Message from VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin


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I am grateful to President Trump and to members of Congress for entrusting me with the privilege of serving Veterans and the dedicated employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs as your secretary. It is my highest professional honor.

Together, we’ll ensure our nation’s obligation to provide care and benefits to those “who shall have borne the battle” and fulfill our institutional I CARE Values: integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.

That obligation and those values are sacred to me, first, as an American – a beneficiary of the service and sacrifices of Veterans and their families who defend our uniquely American freedoms and opportunities. They’re also sacred to me because my father served the nation as an Army psychiatrist, and both my grandfathers were Army Veterans. My paternal grandfather served as chief pharmacist at the VA hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and as a young doctor, I trained in VA hospitals. So, serving the nation and serving Veterans is a family tradition.

It was a privilege to serve as VA’s Under Secretary for Health over the past year and a half. Now, I look forward to continuing our collective efforts across the department and our country to deliver the care and services our Veterans need and deserve. Among many critical efforts already underway, we will continue building on significant progress increasing access for Veterans, preventing suicide, addressing unique needs of women Veterans, supporting Veterans’ families and caregivers, continuing to drive down the disability backlog and Veteran homelessness, and pursuing necessary legislation to reform the outdated appeals process and for other critical legislative priorities.

With the support of the president, Congress, Veterans, their service organizations, and the American people, we – the dedicated employees of VA – will continue to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise.

There is no nobler mission. There is no higher calling for any American. I am humbled and proud to serve with you.

Author

David Shulkin

Dr. David J. Shulkin is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Prior to his confirmation on Feb. 13, 2017, Dr. Shulkin served as VA’s Under Secretary for Health for 18 months, leading the nation’s largest integrated health care system, with over 1,700 sites of care serving nearly nine million Veterans.

Comments

  1. Arthur L Smith    

    February 16, 2017

    Dr. David J. Shulkin
    Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    U S Department of Veteran Affairs
    810 Vermont Avenue NW
    Washington DC 20420
    Dear Secretary Shulkin;
    As a U.S. Navy Veteran who served on Guam MI during the Korean War I wish to congratulate you regarding your new position. I believe you will do an excellent job in your new position. If there is any assistance I can provide, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I have provided along with this letter an outline of my background, and I will be most pleased to assist your efforts in your new position.
    As a specialist in advanced computer systems internationally and a specialist in Healthcare information systems I would be most pleased to assist you. I have included with this note a recent CV which will give you an idea of my background and some of the capabilities I can provide you.
    With an MBA degree from USC and as a Reservist in the Navy plus over the last 8-10 years doing international marketing and sales re advanced computer systems and now healthcare information systems I would be most pleased to provide my capabilities to you and your staffs.
    I have included a recent CV which will provide data for review. I also have substantial background in marketing and sales internationally having as a beginning traveled to and sold the two major hospitals in Sweden Univac mainframe systems replacing their punched-card systems.
    I also am working with OutWorlders – those from off our planet. Several years ago, a beamship from outer space landed an individual at our home. We heard the beamship but could not see it as it was invisible. Several days later a being walked out of one of our walls in the home and across our dining room and out through the wall. I saw him but could not catch him before he went out through the wall to the outside of our home.
    As a Veteran I would like very much to work with you and provide my capabilities to you and your staff. My wife who speaks 4 languages and we live in Arizona. There’s lots going on and I believe we can assist you and your group and the VA. Most everyone do not know why they are back again in Human form. I believe we can let them know and they in turn can assist us working with our populations in this regard and for themselves and families.
    Have a great day – best regards!

    Larry Smith

    1. Joel P Hesse    

      Joel Hesse Sr.
      · February 2, 2017
      A little HELP.. Please….. from Dr.David Shulkin…New Secretary of the VA…………[redacted] a social worker in the Behavioral Health Center wrote a letter which was requested by the veteran…I asked for a copy of the letter in July 2016 as his guardian…(she didnt post it in the notes as is usually done)at the time…I was told to get it from the veteran…. I asked her to save a copy as I was going to request it…went to ROI today 2/2/17,they couldnt find it and contacted her by phone…she has disvowed any knowledge…this is only one of the many problems I have had with this area of the VA…. I am asking for the New Director,Rick Aments involvement in helping me to obtain this letter…If not.. then perhaps the New Secretary of the VA ,Dr.David Shulkin…or someone reading this post from Washington could help me obtain it…Thank You and still no HELP or word on this as of 2-23-17

      Editor’s note: Portions of this comment have been redacted per VA’s social media policy.

    2. K. Jackson    

      First, I would like to thank all those that have served our country. My father, grandfather, and uncle are all
      Veterans, and I know the difficult time they have had receiving healthcare through the VA.

      Today, I am writing you as a medical coder/biller. I was thinking of a possible solution for the veterans to get the necessary healthcare they need. Is there a possibility of processing the claims for the VA like a work compensation claim would be proccessed. In other words, instead of making veterans go to the VA hospitals for care, allow them to go to participating physicians and reimburse based on a federal fee schedule.

      I know one thing is for sure, our vets deserve better than what is currently in place.

      Thank you for your time and good luck in the new position!

    1. Robert Zimmer    

      I am 65 Vietnam Era Vet I am having real problems with my teeth tried many times to get some to help me . I am afraid that this is going to make me very ill —any way I can get dental help——— USMC

    2. Joel P Hesse    

      this is at theRobertJ Dole Va Medical center in Wichita Ks…thanks

  2. Robert L Maynard    

    So you gonna help me get the benefits I’ve deserved and the VA ignored such as ptsd, my shoulder injury, bi polar disorder caused by TBI? So far all 3 of those the VA has refused to pay for. I’ve been fighting for my shoulder since 2010. I’ve been fighting for PTSD since 2014 and even spent time in the psych ward, i have been confirmed to have Bi-polar disorder linked to TBI gotten from an IED explosion, and a VA orthopedic told me in 2010 if my shoulder still has pain i need surgery. The PTSD was told wouldn’t get paid for because the Psych ward Dr’s didnt put combat related on the medical paper work, the bi-polar disorder which was confirmed combat related was completely denied of compensation.

    I’ve received little to no treatment for all of thee above. No compensation nothing. Forgotten in the system.

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Robert,
      Do not give up, continue to put in appeal after appeal.

      If the orthopedic surgeon stated that you needed surgery for your shoulder if you are still having pain, go back to that surgeon and tell him it is time for surgery. Make sure you get PT/OT lined up before your surgery because shoulder surgery is tough. You want to make sure you are doing everything right before the scar tissue settles in.

      If you have a TBI from an IED explosion you need to make sure the VAMC has all of your medical records from that incident. Talk to your Veterans Advocate and/or social worker to help you get those records if you do not have those records. Records are not automatically transferred from one VAMC to another because they have different systems. You might have to right to where your records are stored to have a copy sent to you. Speak with your caregiver, veterans Advocate, Social Worker, Family Member or your NSO to help you. If your NSO is not helping you, then it is time for a change to a new one. There are attorney’s that will help you at no cost to you, but they have to be registered with the VA. Make sure you ask them if there service is free to you.

      With PTSD one thing that can help is EMDR. Make sure your mental health professionals are trained with an EMDR Machine. There are more and more medications coming out to help you with bi-polar, but you have to stay on your medications or it defeats the treatment.

      If you are not getting help from your local VA medical center, call another near by and ask for the eligibility desk and tell them you want to switch or have your veterans advocate change the doctors at the medical center you are at now.

      If there is no one qualified as your veterans advocate to see if you are eligible for a Veterans Choice Card with Healthnet for outside services that can help you. If the advocate is not aware direct them to: https://www.hnfs.com/

      If you have any doctors on the outside of the VA that treated you have them give any documents to the VA in the form of a Nexus Letter or a Disability Benefits Questionnaire.

      I hope that helped,
      Tim

  3. Kenneth Wade Finks    

    I’m a veteran that has been abused by the Va Chico over and over and I don’t think I will be going back. Lots of things have happened since I started going there and I have had enough. Thank you Kenneth W. Finks

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Kenneth,
      You should have a veterans advocate at the Chico VAMC. Contact him/her to see if you can change doctors to get better help. You are also allowed to go to other Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC). You call the other facility and ask for the eligibility desk. If you are not part of the My HealtheVet System, please sign up for it to better assist you with getting copies of your medical records, ordering prescriptions, contacting your doctors, etc.

      I hope that helped,
      Tim

  4. Raymond Anderson    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin

    President Trump promised several times that veterans wold be able to seek health care outside the VA system and that the VA would be required to compete with non government health care facilities. Can you please advise us when this program will be available to veterans?

    Thanks

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Raymond,
      Check with your VA veterans advocate and ask if you are eligible for a Choice Card.

      You can go to other VA Medical Facilities by calling the Eligibility Desk at the other facility.

      If you cannot be treated by the VAMC you are in, the doctor that cannot treat you needs to put in a referral to an outside medical specialist through the Veterans Choice Healthnet program 866-606-8198 and the website is https://www.hnfs.com/.

      It is actually a program from the Obama Administration and Bob McDonald.

      I hope that helped,
      Tim

  5. Robert Zimmer    

    That’s all good we need change , but at this time I need dental help. I am 65 Viet Nam 2535946 ERA Vet . I have been to dentist many times cant find anyone to help me as price is too high

    Robert Zimmer
    USMC
    68-70

    Casa Grande, AZ 85122
    Tele 832 891 0394

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Robert,
      If you do not qualify for dental under the VAMC there are a couple options.

      Being 65 did you look for a supplement for dental insurance, there are some out there. Not sure of the cost.

      Another way do you have a university near you that has a dental school? The students (seniors) work with dentists to fix peoples teeth at a fraction of the cost. I am not sure of the cost and it depends on how much work you need done.

      You can go for an evaluation at the dental school and they clean your teeth and go through every tooth and give you an estimate. For example, in Connecticut the UCONN Dental School in Farmington, CT sees you.

      Check with the VAMC near you and see if you are eligible as well. Not sure of all your circumstances so cannot tell you either way.

      I hope that helped,
      Tim

  6. Rev. Robert E. Doll    

    I simply wish to thank you, Secretary Shulkin, for your service to the VA to date and for your early communication to your constituency. May the LORD bless your work on our behalf.

    Rev. Robert E. Doll
    B.A. Pol.Sci., M.A. Ed. Min., M.A.T., USMC, ret.
    Chaplain emeritus, Disabled American Veterans

  7. Richard Johnson    

    Larry–ease up on the aliens thing man… You were making a great case for yourself until then…

  8. Charles G. lPreset    

    I am a Vietnam Vet, I have a home to live in. I just hope that you can do something to help the Homeless Vets. I can not understand how the country they served and put their lives on the line are homeless when we can bring in people from all over the world and give them housing, food, health care, etc. and not take care of our Veterans. Thank you for your time.
    Chuck Preset

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Chuck,
      One of my suggestions to Bob McDonald was Operation Lone Wolf, which would have the VA work with Jimmy Carter and the Habitat for Humanity, all of the local religious organizations, and the consortium of 140 billionaires put together with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and build communities for the homeless veterans and in those communities build clinics so all of the homeless veterans would have help from the medical community and their follow veterans.

      Over time Operation Lone Wolf would allow those veterans to give back and help build additional homes/dens for the less fortunate in the United States. If communities are built then will come businesses in which the VA can help those veterans with getting them jobs or starting their own business.

      Tim

  9. Donald Beville    

    Now get to work and fix the C&P side of the VA. Replace QTC and let a Veteran’s PC folks decide how sick on not so sick we are. QTC is a total waste of money, their contract should be torn up and burned. What a dog and pony show that is in Atlanta.

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Donald,
      One of my suggestions to Bob McDonald and to Dr. Shulkin for the C&P side of the VA is to have them put in a “at will employment” which if they do not do there job they can be let go immediately and if they do not like their job the can leave at any time.

      They need to be set up like you are calling your claims agent at your insurance company or your mortgage agent, you know who you are talking to and you both discuss what is needed for your claim. If something is missing they call you and request it. If there is a problem on your side you call them and request clarification from that agent.

      Hiding behind a cloak of secrecy makes it that much more troublesome and room for corruption. With transparency the whole system would be fixed quickly.

      Tim

  10. David A. Aswad    

    Sir, I am hoping that you will work diligently to have Bladder Cancer list under the diseases for Agent Orange for Vietnam Veterans, as one of thousands of Vietnam Veterans affected with Bladder Cancer we would appreciate your support.

    1. jim may    

      Mr. Aswad–Bladder cancer has been added to the list for agent range. Welcome–from diedinnam 68-69.

  11. James E Graham    

    I’m a 82 year young Air Force retired (20yr) Veteran who has heard countless times from those in Gov., about how, they care for Veterans and how they are going to do great things to improve care and respect for those who have served this nation. Up til now I haven’t seen much positive results.
    That being said, I will look forward to seeing really positive things from the new administration. Please don’t let me down.

  12. Joni Hannigan    

    I would like to congratulate you on your new responsibilities and thank you for your ongoing support of your nation’s veterans. Thank you also for your family’s tremendous respect, honor and support of our country by its demonstrated service in the armed forces. I know that comes with a particular selflessness and empathetic hearts.

    Those who came before me are also dedicated military men and women who gave tremendously of their lives to serve. My paternal grandfather served in the Army; my Cuban-born maternal grandfather served in the Navy; and my father and my aunt served in the Air Force. My husband is retired Army and his family has a similar legacy.

    Having navigated the VA system for my elderly aunt for some time now, and for myself, a Navy veteran, I am quite familiar with the challenges it can present. I am also quite proud of the excellent healthcare it can provide when it is well-functioning.

    Again, congratulations.

  13. Arthur Fisher    

    So are the Disable Vets going to get a DECENT raise. Or is it nothing again

  14. Richard Stout    

    Welcome aboard and thank you for accepting the position of the VA Secretary . I am a veteran and receive care at the Mountain Home VA in Johnson City Tn. I must say we get the greatest of care there above any expectations of Staff. My hope is to join the VA as a chaplain or assistant. The problem for me is meeting the academic qualification I have pastured for a good number of years but at 65.5 years I would like to focus on serving the Veterans and their families. Will you please help me Stout 0657. Thank you and welcome. Richard Stout

  15. STEVEN ONEIL SLEMMER    

    WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE? I HAVE FILED CLAIMS, WITH NOTHING SAID ABOUT COMPENSATION.
    THE WORDING FROM THE VA WAS MY BOOTS DID NOT TOUCH VIETNAM SOIL SO I DONT QUALIFY.
    THAT BEING SAID, IM REMINDING YOU THAT AGENT ORANGE ( IS AIRBORNE) SO ALL OF THE SUPPLIES THAT CAME FROM VIET NAM, MOST OF US HANDLED. MANY OF MY SHIPMATES ALONG WITH MYSELF HAVE DIEBETES, CANCER, OTHER AILMENTS CAUSED BY AGENT ORANGE.
    WE ARE ASKING FOR COMPENSATION!!
    IT KIND OF MAKES US FEEL LIKE THE VA IS WAITING FOR US TO DIE, THAT WAY HEY WONT HAVE TO PAY.
    I AND OTHERS SERVED OUR COUNTRY, PUTTING OUR LIVES ON THE LINE, NOT KNOWING IF WE WOULD LIVE OR DIE. THAT HAS TO BE WORTH SOME COMPENSATION.
    I JUST GOT A LETTER FROM VA SAYING I OWED THEM 600.00 FROM 2015. HOW CAN THEY COME UP WITH THIS CRAP? THEY SHOULD BE PAYING ME. SINCERELY, STEVEN SLEMMER SERVED ON THE USS CACAPON AO-52 1963-1967.

    1. Tim LaPlant    

      Hi Stephen,
      Have you received all of your documentation from the branch you were in stating all of the positions you were in and what countries you were in specifying that you had contact with Agent Orange or one of the other agents?

      Are you still in contact with any of your buddies from where you were stationed so they can write Nexus Letters confirming that you were in contact with Agent Orange? Did you seek medical treatment while in the service in relationship to anything from Agent Orange?

      The VA will not look at anything unless you have proof that you were in contact with Agent Orange. Would your current doctors write a Nexus Letter or Disability Benefits Questionnaire with their opinions if there was a connection. The have to put it is “at least as likely then not” for the connection between your cancer and diabetes: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/.

      As for owing them $600, it does not say why, but you can ask the VA for a waiver for any overpayment with backup why you believe you do not owe it.

      If you do not have a NSO get one or an attorney to represent you. You can get an attorney that will only get paid by the VA and you owe nothing. You cannot change NSO’s while in the middle of a appeal, but can change after you are denied or approved.

  16. John Neuer    

    I hope you can help with appeals because 4 years is too long we will be dead before that appeals help us in the state of Florida

  17. John A. DeWitt    

    Dr. David J. Shulkin
    Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    U S Department of Veteran Affairs
    810 Vermont Avenue NW
    Washington DC 20420

    I certainly hope you will help those of us who were poisoned by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. I have experienced Renal Cell Carcinoma and now I have only 1/2 of one kidney left to filter for my entire body. Additionally I have RAI Stage III Leukemia. That is two of the 15 listed illnesses identified in the study by HQMC. I have had a claim in for more than 24 months and no action has been taken to provide disability benefits for me. There is only a response of we have so many to go through… That is the unacceptable response to my Congressman, and both of my Senators. Meanwhile I am paying thousands of dollars for out of pocket expenses due to neglect of the Marine Corps and the VA. People like me need help NOW before it is too late.

    John DeWitt
    SGT USMC
    1975-1980

  18. Jack Clinton Laird    

    I welcome change in the VA healthcare system. The recent move by congress to provide “veterans choice” is, I believe, the right direction. Veterans, like myself, who live in rural areas have been locked out of the system due to the extreme travel required. Next week I have to travel 5 hours, each way, and stay overnight, for a routine eye exam. I have been authorized by the veterans choice program to seek care outside the system but I have found that the VA “system” has set up roadblocks to make the system not work. I consulted with our local eye clinic and the two medical clinics and found the same answer. The paperwork and reimbursement rate and not worth the effort. The eye clinic offered service for free rather than do the VA program.

    It is curious that my spouse, who receives CHAMPVA, receives better health care than I do. Everyone is happy to accept her insurance.

    Why not move those veterans who have Medicare to the CHAMPVA system? Much better service for most veterans and probably lower costs.

    Regards,

    JC Laird
    Agness Oregon

  19. Emilio Aerjorn    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin,

    As I see it, your most basic problem (and probably the most insurmountable to resolve) is the administrative apparatus of USVA. There are too many people involved in matters that have absolutely no direct responsibilities for veteran’s issues of any sort. GET THOSE KINDS OF PEOPLE OUT OF THERE!!

  20. Gary Ward    

    I am glad that you have been approved for the job and what a job it is going to be. I am a Veitnum veteran and have a fuel health problems. But that’s just one of those things. I live over two hours from the nearest Va.I would like to see a program for vets like me to be able to go to our local dr..

    Think You

    Gary Ward

  21. Ron Ballweber    

    Please help all veterans that were subject to toxic bases
    Fort McClellan AL should be top priority as Congress had
    Failed to pass a bill for over 6 years. Step up to the plate
    And approve this base. Camp Lejune finally approved
    Now it’s time for us.

  22. Jackie O'Doherty    

    Congratulations on your appointment Dr Shulkin. Of course, successful business depends on the employees not the Boss seems to be the Rule of Thumb. After 10 years of trying to get our 55 year old Navy vet son with 20 yrs service- aircraft hydraulics from 1988 thru 2007 to accept and into treatment for PTSD/Bipolar and now Schizophrenia due to Marijuana use…….I’d want you to know our experience is that Healthcare is only as good as Federal Law permits. We are watching him slowly spiral down thru the whirlpool to his death. Legally – All Mental Health Providers are prevented from Saving his Life is what we are told. Psychiatrist, Law Enforcement, Adult Protective Services, Court Mandated Programs, and even the Veterans Crisis Line have been involved and consulted – frequently. Even the Ombudsman Program doesn’t work for cases like ours. And, as a longtime NAMI volunteer I know how many families and vulnerable individuals are trying to find or needing this help. Resolve this one for us Dr Shulkin and you will be a Hero. Thank you for trying anyway.

  23. David Bearden    

    Congratulations. I very much appreciate the car I get from the VA and Health Net, but I wish I could get equal care and medical equipment as the general public. Also, I have found an amazingly simple solution to the problems I’ve had with the choice program that could have prevented a lot of these over the last 2 years including having a collection agency after me. I wish you the best with bringing some needed changes, but from what I see you would have to oversee everything down here at the patient level to accomplish anything.

  24. Stuart Vencill    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin,

    Congratulations on your new position; as Vietnam Vet I pray for your success and that you will bring improved service to veterans, especially those who were exposed to agent orange in stateside missions of disposal and are not getting help. Thanks,
    Stuart Vencill
    POBox 1066
    Joseph OR 97846

  25. Drake R.Davis    

    I am a veteran. US.ARMY. I am glad we have a new Secretary of V.A. to help Veterans like me. Get on track. And clear up the backlogs of Veterans Benefits. God Bless you. Our new Secretary of Veterans Administration.
    Thank you for helping us.

  26. Donald Clayton    

    I love it, us veterans get thank you for serving OUR country from republicans and all they do is kick us in OUR teeth!!! Take away our benefits to give bonus to the jerks that denies us our rights until we are DEAD!!!!!!!

  27. Louis E Wood    

    I tried the VA for my issue. The doctor that did my evaluation was “not allowed” to treat me, only evaluate. He did the most complete examination I have ever received (a very good doctor). I was sent to a doctor, outside the VA facility. At my visit to that doctor, she had no records of my issue and did no examination of me. She asked what was my problem, then gave me a prescription for pain medication (still no examination) and said if that did not help, come back to see her. On the way out of her office, I destroyed the prescription and never went back to her or the VA. Instead, I went to the local Air Force hospital and received immediate and great care. Now, both myself and my wife receive great care by Air Force doctors at the Mike O’Callahan Federal Hospital. I am so blessed to be an Air Force retire and living close to a great medical facility, run by outstanding professionals!
    Louis E. Wood, CMSgt. (Retired), US Air Force

  28. Glenn    

    I’m having issues at Fort Leavenworth KS
    Getting treatment for my chronic pain, i’ve lived with this pain for 12 years and I know what works and doesn’t work .
    The medical doctor is telling me that the government will not treat chronic pain with opioid medication.
    Well this is the only thing that works for me it’s getting so costly through my family doctor I cannot afford it any longer this is why I have a VA benefit that should take care of it and they are not.

  29. Steve M. Corley    

    Sounds nice. I would however like to know how you plan to represent VA employees. I serve those who have served as I have served in the armed forces. From what I understand, the next move of congress is to severely weaken our unions (I’m a member of the AFGE), leaving us with no recourse should we be targeted for termination from employment for ANY or NO reason. Will you stand for us sir? We are the “boots on the ground” providing care for the veterans that you say you care about. Talk is cheap, sir. What do you have?

    Steve Corley
    Northport VAMC
    Northport, NY

  30. Henry M Morris    

    February 17, 2017
    Dr. David J. Shulkin
    Secretary of Veterans Affairs
    U S Department of Veteran Affairs
    810 Vermont Avenue NW
    Washington DC 20420
    Dear Secretary Shulkin;
    As a Vietnam War Veteran (1966-1967) I wish to congratulate you regarding your new position.
    I have been service connected since 2001 because of exposure Agent Orange. I went from 10% to 70% than in 2016
    I was 80% than 90% but than someone decided that by April of 2016 heart condition was going to get better and
    reduced me back 80%. How in the world does a heart condition get better? If I hear from you or one of your staff on a more
    secure e-mail site than I will provide you with my SS number and case file number. This time I have been waiting for an answer since February 04, 2016.
    Thank you for your time,
    Henry M Morris

  31. SCOTT TREADWAY    

    I have a question for the new secratary. Are there any plans in the works to provide dental care to all veterans not just the ones in voc rehab or 100% disabled.

    Sincerly,
    Scott Treadway

  32. Robert Bruce Graham, SR.    

    I do wish you the best in providing benefits to our Veterans. As a veteran I am looking forward to your supporting my fellow military veterans as they are readjusting to their civilian lives. For some it will be more difficult to readjust. You are in our continued prayers as you seek to help provide to all who served! God be with you as decisions are being made to do all you can with their needs and intrests. GOD Bless AMERICA ! Sincerely Robert B. Graham, U.S.ARMY veteran

  33. Stepheney Elaine Carter    

    Congratulations! I am a Gulf War Veteran who hopes that you succeed in making the veterans healthcare sincerely important for all of us veterans. Thank You. Stepheney Elaine Carter, U.S. Army Veteran, Baltimore, MD

  34. Darlene Louise. Sigala    

    Congratulations on your new position as a woman veteran who had an honorable discharge in 1980 there a clear undeniable errors in my compensation and percentages I currently have a bva claim where I had my hearing in December of 2014 still awaiting a decision I currently have new severe Medical issues which my attorney asked to expedite my claim I also have MST military sexual trauma and PTSD which was also denied which is also part of my bva claim I understand several people have had them reopened and been compensated to this date I have been compensated for nothing including the PTSD treatment I went through I also have a malpractice claim with the general counsel for negligence of a doctor who is no longer at the VA I was denied first and recently told I will have to wait till the summer to see if I will get my claim it’s unfortunate because I now have permanent heart damage and are having things taken away from me and because of these health issues I wish you could sit down and talk to me to see everything I have been through and the amount of hours that I had spent with my attorney to help get me what’s rightfully earned and for all the medical and surgery so I’ve had I truly hope that you will get this taken care of waiting over 2 years for a bva decision is not acceptable to myself or any other veteran ID do hope you will Rectify this as soon as possible most of us live in poverty level income by the VA

  35. Ralph V. Stott    

    Dear Secretary Shulkin: Congrats on your new position. My sincere hope and prayer is that you will be able to accomplish all the goals that you have mentioned above. I remember what President Donald Trump said about some vets who visited their VA to be treated and became terminal before they could see a doctor. I hope that you will lend your weight to ensuring that all VA facilities and CBOCs will be able to refer their VA patients to non-VA doctors in a timely manner, if necessary. I know it’s not going to be an easy task; yet, I trust that the full implementation of Veterans Choice will be achieved during your administration. I have been a volunteer here at Captain James A. Lovell Health Care Facility for over 6 years. I thought that my volunteer efforts may help a few vets; however, I soon found out that caring for others was life changing for me. Volunteering has made me a healthier person, a better listener, and a better curator of my talents. Someone once said, “Blessed is he who has found his work.” I have found my work in volunteering at my local VA.

  36. DAVID W SUNKLE    

    WELL HE SOUNDS GOOD. NOW ON WARD TO THE VIET-NAM VETERANS. ESPECIALLY THE ONES SERVING OUT IN THE GULF. WE WERE EXPOSED ALSY.. AND;HAVE THE SAME DEBILIATING PROBLEMS. DIABETTES II , PROSTATE CANCER , NUROPOTHY , BLOOD PRESSURE PROBLEMS , I AM NOW (77) AND STILL WAITING.??

  37. Christina M. Hutson    

    I’m a Retired Veteran of US NAVY HOSPITAL. CORPSMAN 2ND CLASS, just wish they could fulfil there obligation in paying our bills in a timely manner which I have to pay one for 2016 and i got another one back in 2012 sent to collection agency which ruin my credit. I do hope you can make some changes in the system and to help our fellow soldiers that comes back from these wars to help them get the help they need. Thank you I know you will do your best to get the job done to help our fellow veterans get the help they need. God Bless You Secretary Shulkin.

  38. Glen Smith    

    Well it sure looks like TRUMP has sold the Veterans Out !!!

    Putting another VA Bureaucrat in charge of the Dept. of VA
    isn’t going to solve any problems…this is one of the main
    selohssa’s that is responsible for getting the VA into this shape…

    Still nobody will be held responsible…
    TRUMP is turning into a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing…
    and Vets like me will just be allowed to DIE for lack of Doctors
    and Medical Personnel…Went since 2013 trying to get appointments and treatment…
    Now I am just going to die from inaction…oh and they want me to pay for
    my Emergency treatment…use your Medicare…

  39. Lynda Willner    

    Congratulations Dr. Shulkin on your appointment and confirmation. Thank you for serving.

    I’d request that, at some point, you would look into the Cal Vet loan program in the State of California, as America’s vets with home loans through this program are charged an exorbitant rate of interest for this loan privilege with no opportunity to refinance through this program. My husband, who served in the Marine Corps., has been paying a Cal Vet interest rate of 7.90% since 2000. This rate is doing a great disservice to the very service personnel that it should be benefitting.

    Again, bless you for taking on this task for President Trump and please consider some alterations to this program.
    Sincerely,
    L. Willner

  40. Charley Alonzo Kiser    

    Dr. Shulkin,
    While I hope you actually do something to repair our broken VA healthcare system, I for one am not very optimistic. I have been in the VA healthcare system now for over two decades and I have very rarely received the so-called “world class healthcare” that the VA healthcare system says they provide. In 2014.
    I found out through a CIVILIAN neurosurgeon that my first back surgery, performed in a VA hospital was done wrong and actually weakened my spine.
    I have been sent home with a cracked wrist WITHOUT ANY TREATMENT WHATSOEVER and did not know that my wrist was cracked until I got a copy of my x-ray report a week later.
    In 2011, was diagnosed with bone spurs in my neck and have been struggling to get treatment for those bone spurs ever since, all the while dealing with constant neck pain and a permanent headache caused by those bone spurs.
    I have lost all faith in VA healthcare and just want to be allowed to see civilian doctors of my choice when I need to see them and without the unnecessary bureaucratic crap that is the Veterans Choice program.
    I have had to go public with my complaints about the veterans choice program once ans VA healthcare in general just to get some of the care I need.I had to threaten Health Net Federal services, the Veterans choice contractor, with a lawsuit just to get ONE necessary test done so that I could be treated.

    Something has to give………

  41. John Chapman    

    Congratulations!!!
    I pray that you get the cooperation you deserve in setting this task before you right. As a Vietnam Veteran I wish you only the best.
    GOD Speed
    John Chapman

  42. Richard John Small, Jr    

    Dr David J Shulkin;

    Congratulations on your position with the VA. I just want you to know that this Vietnam Veteran is with you and President Trump 100 percent. I look forward to your guidance for all of us veterans.

    Thank you in advance,

    Richard Small

  43. David Robinson    

    What you say sounds really good. Actions speak louder than words. I saw nothing about dealing with the high turnover of VA Drs and nurses. The pay is not adequate for the jobs these folks do for us. So far I have had the same VA Dr for the years that I have been enrolled, but have also experienced high nurse turnover. Let’s pay these folks what they would be making in the private sector.

  44. John Esau    

    As a Vietnam combat Veteran (1966-67) I have availed myself of VA services and medical care to the point of more than 20 VA visits/appointments each year. I would like to report outstanding care and service both at my present VA Facility in West Palm Beach, FL, but at my previous facility at Castle Point, NY. I know the VA has it’s newsworthy problems, but I can confirm only exemplary care in Osteopathic, Pulmonary, Cardio-vascular, Neurological, and through my Primary physician.

    May you be able to accomplish all you hope to do in your new role.

    John Esau, USArmy, 1965-71

  45. Pete Perez    

    Dear V.A.Secretary,Dr.David Shulkin:
    Please, give us back one of our Vets Parking Lots which was taken away and given to Employees.
    We can’t find a place to park, if we arrive any later for our appointments than 09:30 A.M.
    Valet Parking is Forced on us! There are usually three long lines, by late Morning,from three roads leading to the front of “The Michael E.DeBakey,V.A.Medical Center.,” and only a few Valets to park our Autos. None of us likes a stranger driving our Autos. Sometimes Valets can cause damage to our Autos, especially to our Transmissions. I had one Valet Parking elsewhere, “who drove my Automatic Transmission like it was a Manual Transmission and almost ruined my Transmission.” I have driven around the outside of the Parking Lots and seen many empty Parking Spaces but Guards won’t let us Park and tell us “to go to Valet Parking,in front of the V.A.Med Center.” We War Vets don’t seem to have any Parking Rights.**Pete(age71),Diabetic **Houston,Texas*

  46. Pete Perez    

    Thank you, Dr.David Shulkin for any help in this Matters !*

  47. Gene L Shaw    

    My name is Gene Shaw I am a navy veteran TM2SS.
    I am an officer in the VFW Auxiliary Orange County Council and District two state of NY.
    I am a life member of the VFW Auxiliary, a life member of the American legion, a member of the Vietnam veterans, a member of the orange county coalition of veterans organizations and an advocate for the homeless veterans vets to vets

    Congratulations on your new cabinet position. I look forward to the changes that you will make to help Our returning soldiers and our Veteran.
    MY motto is
    ” No soldiers left behind No veteran is forgotten”
    The NY.state VFW auxiliary Motto this year is
    “Anchored to serve Our Veterans and their Families”
    Loyally,
    Gene Shaw

  48. Francisco Perez Melendez    

    As a Puertorrican I still with no Representation and been isolated from my rights, So where is my Representation, These have been for long !!!

  49. Dennis Wayne Cochran Sr    

    I’m not going to blow smoke and tell you the VA system is just peachy, since you’ve been in management areas, but I challenge you to do one thing, take off the tie and suit a couple of times, put on old clothes and a field jacket, and just walk in to several VA hospitals and clinics, see our reality, see what us Veterans REALLY have to do for once.
    Many fellow Veterans have long drawn out health issues and many end up just passing away early in life due to just plain neglect by the “system”. Let’s see what ya got Doc.

  50. David Thomas steele    

    Congrats dr now let’s see along with making America great you can improve on va disability review and rating services

    God bless

  51. Carol Capito    

    Thank all you wonderful folks and May GOD BLESS YOU all!!!

  52. Connie Sue Rhodes    

    I was a volunteer at the Marion Illinois VA AND I STOPPED BECAUSE I WAS COUNSELED FOR BEING TOO NICE! Let’s start improvement there.

  53. dave kane    

    if the new va director dors not come in and shake up the system his tenure will be uselees. he will be as useless as the previous director bob mcdonald who is back at proctor and gamble making combo snack crackers.
    federal employees have a thick shield of whatever protecting them. when I worked at the nations largest va hospital in houston I saw it f4om fay one. They know nobody gets fired. They know how tbe fed govy just promotes a-holes to get them oyt of their hair. They know about the va director offering 305 thousand taxpayer dollars to a whistleblower to quit. He is still in charge of your loved ones health and she was moved to a trailer in the parking lot. The whole federal employee competitive and wage grade system has to be re written. Get frikkin real 2 women stole 400 thousand dollars of benefits and still are supervising your loved ones health. If you are totally stupid you may not be able to comprehend the facts. If your a fed employee you just say screw them, it wont matter unless they cut tbrough that fat layer of protection we have. First is the race card and if that wont work we will just squeel discrimination of whatever till they go away. Best bet is to shut down the va entirely and let competent organizations like hosputals and private doctors do good work. As of 2 21.17 I have waired a month for a prescription form for a anti inflamitory they prescribed. Totally useless losers ryn by totally useless loser appointees.

  54. greenie chickie    

    the va will always suck major because they hire according to skin color or race status not for education or experience or references or awards or previous job performance. Its all about skin color. I’m cursed being born white. If I was black I coyld have a job for life guaranteed.

  55. The Lone Patriot 1    

    First Fix: Reorganize VA so EVERY Vet has only ONE CASEWORKER with {Extention Number, email and mail information SENT to each Vet they cover} TO TALK TO ONLY!!. #2 An 800 number to REPORT when Caseworker does not “KNOW”, does’nt REALLY Help or TAKES TOO LONG to get anything done. ALL OTHERS MUST be directed to asssit Csseworkers or BE — FIRED! #3 ANYONE with BACKLOG of MORE than 90 DAYS after 90 DAYS OF YOUR APPOINTMENT–FIRED!

    Everything ELSE HAS BEEN TRIED!!!!!..”Reforms” Useless!!!!! Civil Service will “work around” Reforms. IF they spent as MUCH TIME HELPING as they do TRYING TO GET OUT OF HELPING, there would be REAL PROGRESS. FIRING FOR UNMET GOALS IS NOT “unfair”

  56. CAV SCOUT    

    Congratulations Sir !

    I have some concerns as it applies to us Veterans living in Germany. Many say that we made the choice to remain here. But it’s not an option since I do have family here. We do not have a VA hospital here. My service connected issues are covered with the Foreign Medical Plan Program. This can become stressful if the German doctors wish to get paid ASAP. Fortunately, I am lucky in regards to this. They are willing to wait. I received a Choice Card last year from VA but that is worthless here. I can be seen on a space available at a nearby Army Installation Health Clinic. I’m covered by TRICARE. They pay 75% and I pay 25% of the bill. These bases are far away from my home. The nearest base is 2 hours away driving distance on the Autobahn. I do have a question: are emergency treatment in non-VA facilities authorized (non service connected) if VA facilities are not available ? Thnak you.

  57. Cathy Regan    

    Dr. David J. Shulkin
    Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs
    810 Vermont Ave NW
    Washington DC 20420

    Cathy Regan
    5207 Meadors Spur Road
    Moneta, VA 24121

    February 23, 2017

    Dear Sir:

    I am the spouse and care giver of a 100% disabled veteran. My veteran husband has been 100% disabled for 20 plus years and has been completely dependent for his medical care from VA. As a result of that care he ended up with a spinal cord injury. After almost two years of his complaints of neck pain and overall pain, upon his complete collapse, they discovered despite their insistence that he merely had rheumatoid arthritis, they finally discovered he had cervical spinal stenosis at C3-C5. At that point there was severe spinal compression which caused spinal cord injury.

    Our experience with VA care in the past four years is beyond what I can even express. Our lives have been upended and the nightmare continues. After a second spine surgery, the VA in their ultimate wisdom, rejected payment of followup care. That ended up throwing him into the Choice program. That is an even bigger nightmare than the VA if that is possible.

    We have a high end power chair that VA has not serviced in a timely manner and it is the only source of transportation for this veteran as he now has quadriplegia. As a result I have had to fix his foot pedals myself and get a saws-all and cut off a piece of the chair myself. It still has other issues that need to be addressed but once again no one has addressed them.

    I also want to know why Vietnam Veterans spouses that provide full care for their spouses are not eligible for the same pay that post 9-11 veterans spouses receive. If not for me this veteran would require nursing home care. Because of the stress the system of VA has placed upon me I have suffered my own health issues.

    This system needs revamp. Personally I support scrapping this system all together because I have seen many instances of negligence and neglect that go beyond fixing. I believe lack of leadership has lead to a bloated, incompetent, and broken system. And that does not even begin to express the frustration of the ratings and compensation system that is so broken it is indescribable.

    At a time when this country is focusing on giving help to illegal aliens I wonder why nothing is being done to help our veterans and their families with care and financial restitution. You may think you are helping but from this consumers opinion your efforts ARE NOT filtering down to the veterans. With all due respect, you are all talk and not very much action or results.

    Cathy Regan

  58. John Dahlstrom    

    I have a problem with the Birmingham hospital Sleep center i/e supplies and being made to come in. It use to be handled by two women. All most was done though the mail the machine (c-pap) has a smart card that tracks everything. When attention is needed an appointment was given. In fact since the hospital has staffed up I get less not more. We would get supplies every 3 months. Now every 6 months. Every time it takes more than one call to get supplies. More staff less service. I have called the director of hospital rather than advocate as this never helped. After name and last four the directors office always gets through. This time I was told I could pick up at appointment and was even offered an earlier appointment. The only thin is its late in the morning. At that time the line for transport is at least 100 deep. As a disabled 3 spine operations I’m in pain all the time. that type of wait without a seat if needed on cement is painful. It seems punitive. When all was said and done this time I was told to bring everything power cord, mask, tubing. I told the women it’s never looked at but I would bring it. She at that point told me why it was needed should be checked. Back again to it never is. With the state of the debt and lack of funds or needing to do more with less, I wonder why with more staff I get less service. I am not here to provide them a job They are there to provide me and other Vets a service.

  59. Fred R Schneider    

    I really respected David McDonald for publishing his cell number and Email address. Even though he did not have time to reply directly things got done quickly and I attribute that to hid dedication to actually help people and insure things got done.
    Not sure we will have that now:(

    The VA is broken, corrupt, and dysfunctional in many places and they really need to actually clean house and get rid of all the “dead wood”, waste, and incompentency as we are still having the long waits and the VA trying to get out of paying for your care when you have to go outside the system when you have a stroke 65 miles away from a VA facility and instruct you to all 911 where they will tell you to get to the nearest hospital.

    Go figure. Semper Fi

  60. Mark A.    

    Mr. Secretary,

    After contacting you and the President in separate correspondence within a couple of days of each other regarding the 6 year and 8 month wait on my claims at the Houston VARO, I was in hopes that a fair decision would be made within a more reasonable time.

    I had been told only a couple of weeks prior by a representative on the VA’s 1-800 line that I was looking at another year at least to wait for a decision to the VA’s appellate backlog.

    During this long wait, I dealt with the Houston VARO erroneously filing nearly a hundred medical records from other veterans into my C-File, and then using them to decide and deny some of my claims. It took years to get the VA to remove most, but not all of these records from my file, and the wait continued. It still have copies of them all that I found in my C-File, and can only wonder how many of my own records must be scattered in the files of other veterans as well. I’ve thought about contacting the veterans myself over the years, and asking them if they have these records, or if they even knew they existed.

    I have gone through three VA C&P exams that the VA has required of me. The first C&P examination was from a VA-contracted doctor that actually supported my claims, but his supporting diagnosis and statements never got mentioned in the VA’s denials, nor did the military medical records in my file that showed in-service diagnosis, so the wait continued. I’ve had to reach out to the National Personnel Records Center on my own to obtain military records because the VA initially claimed that they couldn’t find any medical records, and I have assisted the VA in every way possible including spending money out of my own pocket for Independent Medical Examinations and Opinions from doctors. Each time I do this, the Houston VARO simply schedules another C&P examination from a contractor like VES or QTC in an effort to develop evidence adverse to my claims. If you look at my file and the dates, you’ll see that it’s happened after each IME/IMO is submitted, which the VA is not even supposed to be doing according to the CAVC Court’s decision in Hart v. Mansfield, 05-2424 (Vet. App. 2007), United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

    I thought that I would receive help, but a short couple of days after I e-mailed the President and the Secretary, the Houston VARO sent me an e-mail advising that they had been contacted by the Undersecretary of Benefits and that they had denied all of my claims and would be sending me the official Statement of the Case and Supplemental Statement of the Case documents notifying me of their decision officially. It was amazing that the additional year long wait for my claims to be processed was quickly accelerated into a day or two decision, especially considering that my C-File contains somewhere in upwards to 1300 or 1400 pages of records (not counting those belonging to other veterans).

    It seems as though the Houston VARO is either punishing veterans for filing inquiries or registering complaints, or either they are quickly denying claims in an effort to show “movement” to the inquiring official, which allows them to show that they have done something, and are now waiting on a veteran. This has happened before.

    Unfortunately, I am also still waiting on the FOIA requests I made for a copy of the last C&P examination report, where I underwent an exam, x-rays and blood work, as well as for the curriculum vitae information for the C&P examiners for the VA-contracted nurse practioner from VES who only had a couple of years of experience and the QTC doctor whose professional website shows he specializes in skin therapy and sells beauty creams in Florida. (His clerk told me that the doctor was in a hurry to fly back home to Florida by the way, and apparently this was true, because QTC called me and asked if I could arrive a couple of hours earlier than my original appointment time so that he could catch his flight out earlier. He was not concerned that I had to make about a two hour drive to Louisiana for the appointment, and was too busy looking at his watch to worry about the exam. For the record, I did oblige them and arrived a couple of hours early just to try to be helpful, mostly because the clerk said he was trying to get back home to his family in Florida.)

    One FOIA request for the nurse practitioner’s curriculum vitae goes back to 2015 and has not been answered, and the other FOIA requests for the curriculum vitae and the C&P report are from early Fall of 2015, and as I mentioned, have not been answered.

    These two individuals were the ones that provided the medical opinions that the Houston VARO used to override the medical opinions of a VA-contracted doctor in a C&P who had decades of experience, as well as those from three civilian doctors who are specialists in their fieds and who also have many decades of medical experience, and military medical and personnel records and civilian medical records that they have before them.

    It would be nice if the VA really would take time to review a case, and even visiting with a veteran, even if only via e-mail or on the telephone, to go over details or ask questions to try to help in processing a claim that would be beneficial to an individual, and so many others, who gave up years of their lives in support of defending their country, instead of being an adversarial system where veterans are left ensnared until they give up or die.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  61. Susanne Proser    

    Dr. Shulkin,

    Congratulations on your appointment. We wish you well in your new appointment.

    I need your help in regards to payment for long outstanding invoices for two Veterans. We have provided care for these gentlemen for move than a year and have substantial amounts of money owed to us, some from September 2015. I have met with the Fee Basis people several times but we cannot seem to clear up these outstanding balances. Needless to say, we have paid all of our caregivers for their work so we are out a substantial amount of money. If you could look into this or put me in touch with the correct person I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.

  62. Glenn A Davis    

    Dr. Shulkin, Congratulations on your appointment. I would like to inform you of the drastic need for a veteran’s cemetery in Albuquerque NM. The cemetery in Santa Fe NM will be full very soon and we have a lot of veterans in this area. I am a Vietnam Vet and getting up there in age and it would be of great relief to my family to have a place to rest nearby. Thank You.

  63. Jonathon M. Sinclair    

    Dr. Shulkin,

    Congratulations on your appointment. I am a USMC 4-year vet. I go to my Portland, OR clinic, and the treatment has improved as there are now a lot more VA employees who do care to treat you fairly. However, just yesterday on March 1st 2017, my Voc Rehab counselor dropped me from my chapter 31 benefits in retaliation for me reporting his department to the OIG online. I did this because I was supposed to start training in January, but my classes got dropped due to non-payment because the Voc Rehab office failed to act. I’ve respectfully written them detailed emails and did my best to resolve things with them, but my current counselor, has done everything in his power to undermine my ability to start the program. He’s even gone as far as wrongfully disclosing my records to other VA personnel whom I’ve never met, and he even came between my mental health counselor to make false recommendations against me. Now I don’t have mental health because I’m afraid of his retaliation. He assumes he is immune to being held accountable for this too. Individuals like this don’t deserve their job, but of course, he is protected regardless of what he does. Please help me, I really don’t want to go homeless again, and vocationally rehabilitating is important to me. -JMS

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