for doing so little !!!!!!

  25. Michael    

    My DISABILITY CLAIM is all messed up I just received a nexus letter 6 months ago from my VA doctor that I have been seeing for 2yrs every month. He states my PTSD, MDD, and Anxiety disorder are service connected, and easily meet dsm IV and V criteria. I have DBQ’s for PTSD…MDD SAD(social anxiety) and sleep apnea which is secondary to a PTSD assault. I have to use a VPAP sleep.I already tried CPAP and BPAP. I was deliberately kicked in the face by another veteran while we were in special forces training. With steel toed jump boots.This lead to 2 major operations=deviated septum . I am totally disgusted with the VA, This claim has been in for 4 1/2 yrs. I also have a witness statement from a 35yr green beret/and 25yr state trooper, who is now a detective in Pennsylvania. Him and another veteran instructor stopped the fight, and attended to me. We were doing hand to hand combat, and kicks, until it became like a street fight. I was semi unconscious, with broken nose and orbit bone.It lead to a mild TBI. I have had 2 major operations on my nose .The VA did not include the statement in my file which I brought there myself.I also have pictures with a black eye from the incident. I have not had a job since 1994 and am on SSDI for these disabilities.I also have a herniated disc from my last airborne jump. I am totally disgusted . I sent in the appeal form 6 months ago, and the DAV said I should have been approved the first time. I have DBQ’s= disability benefit questionnaires which were filled out by my doctors. I am on SSDI for my military disabilities. I never filed before because I thought I had to be in a war. PLEASE HELP > Thank You… I went into a homeless program and I am still there since 2008..THANK YOU

  26. Katherine Gora    

    I recently was supposed to be outsourced to a local audiologist because to get an appt at the VA was going to be too long. I received a letter and was told to call TriCare to set up my appt. When I called TriCare they said they did not have the VCL needed and to call back in a week. I did they still did not have it. I contacted the VA and was told that it is taking a lot more time to get it to them due to Congress taking away they’re ability to do it. The manager told me to keep calling him and if he is busy leave a message and he will get back with me. I called and never received a call back. My condition was really bothering me and I told them, He said I still had my original appt on Aug 13th at the VA if nothing works out. Well guess what, I waited anyway because of all the bullcrap and went to my appt on Aug 13th. Now I have a serious condition and the ENT is trying to get me in as soon as possible. I am worried as I might have an acoustic neuroma which is a very serious condition. This is the kind of improvement I am seeing. I hope all is going to be OK as I have serious anxiety which is another problem I have been trying to get my primary care to help me with and she won’t. I am tired of the VA. I am a 100% disabled vet with a lot of problems and pain and I can’t get nothing done, NOTHING

  27. Kurt Priessman    

    I find this all to be disingenuous. My last claim was finalized October 10, 2013, and made me 360% disabled (paid at 100% schedularly). The VBA withheld (according to my VARO), $2,498 as an offset to my CRSC. On August 11, the RO stated my claim was 840 days old and still pending. It is supposed to be an automatic administrative process between DFAS and VA payment center. The delay constitutes fraud as it was discovered accidently by me. To assume the DVA actually does what is mandated to do is totally laughable, nor do I believe it will change in my lifetime.

    This was an outstanding Congressional inquiry on which the VA and DFAS worked diligently for more than 2 years. As with 99.9% of the problems brought to light to the Congress and VA, completing work on present backlog does not fix the problem, because two or three years later, the problem resurfaces. Backlogged claims, destruction of records, secret lists, lack of access to and quality of care are abysmal. Having dealt with the VA since 1990, I cannot think of a single problem that has been solved. For this I blame both Congressional legislative efforts (solving problems which do not exist, while creating new problems due to commissions, boards, and political pandering), and executive (POTUS, DOD, and DVA betrayal of veterans as well as those on active duty) through mismanagement and malfeasance.

  28. Karl speights    

    First, read your implementation plan, to include the timelines. First, page four, a good metric provides data on all procedural corrections. A poor metric uses a positive statement to accentuate a perceived improvement. I’ll explain, you claim VA success for removing a backlog of disability claims, yet the real measure of performance success and measures of effectiveness (moe) relate more to solving and providing solutions to the veterans disability claims. As a retired government executive who has contracted out plans, reports, strategies and multiple in-house RFPs, you can achieve your objective of lowering the backlog easily by consistently denying veterans claims. You also can deny a claim for veterans late submission, missing a rebuttal, restarting the claims clock. On page six, you show improvements and yet in VFWs and American Legions the online application, tracking and updating process is too difficult for most everyone older than 16-25. Your VA on mil site bumps off too easily and, unresponsive. The goals you describe are based on contracted writers from their mil perspective. Their judgement is perceived from O-4 to O-6 perspectives, the 1 percenters. Talk to the 4, 6, 20 year e-1 to E-6 crowd. FY18-24, is a safe bet for needed improvements and Clin 00002, mod to this current contract.

  29. Leon Suchorski    

    Personally, I go to the VA hospital at Ann Arbor, Michigan. I go there for 2 reasons. One is that it is the closest. And 2 is that they have been treating the patients there better than in any civilian hospital, for as long as I can see. They are all the friendliest people there, and do everything that they can to make things better for us vets. A bunch of years back, the auto industry around us suffered massive lay-offs. Those people that were vets were advised to go to the VA, because they were losing their medical benefits. We were inundated with guys, like overnight. Patients were parking all over the grass and the streets, because the lots were full. But even with all of these extra guys, the last question that was asked of each patient, was “Is there anything else that I can do for you?”. They worked very hard to iron out this problem of all of the new patients, but soon everything was back to the normal feel of the place. I do not know what they did, nor how this all came back to sanity, but their plans should have been passed out to the other hospitals as guide lines. Maybe if they had, Phoenix would not have happened, because today, this VA is still the greatest.

  30. GW Briant    

    I spent two tours in Nam and came home with nightmares that still persist today. I have a 60% service connected disability and when I hurt my back I waited 5 months for an MRI and 9 months for a consult. I sent numerous emails to my primary care provider and finally sent emails direct to the department only to be told they are working on it. I finally went to patient advocate and withing 30 minutes had an appointment with radiology only to be told that the Spokane VA could not do the MRI because their machine had to many magnets. It took them 5 months to tell me that. Unbelievable! then another 4 months to schedule a consult. Criminal! In the mean time I turned 65 and told them to forget it and had surgery withing 6 weeks of going on medicare. I spent 9 months in sever pain hardly being able to walk. This is how the VA health care system treats there Vets. In my opinion it is the system that is broken. All the employees can say to you is we need to follow proper channels, Well, it starts with you MR. MCDONALD What are you going to do about it?

  31. Leonard H. Deemer    

    Cdr. Len Deemer Somehow, our legislators have been given the right to enact laws that deny some military personnel of their earned retirements and their need for disability compensation when they are ill or injured while on active duty. What a shame it is that few in our government or in our service organizations will bother to fight for the earned rights of our active or reserve veterans. Equally troubling is the way the VA is given the right to recoup a separation allowance or disability severance when you are disabled and need that extra financial support. There is little or no compassion in the military for those who become ill or injured while serving on active duty.


    My 27-month old disability compensation claim – due to coronary artery disease, hypertensive disease, cardiomyopathy, and planned coronary triple bypass surgery – has been processed improperly, arbitrarily, if not erroneously. I initially submitted a “CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE ERROR(CUE)” claim in May 2013 which was treated as a regular disability compensation claim. This was followed-up by a request for expeditious processing due to financial hardship and serious illnesses cited above but this was simply disregarded. My claim was denied on December 2013 based on preposterous, unfair, and unjust reasons. One of the reasons, the CUE criterion was not met stating, “In my case, favorable resolution can only come about if the evidence shows a lack of clinical diagnosis of hypertension was erroneously omitted from your active duty service treatment record.” On the contrary, my service medical records and evidences submitted substantiated and satisfied such a criterion. Another reason was that the VA Form 21-8940, Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability, was not received. This form was submitted and witnessed by three (3) sets of eyes and miraculously reappeared on February 3, 2014 prior to submitting the replacement form attached to my Notice of Disagreement of March 4, 2014. Was the temporary disappearance an intentional attempt to delay the processing of my claim? Worse, my claim was denied because I was not found unemployable when I submitted evidence which originated from the Social Security Administration indicating that I was found disabled and unemployable effective September 15, 2012. This finding was initiated by a Social Services representative while I was hospitalized from September 7 to 15, 2012 at VA Palo Alto Medical Center where last rites was administered. Finally, another outlandish reason was that Armenian Medical Network was considered when all of the articles I submitted were derived from U.S. websites.
    Evidently, above-cited reasons served to prolong and delay unnecessarily the proper and just adjudication of my claim. Reasons that continue to remind me of the long time injustice that has been perpetrated against me and that contribute to the claims’ backlog problem of the VA.
    As a contributor to the backlog problem, I submitted a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on March 10, 2014 with the replacement VA Form 21-8940. However, I was told several times from several telephone and IRIS inquiries that it would take 533 days to process this appeal by a Decision Review Officer or by the fastest means available. Being a CUE claim, requesting expeditious processing due to financial hardship, requesting assistance from YOU and my Congressman, and considering the seriousness of my medical conditions have no bearing whatsoever in the number of days – 533 days – preset to process my appeal. Are they waiting for me to expire from exasperation? I often wonder.
    What happened to the initiative that all claims over one year old are given processing priority?
    My NOD is still at the Regional Office level but it seems like it has already been transferred to the Board of Veterans Appeals.
    Mr. MCDONALD, your report in your MyVA Integrated Plan regarding the “Elimination of the Disability Claims Backlog” is impressive. However, I wrote you a letter dated October 1, 2014 complaining and requesting for assistance to expedite my claim for reasons cited above but you never responded and no corrective action was taken. How would you expect your employees to follow your lead when you yourself do not follow what you advocate?

  33. David Oxenford    

    I am a viet nam vet 1966 & 1967. I had a claim for a increase in My PTSD in June 2013. I was denied in August 2014.
    I filed an appeal in Sept.2014. The VA told me it would take up to 3 years to get a answer. Why don’t the Vets with PTSD get a Purple Heart. It is not a wound but the same should treat it as a injury. It seems like a lot of Viet Nam vets are not taken care of like we should!! I go to Mental Illness also and have gotten type 2 diabetes related to Agent Orange.

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