MyVA Advisory Committee talks progress, future of VA



The MyVA Advisory Committee (MVAC) met in Boston this month to tour two facilities and learn about the cutting edge research occurring throughout the enterprise, including a prosthetics lab and the Million Veterans Program research lab at Jamaica Plain campus.

During the two-day meeting, the committee heard from front line staff, Veterans, researchers and local/national leadership about the changes ongoing at VA.

My VA Advisory Committee

Dr. Shulkin observes prothsetics demonstration at Jamaica Plain VAMC

The MVAC meets quarterly and is comprised of a variety of advocates and leaders in healthcare, business, education and the Veterans community. It’s through these meetings that Secretary Bob McDonald, Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, and Under Secretary for Heath Dr. David Shulkin introduce, promote and receive input on effective policy throughout VA.

“Before I walked up to the doorstep at the VA, I didn’t even know all of these programs were offered let alone there was a room full of people talking about how to make the experience even better,” said Lauren Harcarik, a Navy Veteran attending the meeting.

MyVA focuses on five objectives:

  • Improving the Veteran experience
  • Improving the employee experience
  • Improving internal support services
  • Establishing a culture of continuous improvement
  • Enhancing strategic partnerships.

At the meeting, McDonald admitted that each of these objectives are currently lit with amber, rather than an ideal green status, but is excited about the progress MyVA has made to get closer to optimal performance.

To learn more about MVAC and the takeaways from the most recent meeting, watch the video above or visit the committee’s page.


Video produced by Ben Pekkanen

Author

Timothy Lawson

Timothy Lawson has been a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since April 2016. He graduated from American University’s School of Communications in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tim is a Marine Corps Veteran having served as a Marine Security Guard posted at embassies in Algeria, Russia, and Peru.

Comments

  1. gordon churukian    

    the “high tech”stuffyou describe is but a very isolated/not representative varehab facility based on my experience as a 100%totallyand permenately disabled retired veteran…..i suggest you visit(unannounced)the therapy section at the lake city va medical centernot alot of high tech iniatives going on ther IMHO..g gordon
    churukian

  2. steven massong    

    I am a Veteran that can’t walk! Not because of war but because of a VA doctor named Christian Bianchi. The government can move money around like the wind blows from one place to another. The problem is all the people who aren’t smart enough or educated enough to understand what you are doing and saying. I have lost all faith after living a horrendous life I just give up trying to be me. I am a dumb person surrounded by a lot more sensitive humans than me!

  3. steven massong    

    unlike politicians I love VA nurses and have thanks to almost all the lower level people who try to keep the property clean. But I do not trust the way doctors are hired at the VA and the upper class staff where all the crookedness is. Who ever receives BONUSES should give them to the Veterans.

  4. Bruce Inman    

    I am a cold war Army veteran. I would be vety honored to serve my veteran community by way of prosthetics. I have experience. Who can I contact here in Grand Junction Colorado?

  5. Gary T Robion    

    How do I get help getting VA choise to pay a bill that is 6 months and going to be sent to collecting agents

  6. Edwina Cain    

    Very much like Steven Massong, I agree that upper echelon employees of the VA should not receive bonuses. Those in positions who have authority to select suppliers for durable medical equipment for example, absolutely should not receive bonuses! They have a direct impact upon both the physical and mental wellbeing of veterans as purchasing agents and are often “courted” by suppliers with gourmet meals and expensive gifts with outrageously expensive “thank you gifts” given when they are selected. This causes a mental oneupmanship type attitude for the VA employees who in turn tend to loathe the very person (the veteran) who has allowed him/her to have the employment that he/she so warmly basks in! They tend to forget that had it not been for all those needy veterans, they would not be employed!
    Yes, the practice of solicitations by suppliers is indeed illegal, however, if you are a recipient, will you blow the whistle??? Another method of bypassing the illegality is to meet by invitation only. Yet another way to avoid detection is to have “gifts” delivered to one’s home address.
    I also agree with Mr Massong regarding other VA employees (personally, I would not call them lower because some of them have college degrees). Just as in society we have the good, the bad, and the ugly we also have the same when it comes to VA employees, except when monies (bonuses) are at stake!
    At the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas one of the biggest problems that veterans consistently face is with the prosthetics department. I have often seen men in tears due to complete agonising frustrations in going back and forth between the department head of prosthetics, their physician, and the patient advocate representatives. I have come so close to stepping in to give advice to the frustrated veterans, however, I know that when someone is as angry and frustrated as I’ve seen these veterans, it is better to leave it be. I too have been in that position and find myself in that same position yet again! However, I do my own research. I refuse to allow anyone to just give me an answer that they think that I will accept.
    I have my military leaders to thank for that attribute. I was never allowed to be given an answer for anything that came up in my career. I was taught to go look it up in the UCMJ or NRR. I learned every military manual inside out! It has given me a penchant to do the same regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    If we all took it upon ourselves to followup, checkup, and responsibly request what is rightfully promised to us, those bonuses may disappear and the upper echelon will start earning their pay and remembering that were it not for those who served, they wouldn’t have that job!!!!!!!!!!!! Essentially they work for us so they have no right to look down on any one is served in the VA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UC

  7. Steven C. Watkins    

    You know that originally the VA was supposed to be like Medicare is now. So much BS heard from meetings and watching videos of these meetings totally discust me. COMMON SENSE is what should be applied not all the red tape BS that goes on for you to try and show the general public you are truly interested in the veteran who was willing to give his life for this country. The worst thing I see and it is a constant is the VA mostly at least at my clinic hire either retired or paracticing physicians. Out come please READ this. A life time friend of mine recently passed away 1 1/2 days after visiting our local VA clinic to see his care provider. Guess what after 2 hours past his appointment time he was informed that the dotor was running late because he had to make patient rounds involving his private practice. I was there with my friend and veteran brother. He decided to leave as any normal person would after being forgoten after two hours. Asked to reschedule his appointment and it was going to be at least 60 days to get an appointment set up. Him as I was really disgusted and I left with him. He went home and that night had a stroke that killed him. Yes he died within hours of leaving the VA that evening, and you want to publicize the VA is all about the veteran. He would have been better off coming home in a body bag from Nam as to have to deal with the red tape the VA continues to throw out to us veterans. Staff at our VA are exhanusted from working their back sides off to try and accomadate our veterans but where the hell are the care providers. One other issue here. Last December I applied to have my PTSD disability uped from the current 80% to 100% as my shrink had said I had gotten worse and unfortunatully I had to agree with him. This of course when there was such a huge back log of claims that our great VA had compiled. All that was done was the claim was moved from a filing to the appeal process and the VA takes credit for decreasing the number of claims back logged by dening claims even with pertanant infomation documetating the neccessaty for the increase. Needless to say I was informed that after 46 years I have a chance of getting better and can remember my fathers name and bathe myself so therefore claim for increase was denied. Not crying over that but if anyone reading this read the initial problems you would think I was a canadiate for the nut house, but of course the person or board that read the findings of the doctor who assesed me know better than the doctor evidentlly. Doesn’t matter filing an appeal. Nothing the VA can say or do in my opinion especially about the way my Marine Corps friend passed away and the OUTSTANDING care he was afforded. By the way he was a 100% disabled and was one of the fortunate ones who survied Khe Sauh. Thank you representives for your compassion and dedication to reviving the VA to serve the veteran. Be honest you really don’t give a damn because if it doesn’t affect you, you are less app to fix the damn problems. Ask any veteran out there and they can tell you what needs to be done. Deaf ears are hard to convience.

  8. Steven C. Waktins    

    Why hasn’t my post been posted. To much truth to allow or what?

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Mr. Waktins, All comments are reviewed prior to posting (see our Social Media Policy) – mostly to weed out spam and profanity.

  9. Stwve Watkins    

    Thank you for your reply. Funny comments have to be reviewed due to profanity. Probably wouldn’t have to do that if the Veteran was truly taken care of by the VA that they so proudly proclaim they do for us. Frustration comes in all kinds of forms and profanity happens to be one. Sorry for the virgin ears that the remarks could fall on. God forbid they wake up. Again thank you young man just really discusted about our process. Nothing intended toward you.

  10. David Beck    

    I want to help fix the issues that I am fellow vets have faced and would like have and opportunity to do so from working at the VA. Thank you.

  11. David Beck    

    Also with recruiting more engineers and veterans with engineering and technical breakdown CASA can be a great asset in helping determine the needs for veterans.

Comments are closed.